Enjoying wild-caught Christmas prawns now and always

In Australia, we love eating prawns at Christmas time. The good news is that over half of all wild-caught Australian prawns are certified as sustainable to the MSC environmental standard for sustainable fishing. Just look for the MSC blue fish tick label to be sure.

What makes the perfect Christmas prawns

Prawns are synonymous with Christmas in Australia so we teamed up with YouGov to find out more. The research confirmed that prawns are a firm favourite on the Christmas table in Australia.  So much so that 8 million of us would happily forego a glass of Champagne on Christmas Day in favour of eating prawns. Despite this, most of us can agree that prawns can be messy, especially the shells, and they certainly have to be enjoyed right away rather than making up leftovers. 

So what makes the perfect Christmas prawns? The vast majority of us prefer our prawns at Christmas to be served up retro and traditional. We also love our prawns wild-caught and from Australia.

The top six ways to enjoy prawns at Christmas

  1. Chilled and peeled prawns
  2. Prawn cocktail
  3. A classic prawn dip
  4. Barbecued prawns
  5. Grilled prawns
  6. Butterfly prawns with the tail on

As for what people search for online, Garlic Prawns recipe is the most searched for prawn recipe at Christmas.

Hand grabbing a retro Christmas prawns cocktail

20 mouth-watering Christmas prawn recipes

Browse our mouth-watering Christmas prawn recipes created by chefs from around the world, including BBQ prawns, cold starters like a classic prawn cocktail and prawn salads, prawn curries, prawn toasts, prawn crackers, prawn spring rolls, prawn sandwiches and more. 

Plus, find out how to BBQ prawns. Our handy guide to barbecuing prawns and lobster includes tips and hacks on how to make use of the whole prawn including using the prawn shells and prawn heads for stock.

Wild garlic prawns recipe

Wild garlic prawns recipe

Prep time 25 mins
Cooking Time 5 mins
Serves 4
View
Wild prawn cocktail with a twist

Wild prawn cocktail with a twist

Prep time 30 mins
Cooking Time 6 mins
Serves 8
Video
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Wild tiger prawn salad

Wild tiger prawn salad

Prep time 60 mins
Cooking Time 6 mins
Serves 2
Video
View
Wild banana prawn bisque

Wild banana prawn bisque

Prep time 0 mins
Cooking Time 60 mins
Serves 10
View
Wild Swinging Sixties prawn cocktail

Wild Swinging Sixties prawn cocktail

Prep time 10 mins
Cooking Time 0 mins
Serves 4
View
Wild banana prawns chermoula with lemon and coconut tahini

Wild banana prawns chermoula with lemon and coconut tahini

Prep time 0 mins
Cooking Time 45 mins
Serves 4
View
Wild prawn larb

Wild prawn larb

Prep time 0 mins
Cooking Time 30 mins
Serves 4
Video
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Gambas a la plancha with wild prawns

Gambas a la plancha with wild prawns

Prep time 10 mins
Cooking Time 5 mins
Serves 4
Video
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Wild prawn salad sandwiches

Wild prawn salad sandwiches

Prep time 15 mins
Cooking Time 0 mins
Serves 1
Video
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Wild spicy prawn stir fry

Wild spicy prawn stir fry

Prep time 10 mins
Cooking Time 10 mins
Serves 2
View
Tom Yum Kung with wild prawns and thai basil

Tom Yum Kung with wild prawns and thai basil

Prep time 0 mins
Cooking Time 15 mins
Serves 4
Video
View
Forever salmon and prawn paella

Forever salmon and prawn paella

Prep time 20 mins
Cooking Time 20 mins
Serves 4
View
Wild prawns from the barbie, two ways

Wild prawns from the barbie, two ways

Prep time 10 mins
Cooking Time 20 mins
Serves 4
Video
View
Spring rolls with wild prawns

Spring rolls with wild prawns

Prep time 20 mins
Cooking Time 15 mins
Serves 4
Video
View
Wild Chinese prawn toasts

Wild Chinese prawn toasts

Prep time 10 mins
Cooking Time 10 mins
Serves 4
Video
View
Pad Thai with wild prawns

Pad Thai with wild prawns

Prep time 15 mins
Cooking Time 15 mins
Serves 4
Video
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Nasi Goreng with wild prawns

Nasi Goreng with wild prawns

Prep time 65 mins
Cooking Time 35 mins
Serves 4
Video
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Wild piri piri prawns with mango and padrón peppers

Wild piri piri prawns with mango and padrón peppers

Prep time 5 mins
Cooking Time 35 mins
Serves 4
Video
View

How do I know if my Christmas prawns are sustainable?

Half of all wild-caught prawns in Australian waters are MSC certified sustainable. 

Sustainable prawns have been caught in a way that means there’s plenty more in the sea now and in the future.

Just look for the MSC blue fish tick label. You'll find the label either on the packaging, menu or seafood counter ticket.

Find the blue fish tick at Coles deli counters

The price shown is illustrative and subject to change.

Buying Australian prawns for Christmas

When you buy prawns, they'll either be frozen, cooked or raw.

  • Raw: Raw prawns vary in colour and should look almost translucent. Make sure there are no dry or cracked shells
  • Cooked: Make sure the shells are firm with the eyes still intact.
  • Frozen: This can be a convenient option and a good way to stock up ahead of Christmas. But always remember to defrost thoroughly before using.

