What is the difference between shrimp and prawns?

What is the difference between shrimp and prawns?

We all love to eat seafood. There are various types of seafood such as crustaceans (lobsters, crabs, shrimp, prawns, and crayfish), mollusks (clams, oysters, cockles, mussels, periwinkles, whelks, snails, abalones, scallops, and limpets), and all bony fish. Also, there are more other types. People prepare these various types according to various recipes. When considering these seafood, they have various differences. Here, we are going to consider mainly shrimp and prawns. Then, what is the difference between shrimp and prawns?

What are shrimp and prawns?

The terms “shrimp” and “prawn” are frequently interchanged, which is understandable. Shrimp and prawns have a lot in common. 

They’re both decapod crustaceans (They have ten legs and exoskeletons). They reside near the bottom of whatever body of water they’re in. Their appearance is also very similar. 

However, you might be surprised to hear that shrimp and prawns are not the same. Shrimp belong to the Pleocyemata suborder, while prawns belong to the Dendrobranchiata suborder.

Both of them can be found in both salt and freshwater. However, most shrimp varieties live in saltwater, whilst most prawns. Especially the ones we buy to cook, live in freshwater.

Now, you have some basic ideas about shrimp and prawns. So, let’s consider the differences between them. 

What is the difference between shrimp and prawns?

They live in different habitats

Shrimp and prawns can be found in bodies of water all around the world. Shrimp can be found in both warm and cold water, from the tropics to the poles, and in either fresh or saltwater, depending on the species. Freshwater shrimp, on the other hand, make up just around 23% of the total. The majority of shrimp live near the bottom of the body of water in which they live. Some species can be found resting on plant leaves, while others perch on the seafloor with their little legs and claws.

Prawns live in both fresh and saltwater, however unlike shrimp, the majority of kinds live in freshwater. The majority of prawn species prefer warmer water. Prawns prefer calm seas where they can perch on plants or rocks and lay their eggs comfortably.

Then we can say that both of them can live in both fresh and saltwater. The majority of shrimp live in saltwater, whereas the majority of prawns live in freshwater.

They have different anatomies

Shrimp have claws on two pairs of legs and lamellar (or plate-like) gills. Their front pincers are usually the largest. Shrimp also have a noticeable bend in their bodies, and the second and third segments of their bodies overlap.

Prawns have branching gills, claws on three pairs of legs, and larger second pincers than their front ones. Furthermore, unlike shrimp, prawns do not have a distinct bend in their bodies. Each of their body segments overlaps the one before it.

Different in size

The size difference between prawns and shrimp is often used to distinguish them. Prawns are typically larger than shrimp. There is no defined size restriction that distinguishes the two, though. Count per pound is the most popular way to classify these crustaceans.

However, there are large varieties of shrimp and small varieties of prawns. As a result, size alone makes it difficult to distinguish between the two.

Taste difference

Taste is likewise ineffective in distinguishing the two crustaceans. While the taste and texture of different species of shrimp and prawns differ, those distinctions do not divide along “shrimp” and “prawn” lines. 

There is no apparent flavor difference between a shrimp and a prawn. In terms of taste and texture, they’re pretty comparable. Some people say that prawns are sweeter and meatier than shrimp, whereas shrimp are more delicate. The species’ diet and environment, on the other hand, have a considerably higher impact on flavor and texture.

In brief, while shrimp and prawns have different characteristics (flavors), they can be used interchangeably in recipes.

Price difference

In most circumstances, the shrimp species available for purchase in grocery stores, seafood markets, and restaurants will be smaller than the available prawns. As a result, shrimp is the less expensive of the two options in the United States. There are, however, larger varieties of shrimp which dwarfs prawns. Then there’s the question of farm-raised versus wild-caught seafood. In most cases, farm-raised seafood is less expensive than wild-caught fish collected in traps and nets.

Then there’s the price difference between fresh and frozen, as well as pre-peeled versus shell-on.

They have a similar nutrient profile

When it comes to nutritional value, there are no significant distinctions between prawns and shrimp. Each one provides a good supply of protein while still being low in calories.

