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How to Make Deep Fried Butterflies

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My aunt Sue loves fried food.  She always talks about the day her mom made deep fried butterflies.  She said they were the best thing she ever tasted.  Thankfully, she was able to get the recipe from her mom before she passed.  I’m bestowing the family secret to you now, because something like deep fried butterflies should not be kept secret!

Tempura Batter Mix

Tempura Batter Mix


  • 100 butterflies (doesn’t really matter the type of butterfly…no moths though)
  • Cooking Oil
  • Tempura Batter Mix
  • Tartar sauce
Get a quality butterfly net - not a toy one!

Get a quality butterfly net - not a toy one!

Fry Daddy - Fry Baby's papa.

Fry Daddy - Fry Baby's papa.

Cooking stuff you need:

  • Butterfly Net
  • Tupperware Container or Glass Jar with lid
  • Fry Daddy or equivalent deep fryer
  • Quart size Ziploc freezer bag
  • Portable cooler with ice
Transfer to Tupperware Container after you net one

Transfer to Tupperware Container after you net one


  1. Obtain butterflies. I have yet been able to find a store that sells butterflies. I’ve even performed extensive on-line searches for potential butterfly vendors. For the past six years I’ve been trying to catch butterflies. I leave the butterfly net and Tupperware container in my car. I sometimes even carry the butterfly net and Tupperware container with me during trail runs or hikes. If I see a butterfly, I chase it down with my net. If I actually catch the butterfly, I carefully put it in the Tupperware container. The transfer from net to container is tricky and I’ve had a number of them get away during this process. If I am successful catching a butterfly and transferring it to the Tupperware container, it is critical to get the butterfly home as soon as possible. It’s important the butterflies are fresh; therefore you have to freeze them while they are still alive. Based on my experience, the butterfly will only last about 1 hour in the Tupperware. This is on an average day. If it is really hot outside, they typically only last about 20 minutes. I started carrying a portable cooler full of ice with me at all times, just in case I’m too far away from home and happen to nab a butterfly. The next part…the transfer from the Tupperware container to the freezer bag is also tricky. This takes some skill to master. It’s not as easy as you may think. Sure, for the first butterfly it was easy, because I was able to place the freezer bag over the Tupperware container and when I opened the Tupperware container, the butterfly flew into the freezer bag. The problem now though is I have quite a few butterflies in the freezer bag and they will all fall out if I try putting the bag over the Tupperware container. To remedy this, I open the freezer bag and place it sideways on the table. I also place the Tupperware container sideways with the opening facing the freezer bag opening. The idea is to try to get the butterfly to fly into the freezer bag, so you can quickly close it up. My success rate with the transfer from Tupperware container to freezer bag has been about 70%. Every now and then, a butterfly will get lose and fly around my house. I simply go to the car and get my net and try to catch it again. I now have 38 butterflies in my freezer bag. That’s an average of 6.333 butterflies per year. I’m not sure I can hold out until I get the full 100, but I figure at my current rate, I’ll have 50 in two more years. This is enough for a half portion.


Serve with tartare sauce

Serve with tartare sauce

2. Thaw the butterflies.

3. Remove the wings, legs, and antennas from each butterfly.

4. Thoroughly batter the butterflies with the Tempura Batter.

5. Deep fry the butterflies for 5 minutes.

6. Remove from deep fryer and place on paper towels.

7. Serve with tartar sauce.

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divisionbyzero0 on July 03, 2014:

I'm Leptidopterophobia - fear of butterflies.

Butterfly wings are (bit) toxic though.

lep worker on November 06, 2012:

I don't know how many poisonous butterflies are regularly in Missouri, but you know, probably best not to use the poisonous ones.

lep worker on November 06, 2012:

Catching butterflies is actually pretty easy. I work at an arboretum and stock the butterfly house each season (for viewing - not eating though!) Nets should be made of soft material (not plastic netting) so as not to damage the butterfly. It's a quick flick of the wrist that traps the butterfly in the lower portion of the net. Getting them out of the net is done most easily for beginners by putting the net on the ground (rim down) and holding the tip of the net up in your non-dominant hand. Reach under the net and grasp BOTH forewings by the VEIN ONLY. It's very strong and you won't hurt them. Make sure you're not pinching their wings though - just the veins. (Rubbing scales off doesn't harm them either.) I can't believe I'm giving tips to someone who wants to eat them... but butterflies should NEVER be put in tupperware. You can keep them in the lower portion of the net by using a bread tie to close off the rest.

Shakirah on September 17, 2012:

So meannn :(

Ron Crotchjelly on May 08, 2012:

This is just plain disgusting. Why don't you try fried Slugs?

??? on January 06, 2012:

wow not being mean but nasty wow..............

Philleas McHuffabie on November 25, 2010:

I tried this recipe and it is absolutely delicious! I served it to my grandkids and they just loved it! I would recommend it for any special occasion, for instance: weddings, graduations, baptisms, and so forth. Thank you, Kea, for the newest addition to my gourmet cookbook.

bob on August 01, 2010:

THAT IS SO CRUEL AND DISGUSTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rss on February 19, 2010:

Wow. wtf are you serious? you eat butterflys.. xD! Epic. okay byes.

kea (author) on February 08, 2010:

Yenajeon - thx for the comment! Have you had deep fried butterflies before? They are prevalent in Southern Missouri.

Yena Williams from California on February 08, 2010:

Omg is this a true delicacy? I mean I know its real, but is it prevalent? And what midwestern state is this from, might I ask? =)

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