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Food Hygiene & Safety

Can You Reheat Prawns? The Science of Reheating Prawns and Shrimps


Lead Academy

12 Mins Read

The smell of freshly cooked prawn curry or grilled prawns can make you feel like eating them all day and night! For that, you might need to reheat your prawns often. But, how many times can you reheat prawns? Does reheating affect the taste and texture of your dish? Is it healthy to eat reheated prawns?

All these questions might pop up when you think of reheating your prawns. This blog elaborately describes how to cook, store and reheat prawns and the procedures of reheating prawns, including other relevant particulars. 

Difference Between Prawns and Shrimps

frozen prawns on wooden top

Shrimp and prawns are both kinds of seafood with a very similar appearances. Hence sometimes people use their names interchangeably in commercial farming and wild fisheries. Though both are Decapods, Shrimp belong to the sub-order Pleocyemata, and prawns belong to the sub-order Dendrobranchiata. Simply put, while Shrimp have claws on two pairs of their legs, Prawns have claws on three pairs of their legs.

If you look closely at a shrimp and prawn, you will notice that shrimp have a very noticeable bend in their back. They often appear bent or curled. Another mentionable difference between both is that prawns have branching gills in contrast to shrimps’ plate-like gills.

In the United Kingdom, the word “prawn” is more common on menus than “shrimp.” The term “prawn” is also loosely used for any large shrimp, especially those that come 15 (or fewer) to the pound (such as “king prawns”, yet sometimes known as “jumbo shrimp”). In Britain, very small crustaceans with a brownish shell are called shrimp.

Recipes for Prawns (Guide)

You can cook prawns in a number of ways with the shell on or off. You can fry, grill, boil or steam. Most people prefer removing the vein before cooking for personal reasons; however, you can cook them with veins too. 

Before you start cooking with frozen prawns, make sure you completely defrost them. For this, you can place the prawn in a waterproof package or wrap it with plastic wrap and place it in cold water for an hour. Once defrosted, you can immediately cook the prawns.

Cooking prawns with or without the head and shell is also a personal choice. If you want to cook the prawns without the shell, remove the shell when they are still slightly frozen. To do this, remove the head by twisting it off. Next, remove the legs and then, holding the prawn by its tail, pull the shell from the body.  

At this point, you can devein the prawn as well. Do this by taking a thin, sharp knife and running it along the vein. Then run the prawn under cold water to wash the vein away.

If you are a prawn lover who loves to prepare delicious dishes of prawns, there are thousands of recipes on the internet. We have listed some of those to give you ideas on how you can use your prawns for cooking some excellent dishes.

  • Garlic prawn rolls
  • Prawn tempura
  • Prawn risotto
  • Prawn laksa
  • Thai garlic prawns
  • Prawn and parsley salad
  • Prawn with garlic butter
  • Creamy garlic prawns
  • Sichuan Pepper Prawns
  • Spicy Prawns with Sweet Dipping
  • Prawn curry

Besides, you can also look at the following recipes on YouTube.

While cooking prawns, do remember that they cook fast. If you use prawns in a stir fry dish, they will cook in as little as 30 seconds! When breading and frying, prawns take only a minute to cook!  

Buying Prawns

In the supermarket, you get raw, frozen and cooked Prawns. You have the choice of buying them either fresh or frozen. Frozen prawns take time to defrost and might not be as flavorful as fresh prawns. So when buying, fresh prawns would be the better option.

Prawns are also sold in the shell or peeled. Here are the three forms of prawns that you will find in the supermarkets-

  • Green prawns
    The green prawns are the uncooked prawns. The translucent flesh of these prawns changes colour when cooked.
  • Cooked prawns
    These prawns are boiled at sea as soon as they are caught. The flesh of cooked prawns is opaque and pale orange.
  • Frozen prawn meat
    Frozen prawns are peeled before freezing. They can be bought both green or cooked.

How to Store Prawns?

Whether raw or cooked, prawns need to be stored either in a fridge or freezer. Prawns in the fridge will remain safe to eat for 2-3 days. But you have to keep the temperature between 0 and 4°C. That would be 32 degrees Fahrenheit to 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit for the folks who use the imperial system.

They should either be kept in an airtight container or covered tightly with plastic wrap to decrease the possibility of bacterial growth. Remember to always leave your prawns in their shells, until just before you prepare them.

Also, do not leave prawns sitting out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. The longer they are out, the more they become prone to harmful bacteria.

However, frozen raw prawns tend to remain fresh for months. Prawns that have never been frozen can be frozen for up to 3 months if kept at -18°C or below. If you buy frozen or thawed prawns, cook them as soon as possible and do not refreeze.

How can you Reheat Prawns Safely?

Hot and spiced prawns

It is completely safe to reheat prawns if they are stored and cooked properly. However, you might be tempted to reheat the leftover prawns over and over again to eat twice or thrice a day but, you shouldn’t be doing so! You should reheat prawns only once; otherwise, they can get rubbery or chewy.

Prawns can be reheated using the microwave, oven, and also stovetop. You can reheat the prawns directly by taking them out from the freezer or allowing them to thaw in the fridge for 6-12 hours prior to reheating. While reheating, try to ensure that the prawns reach an internal temperature of 165°F.

Different Ways to Reheat Prawns

Reheating Prawns in the Microwave –

The easiest way to reheat prawns is by using the microwave. To do this, you have to-

1. Spread the prawns on a microwave-safe dish with a lid so that the prawn doesn’t dry out and the juicy flavour of the dish remains intact.

2. Microwave your dish on medium to high heat for 7-10 minutes.

3. At the halfway of the marker, flip the prawns within the dish or stir once or twice. This will ensure that they are being heated evenly.

4. Once the prawns are piping hot, remove them from the microwave to cool for approximately 5 minutes before serving them.

