How to clean and cook snails

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
How to clean and cook snails

In order to prepare recipes with snails or escargots, first you have to purge and clean them well to remove any debris that may be in their body. This is necessary because snails feed on plants that can be harmful to the human body, despite eating them cooked. So you can prepare your dishes with snails without any risk, we explain step by step on OneHowTo how to clean and cook snails.

More than 2 hours medium difficulty
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Steps to follow:

The first thing you should do is purge the snails to eliminate any substance that they have eaten and that can be harmful to our health.


You will have to starve the snails for at least one week, so we recommend that you leave them in a place with ventilation, preferably hanging.

How to clean and cook snails - Step 2

You can give them flour to accelerate the process of eliminating all waste that snails can have in their body.


After around 7 to 10 days, immerse the snails in a bowl of cold water, salt and a little vinegar and leave them until all the gunk comes out. You can put salt on the rim so they will not escape.


Next, wash the snails several times so that they are perfectly clean.


To cook the snails, put them in a pot or pan with cold water - because if it is hot, they will hide in their shell- and when they start to get their horns out, you have to raise the heat to boil water.


Leave them in the boiling water so they cook for a few minutes.


Then, rinse them with cold water and drain the snails.


These snails will be ready to prepare the recipe that you like. A very easy option is to throw a lot of butter and garlic on them and stick them in the oven for a few minutes. You won't regret it!

If you enjoyed this article, you'll no doubt enjoy learning how to cook a tender octopus.

If you want to read similar articles to How to clean and cook snails, we recommend you visit our Recipes category.

Write a comment

What did you think of this recipe?
erin rynn
what of the grey good that one sees in commercial (and de-shelled) snails in a can?
Is it edible, or should it be cleaned off ?
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Erin,

If it is in the can and the can hasn't been damaged and is still in date, it should be edible.
it's undigested material, I'm guessing .. aka poop .. and by smashing the snail it comes out and can be rinsed off. I worked in a French bistro, and that's what the owners wanted . .its all being rinsed off;
It lessens the volume eaten, but improves the flavor. If one is using the typical escargots dishes with shallow basins , and one sticks the dish in the oven, a lessened volume might be desirable.
linda demos
I followed the recipe exactly but they tasted bitter, how come?
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Linda
You need to make sure that you clean the snails properly so that they are not bitter. Sometimes, it may just be the type of snails which you bought which may have caused them to be bitter.
I have some roundish ocean snails. I boiled them with seasonings. I extracted them from their shells, but there are different parts to them that I have never seen before. I do not know how to proceed from this point such as any further cleaning, discarding any part, and there is a curley cue part that came out, what is that. What part to eat, what part to discard???
How to clean and cook snails
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How to clean and cook snails

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