Chinese Chili Garlic Shrimp

4.86 from 14 votes
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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!

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

4.86 from 14 votes
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!
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: takeout
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 2 to 3 servings

Ingredients

  • 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

Sauce

Stir Fry

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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

  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.

Nutrition

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
Did You Make This Recipe?Don’t forget the last step! Tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!

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.

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I love a good sichuan spicy shrimp and I can’t wait to try the chili garlic sauce. What a delicious dish.

  2. Helen @ Scrummy Lane says:

    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!

  3. Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits says:

    I really wish that sichuan peppercorns were easier to find in the US. I miss that mala flavor so much! I’ll have to make the sauce with dried chili peppers!

  4. Marissa | Pinch and Swirl says:

    Maggie, I honestly want to eat everything you post. This looks incredible, as usual!

  5. Bam's Kitchen says:

    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!

  6. Silvia says:

    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.

  7. Emily Wendel says:

    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!

  8. Ginger Foo says:

    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.

  9. Joseph Anthony Lomsak says:

    This was real good and easy to make as you said.

  10. Jeremy says:

    5 stars
    Nice recipe. Spicy, but great flavor. Thanks!

  11. Brian Looney says:

    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!

  12. Kaye says:

    I have Ground fresh Chili paste in my pantry. Is it the same as sauce? Can i use it? Thank you!

    • Maggie says:

      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.

  13. Amanda says:

    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?

    • Maggie says:

      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.

  14. Lena Dyu says:

    5 stars
    Delicious 😋

  15. Lydia says:

    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!

  16. Lesley says:

    5 stars
    I made these but left out the brown sugar, delicious!

  17. Pam Maestre Slaski says:

    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!

  18. Blaine says:

    4 stars
    Really impressed! Will go in the KEEPER! File.

  19. Frank says:

    Hi Maggie. I made the Chinese chili garlic shrimp. No garlic/chili sauce used (wife cannot tolerate garlic), but used Guilin chili sauce (2 tsp. instead and lots of ginger. Since the volume was not 1/4 cup, I added water and a bit of oyster sauce. Dish was just great. I would, however, appreciate more comments from you regarding the heat (low/high etc) you feel that various things should be cooked at. Thanks again for a great meal. Tonight is salt and pepper pork chops.

    Frank

  20. Lisa says:

    5 stars
    If you like spicy, this is to die for!

  21. Sonali says:

    5 stars
    Easy, simple, and tastes better than take out!

  22. Ceci says:

    5 stars
    This shrimp recipe is outstanding! I only had sriracha so I reduced the sugar by half. Really awesome, easy and fast.

  23. Mark G. says:

    5 stars
    Simple but really impressive results!

  24. Naomi Scholte says:

    5 stars
    My favorite recipe so far 10/10 rating. Made it with with your homemade chili garlic sauce. And served it with white rice, garlic eggplant and 4 ingredient bok choy.. my mum loved it ❤️ Will be making this over and over again. Thank you for sharing Maggie!

  25. Jean Eddington-Shipman says:

    My son from Chicago and I loved this recipe. I spent three weeks is Shanghai so I appreciate good Chinese food. This recipe is out of this world! I stir fried onions, peppers, celery, and carrots as the side dish and placed the shrimp and garlic chili sauce on top. Fabulous recipe!

  26. Cate says:

    5 stars
    Hubby said this recipe made some of the best prawns (we are Australian and here we call them prawns) he has had. Have never made recipes from your website before but will definitely visit again.

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