Fresh prawns – both cooked or uncooked – make a popular addition to many meals. From prawns on the bbq to a spicy red Thai prawn curry, it’s a seafood favourite.
While it’s best to buy prawns fresh and eat them as soon as possible it is possible to keep this seafood in the fridge or freezer to enjoy later.
Here’s everything you need to know!
How long do cooked prawns last in the fridge?
Cooked prawns, as well as raw prawns, can last in the fridge for up to three days but if you think they won’t be eaten in that time it’s best to keep the prawns in the freezer, where you can freeze the produce for up to three months.
How to store cooked prawns in the fridge
Fresh prawns, cooked or raw, can last in the fridge for 2-3 days between 0 and 4 degrees Celsius.
According to Food Wise, when storing your prawns it’s best to keep them in an airtight container, or covered tightly with plastic wraps, away from other food in the coldest part of the fridge (which is the usually the bottom shelf) and in the shell, for as long as possible.
To ensure there’s risk of bacteria build up, you could even bring a small esky or cool bag with you when you purchase your prawns, so that you can make sure your produce is kept in the coldest conditions from the shop to your plate.
Make sure to put the prawns into the fridge or freezer as soon as you get home, don’t leave it in the car or on the bench.
Can you freeze cooked prawns?
If you plan to freeze your prawns, both cooked or raw, it’s important that you first check with the fishmonger if the produce has been frozen before - prawns are highly perishable in their raw state and so are often frozen or boiled at sea as soon as they are caught.
If they have been frozen before do not refreeze the batch and use the prawns as soon as possible.
Cooked or uncooked prawns that have never been frozen can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months at minus 18 degrees Celsius or below.
Some household fridges and freezers many not run as low as the above temperatures – if in doubt check your fridge or freezers temperature or store for a shorter time.
Morgan Seafood state that when freezing prawns, it’s best to leave the shell and head on, as this acts as an insulator.
Place the prawns in a freezer proof container, filling the container to three quarters with product and leaving room for water to be added. Cover with water, seal with lid and tape around lid.
Don’t forget to label and date the container.
How do you defrost prawns?
When you’re ready to eat your prawns, Seafood Health Facts recommend that frozen seafood must be thawed properly.
It is not a good idea to thaw prawns at room temperature as the outer cell tissue will defrost first and encourage the growth of bacteria, as well as drying the shell out.
The best method is to cover the prawns and let them defrost slowly in your fridge over a period of between 36 to 48 hours, so it’s best to thaw frozen prawns in the refrigerator overnight.
Once thawed, frozen prawns should not be refrozen.
Shell vs peeled
It’s recommended to leave prawns in shell until just before you’re ready to cook or eat them.