Can Mantis Shrimp Be Eaten?

Mantis shrimp, known as a powerful sea creature that also goes by the name stomatopods, are large and rumored to be delicious. Knowing that fishermen consider it dangerous and that they are carnivores that eat creatures larger than them, including their own kind, often causes people to wonder if mantis shrimp can be eaten.

Mantis shrimp can be eaten once cooked through various techniques added to multiple meals like seafood boil, sushi, pasta, and more. They are delicious and taste like regular pistol shrimp but sweeter, like lobster with tender meat but peeling the shell is slightly trickier than other shrimp.

In this article, you can learn about mantis shrimp, if you can eat it, the best way to cook it, what it tastes like, and how it differs from other shrimp types.

Can You Eat Mantis Shrimp?

Mantis shrimp, labeled after the idea that it looks like a larger version of pistol shrimp, is part of the marine crustacean order and called Stomatopod. Fishermen classify them as dangerous and aggressive and inhabit tropical and subtropical waters.

People are often conflicted on whether such a creature can be eaten since it is nicknamed a ‘thumb-splitter’ because of its notorious striking force. Humans who do not handle live mantis shrimp can receive painful gashes from the mantis shrimp.

The hesitation to eat mantis shrimp is understandable, but there is absolutely no issue or reason to hold back from enjoying them. Mantis shrimp must, however, be cooked before you attempt to eat them. We will discuss various ways you can cook and enjoy mantis shrimp.

Many people eat and enjoy mantis shrimp regularly. You can get them fresh and alive from a fish market or request for them to be cleaned before you purchase the mantis. If you buy them live, be careful of the shrimps’ aggressive nature.

How To Eat Mantis Shrimp?

Now that your confusion on whether or not you can eat mantis shrimp is cleared, you will need to understand how to eat it. Mantis shrimp has more meat than regular shrimp, and the shell is slightly trickier to get off.

Always remove the shell before eating; once the mantis is cooked, the shell sometimes peels off a little easier. If you want to know how to peel it before cooking to avoid the hassle when eating, you can follow a basic YouTube video to help, but here is a simple explanation.

Turn the mantis so the belly (soft meat) faces you. Use your thumb to press down along the sides near the shell’s edges. Be careful not to get pricked by the sharp ends of the shell. Once you press both sides, lift the shell from the top of the creature and peel it off.

Your mantis shrimp will be ready to be cooked and eaten. We discuss cooking methods in the next point, but remember that once your mantis is cooked, you may eat it. If you cook it with the shell, remove the shell before you eat, and do not try to eat the meat out of the shell.

You can eat mantis shrimp in various meals with various additions and sides. You can enjoy it the same way you eat regular pistol shrimp or other seafood. The mantis shrimp has more meat and is longer and larger than traditional shrimp, so you get a more filling and juicier meal.

How To Cook Mantis Shrimp?

Cooking mantis shrimp is not complicated. You can use the precise methods for cooking pistol shrimp, except that you are recommended to remove the shell before cooking. You can leave the shell in for more flavor and aesthetics for your meal if that is what you prefer.

Here are some techniques to use for cooking mantis shrimp:

  • Steaming for salads and sushi
  • Boiling to add to various meals or mixed seafood boil
  • Pan-frying with oil or butter and spices
  • Grilling in the oven for multiple meals
  • Barbecuing marinated mantis shrimp

These are simply basic examples and ideas. You can use mantis shrimp in several meals, like crumbed prawns, air frying it for healthier options, adding it to prawn curry, or mixing it with a delicious lemon butter sauce.

You can cook mantis shrimp if you know how to cook pistol shrimp. The one thing to remember is that mantis shrimp have more meat and may require an extra minute or two when cooking.

What Does Mantis Shrimp Taste Like?

If you are confident that you can cook mantis shrimp and have a better idea of how to cook and eat it, you want to know how it tastes and if it will be worth your efforts. Mantis shrimp is naturally flavorful and delicious; you don’t want to over-spice or overcook it.

You might think mantis shrimp would have a similar taste to pistol shrimp; however, it tastes more like lobster, with a sweetness in the flavor of the meat. Seafood has a distinctive taste, and you want to maintain that flavor even after cooking, or you lose the essence of the originality.

You can add spices and sauces to mantis shrimp when or after cooking, but you want to keep it to a minimum and use items that will enhance the original flavor instead of changing it. A little bit of pepper, butter, and garlic with a squeeze of lemon is probably the best way to enjoy mantis shrimp.

Is Mantis Shrimp Tastier Than Pistol Shrimp?

Most people interested in trying mantis shrimp are already fans of prawns. Pistol shrimp and prawns are delicious and easily many peoples’ ultimate favorite seafood. Mantis shrimp shouldn’t be compared to the two because even though it includes shrimp in the name, it is different.

If you compare them, you will notice many people prefer mantis shrimp because of its meatier content and naturally sweet flavor, like lobster. It is likely the tastiest shrimp you will find. 

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Mantis shrimp can be eaten, and you can enjoy it in various meals cooked in several ways. The shell can be removed or left on before cooking, but it must be removed before eating to avoid getting hurt by the sharp edges.