Fri 15 Mar

The Ultimate Guide to Prawns

Seafood doesn’t get more Aussie than prawns. From freshly caught and peeled on the beach to tossed through a linguine or a curry, you can certainly do a lot with this delicious crustacean. 

Today we’re diving into everything you need to know about buying, preparing, and cooking prawns. Save this article for the next time you're craving a crustacean! 

P.S. Don't forget we're hosting a super fun activation by Tassal on site on Saturday 16th March to celebrate National Prawn Day. Check out the details here.



Did you know there are in fact seven species of prawn sold commercially in Australia? You likely know of the most popular ones - Tiger, King and Banana - but don’t overlook the others. School, Endeavor, Bay, and Royal Red prawns are also equally as delicious. 

Tiger, King, and Banana prawns are the varieties you will often see in your local fishmonger. Choosing which type to purchase comes down to personal preference and price, but you don't forget size as a factor. Although many think bigger is better (and easier to peel), large prawns aren’t cheap, plus the smaller the prawn – the sweeter the meat. To compromise, we think medium-sized prawns are the way to go! 

Prawns are highly perishable in their raw state, and so are often frozen or boiled at sea as soon as they are caught. When prawns are cooked like this, they will appear a vibrant orange. If you plan to prepare prawns at home, opt for green (raw) prawns, as reheating cooked prawns will toughen them. 

When picking out the perfect prawn, look for bright, firm intact, lustrous shells without any discoloration – particularly at joints. Get up close and personal: they should have a fresh, sea smell! Store prawns in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, and leave them in their shells until you're ready to start cooking. Once they've been thawed, do not refreeze frozen prawns.  



Still struggling to peel prawns? Don’t worry; becoming a peeling prawn pro takes time (even for Aussies), so let us teach you the basics.  

First things first, grasp the prawn tightly with your non-dominant hand and twist the head off where the head meets the body. You can devein in the same step here with a gentle wiggle, using the head to drag the digestive tract out of the back of the prawn. Then, use your dominant hand’s thumb to run along the underside of the body, getting under the edge of the shell, and remove the legs and shell together. Voila! 

If you’d rather see these steps in action, check them out in this step-by-step video guide.  


Buying cooked prawns means less work in the kitchen (bonus): simply serve them up with a squeeze of lemon (or a dipping sauce like this one, if you’re feeling fancy), and finger bowls for your guests to wash their fingers. 

But if you’re in the mood to get creative, grab some green prawns and explore some of these cooking methods: 


Nothing says summer more than prawns on the BBQ. When barbecuing prawns, turn them as little as possible to minimise the risk of damaging the flesh: cook one side, then turn and cook the other side. They should only take 3-4 minutes to become opaque and delicious. You can even pop them on skewers to make them even easier to eat!  

Our go-to barbecue prawn recipes are: 

Stir Frying 

There’s a reason stir-frying is so popular: it's easy and super quick. Whether you go with a sweet, sticky sauce, or a zingy Asian-inspired marinade, stir-frying cooks prawns within minutes and without much fuss. Serve up with some rice or noodles and your weeknight dinner is set. 

Top tip: If you’re stir-frying veggies at the same time, throw your prawns in last so they don’t overcook. 


Steaming is a fantastic way to let the flavours of seafood shine through while minimising the amount of oil you're using. Take inspiration from traditional Chinese Yum Cha with this simple recipe

Deep Frying 

School Prawns are a special case when it comes to cooking. They are often too small to make peeling worthwhile, so we reckon the best way to eat them is deep-fried whole, like in this recipe! Don’t be afraid of the heads and legs – they become crispy like potato chips once fried and only add to the delicious flavour and crunch. 

Check out more of our favourite deep-fried prawn recipes here: 


Soups and Bisques 

Prawns’ firm texture and sweetness make them excellent for poaching in soups like a Laksa, or as the foundational flavour for a delicious traditional seafood bisque.  

Here are some must-try recipes: