How to Peel and De-Vein Raw Prawns with Kitchen Scissors (Very Easy!)

How to Peel Prawns with Kitchen Scissors

I love prawns as they cook real fast, taste good, and are relatively cheap. The prawn heads are a real treasure as they can give soups a very rich flavour. Most of the time I will be using peeled prawns as they were a lot easier to eat. To me, the perfect peeled prawn must be de-veined – i.e. the gastrointestinal tract of the prawn should be removed. De-veining prawns is definitely not essential but it certainly make the prawns look a lot more prettier, don’t you think so? ;)

There are two general methods out there to de-vein the prawn, first is cutting a slit with a knife while the second is to use a toothpick to pull the tract out. However, both methods can only be used after the prawn is peeled, and they are not exactly very easy to pull off.

So – I can’t remember how – I’ve found a method which allows me to peel and de-vein the prawn almost at the same time – just by using a pair of sharp kitchen scissors. Here’s how:

Step-by-step Photos

How to Peel Prawns with Kitchen ScissorsHow to Peel Prawns with Kitchen Scissors
1) Grab a prawn and twist off the head.2) The prawn heads can be rinsed and used to cook seafood stock.
How to Peel Prawns with Kitchen ScissorsHow to Peel Prawns with Kitchen Scissors
3) Grab a pair of kitchen scissors and position it right in the middle of the prawn back.4) Start cutting through the shell.
How to Peel Prawns with Kitchen ScissorsHow to Peel Prawns with Kitchen Scissors
5) Cut all the way till you reach the tail.6) The shell will now come off very easily.
How to Peel Prawns with Kitchen ScissorsHow to Peel Prawns with Kitchen Scissors
7) Like this!8) Grab the tail and give it a sharp, tight pull and the whole shell will come right out.
How to Peel Prawns with Kitchen ScissorsHow to Peel Prawns with Kitchen Scissors
9) So now our prawn is peeled!10) The scissors should have made a slit on the prawn's back, exposing the gastrointestinal tract. Use your finger to pull it off.
How to Peel Prawns with Kitchen ScissorsHow to Peel Prawns with Kitchen Scissors
11) Voila! A peeled and de-veined prawn!12) And now your prawns are ready to be cooked!

Here are some peeling and de-veining tips:

  • I find it most effective and time-efficient when I work assembly-line-style: peel all the prawn heads off first; cut the shells; then peel and de-vein them.
  • Use fresh prawns so that the flesh is firm but still gives way under the kitchen scissors. I’ve not tried this method with cooked prawns – but most of the time I just peel the cooked ones with my hands.
  • If you want to butterfly the prawns, leave the tale intact when you cut the shell. After de-veining, use a small knife to cut the slit deeper.

Tips on cooking prawns:

  • I always marinate the prawns with a little salt first for about 5 to 10 minutes, rinse the salt off then pat them dry before cooking them. It gets rid of a little of the fishy smell and draws a little moisture out of the prawns, making the flesh firmer and more chewy. You can also marinate with a little rice wine (or sake) before cooking, but I usually don’t bother…
  • Prawns cook real fast, so cook them only when you are ready to serve and take them out the moment they are pink all over.

How to Peel Prawns with Kitchen Scissors

Happy peeling and de-veining!


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  1. says

    Hi Bobbi, thank you! I’d be honored if you link me into your delicious post :) Whenever my mom bought live prawns back, she will also stick them into the freezer before cooking them ;)

  2. says

    These are great step by step shots on how to devein and prepare shrimp. Can I add you as a reference on my last post? One more thing if you buy them live and still swimming from the wet market have them but them on ice to help sedate them for the ride home or otherwise they get a little crazy and you might loose control of the bag. LOL Have a super day. BAM

  3. says

    I’ve not seen nor tried this before, Jasline. It sure does look easier and safer than using a knife. It’s a great idea ond one that more than a few of us will be wondering why we didn’t think of it. :)

  4. says

    Jasline, thanks for your effort and time to explain this! Even though I don’t live in the region where you can buy fresh shrimp, this is so useful because peeled and de-veined shrimp costs more around here. Now I can buy frozen unpeeled one and peel and clean it my self and have a larger quantity for a cheaper price! :)

  5. says

    I have never tried scissors, brilliant. Peeling and deveining shrimp is not one of my favorite things to do but is one of those necessary tasks if you like shrimp and I do, very much. Great tip, going to try the scissors next time I make them.


  1. […] Peel and devein the prawns. Chop them into small pieces and marinate with 1 teaspoon of salt. Set aside for 10 minutes. Rinse the prawns and drain well. Sauté the prawns in a little oil / butter and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Remove the cooked prawns from heat and let cool. […]

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