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How to Make Deep Fried Butterflies

Updated on March 24, 2010


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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    • profile image

      divisionbyzero0 3 years ago

      I'm Leptidopterophobia - fear of butterflies.

      Butterfly wings are (bit) toxic though.

    • profile image

      lep worker 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      lep worker 5 years ago

      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.

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      Shakirah 5 years ago

      So meannn :(

    • profile image

      Ron Crotchjelly 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      ??? 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Philleas McHuffabie 7 years ago

      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.

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      bob 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Rss 8 years ago

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

    • kea profile image

      kea 8 years ago

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

    • yenajeon profile image

      yenajeon 8 years ago from California

      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? =)