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Can You Reheat Prawns? – Is It Safe?

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Are you a lover of all things seafood? We love to try new things in the kitchen and are constantly looking for recipes and ideas. Recently, we stumbled upon prawns and now we’re all about that prawn life. 

If you didn’t know any different, you could easily mistake them for shrimp. They are nearly identical to shrimp in both flavor and appearance. They are closely related to shrimp in the crustacean world as well. 

There are a number of things to be familiar with as you attempt to cook with prawns.

The question is, can you reheat prawns? Is it safe to reheat them? Yes, you can reheat prawns and there are ways to do it safely. If you follow proper storage precautions, prawns are easily reheated in the microwave, oven, or stovetop.

We’ve put together a guide to walk you through everything you should know about reheating prawns, including how you use them and the proper ways to store them.

In order to be successful in reheating prawns, you need to know the whole story and how it may affect your prawns. 

Keep reading to get in the know on reheating prawns, and so much more. 

A Guide to Cooking with Prawns

Cooking with prawns isn’t hard but there are several things you should be aware of in cooking preparation as well as cooking techniques.

Additionally, your ability to reheat prawns relies on you handling them properly the first time as well as storing them properly. 

There are quite a few minor details involved in working with prawns in order to rest assured that you can reheat them safely.

Don’t worry, nothing here is overly complicated but it all remains valuable and important for the process. 

What Exactly Are Prawns?

Prawns are seafood. They are extremely similar to shrimp and the easiest way to explain them to someone if they are familiar with shrimp but not prawns. 

While shrimp and prawns are both decapod crustaceans that look similar to the naked eye, that’s about where the similarities end.

The title decapod crustacean means they both have 10 legs and external skeletons. They are relatively close to the same size. From there, they differ. 

Prawns have pincers, actually 2 sets of pincers. One set of pincers is larger than the other. Additionally, they have claws on 3 pairs of their 10 pairs of legs. Prawns also have branching gills. 

If you compare a photo of shrimp to prawns, you will notice that shrimp typically have a very noticeable bend in their back. You often see shrimp bent or curled.

Prawns do not usually have this bend, giving them a much straighter appearance. Prawns are also larger than shrimp. 

At first glance, you can easily mistake prawns for shrimp, particularly if they are already shelled or deveined when you purchase them. The similarities are differences are much more noteworthy when they are fresh.

One other thing we should note, prawns and shrimp are often prepared or cooked in similar manners. They taste quite a bit alike and they have very similar and relatable features that interchange quite well in the kitchen. 

Cooking with Prawns

You can cook prawns in a variety of ways. If you cook a lot with shrimp, just know that you can cook prawns in all the same ways.

However, this article is not about shrimp. You might see us reference shrimp simply because it tends to be familiar and relatable. 

If you need some prawn inspiration, we can help. There are so many savory and delicious recipes that allow you to put your prawns to use.

Your taste buds will certainly thank you for giving some of these ideas a try. 

Here are a few ideas of dishes that you can make with prawns. 

  • Coconut breaded prawns
  • Use in salads
  • Add to skewers for grilling
  • Add to alfredo or linguini with a creamy sauce
  • Creamy, garlic prawns
  • Prawn risotto
  • Thai garlic prawns
  • Prawn fried rice
  • Prawn saganaki
  • BBQ prawns
  • Prawn laksa
  • Sushi with tempura prawns
  • Prawn curry
  • Fry with garlic and butter
  • Boiled prawns

As you can see, there is a multitude of ways you can enjoy prawns and this shortlist is just the tip of the iceberg.

There are far many more ideas for cooking prawns and they are quite versatile. You can cook them easily into just about any dish you want to. 

You can also replace any recipe that calls for shrimp with prawns as a substitute if you need some further inspiration and ideas. 

Properly Storing Prawns 

Our primary focus here is to work our way to the proper way to reheat prawns. With that in mind, understand that most of our instructions are based around prawns that you plan to cook or have already cooked. 

If you are working with raw prawns, the instructions could vary.

Here are some things to be mindful of about raw prawns we wanted to share before moving on with cooked prawns. 

  • Raw prawns are more susceptible to bacteria
  • If you are eating raw prawns be sure they are clean and chilled
  • Do not eat raw pawns if they smell or taste odd
  • Store raw prawns well-sealed in the fridge for about 3 days
  • Store raw prawns in the freezer for up to 3 months

From this point forward, we will not be focusing on raw prawns as the subject matter of this article is based around reheating prawns. In order to reheat an item, it has to have been cooked initially.

All further instructions will assume that you have already completed some form of the cooking process with your prawns. 

Moving along – let’s talk about properly storing your cooked prawns. If you want to safely reheat your prawns, it is absolutely essential that you handle them properly from the time you purchase them to the time you are ready to reheat them. 

Prawns are susceptible to bacteria in certain temperatures and environments. If you want to protect your family, friends, and self when you serve or reheat prawns, pay close attention to the specifics to ensure your prawns are properly handled and taken care of. 

Storing Prawns in the Fridge

You can store your prawns in the fridge for only about 3 days. If you don’t plan to use them within this time, you should freeze them. If you are unsure, we recommend just freezing them to begin with. 

Prawns can be used almost directly out of the freezer so it’s not a major inconvenience to freeze and thaw them.

