There is often confusion and food safety concerns about storing and cooking frozen prawns. Suffice to say there is no need to worry as long as you buy your prawns from a reputable source, in other words you know that they have been stored below 4 degrees if fresh and at -18 if frozen.

Many of the plump prawns you see on the fish counter at supermarkets have been previously frozen, this should be clearly stated on the label but the telltale sign is they may be lying in defrosted water!

So fresh or defrosted prawns should be covered and stored at the bottom of the fridge for a maximum of 24 -48 hours.

Frozen prawns can be defrosted overnight in a fridge or for quickness they can be placed in a colander and washed through with cold water. Best not to leave them out in the kitchen for hours, keep refrigerated! Any bacteria are destroyed through cooking so long as they have been properly defrosted beforehand!

Prawns can be cooked with the head, shell and tail on and they will retain a slightly stronger and tastier flavour as moisture will be retained from the shell.

To make stock from the heads and tails, fry them for a few minutes in some olive or rapeseed oil. Add some boiling water to cover and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes. Strain and place in a container or ice cube tray. Cool completely before freezing.

Ocean Classic Top Tip:

To make a quick, delicious sauce use 3 ice cube portions of stock, mix with a little vermouth or white wine, add some cream or creme fraiche and heat gently. Season as required

More delicious prawn recipes available here, plus an Easy Thai Curry and Green Thai Curry

Here at Ocean Classic, we have a huge variety of Prawns

Boiling Prawns

This is probably the most common method of cooking prawns, particularly the smaller types. It is really important not to overcook the prawns, although they need to be properly cooked at the same time. Depending on the size, prawns and shrimp should be cooked in a matter of minutes. Larger prawns will take a few more minutes. You can tell when prawns and shrimp are cooked, as they will turn a pink colour.

As a guide, small - medium sized prawns will take 3 - 4 minutes, large prawns will take 5 - 8 minutes and extra large will need 7 - 8 minutes cooking time.

To boil 454g of prawns:

  1. Fill a saucepan with 2 litres of water and add 2 tablespoons of sea salt
  2. Bring the water to the boil and add the prawns . You may leave them shelled if you wish
  3. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer the prawns for 3 - 6 minutes, depending on the size. Start counting once the water has begun to boil again
  4. The prawns will be cooked when they float to the top and the flesh has turned white or opaque throughout. Cut one in half to check
  5. Remove the prawns from the heat immediately and run them under cold water for a few seconds to stop the cooking process
  6. Once the prawns have cooled they will be ready to eat
Grilling Prawns 

Grilling is a popular method for larger prawns such as tiger or king prawns. Smaller prawns can also be grilled but it is better to arrange them onto soaked wooden skewers first. The prawns can be marinated first for a few hours before placing them under a hot grill or on a BBQ. They can also be cooked in the same way but by baking them in a hot oven (350°F / 175°C) but for a few minutes longer.

The following are simple instructions to grill raw prawns:

  1. Remove the shell from the prawns but leave the tail intact
  2. Remove the black intestinal vein with a sharp knife and skewer several prawns onto a wooden skewer that has been soaked in warm water for at least 20 minutes
  3. Place a layer of foil onto the rack inside the grill and preheat the grill to a high temperature
  4. Once the grill is hot place the skewered prawns under the grill, leaving room between each skewer
  5. Brush the prawns with a little olive oil and then sprinkle them with salt, pepper and garlic
  6. Grill for 3 - 4 minutes or until the prawns have turned pink, turning the skewers once halfway through cooking time
  7. Remove from the heat and serve


Pan-fried prawns are absolutely delicious and can be served as a starter or a main meal. This is a simple method of cooking prawns but probably the tastiest. 

  1. Melt a little butter together with some olive oil or rapeseed oil in a large frying pan over a high heat
  2. Add the prawns or shrimp together with a few cloves of chopped garlic
  3. Season with salt and lots of black pepper and fry the prawns, stirring frequently, for 3 - 5 minutes or longer for larger prawns, or until the prawns have turned pink
  4. Remove from the heat and serve immediately with crusty bread to soak up the juices

Although this method is not as healthy as other methods, it is a treat from time to time

  1. Fill a deep fryer or wok with a few inches of vegetable oil and heat to 375°F (190°C).
  2. You can use peeled or shell on prawns
  3. Dip the prawns in a five spice powder, not too much as it gives a strong flavour
  4. Fry the prawns for 2 - 3 minutes or until they have turned golden brown
Prawns and shrimp that have already been cooked should be reheated on a gentle heat to prevent overcooking.

Cooked prawns or shrimp should really be eaten fresh, however if you cook the prawns before using them in a recipe, they may be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed bag until needed. You should use them within 2 days if possible.