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Prawn vs. Langoustine — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Maham Liaqat — Updated on March 28, 2024
Prawns are a common name for large swimming crustaceans found worldwide, while langoustines are a specific type of shellfish resembling small lobsters, prevalent in European waters.
Prawn vs. Langoustine — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Prawn and Langoustine


Key Differences

Prawns are widely known for their diverse species and sizes, often found in both freshwater and marine environments. They are a popular seafood choice globally, known for their sweet, delicate flavor. Langoustines, also known as Norway lobsters (Nephrops norvegicus), inhabit the northeast Atlantic Ocean and parts of the Mediterranean Sea. They are highly prized for their firm, succulent meat and are considered a delicacy in European cuisine.
The physical appearance of prawns and langoustines differs significantly. Prawns have a more streamlined body and are equipped with claws on three pairs of their legs. Langoustines have a distinct pinkish-orange shell, a slender body, and long, narrow claws, making them resemble miniature lobsters more than they do prawns.
When it comes to culinary use, both prawns and langoustines are versatile and can be prepared in various ways. However, langoustines are often served whole or as a tail meat in fine dining, reflecting their premium status and delicate taste. Prawns, being more widely available and less expensive, are used in a broad array of dishes, from casual barbecues to gourmet meals.
In terms of nutritional value, both prawns and langoustines are low in fat and high in protein. They also provide a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. However, langoustines may be slightly richer in certain nutrients due to their diet and natural habitat.

Comparison Chart

Scientific Name

Varied, many species
Nephrops norvegicus


Worldwide, freshwater and marine
Northeast Atlantic, Mediterranean Sea


Streamlined body, claws on three pairs of legs
Pinkish-orange shell, slender body, narrow claws

Culinary Use

Versatile, used in various dishes
Often served whole, considered a delicacy

Nutritional Value

Low in fat, high in protein
Rich in omega-3, vitamins, and minerals

Price & Availability

More affordable, widely available
More expensive, considered premium

Compare with Definitions


Large swimming crustaceans.
Prawns are a favorite choice in seafood dishes around the world.


Predominantly found in European waters.
The best langoustines are sourced from the cold, clear waters of the northeast Atlantic.


Nutritional benefits.
Prawns are a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals.


Resemble small lobsters.
Langoustines are prized for their firm, succulent meat.


Popular in global cuisine.
Prawns are essential in dishes like paella, shrimp cocktail, and curry.


Higher in certain nutrients.
Langoustines are particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids, contributing to their premium nutritional profile.


Found in diverse environments.
Freshwater prawns and marine species offer a wide range of flavors.


Delicacy in European cuisine.
Langoustines are often the highlight of gourmet seafood dishes.


Delicate flavor.
The sweet, delicate taste of prawns makes them suitable for a variety of recipes.


Firm and sweet meat.
The delicate flavor and texture of langoustine tail meat are celebrated in fine dining.


Prawn is a common name for small aquatic crustaceans with an exoskeleton and ten legs (which is a member of the order decapoda), some of which can be eaten.The term "prawn" is used particularly in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Commonwealth nations, for large swimming crustaceans or shrimp, especially those with commercial significance in the fishing industry. Shrimp that are present in this category often belong to the suborder Dendrobranchiata.


A small edible lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) of the eastern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, having slender claws. Also called Norway lobster, scampi.


Any of various shrimps, especially one that is large or inhabits fresh water.


A small edible European orange-pink lobster, Nephrops norvegicus


The flesh of a prawn, used as food.


Caught in European waters; slenderer than American lobster


To fish for prawns.


A crustacean of the suborder Dendrobranchiata.


(Commonwealth) A crustacean, sometimes confused with shrimp.


Synonym of butterface: A woman with an attractive body but an unattractive face.
She's a prawn!


A fool, an idiot.


Alternative form of porn.


(intransitive) To fish for prawns.


Any one of numerous species of large shrimplike Crustacea having slender legs and long antennæ. They mostly belong to the genera Pandalus, Palæmon, Palæmonetes, and Peneus, and are much used as food. The common English prawn is Palæmon serratus.


Any of various edible decapod crustaceans


Shrimp-like decapod crustacean having two pairs of pincers; most are edible


Fish for prawns

Common Curiosities

What distinguishes prawns from langoustines?

Prawns have a more varied habitat and appearance, while langoustines are specific to certain cold waters and resemble miniature lobsters.

What are the best ways to prepare prawns?

Prawns can be cooked in a variety of ways, including frying, grilling, and adding them to pasta or curry, thanks to their versatility.

Where are langoustines found?

Langoustines are found in the northeast Atlantic Ocean and parts of the Mediterranean Sea.

How should langoustines be stored before cooking?

Langoustines should be kept on ice or in the refrigerator and cooked as soon as possible to maintain their quality.

Are prawns or langoustines more expensive?

Langoustines are generally more expensive due to their delicate flavor, texture, and status as a culinary delicacy.

How do you cook langoustines?

Langoustines can be boiled, grilled, or broiled, often served whole to highlight their premium quality and taste.

Are langoustines healthy to eat?

Yes, langoustines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, making them a healthy seafood option.

Can you substitute prawns for langoustines in recipes?

While you can substitute them based on availability, the unique taste and texture of langoustines make them a premium choice in gourmet cooking.

What makes langoustines premium seafood?

Their unique taste, texture, and the careful methods required to catch and preserve them contribute to their premium status.

What are the nutritional benefits of eating prawns?

Prawns are low in fat and high in protein, offering essential vitamins and minerals beneficial for health.

Can langoustines be farmed?

Langoustine farming is challenging due to their specific habitat requirements, making wild-caught langoustines more common.

Why are langoustines considered a delicacy?

Their delicate flavor, firm texture, and premium nutritional profile, along with their limited availability, make langoustines a sought-after delicacy.

How do the habitats of prawns and langoustines compare?

Prawns inhabit a wider range of environments, from freshwater to marine, worldwide, while langoustines are found in specific cold-water regions.

What is the difference in taste between prawns and langoustines?

Langoustines have a sweeter, more refined flavor compared to prawns, which have a broader taste profile due to the various species.

Are there any cultural preferences for prawns vs. langoustines?

Cultural and regional availability plays a significant role, with langoustines favored in European cuisine, while prawns are widely used in global dishes.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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