Pan Fried King Prawns In Garlic Butter

White bowl of prawns in garlic butter with parsley on a grey stone background.

These hot, Pan Fried King Prawns in Garlic Butter is a creation of my Dad’s that now not only graces the back cover of my cookbook, One Pan Pescatarian (ad), but which never fails to bring back memories of making and eating them together where they originated – our old kitchen in France where we used to make them with local crevettes, good French butter, and fight over who would use a piece of baguette to wipe the last of the garlic and shell-infused garlic butter from the frying pan.

Prawns in a frying pan with garlic butter.

In the local village one lunchtime we both enjoyed a plate of fat pan fried king prawns, still in their shells, doused in garlic butter and whilst for me this recipe has replaced those prawns in my memory, for my father they were so memorable when we did our food shop in the nearby HyperU after lunch (I wish our supermarket fish counters were like the ones in Brittany!) he picked up a packet of prawns just to recreate this dish. We shared a portion of them on almost every trip to the house afterwards until we sold it in 2019.

Hot King Prawns In Garlic Butter #prawns #shrimp #shellfish #seafood

Aside from the incredible taste, what I love about this recipe is that it is so stupidly easy to make and is great as a lunch or a light supper, serve with lovely fresh crusty bread to mop up the delicious butter from the bottom of your bowl. I also love how versatile it is – you’ll notice this is an updated version of a post from 2012 and I’ve kept all the original photos from that post as well as adding new ones – and the French prawns are different from the ones we used shooting One Pan (not actually the ones we ordered for the shoot, but the ones that turned up!), which are both different from the fat, giant ones I now buy from my fishmongers down on the beach, which you can see in my updated images. Pretty much any cooked, shell on prawn will be delicious here.

Hot King Prawns In Garlic Butter #prawns #shrimp #shellfish #seafood
Garlic frying in a frying pan of butter.
Prawns cooking in a pan of garlic butter.
Melting butter into a pan of garlic prawns.
Garlic butter prawns with parsley in a frying pan.

The process of cooking is really simple. Melt a couple of thick slices of butter (I’ve got measurements below if you’d prefer to follow an exact recipe!) in a pan over a medium heat until it is bubbling slightly. If you are using even slightly salted butter take extra care to make sure the butter does not burn as the salt makes this a lot more likely. Peel and either finely chop or crush the garlic and stir that into the butter before adding the prawns until they cover the bottom of the pan. Toss them every few minutes so they are entirely coated in the butter and they start to heat through. While you are doing this, melt a few more thick slices of butter into the pan around the prawns. Once the butter has turned slightly orange, smells amazing and the prawns have heated through, stir in a very large handful of chopped parsley and serve the prawns in slightly warmed bowls to stop the butter from starting to set in the bottom as you eat. 

Eating this at home, we just make a mess of ourselves and clean up later – our only concession to preparing the table being a bowl ready for the discarded shells – but if you do plan on serving this to guests, put out a small bowl with warm water and a lemon slice (it helps remove the fat) for each person to wash their fingers after enjoying these – and don’t bother using a white tablecloth!

Hot King Prawns In Garlic Butter #prawns #shrimp #shellfish #seafood
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Prawns in a frying pan with garlic butter.

Hot King Prawns In Garlic Butter

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 1-2 1x
  • Cuisine: French


This simple and delicious recipe for French-style Pan Fried King Prawns in Garlic Butter is an indulgent summer lunchtime treat – ready in just 15 minutes and requiring just 4 ingredients it is perfect served with a baguette to mop up all that delicious prawn-infused garlic butter from the bottom of your bowl.


  • 60g (4 tbsp) lightly salted butter
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • roughly 300g (10 oz) cooked shell on prawns
  • small handful flat leaf parsley


  1. Heat most of the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat until frothy. Add the garlic – finely chopped – and gently cook until the garlic is soft.
  2. Add the prawns to the pan and gently cook until they’re heated through.
  3. Add the parsley – finely chopped – and the remaining butter. Cook until the butter has melted and serve in warm bowls to stop the butter hardening in the bottom whilst you’re still eating.


Add a pinch of salt at the end of cooking if you only have unsalted butter to hand.