Prawns vs Shrimp: What’s the Real Difference?

Prawns and shrimp have subtle differences in taste and others. Prawns have a sweeter buttery flavour, while shrimp have a slightly more pronounced seafood taste. Both are delicious options for seafood lovers. Try them and savour the unique flavours they offer!

Prawns vs Shrimp

Also Read: Krab vs Crab: Which is the Superior Crustacean?

Overview Of Prawns vs Shrimp

Scientific ClassificationSuborder DendrobranchiataSuborder Pleocyemata
SizeGenerally largerGenerally smaller
Body ShapeLonger and slenderShorter and more compact
Claw SizeLarger clawsSmaller claws
HabitatFreshwater and saltwaterPrimarily saltwater
Geographic DistributionFound worldwideMore common in North America
FlavorSweeter and richerSlightly milder taste
Culinary UseOften served wholeFrequently shelled
AvailabilityVaries regionallyVaries regionally
Popular DishesPrawn curry, Grilled prawnsShrimp scampi, Shrimp cocktail

Also Read: Crabs vs Lobster: A Guide to Their Similarities and Differences

The Battle of Taste: Prawns vs Shrimp

Regarding seafood, there are few things as delectable as prawns and shrimp. These succulent crustaceans are a staple in many cuisines worldwide, known for their delicate flavours and versatility in various dishes. However, there is often confusion regarding the difference between prawns and shrimp, especially their taste. In this article, we will delve into the taste profiles of prawns and shrimp, exploring their nuances and helping you understand which one you like more.

Prawns: A Delicate and Sweet Delight

Prawns, with a firm and meatier texture, are generally more giant than shrimp. Their taste is often described as sweet and delicate, with a hint of brininess. The sweetness comes from the natural sugars found in prawns, which are more pronounced than in shrimp. This sweetness is further enhanced when cooked prawns, making them an irresistible treat for seafood lovers.

One of the reasons prawns are so beloved by many is their ability to absorb flavours. When seasoned or marinated, prawns become a blank canvas, effortlessly absorbing the aromas and spices they are cooked with. This makes them versatile in various dishes, complementing various flavours and cuisines.

Whether grilled, fried, or stir-fried, prawns retain their delicate and sweet taste, making them a popular choice for seafood enthusiasts. Their meaty texture adds a satisfying bite to any dish, making them a true pleasure.

Shrimp: A Delightful Combination of Flavors

Shrimp, on the other hand, are known for their unique flavour profile. They have a slightly milder taste than prawns, with a hint of sweetness and saltiness. Shrimp have a more tender texture, sometimes described as “melt in your mouth,” which adds to their allure.

One of the standout qualities of shrimp is their versatility in various cuisines. These little crustaceans can lend themselves to various dishes, from shrimp scampi to shrimp curry. Their mild flavour allows them to adapt to different spices and ingredients, creating endless creative possibilities in the kitchen.

Shrimp also have a slightly brinier taste compared to prawns. The saltiness can be more pronounced in certain shrimp species, giving them a unique depth of flavour that pairs well with other ingredients in dishes such as seafood pasta or shrimp stir-fry.

Also Read: Ribeye vs Tbone: Comparing Ribeye and T-Bone Steaks

Scientific Classification

Prawns: Prawns belong to the suborder Dendrobranchiata.

Shrimp: Shrimp belong to the suborder Pleocyemata.


Prawns: Prawns are larger than shrimp. They can grow to be quite substantial in size, with some species reaching up to a foot long or even more.

Shrimp: Shrimp are smaller, ranging from a couple of centimetres to a few inches long, depending on the species.

Body Shape

Prawns: Prawns have a longer and more slender body shape than shrimp.

Shrimp: Shrimp have a shorter and more compact body shape.

Claw Size

Prawns: Prawns have larger claws or pincers compared to shrimp.

Shrimp: Shrimp have smaller claws.


Prawns: Prawns can be found in both freshwater and saltwater environments. Some species of prawns thrive in rivers, lakes, and estuaries.

Shrimp: Shrimp are primarily found in saltwater environments, such as oceans and seas, though some species can also adapt to brackish water.

