13 Best Books About Edible Insects — For Bookworms (2019)

From scientific literature to art books and beginner friendly cookbooks. Here is a list of the most important books about eating insects (entomophagy) — published so far.

A Bookworm

Here's a list of the most important books about edible insects.

So if you want to:

Become a bug chef.

Learn how to farm and process insects.

Become an entrepreneur.

Or you're just curious about edible insects.

Then you'll love the list of book suggestions on this page. Let's dive into the fascinating world of buggy deliciousness!

1. On Eating Insects: Essays, Stories and Recipes

by Nordic Food Lab (Author), Joshua Evans (Author), Roberto Flore (Author), Michael Bom Frøst (Author)

An excellent book on the next century's way of cooking.

If you want to understand the “hedonistic” side of the concept of the DELICIOUSNESS of insects as food — you need this book.

In the book, you'll find:
  • travel diaries
  • delicious & healthy meals with insects
  • great imagery
  • academic essays and data tables
  • the philosophy behind edible bugs

“On eating insects” contains the results of a three-year project managed by a young team of the Nordic Food Lab, the culinary research foundation of Rene Redzepi, the “best chef in the world”.

His legendary restaurant Noma, in Copenaghen, had just won the title of best in the world for the second year in a row.

Noma restaurant
Source: Inside Noma, Author: City Foodsters

In 2011, when Redzepi discovered entomophagy.

He fell head over heels in love with it, thanks to an Amazona ant, “tasting like  lemongrass and ginger”, brought to his international food symposium in Denmark by a Brazilian chef .

That event marked the beginning of a new adventure for the Nordic Food Lab, that had so far been busy with gastronomic research on Scandinavian local ingredients and the mission of creating a “new Nordic cuisine” .

The encounter with insect raised their ambitions to encompass the whole planet.

A substantial donation from the Velux foundation supported a three-year research project on the deliciousness of insects, including field research in Africa, Asia, Australia, South America.

The results, including travel diaries and recipes documented by stunning art photographs, were brought back home, into the kitchen and into this book.

You will get more, though: the whole philosophy behind it, from a series of essays in the first part of the publication.

An eye-opener if you want to understand the determinant role played by a small Danish cultural hotspot (originating in the Rene Redzepi – Noma epic tale) in the entomophagy revolution at world level.

The passion, the explorer's spirit, food as identity and connection to the land... eating insects is  much more than a larger intake of proteins with a smaller carbon footprint! You may want also to watch the documentary film “Bugs”, the video companion to the printed book.

2. Insects: An Edible Field Guide

by Stefan Gates (Author)

If you're an adventurous foodie, who'd like to search for edible insects in the wild, then you'll love this book.

This is NOT an insect cookbook.

Instead, it's a comprehensive and informative field guide.

In the book, you'll learn about:
  • the origins of insect eating
  • ideas of how to eat them once you’ve tracked them down
  • a comprehensive list on edible insects and where to find them
  • their versatile usage and nutritional value
  • BONUS: A bug-eating checklist covering all known edible bugs so readers can mark off the ones they’ve eaten

“When I first caught the entomophagy bug, the one thing I lacked was a simple, clear field guide that would bring together all the fragments of information (of wildly varying quality) that are currently available”.

This is how Stefan Gates, an internationally well known British television presenter, author, broadcaster and live-show performer, explains the motivation for writing is eighth book: “Insects: An Edible Field Guide”.

Stefan had done  some groundbreaking TV work on the subject some years before , namely the BBC Four documentary “Can eating insects save the world?” (2013).

The British “Gastronaut” had risen to fame with the BBC series “Cooking in the danger zone” (2006-2008), reporting on food-making from all sort of life-threatening places, from battlefields to Cernobyl.

“I have the best job in the world: I’m a food adventurer”, he describes himself.  

Cooking in any case is Stefan's favourite activity, so no wonder that in the seven reasons he quotes for why we should eat (more) insects, both number 1 and 7 are: they are delicious.

