Prawns and Shrimp - What Is the Difference

Prawns are said often to just be “large shrimp” or “freshwater shrimp”, but these large, freshwater creatures is real a caridean shrimp and is referred to rarely as a prawn. Confusion surrounds the shrimp term.

Difference between shrimp and prawn

Prawns are larger and have legs that are larger with 3 pairs of claws. They have gills that branch out. Shrimp are smaller, have shorter legs and have only two pairs of claws. Shrimp and prawn are both “decapod crustaceans”.


This is the name common for small water crustaceans having ten legs and exoskeleton. Not all can be eaten. This term prawn is used in the UK, Commonwealth nations, as well as Ireland, for large swimming crustaceans or shrimp, those with commercial inferences in the industry of fishing. Shrimp falling into this group is often belonging to the suborder Dendrobranchiata. In the United States, this term is less often used, for freshwater shrimp. The terms prawn and shrimp themselves have no scientific standing. Over years, the way prawn and shrimp are used have also changed, and currently the term are almost interchangeable.

Versatile ingredient

Prawns are an adaptable ingredient and can be cooked using an assortment of ways - poaching, pan-frying, grilling, or tempura; all common methods. Before cooking, most people want to remove the intestine running down the back of the prawn, called as ‘de-veining’, but if the prawns are being served in their shells this are not possible. For recipessuch astempura, prawns will need to be shelled as well as de-veined prior to cooking. But do not toss the shells as you will be wasting an ingredient that can be used in making a flavour some stock, great as a base flavour for risottos, or sauces.

5 minutes

All these ways to cook take less than 5 minutes; prawns cook quickly. A prawn that is overcooked tends to on the rubbery side. Remove heat as soon as they're ready. The internet being many good recipes – so try them.