How to prepare prawns

How to shell, devein and butterfly raw prawns ready for cooking.

Points to remember

  • To shell prawns, twist the head off the body.
  • Peel away the shell and legs in segments until you get to the tail.
  • Pinch the tail and gently pull the body out.
  • Take the tip of a sharp knife and make an incision to expose the vein, which will either be down the back or running along the belly of the prawn. Pull to remove.
  • Wash before using.
  • If you then want to butterfly a prawn, take the knife and slice as far as you can through the middle without cutting it in half.
  • Pull the sides apart and cook as desired.

Be careful not to slice all the way through when preparing a butterfly prawn.


Leaving the tail in place on a butterfly prawn will give you something to hold on to.