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 Arabic countries like Lebanon and Syria or Iraq they are known as "baid ghanam" and in Turkey they are known as koc yarmutasi which in both languages means sheep eggs. [5]

In some Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America, they are known as huevos de toro, "bull eggs"; in Chinese, as Simplified Chinese: 牛宝; Traditional Chinese: 牛寶; Pinyin: niú bǎo, "ox treasures"; in Greek, as αμελέτητα, "unmentionables"; in Hindi, as "Kapura".

The French animelles (lit. 'innards'), the Italian granelli (lit. 'granules'), and the Spanish and Latin American criadillas (lit. 'little maids') began as euphemisms, but have become standard culinary names.[6][7]

World variants[edit]


In Lebanon baid ghanam or sheep testicles are grilled in lemon juice and garnished in parsley.[8]

United States[edit]

In the United States, bull testicles are usually served breaded and deep-fried as an appetizer, under the name "Rocky Mountain oysters". The same dish is often served with a demi-glace in Canada and known as 'prairie oysters.'

See also[edit]


  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. ^ Hosking, Richard (2010). Food and Language: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cooking 2009. Oxford Symposium. ISBN 9781903018798.
  6. ^ Tresor de la langue française s.v. animelles
  7. ^ Treccani on line s.v.
  8. ^ Ward, Patricia Sarrafian (2003-04-14). The bullet collection. Graywolf Press. ISBN 9781555973766.

External links[edit]

Media related to testicles (meat) at Wikimedia Commons