Stefan Gates
PR shot of Stefan Gates with props and food, such as he may include in a live show or tv series. Author: Dan Science

After a short and matter of fact introduction, what you get in these  144 pages is knowledge on A LOT of bugs: as many as 74, listed by geographic area (UK and Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, North America, Oceania/Japan/Pacific).

Another reason for getting this Guide is: Stefan is a lot of fun!

His writing style is packed with the best flavour of nutty British humour, a trick to make you swallow the science that comes with the gastronomy – his trademark.

Dive into it, you won't regret it!

3. The Insect Cookbook: Food for a Sustainable Planet (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History)

by Arnold van Huis (Author), Henk van Gurp (Author), & 3 more

If you're a curious foodie who's interested in new foods.

This cookbook is a perfect resource to start your edible insect adventure.

It's packed with though provoking materials.

There's a lot of background info, pics and recipes.

And just to point something out.

This book is mainly targeted towards beginners.

In the book, you'll find the following:
  • background information on insects
  • their anatomy
  • history of use in food and other products
  • food culture

From the Dutch academic powerhouse of the edible insect revolution, the University of Wageningen, two leading entomologists and a chef answer the question: how do we cook insects?

The authors of this Cookbook recall in the preface that they started promoting edible insects (entomophagy) in the Netherlands many years ago and received enormous interest from the public.

Dutch companies started to produce insects for human consumption as far back as 2008.

But how do you cook insects?

The first edition of this cookbook was meant for the Dutch public: “Het Insectenkookboek”.

Later, in 2013, it was again the University of Wageningen (in particularly prof.

Arnold van Huis, one of the co-authors of this cookbook) that provided the scientific support for the landmark FAO report on insects as food and feed.

Insect eating was out of the closet and all over the world, so an enhanced version of the cookbook was produced.

This new English edition contains  a series of contributions from a diversity of public characters.

From former UN secretary general Kofi Annan to  “best chef in the world” Rene Redzepi.

Enriched by examples of several species of insects and the way they are cooked and consumed in the five continents.

Each chapter is rounded up by a series of recipes:
  • Five snacks
  • Five appetizers
  • Eleven main dishes
  • Five festive dishes
  • Six desserts.
“The recipes can be made at home by any amateur cook interested in new cuisine”, explain the authors.  

Cunningly, they have taken as ingredients three species that are easy to source for human consumption, available also on the internet: migratory locusts (Loucusta migratoria), yellow mealworms (Tenebrio molitor) and buffalo worm (Alphitobius diaperinus).

Good news: you can start experimenting with these insect recipes straight away!

4. The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook, Revised: 40 Ways to Cook Crickets, Grasshoppers, Ants, Water Bugs, Spiders, Centipedes, and Their Kin

by David George Gordon (Author)

5. Creepy Crawly Cuisine: The Gourmet Guide to Edible Insects

by Julieta Ramos-Elorduy Ph.D. (Author)

Here is one more classic for you.

In short, the book is a wonderful introduction to the future of food.

The book is filled with great pictures and even better recipes, making it an enjoyable addition to your culinary bookshelf.

Here's what you'll find:
  • Great research
  • Very well written - easy to follow
  • Lots of data on the nutritional value of insects
  • Artfully prepared recipes and photographs

When professor Julieta Ramos-Elorduy, one of the top world experts on edible insects, published this rich study of entomophagy + recipe collection (in 1998), she had been researching the use of insects as food in the Mexican countryside for more than twenty years.

Her team from the National Autonomous University in Mexico documented entomophagy going back to precolumbian times.

They found evidence of the use of more than two hundred insect species, a greater number than in any other country.

This gourmet guide, including  a  wealth of stunning colour photographs by Peter Menzel, is not restricted to Mexico though.

After a first chapter dedicated to insects and their history, the author moves on to “Entomophagy around the world” and “Entomophagy in the United States.

