Testicles as food

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Goat testicles at a market in Spain
Beef testicles at a market in Italy
Rooster testicle stew (kakashere pörkölt) in Hungary
Bulls testicle stew (right) in Austria

The testicles of calves, lambs, roosters, turkeys, and other animals are eaten in many parts of the world, often under euphemistic culinary names. Testicles are a by-product of the castration of young animals raised for meat, so they were probably a late-spring seasonal specialty,[1] though nowadays they are generally frozen and available year-round.


Testicles are cooked in a variety of ways: sautéed and sauced, fricasseed, deep-fried with breading or batter, in pies, poached, roasted, and so on. Before cooking, they are generally scalded, skinned, and soaked in cold water.[2]


In English, testicles are known by a wide variety of euphemisms, including 'stones', 'Rocky Mountain oysters', 'prairie oysters', and so on.[1][3] Lamb testicles are often called 'lamb fries' or simply fries (though that may also refer to other organ meats).[4]

Euphemisms are used in many other languages. In Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America, they are known as huevos de toro 'bull eggs'; in Turkish, as "koç yumurtası" 'ram egg' or "billur"; in Chinese, as Simplified Chinese: 牛宝; Traditional Chinese: 牛寶; Pinyin: niú bǎo 'ox treasures'; in Greek, as αμελέτητα 'unmentionables'.

The French animelles (lit. 'innards'), the Italian granelli (lit. 'granules'), and the Spanish criadillas (lit. 'little maids') began as euphemisms, but have become standard culinary names.[5][6]

World variants

Greece, Cyprus, Morocco, Iran, and Turkey

In Greece, Cyprus, Morocco, Iran, and Turkey, lamb testicles are often grilled on coals.

United States

In the United States, bull testicles are usually served breaded and deep-fried as an appetizer, under the name "Rocky Mountain oysters".

See also


  1. ^ a b Laura Mason, in Oxford Companion to Food, s.v. 'Testicles'
  2. ^ Prosper Montagné, Larousse Gastronomique, 1938
  3. ^ Oxford English Dictionary s.v. 'stone' 11a, 'mountain' and 'prairie oyster' 2
  4. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. 'fry' n2 2b
  5. ^ Tresor de la langue française on line
  6. ^ Treccani on line s.v.

External links

Media related to testicles (meat) at Wikimedia Commons

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