What's the Difference Between Prawns and Shrimp? (Plus 10 Ways to Cook with Both)

By F&W Editors Posted April 22, 2016

Get your crustaceans straight.

Prawn isn’t just British for shrimp. The two sea creatures, while similar in flavor and deliciousness, have their differences. The next time you want to show off your crustacean expertise at the fish market, here’s what you should look for: claws. If the creature in question has claws on two of its five pairs of legs, it’s a shrimp. If it has claws on three sets of legs, it’s a prawn. Other differences, which you probably wouldn’t be able to spot, include the way in which prawns and shrimp treat their eggs (prawns release them into the water, shrimp incubate them on the underside of their body) and gill type (prawns have branching gills, shrimp have plate-like gills).

Now that you know what you’re cooking, it’s time to find the best way to go about it. Here, ten delicious recipes for prawns and shrimp, all of which can be used with either crustacean:


Food & Wine:

Prawn Tomato and Cilantro Curry 
This simple, creamy curry is the perfect weeknight dinner.

California Spot Prawns with Thai Seasoning 
Chef David LeFevre isn't afraid to prepare these big prawns with a vibrant Thai marinade and serve them with an array of distinctive accompaniments.

Stir-Fried Szechuan Prawns with Bean Sprouts, Peppers and Gai Lan
These spicy prawns get lots of flavor from an easy-to-make Szechuan sauce.

Masala Prawns 
L.A. chef Akasha Richmond marinates prawns in a punchy mix of spices, shallots, ginger and lime before grilling.

Tunisian Prawns with Kerkennaise Sauce 
Grilled prawns are delicious with a quick fresh tomato sauce.


Food & Wine:

Barbecue Shrimp with Avocado Salad 
This quick and easy shrimp is flavored with plenty of Worcestershire, making it hearty and bold.

Popcorn Shrimp with Corn Butter 
Chef Chris Shepherd's popcorn shrimp is like movie theater popcorn at its best.

Lemon Spaghetti with Shrimp 
Fried capers add a crisp, pungent hit to Giada De Laurentiis's lovely seafood pasta.

Peel-and-Eat Grilled Shrimp with Harissa 
These sauce-coated shrimp are messy and delicious.

Tequila-Chipotle Shrimp 
Chef Deborah Schneider calls this easy, 12-minute dish "firing-squad shrimp" because it gets a little spice from a chipotle in adobo sauce.

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