Frog legs are exactly what they sound like: the legs of an edible frog. The meat can be stewed, fried, grilled, or stir-fried, and the dish is popular in various countries throughout the world. Frog legs have a flavor and texture that's similar to a combination of chicken and fish.
What Are Frog Legs?
Frog legs are a popular dish in French and Chinese cuisine and are also eaten in other parts of Europe, Indonesia, and the Southern U.S. In France, frog legs are known as cuisses de grenouilles. The meat must be cleaned and skinned before use and is often sold ready-to-cook. Frog legs are caught wild in some parts of the world as well as commercially raised on farms.
Frog leg meat is similar to white-meat chicken or fish and can be prepared in a variety of ways. The price for frog legs can vary greatly depending on where you live—locations with high demand and easy access to frogs lead to low prices. In areas where edible frogs are less common, the price for frog legs is comparable to top-tier seafood.
How to Cook Frog Legs
Frog legs must be cleaned well before cooking. Frogs are typically skinned before cooking and eating; while the skin is edible, it is very strong in flavor. The feet are inedible but are sometimes left attached for cooking. Butchers and grocers tend to sell the meat with the skin already removed.
If caught in the wild, a dead frog can be skinned using strong kitchen shears and a sharp paring knife. Similar to chicken or fish, the legs can then be stewed in a soup, grilled, sautéed, or battered and fried. Frog meat is cooked when it turns opaque and white (it is pink when raw).
What Do Frog Legs Taste Like?
Frog legs are commonly compared to chicken. The lean, white meat does share similarities in flavor and texture with chicken as well as white-meat fish. Unlike chicken, frog has a slightly fishy, marshy flavor and odor. Thanks to the mild flavor of frog legs, they are ideal for a range of preparations and easily take on the flavor of sauce or breading.
Frog Legs Recipes
One classic French preparation of frog legs, called cuisses de grenouilles à la Provençale, involves dredging the frog legs in seasoned flour and then sautéeing them in butter or olive oil with garlic and chopped parsley. French chefs also braise frog legs in white wine and butter.
In China and Indonesia, frog legs are stir-fried, fried, or stewed, and can be added to dishes like soup or congee. Frog legs are also eaten in the American Deep South where the animal is abundant, either deep-fried or used in stews.
- Crispy Fried Frog Legs
- Congee Rice Porridge (swap for the shrimp)
- Traditional Brunswick Stew (swap cooked frog legs for the chicken)
Where to Buy Frog Legs
Look for frog legs on the menus of authentic French restaurants (often labeled as "grenouille" or "cuisses de grenouilles") and in Chinese restaurants. Some adventurous chefs will feature frog legs on their menus, and they are occasionally offered at Southern establishments.
Frog legs can be purchased fresh and frozen by the pound at grocery stores and butcher shops. They are typically sold with the skin removed. The meat is more commonly found in parts of the world where you might find frog legs on a menu. They can also be ordered online. Look for extremely fresh frog legs for the best quality and flavor.
Storing Frog Legs
Fresh frog legs should be stored in a well-wrapped or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. For the best experience, cook frog legs as soon as possible. Frozen frog legs, if kept completely frozen, can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before using.
Cooked frog legs can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Nutrition and Benefits of Frog Legs
Frog legs are a lean white meat, making them a good source of protein and relatively low in fat and cholesterol. However, frog legs are commonly prepared by deep-frying or sautéing in butter, turning a fairly healthy meat into a dish that should be eaten in moderation. Grilling, boiling, or steaming are lower-calorie methods for cooking frog legs.