116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Annual cicadas — incredibly loud green or black bugs that buzz and hum — emerge in Eastern Iowa every summer.
Sometimes, they’re accompanied by periodical cicadas. Those insects hang out underground for 13 or 17 years before crawling out of the ground, making a ton of noise, mating and dying.
Iowa’s biggest brood will next show up in 2031, but in other parts of the United States billions of cicadas, part of Brood X, emerged this year.
When those special broods of cicadas appear, some people see a rare opportunity — to catch a tasty snack. Here are a few ways people have enjoyed eating cicadas:
1. In ice cream
The cicadas in mid-Missouri emerge every 13 years. The last time they showed up, in 2011, many got mixed into a special batch of ice cream.
The cicada ice cream at Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream in Columbia, Missouri, was so popular that it sold out before it officially debuted. According to the Columbia Missourian, the shop was going to make another batch, but health officials advised against it.
Still, ice cream lovers hungry for the new flavor were promised another batch — in 2024, the next time the brood will return.
2. Breaded and fried
Fried cicadas are best as a snack or on top of a salad, according to a Washington Post recipe for homemade spicy popcorn cicadas.
Similar to popcorn shrimp — a genetic cousin of the cicada — this crispy snack is made with cicada nymphs. Nymphs are like teenage cicadas, having just crawled out of the ground but still soft and wingless.
The recipe calls for Worcestershire sauce, paprika, cayenne, garlic and onion — and the Post promises this covers most of the buggy flavor.
3. On a pizza
"From a distance this pie looks delightful,“ an Ohio pizza joint posted on Facebook in June. ”But once you get closer you realize those are no raisins …“
The Spicy Thai Cicada Pie was topped with sriracha, mozzarella, mushrooms, mango, spicy sauce and, of course, sauteed cicadas. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, one taste-tester said it was pretty good, aside from the “goo and the crunch.”
The Pizza Bandit in Dayton, Ohio, even decorated the pizza crust with cicada wings.