Reheating Prawns in the Oven

1. Layout your prawns on a baking dish. Do not use a baking sheet as the juice may spill over from the prawns.

2. Once you have placed prawns into the oven-safe container, cover it using a lid or aluminium foil. The covering will hold the moisture within the prawn and help secure its rich flavour.

3. Preheat your oven to a temperature of 350°F or 175°C. Once the oven is hot, slide the prawn into it.

4. Cook the prawns for 10-15 minutes or until they are thoroughly heated.

5. Take the dish out and then cool for at least 5 minutes before serving them.

Reheating Prawns on the Stovetop

1. Take out a cooking skillet or frying pan with a lid.

2. Pour oil or butter in the skillet or pan and warm on medium heat on the stovetop.

3. Place the prawns on the pan once the pan and oil are warmed.

4. Heat the prawns for 6-10 minutes, depending on their size. If the prawns are small or medium, heat them for 3 minutes on each side. If they are large, heat them for 4-5 minutes on each side.

5. Use a pair of tongs to flip the prawns while heating.

Reheating Prawns Using the Steams

1. You would need a boiler or a heat-proof container to reheat your prawns in this method.

2. First, fill the bottom portion of the double boiler with water. Then place the upper basket portion of the boiler into place.

3. Next, place the prawns within the upper basket to ensure that they are all evenly heated.

4. Heat the water at a medium-high temperature until it reaches a boil. Let the prawns cook in the hot steam for approximately 20 minutes.

5. Once the prawns have been reheated thoroughly, remove them from the boiler. Prawns reheated in this manner offer you a juicy and mouth watering flavour.

Reheating Prawns Using the Deep Fryer

1. Heat the deep fryer oil to 375°F or 190°C.

2. Once the oil is hot, cook your prawns until the outer surface is golden brown. Each prawn should only be cooked for about 5 minutes.

3. Once done, place all the prawns on a plate lined with a paper towel.

Reheating Prawns using an Electric Wok

1. Another quick method of reheating prawns is using the electric wok. Plugin the electric wok, add a little cooking spray, and then set the temperature to medium-high.

2. Carefully place your prawns into the hot wok once the wok has been adequately heated. While reheating, stir them frequently to make sure that they do not burn.

3. Cook the prawns for about 7-10 minutes or until they are very hot and reheated thoroughly.

How should you Reheat Frozen Prawns?

Before you reheat frozen prawns, it is important to defrost them. Defrost them slowly in the refrigerator until completely thawed before reheating.

How should you Reheat Boiled Prawns?

The best way to reheat boiled prawns is by using the microwave. Put them in a bowl of water, just a little in the bottom of the bowl would do. Place the bowl in the microwave and reheat for 30 seconds. If they aren’t done, add more time in short intervals until evenly reheated. This would prevent overcooking.

You can also reheat boiled prawns by dropping them into seasoned boiling water at your preferred temperature.

How should you Reheat Grilled Prawns?

If you want to reheat your grilled prawns from last night, put them into a pan with a little olive oil or butter and warm them up until they are hot to the touch.

Prawns ready to serve

How should you Reheat Prawn as part of a Finished Dish?

It is best to reheat in a pan if your prawn is a part of a finished dish like shrimp scampi or shrimp and corn chowder. Do not overcook the prawns; as soon as it hits a simmer, your dish is ready to go.

How many times can you Reheat Prawns?

As mentioned before, it is better to reheat prawns only once. Seafood is at high risk when reheating is concerned. Shellfish like prawns, if not stored or cooked properly can be the cause of food poisoning, diarrhoea, nausea and gastroenteritis.

Viruses or bacteria can also pass from seafood if kitchen equipment like cutting boards and knives aren’t cleaned properly and if you do not maintain food hygiene at home. So, eating the leftover prawns multiple times should be avoided.

Moreover, reheating prawns more than once makes them inedible. So, even if you attempt to eat the leftover prawns by heating them twice or thrice, you’d find them tasteless!

How Long should you Reheat Prawns?

There is no specific time span for reheating your prawns; you might need 5 minutes or even 20 minutes, depending on the size of the prawns and the method you follow to reheat. If you use a microwave to reheat, it would take a maximum of 10 minutes, whereas following the steams method would take 20 minutes. The duration would also depend on whether you are reheating raw or cooked prawns.

Setting oven timer


Along with the correct procedure of reheating, maintaining food safety and hygiene is also essential, as poor food hygiene may lead to several infections and diseases. Check out this blog and gain an extensive understanding of the temperature danger zone for food.


By now, you already know that you can definitely reheat your prawns. But, do remember that reheating repeatedly can affect the quality of your raw and cooked prawns. So, try to eat as fresh as possible. If you do not have the time to cook every other day, reheat your prawns following the aforementioned procedure.


Can you reheat prawns in the microwave?

Yes! You can reheat your prawns in the microwave.

  • Spread the prawns on a microwave-safe dish.
  • Microwave your dish on medium to high heat for 7-10 minutes.
  • At halfway through the marker, flip the prawns. 
  • Remove them from the microwave once the prawns are piping hot.

Can you reheat cooked prawns?

It is completely safe to reheat cooked prawns if they are cooked and stored properly in the first place. The cooked prawns that you want to save for later should be refrigerated within two hours of preparing them.

Can you reheat cooked frozen prawns?

Yes, it’s both safe and possible to reheat cooked frozen prawns. You can reheat them once they are defrosted.

How do you defrost cooked prawns?

The best way to defrost cooked prawns is to remove them from the freezer the night before you plan to reheat them instead of defrosting them in the microwave. Otherwise, this can make the prawn chewy.

Can you reheat prawn curry?

Yes, why not? You can reheat prawn curry just the way you can reheat raw, boiled and cooked prawns.

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