Five Ingredient Habanero Prawns

5 from 2 votes

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Make this quick and easy prawns recipe in just 15 minutes! These grilled habanero prawns are juicy, spicy, and perfect as a tasty appetizer. For another delicious seafood recipe, try our Grilled Peel and Eat Shrimp with Basil Butter next!

prawns scattered on parchment paper with lemon wedges and cilantro

What is the difference between shrimp and prawns?

Although both are crustaceans and prawns are typically referred to as “large shrimp,” there are key differences between the two. Shrimp have one pair of clawed legs, while prawns have claws on three of their legs.

Additionally, shrimp are generally found in saltwater, whereas prawns are primarily from fresh water. Despite these differences, the two are often used interchangeably in recipes due to their similar taste and texture.

What ingredients do you need for this prawns recipe?

Habanero hot sauce: It’s bold and spicy and enhances the natural sweetness of the prawns.

Extra-virgin olive oil: This is the base of our marinade. It helps evenly coat each prawn with seasoning. It also prevents them from sticking to the surface of the pan or grill.

Seasoning: For smoky flavor, use smoked paprika. If you prefer a more straightforward heat, try chilli flakes. Add kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper for additional flavor.

Shell-on, head-on prawns: You can try fresh spot or tiger varieties. Keep the shell and head on. This dish cooks in about 5 minutes so they’re perfect for weeknight dinners, or weekend grilling!

Lemon: This adds a bright, tangy burst of citrus flavor that balances the heat from the hot sauce.

habanero prawns scattered on parchment paper with lemon wedges and cilantro

How to Devein Prawns with the Shells On

We prefer to devein our prawns, but this is optional. Find a gap in the shells near the head, and carefully insert a toothpick beneath the vein. 

Gently lift the toothpick to pull out the vein, keeping the shell intact. You can also do this with kitchen shears cutting from the head to tail to devein, keeping the shell intact, but splitting up the back. Pat dry them with paper towels.

Step-by-step instructions to make the best Habanero Prawns

Mix and Toss: In a large bowl, mix your hot sauce, olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika. Add in your prawns and toss to coat completely. Set aside while you heat your grill.

Grill: Heat a cast iron skillet, or grill on medium-high heat until hot and smoky. Place your prawns on the grill or skillet, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Your prawn shells should turn a nice opaque, orange-pink color.

Serve with Lemon: Transfer to a serving platter, finishing with a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice, about 1/2, reserving the other half cut into lemon in wedges. Serve alongside an empty bowl for the shells with wet naps!

How to Peel: To peel, pull off the head and tails (they should just twist off), then carefully pull off the peels to expose the prawns.

close up view of grilled habanero prawns

Tips, Tricks and Substitutions

What is the best way to cook prawns?

No matter if you boil, fry, sautee, or grill them, the best way to prepare them is unpeeled. Using shell-on, head-on prawns helps to lock in moisture during cooking, resulting in tender, flavorful, juicy prawns.

Do prawns need to be marinated?

While it’s not necessary to marinate them, it enhances the overall flavor and texture. If time allows, marinate them for 15 to 20 minutes.

How else can I season prawns?

Most prawn recipes are simple and typically include garlic, butter, and a splash of white wine (or chicken stock) for complexity. Some include tomatoes and you can use a variety of spices like ginger and cayenne pepper. You can always sprinkle the finished dish with fresh parsley, cilantro, chopped coriander, or spring onions.

What to serve them with?

Serve this dish with a loaf of crusty bread like French bread or white rice to soak up all that spicy sauce. For added nutrients, serve it with a classic salad.

Delicious Shrimp Recipes

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close up view of grilled habanero prawns
5 from 2 votes

Five Ingredient Habanero Prawns

Make this quick and easy prawns recipe in just 15 minutes! These grilled habanero prawns are juicy, spicy, and perfect as a tasty appetizer or supper. For another delicious seafood recipe, try our Grilled Peel and Eat Shrimp with Basil Butter next!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 cup habanero hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, or chili flakes
  • 1 pound shell-on head-on prawns, such as fresh spot prawns or tiger prawns, deveined
  • 1 medium lemon

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, mix your hot sauce, olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika. Add in your prawns and toss to coat completely. Set aside while you heat your grill.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet, or grill on medium-high heat until hot and smoky. Place your prawns on the grill or skillet, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Your prawn shells should turn a nice orange-pink color.
  • Transfer to a serving platter, finishing with a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice, about 1/2, reserving the other half cut into lemon in wedges. Serve alongside an empty bowl for the shells with wet naps!
  • To peel your prawns, pull off the head and tails (they should just twist off), then carefully pull off the peels to expose the prawns.

Nutrition

Calories: 153kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 143mg, Sodium: 1039mg, Potassium: 198mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 481IU, Vitamin C: 26mg, Calcium: 71mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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