Feeding frequency is important for the improvement of growth performance and immunity of aquatic animals. In this study, the effect of feeding frequency on growth, body composition, antioxidant status and mRNA expression of immunodependent genes before or after ammonia-N stress was examined in Macrobrachium nipponense. Prawns were randomly assigned to one of five feeding frequencies (1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 times/day) following the same ration size over an 8-week growth trial. After the feeding trial, prawns were challenged by ammonia-N. The weight gain of prawns fed with 3–6 times/day was significantly higher than that of prawns fed with 1 time/day. The best feed conversion ratio was obtained from prawns fed with 3–6 times/day. Body crude lipid with feeding frequency of 3, 4 or 6 times/day was quite lower than that with 1 time/day. High feeding frequency (6 times/day) induced significantly elevated hepatopancreas super oxide dismutase and catalase activities. The malondialdehyde level in prawns fed with 6 times/day was also significantly increased, which was higher than that of prawns fed with other feeding frequency. mRNA expression of toll like receptor 3 and myeloid differentiation primary response protein MyD88 was promoted by feeding frequency from 3 to 4 time/day but inhibited by high or low feeding frequency. Similar mRNA expression variation trends of the two genes were observed in prawns after ammonia-N stress. After ammonia-N challenge, the highest cumulative mortality was observed in prawns fed with 6 times/day, which was significantly higher than that of prawns fed with 2–4 times/day. These findings demonstrate that (1) too high feeding frequency induced oxidative stress and malondialdehyde accumulation, negatively affecting the health status of prawns and reduced its resistance to ammonia-N stress; (2) the optimal feeding frequency to improve growth and immune response of this species at juvenile stage is 3–4 times/day; (3) considering costs of labour, a feeding frequency of 3 times/day is recommended for this prawn.