Can you eat prawn tails?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the question “ can you eat prawn tails?”. We will also discuss what are prawns, the safety of eating prawns, the nutritional composition of prawns, the health benefits and potential downsides of eating prawns and how to prepare prawn tails.

Can you eat prawn tails?

Yes, you can eat prawn tails and they are gorgeous. Prawn tails are excellent and can be eaten. They are frequently incorporated into Thai and Northeastern Chinese cuisines. Prawn tails provide food with a crisp texture and serve as an outstanding appetiser.

What is a prawn?

A prawn is a small aquatic crustacean also known as a shrimp. Their bodies are separated into three segments: the head, thorax, and belly, and they have a thin exoskeleton that is usually removed before eating. 

Prawns are found in both cold and warm water, and they are also farmed. Cold-water variants are typically smaller. There are dozens of distinct types of prawns, but tiger, king, and North Atlantic prawns are the most common in the UK.

Is it safe to eat prawn tails?

It is safe to eat prawn tails. Prawn tails are made up of a polymer called chitin. Humans were once thought to be incapable of digesting prawn tails, however, research has revealed that human gastric juice contains the enzyme chitinase that breaks down chitin, making it safe to ingest.

What is the nutritional profile of prawns?

Prawns like other seafood are typically protein dense and a source of other micronutrients. For a 100 grams serving of cooked prawns the following nutrients have been estimated:

  • 70 kilocalories
  • 15.4 grams of protein
  • 0.9 grams of fat
  • 1 milligram of iron
  • 1 milligram of zinc
  • 30 micrograms of selenium
  • 13 micrograms of iodine
  • 1.47 grams of salt

What are the health benefits of eating prawns?

The rich nutrient profile of prawns necessitates their essential and numerous health benefits. Some great health benefits gained from consuming prawns include:

  • Prawns are a good source of vitamin B, which includes B12 and folate. These vitamins are essential for energy synthesis and red blood cell replenishment.
  • The vitamin E content of prawns is almost 22 times more than that of chicken or beef. This fat-soluble vitamin has antioxidant properties and may help to prevent heart disease and cancer.
  • Prawns are a good source of trace minerals including iodine, zinc, and selenium, which are hard to come in most foods and are utilised by the thyroid gland to operate properly, while the immune system requires zinc and selenium.
  • The pink colour of prawns is due to a chemical called astaxanthin, which is derived from the algae that prawns consume. This molecule contains anti-inflammatory effects and may help prevent chronic diseases including heart disease and cancer, as well as improve skin health.
  • Prawns are a great source of quickly digestible, high-quality protein. It is also low in calories and fat, making it a good fit for a weight-loss strategy.

What are the potential downsides of eating prawn tails?

In as much as prawns with it, tails are nutrient dense, there are also some risks associated with consuming prawn tails. 

The chitin in the shells or tails of prawns might cause allergic reactions in some people when consumed. Even touching them may result in a rash and redness and people who are allergic to chitin.

How to prepare prawn tails?

Prawn tails can be used in diverse delicacies and cooked by different methods. Some common prawn tail recipes include deep fried prawn tails and prawn stock.

  • Prawn tails can also be used in appetisers such as prawn popcorns and cocktails.
  • Deep-fried prawn tails are cooked by coating them in flour and cornstarch. Afterwards, they are sprinkled with a few red pepper flakes and enjoyed as such. 
  • You can also make stock with prawn tails and use it in your cooking. This can be achieved by cooking prawn tails and shells in a pot of cold water. Boil and reduce to low heat to cook for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is orange in colour. The shrimp stock tastes fantastic when used in risotto, gumbo, or as a broth replacement in any recipe.


In this brief guide, we have discussed the question “ can you eat prawn tails?”. We have also discussed what prawns are, the safety of eating prawns, the nutritional composition of prawns, the health benefits and potential downsides of eating prawns and how to prepare prawn tails.