Air Fry Your Frozen Prawns Without Thawing Them First

Air Fry Your Frozen Prawns Without Thawing Them First

Prawns are an incredible source of weeknight protein. They cook fast, taste great and can be served alongside pretty much any carb or vegetable your throw at it. It also takes well to a wide variety of seasonings — Cajun prawns, Old Bay prawns, garlic prawns, soy-ginger prawns — and can be cooked in five-to-10 minutes from completely frozen, right in your air fryer.

The main concern with cooking proteins from frozen is that “the seasoning won’t stick,” but guess what? They stick just fine, as does any oil you drizzle on top of the frozen sea bugs. (The oil is actually slowed by the coldness of the prawn, causing it to stick even harder.) Cooking prawns this way is so fast, so easy and so delicious, it has replaced both sautéing and broiling as my favourite prawn-cooking method (at least when I’m cooking for just myself, or myself and my partner). There’s no flipping, only a little basket shaking, and they come out hot, plump, and juicy, with a subtle snap — perfect for tossing into tacos, onto pasta, or over a bed of greens for a quick, protein-packed salad.

It’s a method so simple that you don’t even need a recipe. Set your air fryer to 200°C and, while it’s heating, grab the amount of (frozen) prawns you want and place them in a big mixing bowl. (Peeled, or at least deveined prawns work best, as you cannot devein a frozen prawn.) Drizzle on enough oil to coat, then shake on your favourite seasoning (or a blend of your favourites). That’s the entirety of the prep work.

Once your air fryer is heated to 200°C, dump the prawns in there. The amount of time they need to cook will depend on the size of your prawn and the amount you have crammed into your air fryer basket (try to keep them in a single layer). I was able to cook eight medium-sized peeled and deveined prawns from frozen in a mere five minutes, so start checking around the three-minute mark and give the prawn a little shake to make sure the seasonings are evenly dispersed.

Cook your prawns until they are just firm and opaque. I always add a few extra “test prawns” to the air fryer so I can slice them open and take a peek to check for doneness. Once they reach that point, take them out and consume happily. (I ate them directly from the basket just now, and I don’t regret a single thing.)

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