French Fried Frog Legs

4.50 from 14 votes
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Fried frog legs come in various forms, but I came to them as a child in French restaurants, lightly fried and served with parsley and garlic. So this is a French fried frog legs recipe, not the typical Cajun one you see a lot on the internet. 

A plate of French fried frog legs
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Fried frog legs said “luxury” to me as a kid because I’d only see them in fancy places — I also got a good snicker when they told me this is why the English call the French “frogs.”

How did I get these frog legs, you ask? I gigged them, in Lake Tahoe. Yep, the frog hunting is awesome up there — and what’s more, by killing them we were doing a good deed for the environment! Makes these fried frog legs taste even better. Of course it could be all that butter…

It all started when our friend Joel let me know there were frogs in them thar hills. Bullfrogs? Yep. Bigguns? Yep. We’re so there. Prepped with a few beers, we headed out for the Secret Spot, which, suffice to say, is somewhere around the lake on the California side between Truckee and South Lake Tahoe. Honestly I am not certain exactly where we were. It was dark, and did I mention I might have had a few beers?

Once you gig your frogs, you put them in a bucket with a lid to clean later. And yeah, you need the lid. Aren’t the frogs dead when you spear them? Um, sorta. Please refer to my post on how to clean a frog for the grisly details on this one.

(Looking for a different frog legs recipe? Try my Chinese stir-fried frog legs.)

Incidentally, if you wondering why there are bullfrogs in California, well, apparently, some chucklehead brought bullfrogs to Contra Costa County, in California’s Bay Area back in 1896. The plan was to ranch them as a sort of amphibious fish farm. Frog legs sold for the equivalent of $7.55 per pound back then, which, oddly, is about the same price you can get them for now.

Speaking of that, if you want to make fried frog legs, most of you will buy them. Asian markets are by far the easiest places to find frog legs, usually in the freezer section. Once in a great while butcher shops or fish markets sell them, but don’t count on it. 

This particular frog legs recipe is a classic Provencal dish called cuisses de grenouille à la Provençale, and it is the way I first ate frog legs, back when I was a boy.

I can vividly remember it. Fried frog legs were part of the gourmet buffet at a place in West Orange, New Jersey called The Manor. I also remember that mom used to starve us all before we descended on the buffet like Visigoths. I am pretty sure I ate close to 10 frogs’ worth of legs at one trip to the trough alone.

For the record, fried frog legs really do kinda-sorta taste like chicken. Light, flaky, mild, they are like a combination between chicken breast, shrimp and crab. Damn good. Make more than you think you need because leftover are good cold the next day.

A plate of French fried frog legs
4.50 from 14 votes

Fried Frog Legs, French Style

This recipe works best with a combination of clarified butter, which you can buy in large supermarkets as Indian ghee, as well as regular unsalted butter. Or, you can clarify butter yourself. You use the clarified butter to cook the frog legs and the regular butter for the sauce. Why bother? Clarified butter has a higher smoke point and holds up better when frying the frogs, while the regular butter tastes creamier for the sauce. You can of course use regular butter for everything, but it will scorch a bit.
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: French
Servings: 4 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds frog legs
  • 1 cup milk (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 10 tablespoons clarified butter, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced very thin
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


  • If you're marinating, soak the frog legs in the milk in the fridge for an hour. You can skip this with store-bought frog legs. Meanwhile, mix the salt, black pepper and flour in a bowl, then chop the garlic and parsley.
  • Heat 5 tablespoons of the butter in a frying pan large enough to hold all the frog legs; if you don't have a pan large enough, put a baking sheet in the oven and set a rack inside. Turn the oven to about 180°F. You'll use this to store the finished frog legs while you fry the rest. If you do have a large enough pan, set the baking sheet with the rack set inside next to the stovetop.
  • Dredge the frog legs in the seasoned flour and shake off the excess. Fry in the butter over medium-high heat until golden, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Flip only once if you can help it, as the flour coating is fragile. Set on the rack to drain when the frog legs are done.
  • Discard the butter in the pan and wipe it out with a paper towel. Set the pan back on the stove over medium-high heat. When the butter is hot, sauté the garlic until it smells good, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat and swirl in the lemon juice. Arrange the frog legs on individual plates, and, right before you serve, mix the parsley into the sauce. Pour it over the frog legs and serve immediately.


I served my frog legs with sautéed chanterelles and crusty bread. But boiled or roasted fingerling potatoes would be another good option, green beans an ideal veggie, or maybe a bitter greens salad with a vinaigrette dressing. White wine or a lighter beer, i.e., a lager or pilsner, is a must.

Keys to Success

  • Have your clarified butter hot! You want to see a wisp of smoke coming from it when you toss in the frog legs. Keep the temperature around 340°F and you will have crisp frog legs. 
  • Good, fresh ingredients are the key here. Wilty parsley and pre-peeled garlic won't cut it.


