The 5 best recipes for cold-water prawns

by Great British Chefs 6 October 2022

Cold-water prawns - the small and sweet prawns typically found frozen in supermarkets - are one of the most flavoursome types of prawns out there. Perfect for everything from a prawn cocktail to prawn sandwiches, there are endless different ways of using them. These are five of our favourite cold-water prawn recipes.

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Cold-water prawns are a type of prawn that - as the name suggests - is found exclusively in the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, in water that is between 0 and 8°C. The cold water causes the prawns to grow incredibly slowly, and so even at full maturity they are only around ten centimetres long. But, this slow growth also means that cold-water prawns are intensely flavourful and juicy.

Unlike warm-water prawns (like king prawns and tiger prawns) cold-water prawns are not farmed, and are instead fished from the wild. Royal Greenland has cold-water prawn fisheries across the northern hemisphere, and all of their fisheries in Western Greenland, Canada and Norway are certified as sustainable by the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council).

Typically cooked and frozen straight after being caught to keep them as fresh and juicy as possible, cold-water prawns aren't just delicious, they're also incredibly convenient and work particularly well in dishes that are served at room temperature, like prawn cocktail and prawn sandwiches. They can also be used in warm dishes but make sure to add them just before serving or use them in a dish where the prawns are only very briefly cooked, such as fresh ravioli. 

Prawn and charred cabbage salad with yoghurt, dill and spiced butter

This recipe for spiced, buttered prawns with charred cabbage on a bed of garlicky yogurt makes a delicious, easy side dish or light supper. The charred and caramelised cabbage turns sweet and crisp, and makes the perfect base for the rich and buttery prawns.

Miso-buttered potted prawns with seaweed crackers

Our potted prawns with homemade seaweed crackers is a spin on the traditional potted shrimp and makes a delicious starter. Cold-water prawns are easier to find than the more typical brown shrimp, and their small size and sweet flavour makes them an excellent alternative.

Prawn and sweetcorn salad with a harissa, lime and buttermilk dressing

In this simple recipe, sweet, cold-water prawns and fresh sweetcorn are combined a vibrant buttermilk, harissa and lime juice dressing, then garnished with coriander, tarragon and spring onions. It's a fresh, tasty salad that comes together in minutes, and is a particularly brilliant dish for serving at a barbecue, as it goes well with grilled chicken or fish.

Prawn cocktail canapés

Prawn cocktail has to be the most classic way to serve cold-water prawns. Always a crowd pleaser, this is the perfect start to a dinner party or even Christmas Day. Here we've served the prawn cocktail in little lettuce cups, for a true retro dinner party vibe.

Prawn and smoked salmon ravioli

This cold-water prawn and smoked salmon ravioli uses entirely cooked ingredients in the filling, so the filled pasta only needs to be cooked for long enough for the pasta dough to cook through. This recipe is perfect for a date night meal, or any other time when you fancy showing off, just a little.