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What Is The Difference Between A Prawn And A Shrimp

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 23, 2017
What Is The Difference Between A Prawn And A Shrimp
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Seafood has pride of place in the Mediterranean diet, and the variety is such that it makes for all sorts of delicious dishes. However, when buying or ordering seafood it's not always easy to distinguish between very similar looking types, especially when it comes to shellfish. How many times have you wondered whether you should be ordering prawns or shrimp? If you don't know, this OneHowTo article will explain the difference between a prawn and a shrimp. It should be pointed out that the terms tend to vary from country to country, and indeed are often used interchangeably, so this is more of a general guide.

Steps to follow:


The most obvious difference between prawns and shrimp is size. Shrimp are smaller than prawns, and can often be eaten in one bite, as in dishes such as garlic shrimp. The average shrimp that you'll find in markets and fishmongers tends to measure between 6 cm (2.25 in) and 10 cm (4 in).

Prawns are larger, and tend to have more meat on them. The prawns you find in shops tend to be about 12 cm (4.75 in), but depending on their country of origin they can reach up to 20 cm (8 in).

What Is The Difference Between A Prawn And A Shrimp - Step 1

There are many different kinds of shrimp. Shrimp available to buy in supermarkets are normally either white, more orange, or darker red. The red variety are larger and more expensive.

Prawns tend to be more of a pinkish brown color. Some supermarkets sell them cooked and ready to eat.


Although they belong to the same family, there is a difference between prawns and shrimp with regard to their texture. Shrimp are softer and juicier, and are a staple part of local cuisine in many different countries. Prawns tend to be slightly harder and less juicy.


Another important difference between a prawn and a shrimp, when you're buying them at least, is the price. Price often depends on size, so prawns tend to be more expensive. Because they're bigger, they also fill you up quicker.


Choosing between shrimp and prawns will often depend on the texture you want your dish to have. So for a softer, juicier dish, you might be better off with garlic shrimp or shrimp cocktail instead of the prawn variety.

But the terms do vary, and when it comes to classic Mediterranean dishes like prawn croquettes or tagliatelle with prawns, you can use either and get great results.

If you want to read similar articles to What Is The Difference Between A Prawn And A Shrimp, we recommend you visit our Food & drink category.

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What Is The Difference Between A Prawn And A Shrimp