Salsa de Chicatanas (Ant Salsa) Recipe

Let’s get them ready!

Around this time of year (usually during the first rain), these little fellows come out and become part of Oaxaca’s gastronomical tradition.  Salsa de Chicatanas is a traditional salsa made from these large flying ants and other ingredients.

Chicatanas are the queen ants and are pretty aggressive. They have large pincers that can cause a bit of pain if you get tangled up in them! Sometimes the kids like to collect them and organize chicatana fights. I wonder if that’s legal? I bet it’s nothing a “mordida” wouldn’t solve.

Anyway, after catching them (which can take some time depending on where you look), they need to be cooked. This is usually done on a comal – a traditional cooking device similar to a wok, but made of clay and heated by a fire placed underneath. During the cooking process, they loose their wings, and become somewhat crunchy – not unlike the chapulines found in almost every market in Oaxaca. Compared to the chapulines, the chicatanas cost twice as much – about $20 USD a pound!


Chile de árbol


  1. Cook the chicatanas in a skillet with a bit of oil until the wings/legs fall off.
  2. Grind them in a molcajete.
  3. Season the ground chicatanas with garlic, salt and chile de árbol.
  4. Add a bit of water, and presto, Salsa de Chicatanas

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