I'm cooking a 2kg octopus at home. Can I eat the head, or just the legs?

Update: Thank you to both answerers for the useful info. The head was amazing, as delicious as the legs!

  • Has the head been cleaned, or did you buy it whole? The head includes a very hard beak, digestive organs, etc. that you don't want to eat.
    – John Feltz
    Dec 24, 2016 at 13:45

2 Answers 2


The parts that are inedible in an octopus of any size are the "insides" and beak. If you got it frozen, no need to worry about the insides but if you caught it yourself, you need to turn its bag inside out (it will fight but once it's inside out it will calm down!) and remove the white soft stuff in there with your finger.

The beak is the only hard bit and amazingly determines the widest hole an octopus can fit through. It needs to be removed before cooking (I have been told but not sure there's basis for it). It's fairly easy to cut around the beak and discard the mouth.

A REALLY important point however you choose to cook your octopus is to NOT USE ANY SALT! It has a lot absorbed in it already and it will lose about half its volume while cooked.

I would simmer it in a pan without any water (the rest of its lost volume is water) until you can easily pierce it with a fork and then chop the head and tentacles and finish them in a grill or oiled pan.

---edit--- Actually, the brain and eyes are not particularly appetising, so you might as well remove those as well...

And while we are at it, I assume you mean a common, mediterranean octopus with two sets of suckers on each tentacle; if you are referring to any other weird exotic things disregard my answer completely

  • 5
    (it will fight but once it's inside out it will calm down!) .... LOL understatement of the year.
    – Paulb
    Dec 24, 2016 at 21:14

2kg is quite big. I would clean it and slice the 'head meat' and cook with the other parts. Bear in mind that the head meat is slightly thinner than the tentacles therefore maybe cook slightly less time.

If it were not too big, you could slice it up with the tentacles and pan fry. Alternatively depending upon size, cook whole. Bear in mind that the head is not as flavorful as the rest.


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