Prawns are decapod crustaceans, an order of shellfish that features an exoskeleton and ten legs. Prawns are primarily found in freshwater. You can use prawns to make prawn skewers, prawn curry, and more.\n\nLike prawns, shrimp are decapod crustaceans with a tough exoskeleton and ten legs. You can use these saltwater crustaceans to make various dishes, including shrimp scampi, [shrimp étouffée](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/shrimp-etouffee-recipe), shrimp cocktail, and more.\n\nThere are taxonomic differences between prawns and shrimp, but they taste similar and can be used interchangeably in cooking. The flavor of both prawns and shrimp is dependent on the breed and whether they were freshly caught, farmed, or frozen. In the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, the word “prawn” refers to both shrimp and prawns. \n\nPrawns and shrimp taste similar, but there are many anatomical differences between these two crustaceans:\n\n- __Classification__: While prawns and shrimp belong to the same *Crustacea* subphylum, these crustaceans occupy different suborders. Shrimp belongs to the sub-order *Pleocyemata*, which also includes lobster, crab, and crayfish. Prawns belong to the sub-order *Dendrobranchiata*. \n- __Gills__: Shrimp and prawns have different gill structures. Shrimp have lamellar gills, also known as plate-like gills, and prawns have branching gills.\n- __Shape__: Prawns have straight bodies, while shrimp bodies bend and curl. On a prawn, the exoskeleton segments overlap from front to back. On a shrimp, the second segment of the exoskeleton overlaps the first and third segments, which makes their bodies curl. \n- __Legs__: Shrimp have two front pincers and two pairs of claw-like legs. Prawns have pincers on their first pair of legs and larger second pincers, and claws on three pairs of their legs. Prawns have longer legs than shrimp.\n- __Eggs__: Shrimp carry their fertilized eggs on the underside of their bodies, while prawns release their eggs into the water. \nYou can use prawns and shrimp interchangeably in cooking, but the flavors may differ depending on breed and if freshly caught, farmed, or previously frozen. Here are some common ways to prepare prawn and shrimp recipes:\n\n1. __Boil__: You can boil both shrimp and prawns in salted water, which will cook them quickly. Serve with a cocktail sauce for an easy appetizer, or put them on top of grits for an easy and filling dish. \n2. __Grill__: You can grill shrimp and prawns in the shell with salt, pepper, and other spices. Grill alongside vegetables to make kebabs. \n3. __Sautée__: You can sautée shrimp and prawns in various sauces. Toss these crustaceans with garlic and butter to make scampi—“shrimp scampi” and “garlic shrimp” are the common names for this dish, though it can be prepared with both shrimp and prawns. \n\nBecome a better chef with the [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com). Gain access to exclusive video lessons taught by the world’s best, including Chef Thomas Keller, Gabriela Cámara, Yotam Ottolenghi, Dominique Ansel, Gordon Ramsay, Alice Waters, and more.\nPrawns and shrimp are both shellfish, and their culinary applications vary.