A Quick Guide on How to Microwave Prawns

When it comes to cooking seafood, especially prawns, many people automatically think of grilling, sautéing, or even deep-frying. However, there’s a quick and convenient way to prepare prawns that often goes overlooked: microwaving.

In this guide, we’ll explore the benefits of microwaving prawns, offer tips on choosing the right prawns, walk you through the microwaving process step by step, share some delicious microwave prawn recipes, and provide troubleshooting tips. Let’s dive in!

Choosing the Right Prawns

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of microwaving prawns, it’s crucial to start with the right ingredients. Here are some considerations when choosing prawns:

  1. Fresh vs. Frozen Prawns: While fresh prawns are delightful, frozen prawns are more readily available and often just as delicious when cooked properly. Make sure to thaw frozen prawns thoroughly before microwaving them.
  2. Shell-on vs. Peeled Prawns: Shell-on prawns tend to have more flavor, but peeled prawns are easier to work with. Your choice depends on your preference and the recipe you plan to use.
  3. Tail-on vs. Tail-off Prawns: Leaving the tails on can enhance presentation, but it’s not a strict rule. Choose based on your recipe and whether you want to impress your guests with the visual appeal.

Preparing Prawns for Microwaving

Now that you’ve selected the prawns, it’s time to prepare them for microwaving:

  1. Thawing Frozen Prawns: To ensure even cooking, thaw frozen prawns in the refrigerator for several hours or use the defrost function on your microwave if you’re in a hurry. Avoid using the microwave’s regular cooking settings for thawing, as this can lead to uneven results.
  2. Seasoning Options: Prawns can be seasoned with a variety of ingredients, such as salt, pepper, garlic powder, or your favorite herbs and spices. Consider your flavor preferences and the dish you’re planning to make.
  3. Marinating for Flavor: If you have the time, marinating prawns can infuse them with extra flavor. Common marinade ingredients include olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, and herbs. Marinate prawns for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator before microwaving.

Microwaving Prawns: Step-by-Step

Now, let’s get into the heart of microwaving prawns:

  1. The Microwave-Safe Container: Use a microwave-safe dish or bowl to cook your prawns. Glass and ceramic containers are excellent choices. Avoid metal or non-microwave-safe plastics.
  2. Cooking Times and Power Levels: The cooking time and power level depend on the quantity and size of your prawns. As a general guideline, microwave on medium power (50%) for one to two minutes per 4-ounce (115 grams) of prawns. Start with the lower end of the time range, as it’s easier to add more cooking time later if needed.
  3. Stirring or Flipping Prawns: To ensure even cooking, stir or flip the prawns halfway through the microwaving time. This helps prevent any part from overcooking or becoming rubbery.
  4. Monitoring for Doneness: Keep a close eye on your prawns as they cook. They are done when they turn pink and opaque. Overcooked prawns become tough and rubbery, so it’s better to slightly undercook them and let residual heat finish the job.

Flavorful Prawn Microwave Recipes

Ready to elevate your microwaved prawn game? Here are three mouthwatering recipes to try:

  1. Garlic Butter Prawns: In a microwave-safe dish, melt butter and minced garlic. Add your prawns, a pinch of salt, and a dash of white wine. Microwave for one to two minutes on medium power, then garnish with fresh parsley.
  2. Lemon and Herb Prawns: Combine lemon juice, olive oil, chopped fresh herbs (such as basil and thyme), and a bit of lemon zest in a bowl. Marinate your prawns in this mixture for 30 minutes, then microwave as usual. The citrusy and herbaceous flavors will delight your taste buds.
  3. Spicy Cajun Prawns: Season your prawns with a Cajun spice blend before microwaving. Serve them with a spicy dipping sauce for an extra kick. The microwave will lock in the flavors, making this dish a breeze to prepare.

Serving and Presentation

While microwaving prawns is convenient, presentation still matters:

  1. Plating Ideas: Arrange your prawns on a bed of greens, over a mound of cooked rice, or alongside a colorful medley of sautéed vegetables. A visually appealing presentation enhances the dining experience.
  2. Garnishes and Accompaniments: Add finishing touches like a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of fresh herbs, or a wedge of lemon. Serve your prawns with complementary sides like garlic bread, couscous, or a simple salad.

Troubleshooting Tips

If you encounter issues while microwaving prawns, here are some troubleshooting tips:

  1. Overcooked Prawns: If your prawns are tough and rubbery, reduce the cooking time next time. Remember that they continue to cook for a short while even after being removed from the microwave.
  2. Undercooked Prawns: If your prawns are still translucent in the center, add more microwaving time in small increments until they’re fully cooked. Be careful not to overdo it, as prawns can quickly become overcooked.
  3. Avoiding Rubbery Texture: Overcooking and high power settings are the main culprits behind rubbery prawns. Stick to medium power and shorter cooking times to ensure tender results.


Microwaving prawns might not be the first method that comes to mind, but it’s a convenient and quick way to enjoy this delicious seafood.

With the right selection, preparation, and cooking technique, you can create flavorful prawn dishes in a matter of minutes. So why not give it a try and see for yourself how convenient and tasty microwaved prawns can be?

Share your microwave prawn success stories with friends and family, and elevate your seafood game to a whole new level!

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