Are Limpets Edible?

Are Limpets edible, and can you eat raw limpets?

These are only a few of the questions you’ll find an answer to in this short guide. Additionally, I’ll share with you a few tips to cook limpets to perfection.

Everything You Need to Know About Eating Limpets

Limpets are small, aquatic snails that live on rocks in the inter-tidal zone. These impressive creatures have cone-like shapes and muscular feet. You’ll often spot limpets at low tide clamped to rocks, and if you try to pick one up, it will clamp down and become immovable. Once the tide comes in, limpets become active and move around, feeding on algae using their tongue.

Are All Limpets Edible?

Yes, all types of limpets are safe to eat. There are two main limpet types: the common limpet and the slipper limpet.

The Common Limpet – Edible

You can eat common limpets because they’re tasty wild treats. These limpets are herbivorous but sometimes also eat young barnacles and other things that settle on rocks. They scrape the rock’s surface with a strong, toothy tongue-like organ called a radula.

The Slipper Limpet – Edible

Slipper limpets are edible, and typically caught by oyster fishermen to harvest a yellow disc of meat. This organ is high in protein and can be eaten raw or lightly cooked.

Are Limpets Edible Raw? Can you eat a common limpet raw?

The limpet is safe to eat and can be eaten raw, but you’re probably going to want to cook it.

Check that the limpet is alive if it’s been a while since the collection.

Are Limpets Poisonous?

Limpets don’t contain any poisonous substances that can be harmful to humans.

Identifying Limpets

So, how do you identify a limpet before cooking and eating it?

There are three similar species of limpets out there. The Common Limpet has a grey, conical shell and is easy to identify. The Black-Footed Limpet has a small, flat shell and is mainly found around the south of the country. The China Limpet features an orange patch on the inside of its shell.

There will usually be many limpets attached to one rock in varying sizes. Their shape and ability to attach themselves to rocks allow them to remain in place – even when getting pounded by strong waves.

Preparing Raw Limpets

Limpets are difficult to get off the rocks. Once they clamp down on the rock, they are almost impossible to dislodge. But, a thin blade and quick action can help you prepare raw limpets for cooking. You can also use a palm-sized flat stone and strike the limpet at the base to remove it from the rocks.

How to Catch and Cook Limpets

What do Limpets Taste Like?

Limpets taste like chewier clams or mussels. Once cooked properly, limpets can make a crunchy and savory treat enjoyed by many.

Chinese-Style Cooking Method For Limpets

If you’re wondering how to make Chinese-style limpets, we’ve got you all covered. Let’s kick off with the common Limpets!


  • 1 can of Limpets
  • 200g Nai Bai or Baby Bok Choy Vegetables
  • ¼ can of Limpet Broth
  • 1 tsp Oyster Sauce
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 tbsp Wolfberries /Goji Berries
  • ½ tsp Minced Garlic
  • ½ tsp Minced Ginger
  • 1 tsp Chinese Cooking Wine
  • 2 tsp Cornstarch
  • 2 tsp Cooking Oil
  • Dash of Pepper


  • Cut Nai Bai or Bok Choy into two halves vertically and rinse thoroughly.
  • Blanch these vegetables in water. Drain.
  • Arrange vegetables aesthetically on a serving plate.
  • Heat oil and sauté garlic till fragrant. Throw in raw limpets, broth, wolfberries, ginger, and seasonings, and fry for about 3 minutes. Stir in cornstarch and mix well.
  • Place ingredients neatly on top of vegetables, and you are ready to serve

Tips for Cooking Limpets

  • Rinse the limpets well. And insert the pointed end of a knife to open the shell and detach the mollusk.
  • Then, remove any dark sections of the limpet.
  • If you want to tenderize the limpet, place it on a smooth surface and tap it firmly with a wooden mallet to tenderize it without crushing it.
  • Avoid collecting limpets during low tide because they are uncovered too long.
  • Don’t overcook limpets. If you overcook for a few seconds, their flesh starts to toughen.
  • In some countries, limpets are a traditional hors-d’oeuvre. Raw limpets are placed in sizzling garlic butter and become nicely cooked in 5 minutes.
  • You can also boil raw limpets for five minutes to remove its shell quickly.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What fish eats limpets?

Wrasse fish can eat limpets.

What do limpets eat?

Limpets feed on algae.

How long do limpets live?

Limpets species have different mortality rates. Common limpets usually live only for 2 or 3 years, where as some other species can live up to 16 years.

What’s the average litter size of limpets?

Large species produce millions of eggs and small species produce few eggs.

How long should I cook limpets for?

Limpets should only be cooked for 5 minutes. Overcooking limpets will make them chewy.

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