If you purchase them from the grocery store, there is a good chance you bought them frozen to begin with, although this may not always be the case. 

Here are steps to storing prawns in the fridge. 

  1. Allow to cool slightly but do not leave sitting out at room temperature for more than 1-2 hours. The longer they are out, the more they can ascertain bacteria that could lead to food poisoning. 
  2. Prawns must be placed into airtight storage (like this). Since they have already been cooked you shouldn’t have to worry too much about laying them out or separating them. You do want to make sure they are airtight though.
    Whether you choose to store them in a freezer bag, an airtight container, or tightly wrap them in plastic wrap is up to you. Just be sure they are tightly sealed. This will help prevent them from collecting or holding bacteria. I would personally use something like this from Amazon.
  3. Store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you need to store them longer, refer to storing them in the freezer and take heed of those instructions. 

Storing Prawns in the Freezer 

The best way to store your prawns and ensure they are well-stored for the long haul is to simply use the freezer. Be sure your freezer is nice and cold at a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. 

Here are the steps for storing prawns in the freezer. 

  1. If your prawns are freshly cooked, allow them to cool slightly. To prevent excessive moisture, you want them to cool but don’t leave them at room temperature for more than 1-2 hours. The longer they are out, the more susceptible they become to bacteria. 
  2. Tightly seal your prawns in an airtight method. We recommend laying them on a plate or tray and wrapping them tightly in plastic wrap (or even better, use a reusable food wrap). You can then place them into a freezer bag for extra protection.
    You do not have to double layer your storage method, just be sure they are airtight. You may choose to use just a freezer bag, just the plastic wrap method, or just a well-sealing plastic container. 
  3. Store in the freezer for up to 6 months, if your freezer temperature is 0 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler. Optimal storage temperature for shrimp is -18 degrees Fahrenheit but they are safely stored at 0 degrees. 

Proper storage is one of the most important steps prior to reheating your prawns. If they are not stored properly they become susceptible to bacteria that could lead to food poisoning when you try to reheat them. 

Our goal is to ensure you are able to safely reheat your prawns. In order to do so, you must be sure you are adequately caring for them before reheating – including initial preparation, cooking, and storage. 

Safely Reheating Prawns

For starters, we think it is relevant to mention that your prawns should not be reheated more than once. If you cook your prawns and store them, that is perfectly fine. Reheat them once and they will great, reheat them again and you might find yourself sick. 

Let’s not take that chance. Keep it safe and only reheat your prawns one time. After that, if you still have cooked prawns that are not eaten it is time to toss them out. 

You can reheat prawns using either the microwave, oven, or even stovetop. The method by which you choose to reheat them could vary depending on the dish that you are using them for. 

Our instructions will assume that you are reheating simple prawns that are not yet part of a dish. If you are reheating a specific dish that includes prawns, that is acceptable. The key is to know that various dishes do reheat differently. 

Here is the most important nugget of knowledge to safety and success in reheating prawns, no matter how you reheat them. Ensure that your prawns reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit when reheated. 

Reheating Prawns in the Microwave

  1. Spread prawns out on a microwave-safe dish. 
  2. Lay a paper towel underneath them and cover them with a paper towel as well.
  3. Microwave 30 seconds at a time, flipping and checking after every 30 seconds.

Reheating Prawns in the Oven

  1. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease lightly.
  2. Spread prawns out on the baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with oil or butter to keep from drying out. This is optional and you may want to skip this step if your prawns are breaded. 
  3. Bake prawns in the oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, flipping them halfway through. 

Reheating Prawns on the Stovetop

  1. Warm oil or butter in a skillet on medium heat on the stovetop. 
  2. Once pan and oil are warmed, add prawns to the pan. 
  3. Heat prawns for 6-10 minutes, depending on the size. If they are small or medium, heat 3 minutes on each side. If they are large, heat them 4-5 minutes on each side. 

There are two primary things to remember while reheating your prawns. Remember that they need to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees. You also do not have to allow your prawns excessive defrosting or thawing time in order to proceed with reheating. 

You can move your prawns directly from the freezer to reheating or you may allow them to thaw in the fridge for 6-12 hours prior to reheating them. Remember, they should only stay in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

Related Questions

We hope that you find this guide to reheating prawns safely to be a valuable resource for all of your prawn reheating needs. If you follow the steps and tips provided in the guide, you are sure to enjoy safely reheated prawns anytime. 

We’ve put together a list of questions and answers and we invite you to take a look for some additional information. 

Can You Eat Cooked Prawns Cold?

You can eat cooked prawns cold if you are sure they were properly cooked and properly stored. However, best practice is to reheat them to ensure they are free of any potential bacteria and less likely to cause food poisoning. 

How Can You Tell if Prawns Are Spoiled?

When prawns are fresh and unspoiled, they have a slightly salty aroma, mixed with the common smell of seafood. If they smell overbearingly fishy, they are most likely still ok but definitely nearing their peak. 

If there is anything off about the smell and you catch strong odors, particularly odors relatable to ammonia or bleach, then it is time to toss out the prawns. This is an indication of bacterial growth on the prawns. 

When it comes to prawn safety, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re unsure but suspect they could be bad, it’s better to toss them out. 

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