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Nikki P's guide to butterflied prawns

Presenting a platter of perfectly cooked butterflied prawns is easier than you think.

butterflied prawns guide
Nikkis head shot




“Butterflying is a great way to cook and present prawns at your next barbecue. Not only do they look spectacular, but this technique locks in moisture while cooking to give you the best, juiciest prawns. A delicious and easy way to serve these prawns is with a little lemon juice, some fresh herbs and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Try my tips to master brilliant butterflied prawns for spring barbecue season.”

- Nikki P

How to butterfly prawns

Step 1 of 6


Uncurl whole, unpeeled prawns, and place on a board with the belly-side facing up.

Step 2 of 6


Using a sharp knife, carefully cut prawns from just under the head to the start of the tail, avoiding cutting through to the outer shell. Keeping the shell on butterflied prawns during cooking ensures they stay juicy and moist.


Step 3 of 6


Using the tip of a knife or a skewer, remove vein from prawns.

Step 4 of 6


Turn prawns over and gently press down on the prawn to open and flatten.

Step 5 of 6


Preheat a greased barbecue on medium heat, then cook prawns for 5 minutes, turning occasionally or until they change colour. To avoid overcooking prawns, which makes them dry and tough, cook only until the meat is opaque.

Step 6 of 6

Use it all up

Instead of throwing prawn heads and shells away, use them to make a stock. To do this, place prawn heads, prawn shells and 1 tbs oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes or until prawn shells begin to crisp. Add chopped veggies – such as onion, carrot and celery – and aromatics, such as peppercorns and bay leaves. Cover with water and bring to the boil, then simmer to allow the flavours to develop. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve before using. You can use this stock to add extra flavour to paella, risotto, fish stew or bisque.

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