The fourth chapter focuses on “Nutrition and entomophagy”.

The fifth chapter explains how to prepare and clean insects: here you will find a rich bounty of sixty recipes, listed by categories (appetizers, salads, soups, main courses, sauces and desserts).

Bottom line:

If you need a solid base in the history of insects as food in indigenous communities, supported by abundant data on their nutritional value and practical instructions on where to find them, how to store them and cook them, this is the one.

6. Eat Grub - The Ultimate Insect Cookbook

by Shami Radia (Author), Neil Whippey (Author), Sebastian Holmes (Author)
‘People aren’t going to eat insects unless they taste good.’  

This was the belief of Shami Radia and Neil Whippey, co-authors of this book with chef Seb Holmes, when they founded Eat Grub ltd in 2014.

If the insect cooking book you are looking for is a practical tool by a real-life startup that made it, “Eat Grub” is the choice for you.

Inside the book, you'll find:
  • Lots of great recipes
  • Inspiring dishes
  • Artfully prepared pics
  • Amazing hardcover finishing

The success of these boys (Shami and Neil were 32 when they started) is based just on that: go for good recipes first.

Shami had discovered entomophagy while working for a charity in Malawi sharing a dish of fried flying ants with local children.

After six months of travelling the world to discover more about delicious bugs, he teamed up with his old friend Neil who had television experience.

They recruited Seb Holmes, the chef of a Thai restaurant in London, to create the first 21 recipes for Eat Grub and started doing pop-up restaurant events around London.

This cookbook came soon after and was another winning move on the road of success, so, grab a copy!

You will get a solid knowledge base about entomophagy, and then the practical part on how to cook with insects.

Following the general instructions comes a rich list of dishes organized by: snacks, small plates, large plates, sauces-dips-dressing-pastes, desserts and cocktails.  

You will also find menu plans and guidelines on how to farm and source insects.

“Eat Grub” in five years only has grown into a solid ento-business selling above all insect snacks, but the vision is much wider, as you can find out with the help of this extremely useful book.

7. Edible: An Adventure into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet

by Daniella Martin (Author)

If you're looking for a book to help you change your perception of insects, you'll love this one.

It will help you challenge your believes and at the end of it, you'll probably find edible insects way more normal.

It's packed with:
  • light hearted stories
  • scientific facts
  • personal travel adventures
  • history
  • culinary descriptions that make your mouth watery

“Eating insects is the Next Big Thing”, wrote Daniella Martin when announcing this book that “has taken a third of my life to write”.

Daniella, an anthropologist who discovered entomophagy while doing field research in Mexico, was the first insect-eating-blogger around, with her personal site  “Girl meets bug” .

She became quite the star on tv shows before turning to publishing.

“Edible” cost her nearly 13 years of work: studying, travelling, following her curiosity and researching “weird stuff most people never even think to think about. Not to mention all the crazy stuff I ate.”

Talk the talk – walk the walk, you might say.

With “Edible” you get a heavy, 272-page package written in the style of a personal life journey.

”I’ve been bitten and stung by all kinds of bugs, in all kinds of places, to make this book.

I tasted over 35 different species, including those that are venomous, squishy, slimy, and even alive.

I had 48 hours in beautiful Phuket, and spent most of them in the mosquito-ridden forest so I could eat giant palm larvae (I literally had 45 minutes at the beach).

I got very ill in gorgeous places. I puked repeatedly in a 5 star hotel. ALL FOR YOU. “

If you like an informal, conversational style but are also in search for abundant, verified, first-hand information on the experience of insect eating, this is the book for you.

8. Bugs for Beginners: the most complete guide to teach you how to  cook edible insects: A cookbook with 75+ recipes and everything you need to know to eat a bug

by Michela Dai Zovi (Author)

A book for newbie insect-eaters from a former newbie.

