I am aware that not all snails are edible. Generally speaking, what types of snails are used to make Escargot?

What qualities of the snail makes it a good candidate for Escargot.

In addition, what makes a dish Escargot? Is Escargot snail prepared in a specific way or is it any dish that contains snail?

  • @zanlok, I thought it was related enough to be in the same question. And the followup question is hardly worth its own question.
    – Jay
    Apr 16, 2012 at 19:34

1 Answer 1


For escargots, land snails are used. Most common are the species Helix pomatia, Helix aspersa and Helix lucorum*.

There are two restrictions: it should be edible (problem solved if you work with one of those three) and it should be large. Larger snails have more flesh to work with. You have to be a bit lucky for this. There's quite some variation. I think - for the dish that you mean - the snails should still have their house as well. However, I wouldn't advice you to go into the 'wild' and pick your own. Just buy them at the supermarket. It's safer, since snails can have digested toxins that take some time to leave their bodies.

The word "escargot" is French for "snail". You can find different preparations for snails, they would be called "escargots à la ..." with ... being the name of the sauce or preparation. The standard (at least here) drops the last part, since it's the basic preparation (herb butter with garlic).

There are other types of snails/slugs that are edible, for instance common whelks are also sold and eaten here, they live in the sea, not on land, but it's a whole different preparation.


  • You can pick them wild, and some french do, but you need to then keep them for a while to ensure they are clean and healthy. This link pretty much matches what french do with wild snails to prepair them for eatting: thrivingadmistcollapse.wordpress.com/article/…
    – vwiggins
    Jun 25, 2013 at 13:14

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