Calories: 413kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 1776mg | Potassium: 158mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1015IU | Vitamin C: 7.2mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 1.6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I’ve always loved frog legs and joke about launching a promotion “Frog legs, the 3rd white meat.” I order them whenever I see them on a menu. I was able to purchase some the other day and immediately went to see what Hank had to say. This recipe was easy and incredible. I’m going hogging at my first opportunity to do this again. Thank you Hank Shaw.

  2. Recipe was Fabulous! Thank you so very much! I have sent this to many friends and family. We will certainly use this again.
    We used ghee for the butter. For the dredge we used 1/2 cup of almond flour mixed with 1/2 cup panko for crisp factor. Was perfect.

  3. Hi Hank
    What a great story…
    Im Bruce Dynes i live in Waterloo Ontario Canada..this weekend is our guys ice fishin weekend away four of us guys fish in a 10 x 18 shed for two nights and three days i think you’d like it,sounds like yur adventurous. Anyway we wont have much more than a two burner propane oven. Is it ok to shallow fry these legs ‘ yur style ‘ in oil or butter. Maybe with some ‘Slap yur Mama’ seasoning in the flour mix..
    Thx Bruce

  4. Hello, I work for a non-profit watershed restoration group on Vancouver Island, Canada called The Tsolum River Restoration Society. We have a big problem with invasive American Bullfrogs and are looking to create a cookbook to encourage others to hunt these frogs for food. Would it be possible to use your recipe in a book used for outreach, educational, and possible fundraising purposes? We would credit you and include your website name.

  5. I’m just curious. I’ve been looking for a leg recipe in all 4 of the Hank Shaw cookbooks that I have and I can’t find one. So I open up the net, and here it is. Am I missing something? Did this not make it to one of your cookbooks??

  6. Fantastic recipe! I love frog legs. I used wild Allium ampeloprasum instead of garlic cloves. And tapioca starch instead of flour. It has a very nice texture and sticks well in a fine dry layer. This is a super quick dinner but tastes like a fancy french restaurant meal!

  7. I love Frog legs too. In December, my friends and I went to a Vietnamese Super Market in Santa Ana, California. We found frog legs on sales (5 pounds for $15.00). We cannot pass it. I bought a bag. They are in goo. size. I was too busy until today. I will tryout this recipe. Thank you for posting.

  8. Shot, cooked, and ate my first batch of frog legs today. I used your recipe and the legs tasted delicious. Can’t wait to get back out there and gather some more frogs.

  9. Can you tell me exactly where you gig the bullfrogs? Only if you remember. Lol. My buddy got me into giggin bullfrogs, so I went and bought myself a cheap crossbow with 2 reel, some retriever bolts and a hand full of target bolts. We’d been going to Mendota and the canel nearby. We’ve been giggin some pretty fat ones. We’ve been giggin for 2 months straight and noticing the Bullfrogs are getting smaller by the week. So we need to conserve those bullfrogs so they can produce more frogs and allow them to get fat. I’ve been looking around to find a good spots to giggs some fat frogs. I would love to travel to Lake Tahoe to gigg some pretty big frogs..

  10. The last time I harvested a bull frog was back in the early 80’s. I was renting a farm house in MD with a pond. One night about 2am, I heard him croak. I knew right away what it was and that it was big. I got my .22 rifle and a flash light. I waited for him to croak, turned the flashlight on him and bang. Right through the throat and out the top of the head. The impact knocked him up onto the bank so I didn’t even have to get my hands wet. Sauted the big guy up in butter and made an froggy omelet for breakfast. Best omelet I’ve ever eaten.

  11. Love frog legs, used to go giggin when I was a teen. You can use a pole with a hook and a piece of colored cloth too. The will jump and catch it. Legal to use a .22 as well.

  12. A great report Hank, seriously making me want to go to the Asian supermarket to get some. None of a gigable size on this side of the pond

  13. “The Cajuns just grab their frogs. I prefer to kill at a gentlemanly distance.”,/I>

    I told you! Gentlemen use gigs!

  14. I bought some frog legs at the grocery store a while back, and they were awesome. I used to catch them as a kid in the gravel pit-turned-pond next to the wooded lot my folks owned. We had mostly no idea what to do with them once we got them, though. We knew you could eat frog legs, but killing the frogs we caught never crossed our minds.

    I’d love to gig for them here, but most of the habitat is, as Andy mentions, swampy. Last year, my boyfriend fell chest deep into a sinkhole, and I got stuck hip-deep in thick, sticky mud. Nearly dislocated said hip, and I know people who *have* dislocated hips in swamp mud. It makes me wary to go giggin’.

  15. Andy, we have bullfrogs all over the place! When I was a kid, I’d catch ’em in irrigation ditches where I lived in the San Joaquin Valley – farm country. My mom has them in her little seasonal creek and pond in the foothills too. No swamp necessary!

  16. Man I love to gig frogs. Was the habitat you were in swampy at all? Its hard for me to picture Lake Tahoe being swamp like, and hard to picture bull frogs living in pristine water. That would make frog gigging even more fun. Good post.