Chinese Chili Garlic Shrimp

Spicy, garlicky, and sweet all at once, these crispy chili garlic shrimp will be your new favorite takeout dish at home in your own kitchen!

Chili garlic shrimp in a pan

If you love shrimp as much as I do, and you also happen to love Chinese takeout, then my Chinese chili garlic shrimp is a recipe you’ve simply got to try. In a matter of minutes, you can have juicy shrimp with a crispy exterior on your plate. The sauce is perfectly spicy and garlicky with just the right amount of sweetness.

Whether you’ve had a busy day or you simply don’t want to do very much to get dinner on the table, all it takes is a few simple ingredients to pull it together. Choose fresh shrimp if you can find them because the better the quality, the more you’re going to love it.

Shrimp in chili garlic sauce with rice

Ingredients & prep

It seems that most people already have these ingredients in their kitchen. I use my homemade chili garlic sauce, though you can use store-bought if you can’t find what you need to make the homemade sauce. My chili garlic shrimp recipe calls for Shaoxing wine as an optional ingredient. While it adds another bit of complexity to the flavor profile, you will still get an amazing chili garlic shrimp dish even without it. 

Ingredients for making chili garlic shrimp

Cooking process

Cooking chili garlic shrimp is so easy. All you need to do is:

  1. Coat the marinated shrimp with cornstarch and flour
  2. Pan fry the shrimp until crispy
  3. Saute the ginger
  4. Pour in the sauce and thicken it, then add back the shrimp
Cooking chili garlic shrimp step-by-step
Cooking shrimp in chili garlic sauce

NOTE: coat the shrimp with cornstarch and flour right before cooking. It will keep the coating extra crispy and crunchy.

TIP: Set your rice cooker to steam some white rice, which goes perfectly with the shrimp as it soaks in that sensational sauce, and you’ll have a well-rounded, totally satisfying dinner on your table.

Shrimp in chili garlic sauce with rice close up

Crispy shrimp without deep frying

You don’t even need a wok for this. I prefer a medium-sized skillet. This shallow-fry technique gives you that crispy texture for these chili garlic shrimp while using much less oil. It’s a healthier version of the takeout delight, one that will surely brighten up your meal. 

Chili garlic shrimp close up

This dish is beyond simple, beyond flavorful, and beyond impressive when entertaining guests, though you may just want to keep enjoying this one for yourself for a while!

More Chinese takeout recipes

Need a more complete Chinese takeout-at-home experience? Make these simple dishes below to serve with the chili garlic shrimp:

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Spicy, garlicky, and sweet all at once, these crispy chili garlic shrimp will be your new favorite takeout dish at home in your own kitchen!

Chinese Chili Garlic Shrimp

Spicy, garlicky, and sweet all at once, these crispy chili garlic shrimp will be your new favorite takeout dish at home in your own kitchen!
Course Main
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword takeout
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2 to 3 servings
Calories 275kcal
Author Maggie Zhu


  • 1 lb (450 g) raw shrimp , peeled & deveined (*Footnote 1)
  • 1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine (Optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour


Stir Fry

  • 4 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger , minced


  • Combine the shrimp and Shaoxing wine in a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle evenly with salt. Mix until the salt is evenly dispersed. Set aside while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
  • Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir until the brown sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
  • Heat 4 tablespoons of oil (or just enough to cover the bottom of the pan) in a medium-sized skillet until hot. Meanwhile, add the cornstarch and all-purpose flour to the bowl with the shrimp. Toss until the shrimp are fully coated.
  • Shake the extra flour off the shrimp and add them to the pan. You might need to cook them in two batches. Let the shrimp cook without touching them, until the bottom turns golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip to brown the other side, another 2 to 3 minutes. Once done, transfer the shrimp to a large plate without overlapping and keep cooking the rest.
  • Once you’re done cooking the shrimp, turn off the stove and use paper towels to wipe the pan to remove any residue.
  • Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add the ginger and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the sauce to the pan. Cook and stir until the sauce becomes thick and glossy, 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Turn the heat off and return the shrimp into the pan, tossing to coat thoroughly.
  • Serve hot as a main dish.


  1. If using frozen shrimp, thaw the shrimp thoroughly before using. To thaw shrimp faster, place the shrimp in a ziplock bag, squeeze out as much air as possible, and seal the bag airtight. Submerge the bagged shrimp in a large bowl of room temperature water. The shrimp will be thawed in 30 minutes or so.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 275kcal | Carbohydrates: 18.6g | Protein: 23.6g | Fat: 10.9g | Saturated Fat: 2.1g | Cholesterol: 212mg | Sodium: 768mg | Potassium: 213mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 10g | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 1mg

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

Other delicious shrimp recipes

Lilja Walter is a part of the Omnivore’s Cookbook team and worked closely with Maggie to develop and test this recipe.


Omnivore's Cookbook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to
Meet Maggie

Hi I'm Maggie Zhu! Welcome to my site about modern Chinese cooking - including street food, family recipes, and restaurant dishes. I take a less labor-intensive approach while maintaining the taste and look of the dish. I am originally from Beijing, and now cook from my New York kitchen.

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Recipe Rating

22 thoughts on “Chinese Chili Garlic Shrimp

  1. Helen @ Scrummy Lane

    Maggie, I have to disagree with you and say that I think this dish is actually quite healthy … there is only that teensy bit of sugar in there!
    Looks and sounds absolutely divine … I really have to start making some of your recipes!

