Sweet and Sour Shrimp

Sweet and Sour Shrimp is a quick Chinese meal made all in on pot! Succulent seafood is stir-fried with bell peppers, zucchini, pineapple and then tossed in a tangy honey sauce. This dish comes together in just 20 minutes for a simple and flavorful dinner.

When you’re looking for a quick and easy Chinese inspired dinner, grabbing a wok and making a stir-fry is a tasty solution. This sweet and sour shrimp delivers protein, vegetables, and fruit all in one dish. If you’re looking for more fast and flavorful Asian recipes then try Instant Pot Beef with Broccoli, Teriyaki Beef Skewers, or Asian Grilled Flank Steak for your next weeknight dinner.

Sweet and Sour Shrimp

Sweet and Sour Shrimp

It may be tempting to pick up a take-out menu, but making a homemade stir-fry is a lot easier than you think. This wok-fired sweet and sour shrimp dish will satisfy all savory, sweet, and tangy cravings. Succulent shrimp paired with crisp bell peppers, tender zucchini, and tropical pineapple makes for a colorful presentation. At the end of a busy day, treat yourself to a restaurant quality home cooked meal that’s a breeze to prepare!

How do you make Sweet and Sour Shrimp?

  • To make the sweet and sour sauce combine honey, rice vinegar, soy sauce, tomato paste, and pineapple juice.
  • Make a cornstarch slurry.
  • Season shrimp with salt and pepper.
  • Cook shrimp with vegetables and sesame oil.
  • Stir-fry bell pepper, zucchini, garlic, ginger, and pineapple.
  • Add the sweet and sour sauce, simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the cornstarch slurry and cook until thickened, 30 seconds.
  • Add the shrimp, cook to warm, then garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

shrimp cooking in a wok

What size shrimp do you use?

When picking out shrimp, the best way to choose is by selecting count per pound to determine size. I like 16/20 count, which means that many pieces per pound. This gives about a two-bite shrimp that won’t quickly overcook in the hot wok. It will take less than 2 minutes to fully cook the shrimp, so keep a close eye. Overcook shrimp will curl into a tight “C” shape and the texture will be rubbery instead of tender.

cornstarch being poured into a wok to make sauce

What goes into a sweet and sour sauce?

It’s a tomato-base plus a sweetener and vinegar. I used my homemade sweet and sour dipping sauce recipe and converted it for the stir-fry. Most recipes contain ketchup, but I like the ability to control the amounts of each ingredient going in for a more wholesome option. A combination of tomato paste, honey, soy sauce, and pineapple juice provides the perfect flavor balance. A cornstarch slurry is added at the very end of cooking the sauce to create a luscious coating that clings to the shrimp.

Looking for more Asian shrimp recipes? Try these ones!

Shrimp Pad Thai
Sticky Sesame Garlic Shrimp
15-minute Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry

Sweet and Sour Shrimp in a wok

Sweet and Sour Shrimp

5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Sweet and Sour Shrimp is a quick Chinese meal made all in on pot! Succulent seafood is stir-fried with bell peppers, zucchini, pineapple and then tossed in a tangy honey sauce.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese

Ingredients

Sweet and Sour Sauce-

  • ½ cup honey
  • cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water

Shrimp Stir-Fry-

  • 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined, 16/20 count size
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 cup red bell pepper ¾-inch dice
  • 1 cup zucchini ¼-inch slices
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 tablespoon sliced green onion
  • ¼ teaspoon sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Whisk together honey, rice vinegar, soy sauce, tomato paste, and pineapple juice and a medium bowl.
  2. Whisk together cornstarch and water in a small bowl.
  3. Dry shrimp with paper towels. Combine shrimp with salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
  4. Heat a wok or large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and sesame oil.
  5. Once the oil is hot add the shrimp in a single layer, do not move for 1 minute. Stir and cook another 30 seconds. Transfer cooked shrimp to a clean plate.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan, once hot add the bell pepper and zucchini. Stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  7. Add in the garlic and ginger, stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  8. Add in the pineapple and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  9. Pour in the sweet and sour sauce, stir and cook until simmering, 2 minutes.
  10. Whisk the cornstarch mixture and then gradually add it to the center of the pan. Stir constantly until the sauce is thickened, 30 seconds.
  11. Add the cooked shrimp, stir to combine and cook until shrimp are warmed through, 2 minutes.
  12. Serve sweet and sour shrimp garnished with green onions and sesame seeds.

 

Jessica Gavin

Jessica is a Certified Food and Culinary Scientist. She’s also a culinary school graduate and a teacher at heart. Jessica loves nothing more than unraveling the science behind better, healthier cooking and sharing that know-how with her readers at JessicaGavin.com

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