This is what you will get here:
  • 75 Clearly explained recipes
  • Attractive recipe photographs
  • lots of helpful background information
  • A handy “buggy-ness” rating for each recipe

Michela is the classical eclectic personality who, once she discovers something new and juicy dives into it head first.

Actually eating insects though took her a bit longer, after reading book on entomophagy.

“I lacked the courage to venture so far outside of my comfort zone on my own”. - Michela Dai Zovi

What did the trick in the end was a journey to Thailand.

Here bugs are such an everyday food, from street carts to posh restaurants, that making a big deal of dining on them would be like for us to get excited about eating a potato!

Michela's conclusion:

WE (Europeans and North Americans) are the weirdos, not the rest of the world.

You will not find much philosophizing in these 399 pages anyway.

The introductory part is short and lively, but then down to business!

A short chapter on safety gives good advice on what NOT to do, the rest is recipes.

Tons of recipes, some eighty-five, including contributions from other authors, chefs, food experts.

Michela's sweet innovative idea is to equip them with a “bugginess” marking system: pay attention to the quantity of bug symbols attached to each recipe, since they have different degrees of insect content, e.g. distance from “traditional”, insectless dishes.

Take your time, is the suggestion: you can start soft and if you like the adventure, step up your bugginess without overdoing it.

Topped with gorgeous color photographs, “Bugs for beginners” could well be the reference book for all the ones who need just a gentle pushing to hop into the colourful world of insect cuisine.

Give it a try!

9. The Cricket Cookbook: A Complete Guide to Adding this Sustainable Protein to your Diet

by Austin Miller (Author), Zoe Anton (Author)

Cricket, “the gateway bug”: more protein, better taste, less environmental footprint than other edible insects.

And yet, there is not much available when it comes to cricket recipes.

Here is a book that can help close the gap.

This book is a complete guide to learning how crickets are the new protein source of the future and how to add them to many dishes.

What can you get from this Cookbook?
  • Environmental, nutritional and taste benefits of the chirpy critters
  • Tips on buying crickets (frozen, dried, flour)
  • How to grind them
  • How to store them
  • Recipes for smoothies, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desserts
"This is more than just a cookbook with photos and recipes. In addition to the recipes, the Cricket Cookbook tells our story, explains the benefits of crickets, describes different ways to incorporate crickets into your diet, and a whole lot more." - Austin and Zoe
Who are these two young people, Austin and Zoe, the authors?

Austin Miller dubs himself "The Chief Cricket Guy".

He and his partner Zoe Anton become real-life insect farmers in a matter of a few months after discovering entomophagy in Mexico.

In 2016 Craft Crickets became the first licensed food-grade insect farm in the state of Oregon.

In their first year, Austin and Zoe sold more than a million edible crickets and held 13 free hands-on cricket farming classes.  

Sales picked up just because of the cookbook: in the beginning, farming crickets for the young couple was much easier then selling them.

Having a lot of inventory, they started to eat more crickets and develop their own recipes, which in turn attracted more customers.

To spread the word further, the Cricket Crafters went into publishing.

There is a section on special diets: vegetarian, vegan, kosher, paleo and gluten-free crickets.

The recipes section includes:
  • Seasoning
  • Smoothies
  • Breakfast
  • Snacks
  • Dinner
  • Bread
  • Desserts
  • What NOT to make.

Want to become a cricket chef?

This book is a great start.

10. Man Eating Bugs: The Art and Science of Eating Insects

by Peter Menzel (Author), Faith D'Aluisio (Author)

A warning: this is NOT a cookbook, though it also contains some recipes.

But it is a stunningly beautiful book.

Here's what to expect:

  • Excellent full color photography
  • Engaging "point-counterpoint" comments by the authors
  • An in-depth view of insect eating cultures
  • Interviews with bug-eaters

The authors are a world-renowned, award-winning couple of photojournalists.

Peter Menzel is a professional photographer, Faith comes from a career as a producer of TV news and documentaries.