  2. Bam's Kitchen

    This recipe looks and sounds so delicious! I know my boys would be all over this recipe. Were you reading my mind? Guess what I just picked up at the wet market today? You guessed it shrimp. I love that tongue numbing sensation from the Sichuan chili oil. Sharing, of course!

  3. Silvia

    Maggie, this looks amazing! As usual when I am visiting your blog, I end up unable to decide which of those awesome treats I should cook next 😉 It would be great to have a little piece of advice from you that would really help me make my pick. Which of your recipes are easy and fast enough to make the evening before a working day and stay pleasing to the eye and taste buds all through morning and afternoon of the next day and the day after that? The area around my workplace is more or less deserted office-tower wasteland, so preparing food for 1-2 days in advance and bringing it to work is crucial for me. Maybe you have some experience with bringing home cooked food to work and like to share.

    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Silvia, I’m so glad to hear you find my recipes helpful 🙂
      Yes, I used to bring lunch box to work everyday too, and I have some quick and easy recipes for you.

      There are basically three ways that work the best for lunchbox:

      1. One dish meal (e.g. fried rice, fried noodles)

      2. Stir-fry dishes that contains several ingredients + steamed rice

      3. Braised meat + 1 super easy stir-fry + steamed rice
      Cook a huge batch of braised meat beforehand (you might need to do this on the weekend). Separate them into smaller portion (2 – 3 serves) and freeze them. (1 hr and 30 mins) (35 mins) (time consuming, but it’s my favorite!)

      Cook rice and stir fried veggies during the week. The rice will stay good for a few days, but I generally prefer to eat the veggies the next day. (classic lunchbox dish)

      To prepare lunch box, you can thaw the braised meat, cook rice and a super easy stir fried dish the day before.

      The third method sounds like a bit trouble, but it saves more time during the week, since you only need to do sth super easy to get some veggies into the meal. It generally only takes 15 minutes to prep and cook an easy veggie dish. I don’t recommend to store the veggies in the freeze more than one day. But it you have to, you can cook things like okra and green beans. They stay longer.

      This got a bit long. I think I should organize these together and publish a post about lunchbox. Thanks for this idea and hope my answer is helpful 🙂

      1. Silvia

        Thank you so much, Maggie!! Your recommendations are amazing and I can’t wait to combine items from your list for my next weekly lunch plan! 🙂 Your passion for cooking and food really pours out of every corner of your blog. It’s really a pleasure to visit and linger on your page.

      2. Maggie Post author

        You’re the most welcome Silvia! I’m really happy that you found my recommendations helpful, and I can’t wait to hear more about the outcomes of your new meal plan! Please feel free to drop a message if you come across any question. Happy cooking 🙂

  4. Emily Wendel

    I made this tonight along with your Chinese Vegetables using spinach. This was amazing! I added walnuts and green onions to the shrimp, used sake for the marinade and a mix of sesame oil and grapeseed oil for the stir fry and garilic oil. Served with Jasmine rice. This will definitely be on my rotation. Thank you for the great recipe!

  5. Ginger Foo

    This recipe surpassed expectations. I had all the ingredients; and once the shrimp is deveined and cleaned the prep is quick. So easy to make and yes it’s hot but the sugar addition does offset it. The outcome was delicious.

  6. Brian Looney

    5 stars
    This was delicious and simple to make. I only had 2/3 lb of shrimp so I added a 0.4 lb catfish fillet cut into chunks (about 1″cubes) and coated/cooked everything the same. Amazingly good! Thanks!

    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Kaye, it’s hard to tell without looking at the type of chili paste you have. But if it only contains chili peppers, it might lack the garlic and light vinegar taste from the chili garlic sauce. I think you can use it to make this dish, but maybe add 1 clove garlic to the stir fry (same step you add the ginger) and 1 teaspoon rice vinegar (or any type of white color vinegar) to the sauce.

  7. Amanda

    4 stars
    Hi Maggie, this dish tasted wonderful. The light notes of ginger, garlic and the kick of chili really inspired me to try more Asian influenced dishes. My only complaint is it was overly salted, which I don’t think is the recipes fault. I used a store bought chili garlic sauce and it seems to have a high sodium content (35% in 1 tbsp). Is there any idea of how to dilute the salt content in the sauce without losing the texture or flavor?

    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Amanda, I’m glad to hear you like the dish. To reduce the saltiness, you can use a small pinch (1/8 teaspoon) salt to marinate the shrimp, or skip it all together.

  8. Lydia

    5 stars
    Amazing simple and delicious! I forgot to throw in the minced ginger and sauté it so I added it to the shrimp at the end and it was still perfect. Exactly what I was looking for to accompany my tofu and cabbage dishes!

  9. Pam Maestre Slaski

    5 stars
    It was a Saturday night. the hubby was going to watch football with his buddy. I was in the mood for Chinese…..I live in SE Florida there no really good Chinese restaurants in my area. So began my search for a recipe and then I found this recipe. Chinese Chili Garlic Shrimp is a OMG WOW WOW WOW recipe! First time ever making an Asian recipe that actually taste what I have known Chinese food (in my opinion) should taste. This dish is so easy to make, a bit spicy for the light weights but very very tasty, and the light crunchiness of the shrimp is perfect. I served over a bed of Jasmine rice, topped off with chopped green onions …. Can’t wait to try some of your other recipes. Thsnk you Maggie!