Also Read: Thigh vs Leg: What’s the Best Cut of Meat?

Geographic Distribution

Prawns: Prawns have a global distribution and can be found in various regions worldwide.

Shrimp: Shrimp are more common in North America, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.


Prawns: Prawns are known for their sweeter and richer flavour profile, making them a sought-after delicacy in many cuisines.

Shrimp: Shrimp has a slightly milder taste than prawns but are still highly flavorful and widely enjoyed.

Culinary Use

Prawns: Prawns are often served whole in dishes, and their large size makes them ideal for grilling, sautéing, or featuring in elaborate seafood dishes.

Shrimp: Shrimp are more shelled before cooking and are used in various dishes, such as shrimp scampi, shrimp cocktails, stir-fries, and kinds of pasta.


Prawns: Prawns’ availability varies regionally, and they may be more prevalent in certain parts of the world.

Shrimp: Shrimp are widely available in supermarkets and seafood markets worldwide.

Popular Dishes

Prawns: Popular prawn dishes include curry, grilled prawns, and cocktails.

Shrimp: Popular shrimp dishes include shrimp scampi, shrimp cocktail, shrimp fried rice, and various shrimp-based stir-fries.

Also Read: Catfish vs Salmon: Which is the Healthier and More Delicious Choice?

Final Comment

While prawns and shrimp share many similarities, they have distinct taste profiles that set them apart. Prawns offer a sweet and delicate flavor with a meatier texture that holds up well in various cooking methods. On the other hand, shrimp have a milder taste, with a tender texture and a touch of saltiness.

Ultimately, the choice between prawns and shrimp comes down to personal preference and the specific dish you plan to create. Both are delightful options and experimenting with different recipes and flavors can open up a world of culinary delights.

So whether you prefer the sweet and meaty taste of prawns or shrimp’s mild and tender flavor, indulge in these delectable crustaceans and savor the unique experience they bring to your taste buds.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the taste difference between prawns and shrimp?

The taste difference between prawns and shrimp is subtle. Prawns have a sweeter buttery flavor, while shrimp have a slightly milder and more delicate taste.

Are prawns and shrimp the same thing?

Prawns and shrimp are not the same, although they belong to the same family. They have differences in terms of size, habitat, and anatomy. Prawns are typically larger and have longer legs compared to shrimp.

Can you substitute shrimp for prawns in recipes?

Yes, you can substitute shrimp for prawns in most recipes. They have a similar taste and texture, so the substitution should work well. Just be mindful of cooking times, as prawns may take slightly longer to cook due to their larger size.

How should I cook prawns to enhance their taste?

Prawns are best cooked quickly to retain their natural flavor. You can grill, sauté, steam, or stir-fry prawns with minimal seasoning to let their sweet buttery taste shine. Avoid overcooking them, as this can result in a more rigid texture and loss of flavor.

Are prawns healthier than shrimp?

Prawns and shrimp have similar nutritional profiles and are considered healthy seafood choices. They are low in calories, high in protein, and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. The health benefits depend more on cooking methods and portion sizes.

Can I eat prawns if I have a shellfish allergy?

If you have a shellfish allergy, it is best to avoid prawns as they are considered shellfish. Allergies can vary, so consult your healthcare professional for guidance on what specific shellfish to avoid.

How should I store prawns to maintain freshness?

Store prawns in the refrigerator below 40°F (4°C). Keep them in a covered container or sealed bag, and use them within 1-2 days. Avoid storing prawns in water, which can affect their taste and texture.

Can I freeze prawns for later use?

Yes, you can freeze prawns for later use. Make sure they are properly sealed in an airtight container or freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. Use them within 2-3 months for best quality and flavor.

Can I eat prawns raw?

It is generally not recommended to eat raw prawns. Raw prawns can contain harmful bacteria and parasites that can cause foodborne illnesses. Cooking prawns thoroughly helps to eliminate these risks and ensures their safety for consumption.

How can I tell if prawns are cooked properly?

Prawns turn pink and opaque when they are cooked properly. Overcooking can result in a rubbery texture, so removing them from heat is best when they are entirely pink. Ensure the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C) to ensure their safety.


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