The high cholesterol level of them has been a point of contention in the past. Each, on the other hand, has a very desirable fat profile, with enough healthful omega-3 fatty acids.

These crustaceans are high in selenium, a vital antioxidant, in addition to providing lean protein and healthy lipids. Furthermore, the form of selenium found in shellfish is readily absorbed by humans.

Also, shrimp and prawns are high in vitamin B12, iron, and phosphorus.

What is the difference between shrimp and prawns? Now you know five factors that affect the differences between shrimp and prawns. Also, the picture below helps you to identify those differences easily as a summary. 

What is the difference between shrimp and prawns?
Difference between shrimp and prawns

Shrimp and prawn dishes

Shrimp and prawns can be cooked and served in a variety of ways. Grilled, broiled, fried, sauteed, or steamed are examples. They can be prepared with or without the shell.

The most important thing to remember while cooking them is that they cook quickly. For example, wait until the last minute to add them to a stir-fry dish, as they often cook in under a minute. 

The mild and sweet flavor of both of them makes them incredibly adaptable and ideal for pairing with a wide range of foods, from simple to complicated. 

Grilling prawns with lemon butter is a delicious option. To prepare spicy grilled shrimp, marinate in hot sauce, cayenne pepper, and garlic before grilling. 

Malaysian butter prawns are spiced up with curry leaves, coconut milk, and chili paste.

Also, it is important to know about benefits when considering them under the topic of “What is the difference between shrimp and prawns?” So, let’s consider five valuable benefits of them. 

Benefits of shrimp

Eye health

Astaxanthin has been found to have an important role in maintaining excellent eye health, including shielding the retina from oxidative damage, especially when exposed to too much sunlight. 

Early evidence suggests that astaxanthin, in combination with other nutrients, can help with eye abnormalities in the center.

Bone strength

Phosphorus and vitamin D are both found in shrimp and shellfish. 

The given nutrients, when combined with calcium, can help build bones, lowering the chance of bone fractures and osteoporosis in the future.

Protection the skin

Supplementing with astaxanthin, in addition to sunscreen and other skin-protecting measures, can help to prevent skin wrinkles by enhancing skin elasticity and providing hydration. 

Astaxanthin can help minimize skin damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) light, lowering the risk of skin cancer in the long run.

Maintain the weight

Shrimp has a low calorie count but a high protein and nutritional content. 

It is always recommended to eat nutrient-dense, high-protein foods in order to lose weight and maintain a healthy, lean body mass.

Mood booster

Shrimp contains tryptophan, which is thought to activate serotonin, a mood-lifting hormone.

Benefits of prawns

Building muscles

Prawns are a low-calorie, high-nutrient food. It also has a high concentration of zinc and iodine, both of which are linked to overeating and weight gain. 

Prawns are a wonderful choice for your weight loss strategy because of their features. As a result, if you’re attempting to reduce weight, prawns should be a part of your diet.

Improve immune system

Zinc is abundant in prawns, and it plays a crucial role in immunological function.

Build strong bones

Calcium is plentiful in prawns. Calcium is required by the body in order to maintain bone structure. 

Teenagers, in particular, require a lot of calcium. It’s fortunate that prawns can provide this. Consume on a daily basis to ensure that your body receives the proper quantity of calcium.

Help with youthfulness

Prawns are said to be beneficial to your skin. The reason for this is that prawns contain Vitamin E, which is beneficial to the skin. 

As a result, eating prawns on a daily basis will restore your youthfulness and make you appear younger.

Prevent cancer

Prawns are high in Selenium, which inhibits the growth of cancer cells in the body. Cancer is one of the world’s most dangerous diseases. 

As a result, you should incorporate prawns in your diet to help prevent yourself from cancer.


What is the difference between shrimp and prawns? This is the main topic that we have considered in this article. Here, we got five factors that make the difference between them. Those are habitat, anatomy, size, taste, and price. Also, you can see there is valuable information about the benefits of them too. So, I hope you can get valuable facts through this article and improve your knowledge with them. When considering the world, there are many food items and there is a great diversity of them. If you are a food explorer, we are here to provide you with those valuable facts. So, consider following us on Facebook and Instagram and stay with us to know more food facts. 

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