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Ants on Tuna Ceviche

Edible insects have been in the news a lot lately. And if you haven’t tried them yet, it’s time to hop to it.

Thanks to Jet Blue’s recent announcement that they will be serving protein bars made with cricket flour, we’re almost ready to call bug-based garnishes and meals mainstream.

But if you’re a novice at ingesting insects, where do you begin? Here are six ways to get your bug-fix in order of increasing gross-out factor.

Cricket Flour Protein Bars

Cricket Protein Bars

Consider these protein bars from EXO (the ones that Jet Blue will be serving) your gateway to cricket cuisine. If you didn’t see the wrapper, you likely wouldn’t know you were eating crickets at all. Instead it looks more like a Larabar. If you’re at all bug averse, start here.

Dinner at Noma

As we know from rapper Action Bronson’s well-documented trip to Noma (a.k.a. “world’s best restaurant”) the tasting menu contains a few insect-based courses. Go for the savory doughnuts with bitter greens and grasshoppers. Not being able to see the hoppers should help you get over any apprehension about what you’ll be eating.

Kachina Southwestern Grill cricket salad

Cricket Salads

One of our brave editors actually gave this crunchy cricket salad recipe from Kachina Southwestern Grill in Westminster, Colorado a try. Yes, you can actually see the crickets you’re eating, so you’ll have to get over that mental hurdle before digging in. The good news is that they are candied. So close your eyes and try to pretend they’re candied almonds — not, you know, creepy crawlers.

Ants on Tuna Ceviche

Yellowtail & Ant Ceviche

In this dish at The Black Ant in New York City, the ants still fly…er crawl a bit under the radar because they’re more of a garnish than the key ingredient. Eater editorial producer Kat O’Dell tested out the ceviche. Her assessment of what the ants taste like — plastic wrap. Watch her video to get the full taste.

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Chapulines (a.k.a. Grasshopper) Tacos

One of the most well-known bug-based dishes is the grasshopper tacos available at Toloache restaurant in N.Y.C. Aside from the garnishes (onions, salsa, cilantro, etc.) you’re pretty much eating a tortilla filled with grasshoppers. The good news is that they’ve been dried and cooked, so they are crispy and taste a bit nutty. Time to just close your eyes and take a bite.

Woman Drinking Wine

Scare-amel Apples

When you’re ready to take your insect culinary skills to a whole new level, try making these “scare-amel apples” from Daniella Martin of the blog Girl Meets Bug. Martin released a book, Edible: An Adventure into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet, earlier this year. Her recipe uses meal worms and crickets to get the right bugged-out mix. We think these would be perfect for Halloween, if you can stomach them!

—Kristin Appenbrink

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