Can You Freeze Prawns?

Prawns are a staple of any fish lover’s diet. They’re super versatile, high in nutrients and protein, and are a great addition to salads, curries, and pasta dishes. You can buy prawns in various forms, whether they’re fresh, cooked, shelled, or unshelled.

But can you freeze prawns at home or should it be avoided?

The Quick Answer

Yes, you can freeze prawns. Prawns can be frozen for around 3 months. When buying fresh prawns, it’s important to use or freeze them as quickly as possible. This is mainly because you don’t know exactly how fresh they are (unless you’ve caught them yourself)!

How to Freeze Prawns

As mentioned in the introduction, this section deals with how to freeze fresh (or raw) prawns. If you’re freezing cooked prawns, skip to the next below.

  1. Wash and Peel
    As soon as you get your prawns home, wash them thoroughly under cold water. If you want to remove the shells, feel free to do so at this stage, and give them another rinse once they’ve been de-shelled. Peeling is down to personal preference and won’t affect the freezing process too much.
  2. Dry
    Pat the excess water from your prawns with a paper towel.
  3. Lay Into Containers
    Lay them in a Tupperware box. If you’re adding multiple layers you can separate them with sheets of greaseproof paper to prevent them from sticking together. In order to protect your other food in the freezer from your prawn’s odour, it’s best not to freeze them in bags.
  4. Label and Freeze
    On the lid of the Tupperware box, note the date you purchased your prawns as well as the use-by date. 

How to Freeze Cooked Prawns

If your prawns have already been cooked, it’s perfectly safe to freeze them in exactly the same way that you would freeze fresh prawns. Make sure they’re thoroughly washed and frozen as soon as you can to preserve their freshness.

3 Tips for Freezing Prawns

Now you know how to freeze them, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing prawns to have the best results:

  • Check Freezer Temperature – Prawns freeze best at temperatures of minus 18 Celsius or below. As most household freezers are set at a slightly higher temperature than this, be sure to check the temperature before you place your prawns in the freezer and adjust if appropriate. If you don’t adjust your temperature, consider freezing prawns for a slightly shorter length of time.
  • Keep them Intact – Although we mentioned above that you can peel your prawns prior to freezing them, it’s actually best to leave the head and tail on. This is because they act as an insulator and ensures your prawns stay fresher during the freezing process. That being said, you won’t notice a huge difference if you decide to freeze your prawns after de-shelling them.
  • Defrost in the Fridge – You need to be super careful when defrosting shellfish, as harmful bacteria can easily grow on seafood that hasn’t been appropriately handled. You should never leave prawns to defrost on the countertop at room temperature. When it comes to defrosting your prawns, follow our guidance outlined in one of the sections below.

How Long Can You Freeze Prawns?

You can freeze prawns for around three months.

Some online sources state that prawns can be frozen for up to six months, but we would err on the side of caution.

In particular, if you’ve purchased your prawns from the supermarket, you have little to no idea of when they were actually caught, so you should only keep them for three months to be on the safe side.

You Can Freeze Prawns for up to 3 Months

How Do You Defrost Prawns?

It’s important that you’re careful when defrosting prawns and any other shellfish for that matter. The day before you plan on enjoying your prawns, remove them from the freezer and place them in the fridge.

Leave them covered in the container in which they were frozen. It can take up to 24 hours for your prawns to thaw, so you need to give yourself enough time. Never defrost your prawns at room temperature.

Can You Refreeze Prawns?

Once they’ve been thawed, frozen prawns should never be refrozen. This is the case for both fresh and cooked prawns, so you will need to use them all in one go.

If you don’t think you will need all of the prawns that you have in the freezer, simply pick out the ones you will need, instead of removing the whole container. This way your prawns won’t go to waste.

Do Prawns Freeze Well?

Prawns freeze extremely well. In fact, many fishermen freeze prawns as soon as they catch them, as this is a great way to preserve their freshness while they’re still out at sea.

But as is the case with all shellfish, just be careful when you’re preserving it, as handling it poorly and defrosting prawns inappropriately can be dangerous to your health.

Can You Freeze Shellfish

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing prawns or prawns in general, then these may help:

Can You Freeze Prawn Curry?

You can freeze prawn curry in the same way you’d freeze most other curries by portioning them into freezer bags. THe one consideration you must take is whether the prawns were cooked when you added them to your curry.

We would only recommend freezing prawn curry if you cooked it with raw, fresh prawns. 

Can You Get Food Poisoning from Frozen Prawns?

You can get food poisoning from a range of foods if they’re not handled correctly. When defrosting prawns, do so in the fridge and ensure they are thawed through before cooking them. When cooking them, ensure they are hot through the centre. 

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