Skip to main content

  • Dairy free
  • Egg free
  • Gluten free
  • Lactose free
  • Peanut free
  • Sesame free
  • Soy free
  • Wheat free
  • Low fat per serve
  • No added sugar

There’s no need to waste prawn heads and shells. Make a prawn stock with them and you’ll have the base for any dish in need of seafood flair!

  • Makes6, Approx. 6 cups (1.5L)
  • Cook time2 hour 30 minutes
  • Prep time10 minutes
Prawn stock


  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1kg prawn heads and shells
  • 2 brown onions, finely chopped
  • 1 baby fennel, stalks and leaves, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 small head garlic, cloves smashed and skin left on
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup (185ml) dry sherry or white wine
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds, bruised

Nutritional information

Per serve: Energy: 173kJ/41 Cals (2%), Protein: 6g (12%), Fat: 2g (3%), Sat Fat: 0.4g (2%), Sodium: 397mg (20%), Carb: 0g (0%), Sugar: 0g (0%), Dietary Fibre: 2g (7%).

Check ingredient labels to make sure they meet your specific dietary requirements and always consult a health professional before changing your diet. View dietary information here.

Percentage Daily Intake information on our recipes is calculated using the nutrition reference values for an average Australian adult.


  1. Step 1

    Heat half the oil in a large saucepan or stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the prawn heads and shells. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 mins or until shells change colour and caramelise. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

  2. Step 2

    Add the remaining oil to pan. Cook the onion, fennel, carrot and garlic, stirring, for 8-10 mins or until soft and starting to brown. Stir in tomato paste. Return the prawn mixture to the pan with the sherry or wine. Cook for 3-4 mins or until sherry is reduced by half. Add 8 cups (2L) water, bay leaves and fennel seeds.

  3. Step 3

    Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, skimming the surface of any scum occasionally, for 2 hours or until reduced by a third. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl.

Recipe tip

Freeze prawn heads and shells as you use them, so you can accumulate a good amount to make your stock. 

Prawn stock can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Make an Asian-inspired version of this stock by adding chopped fresh ginger, chilli and coriander stems and roots.

Clever storage:
Prawn heads and shells can be frozen for up to 1 month. Prawn stock can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. It can be frozen in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

Prawn stock recipe

Homemade prawn stock has a whole lot going for it. It’s a fantastic way to use up prawn heads and shells and, when stored in the freezer, can be used to create a world of recipes with prawn stock at their heart. Seafood bisque, broths and other soups, risotto, polenta and couscous all welcome prawn head stock to give the subtle seafood flavour depth that is the key to their deliciousness. 

How to make prawn stock

Stock is a breeze to make because it really does cook by itself. You simply prep it and leave it to simmer for a couple of hours while you think about what you’ll do with your end product. Prawn stock uses prawn heads and shells, so there’s no need to throw them away when you’ve used prawns in other dishes. You can stockpile them in the freezer, make a big batch of this prawn shell stock recipe and freeze it for future use. 

Using vegetables and other ingredients to add flavour

Our prawn head stock recipe uses ingredients like fennel, garlic, carrot, sherry and tomato paste, giving it a decidedly Italian or Spanish flavour. This is delicious in its own right, but you can easily turn it into an Asian-style stock for ramens and Thai soup classic, tom yum goong. Just add some chopped fresh ginger, chilli and coriander stems and roots to your ingredients list. Lemongrass and lime leaves added to the mix would certainly give a wonderful Thai spin as well.

Love this recipe?

How to use prawn stock? It can be used in many dishes and as a replacement for fish stock or seafood stock as well. But another stock that’s incredibly handy is a flavoursome chicken stock. It can bring an unctuous flavour to dishes from just about every cuisine there is. Pasta dishes, paella, soups, casseroles and stews – look up the recipes and the chances are you’ll find chicken stock on the ingredients list. For an excellent chicken stock, you can’t go past our homemade chicken stock recipe. It’s simple, yet bursting with perfect flavour. Also try our beef stock recipe.