This work of theirs is the result of eight years of travels and field explorations in 13 different countries, documenting traditional insect-eating habits of local communities.

Gorgeous photograps from Uganda, Japan, Thailand, Mexico, Australia, China, Venezuela, Cambodia, Peru, France, Botswana, Indonesia, South Africa.

Accompanying texts by both Faith and Peter, ranging from excerpts of their field journals to interviews with  the locals.

“Man Eating Bugs” can be considered a classic.

Published in 1998, it won the 1999 James Beard Award for Reference and Writings on Food.

You may wonder why we recommend a book from more than twenty years ago.

The reason is simple: it has made more to “convert” people to entomophagy than several make-a-quick-buck wannabee guides (concocted with copy and paste in the last few years since eating bugs became a fashionable topic) ever could.

If you want to give yourself a present, a photojournalistic classy product that will never go out of fashion, this is the one.

Short of travelling in person to the four corners of the world to meet these traditional cultures in person, you can begin to widen your horizons on these pages, seeing people hunting, farming, cooking, selling, eating bugs of all colours and shapes.

Yuck factor?

What is that supposed to be?

11. Edible Insects: Future Prospect for Food and Feed Security (Fao Forestry Paper)

by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

If you really want to dive deep into the subject, this book is a must-have.

It is probably the most influential book in the industry.

The best part?

You can read it for FREE here.

This call to action, published by the United Nations, inspired hundreds of people, including ourselves, to start edible insect start-ups and non-profits.

What's more, it is the most quoted book in the whole insect industry.

Here's what you'll find inside:

  • Why eat bugs?
  • The role of insects
  • Culture, religion and the history of entomophagy
  • Environmental opportunities of insect rearing for food and feed
  • Edible insects as a natural resource
  • Nutritional information
  • Insects as animal feed
  • Farming insects
  • Processing edible insects for food and feed
  • Food safety and preservation
  • Economics: cash income, enterprise development, markets and trade

If you wan't to learn more about the full potential of edible insects, you should definitely check it out.

On the other hand, some sources are claiming that the benefits of edible insects have been overstated.

The paper has been written by some of the world's leading specialists on edible insects, and it's definitely a great resource to "geek-out" on the subject.

12. Insects as Sustainable Food Ingredients: Production, Processing and Food Applications

by Aaron T. Dossey (Editor), M. Guadalupe Rojas (Editor), Juan A. Morales-Ramos (Editor)

If you're on the lookout for ACTIONABLE scientific literature.

Than, this book is for you.

It's packed with practical information and it's been written by some of the worlds leading experts on edible insects.

  • Details the current state and future direction of insects as a sustainable source of protein, food, feed, medicine, and other useful biomaterials
  • Provides valuable guidance that is useful to anyone interested in utilizing insects as food ingredients
  • Insects as an alternative nutrient source that is ideal for food companies, nutritionists and entomologists.
  • Summarizes the current state-of-the-art, providing helpful recommendations on building companies, products, and research programs
  • Ideal reference for researchers, entrepreneurs, farmers, policymakers, and anyone interested in insect mass production and the industrial use of insects
  • Outlines the challenges and opportunities within this emerging industry

On the other hand, the literature can be very hard to read if you're not a scientist or professional.

If you're just a newbie who wants to get a basic overview of entomophagy, you'll probably be better of with some of the books we mentioned above.

If you're a researcher, entrepreneur, farmer or policymaker, you'll find this book very valuable.

It's one of the only scientific books out there and it definitely deserves a place on this list.

13. Insects as Sustainable Food Ingredients: Production, Processing and Food Applications

by Vincent M Holt

This is probably the OLDEST book ever written on the subject of edible insects.

It's been written more than a century ago, and has been selected by scholars as being culturally important.

The book is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

The original author was truly a food pioneer in promoting edible bugs.

It is definitely not the most valuable book you can find today, but it is of great cultural importance.

If you have a friend who's into eating bugs, this book could be a nice gift.