You'll find Australian prawns with the MSC blue fish tick label in the chilled and frozen aisles of your local supermarket such as Aldi, Coles and Woolworths. Plus at specialist fish shops such as Mures Tasmania, Harley & Johns, Fairy Meadow and The Fish Shoppe, Melbourne.

Here's a list of Australian prawns available to buy in Australia that are also sustainable:

Find out more about where to buy MSC certified sustainable seafood with the blue fish tick.

Where do Australian prawns come from?

In Australia, the following leading Australian prawn fisheries are certified as sustainable to the MSC Fisheries Standard. Prawns with the MSC blue fish tick label are traceable to an MSC certified sustainable prawn fishery.

Sustainable prawn fisheries in Australia

Together, these MSC certified sustainable fisheries account for over half of all wild-caught prawns in Australia. We think that’s a cause for celebration.

Dive into the incredible stories of these four pioneering Aussie prawn fisheries

 

 

 

 

Videos courtesy of Australian Wild Prawns.

Why is it important to purchase sustainable prawns?

Purchasing sustainable prawns means you are helping to ensure plentiful supplies for future generations, and what would a future Christmas without seafood be like!

A third of all fish populations are overfished. With a growing world population, we need to fish sustainably. Your choice encourages more fisheries to voluntarily improve their fishing and become certified as sustainable. 

That’s why we are calling on all Australians to help safeguard prawns for future Christmases by shopping sustainably and looking for the MSC blue fish tick label in store and talking to your seafood retailer.
Most people can't tell if their prawns are sustainable

Prawn vs shrimp - what's the difference?

It's easy to get confused between shrimp and prawns. Are they just different names for the same thing? Or completely different things? Why do we 'throw a shrimp on the barbie'?

The difference between prawns and shrimps explained

  • They're different species: Both shrimp and prawns are Decapod crustaceans, meaning they both have ten legs and possess external skeletons. However, shrimp belong to the sub-order Pleocyemata, while prawns belong to the sub-order Dendrobranchiata.
  • They have different anatomies: Prawns have claws on three pairs of their legs and second pincers that are larger than their front ones, whereas shrimp have claws on two pairs of their legs. Prawns also lack the distinct bend in their bodies that is seen with shrimp and each of their body segments overlaps the one behind it in succession.
  • Shrimp and prawns are different sizes: Shrimp are smaller than prawns in most cases and that's certainly the case with Jumbo Tiger Prawns.

Do sustainable prawns cost more?

As with anything if demand increases and supplies dwindle, the price will increase. If we want to continue eating prawns at an affordable price in the future, we must act now.

Sustainable wild-caught prawns are available at a range of prices that are good for your pocket and the ocean too. Shop around and look for the MSC blue fish tick label to be sure you’re buying sustainably.

Get the most out of your wild-caught prawns. By reducing waste and making use of the whole prawn, you'll get better value for money.

So, the bigger question is can we afford not to buy sustainable prawns?

How to peel a prawn

About 1 in 5 of us are put off prawns because of the mess and faff associated with peeling them. We teamed up with MasterChef 2019 winner, Larissa Takchi who demonstrates how to peel a prawn in 20 seconds.

  1. Twist the head, set aside
  2. Use a fork to puncture the backbone all the way along
  3. With a spoon push under the shell and take away the legs and then repeat on the underside
  4. With the fork grab the prawn and pull away from the remaining shell

Types of prawns

Common wild-caught species in Australia include:

  • banana prawns (red or white),
  • tiger prawns (brown or grooved),
  • king prawns (eastern and western),
  • endeavour prawns (blue or red).

Find out more about wild-caught sustainable prawns in Australia.

How to tell if prawns are off

It is unsafe to eat prawns that are off. If they are, they should be thrown away.

Signs that your prawns are off:

  • Smell: sour, overly fishy
  • Look: slimy, dull

How to store prawns

It is always best to purchase prawns near to the day you plan to serve or cook them. If that can't be done, here are some options.

Storing prawns correctly is important and do refer to the packaging and ask your fishmonger for advice too.

  • Fresh and cooked prawns: can be kept for up to three days in an airtight container in the coldest part of the fridge
  • Whole uncooked prawns: keep in their shell and only peel up to a few hours ahead of cooking
  • Frozen prawns: it is important to thaw before using. Defrost by placing frozen prawns in an airtight container and leaving them in the fridge overnight. Rinse with cold water before using

How to cook prawns

Prawns can be cooked with or without their shells. They can be cooked on the barbecue, in a pan or on the grill individually or on skewers. Cooked prawns are simple:

  • Cook for 2 minutes on each side until the flesh turns opaque
  • Alternatively, purchasing cooked prawns requires no cooking

Why do we eat prawns at Christmas in Australia?

Eating prawns at Christmas is an Australian tradition for the following reasons:

  1. The warm weather: Christmas in Australia is Summertime. That means being outside, cooking on the barbecue and not adding loads of heat to your home by using the oven
  2. Prawns are a treat: Christmas is about celebration and indulgence. Prawns are a tasty treat, not an everyday item. 
  3. Seasonality: The prawn fishing season in Australia begins in August meaning prawns are in season at Christmas
  4. They're Australian: Australian waters are home to many amazing species of prawns including tiger prawns, banana prawns and king prawns.
  5. Easy to prepare: Christmas can be hectic and cooking prawns is quick and easy

Teach and learn about prawns at Christmas

Learn about prawns with our curriculum-aligned teaching resources for the classroom. Complete with lesson plans, activities, games and quizzes. 

View and download the free Christmas teaching resources

Prawn to be wild

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