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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 close up.

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

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Sweet and Sour Shrimp

4.63 from 27 votes
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.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4


Sweet and Sour Sauce-

Shrimp Stir-Fry-


  • Whisk together honey, rice vinegar, soy sauce, tomato paste, and pineapple juice and a medium bowl.
  • Whisk together cornstarch and water in a small bowl.
  • Dry shrimp with paper towels. Combine shrimp with salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
  • Heat a wok or large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and sesame oil.
  • 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.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan, once hot add the bell pepper and zucchini. Stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  • Add in the garlic and ginger, stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  • Add in the pineapple and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  • Pour in the sweet and sour sauce, stir and cook until simmering, 2 minutes.
  • Whisk the cornstarch mixture and then gradually add it to the center of the pan. Stir constantly until the sauce is thickened, 30 seconds.
  • Add the cooked shrimp, stir to combine and cook until shrimp are warmed through, 2 minutes.
  • Serve sweet and sour shrimp garnished with green onions and sesame seeds.



Calories: 279kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 2gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.04gSodium: 645mgPotassium: 414mgFiber: 3gSugar: 48gVitamin A: 1442IUVitamin C: 64mgCalcium: 34mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!

About 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

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Recipe Rating


  1. Not a big fan of the recipe. Doesn’t taste authentic. I’ve made sweet and sour sauce a lot of times before and this is quite different. The measurements for the sauce seem a bit off and instead I think using ketchup and white vinegar would have a more authentic taste. I grew up in Hong Kong so I know how sweet and sour sauce should be like. Quite disappointed!

    1. 3 stars
      Exactly! Either it’s too much honey or not enough saltiness. I had to double the soy sauce, add more salt, added an onion and still it wasn’t what I was hoping for.

  2. 5 stars
    I had homemade peach jam that I substituted for the honey; the ham was a little on the loose side.. It worked very well. I added green onions as well.

  3. 5 stars
    Followed to the letter except I added onion. Doubled everything. Fed 10 ppl. So good. It was delicious! Thank you!

  4. 5 stars
    Awesome. Amazing and just great. My entire family loved but I substituted chicken for shrimp for half the recipe for my kids. U can add some broccoli florets too that makes it great-ER!

  5. 4 stars
    Love the recipe! I served this tonight for 4 and everyone said it was great. I thought it was a little sweet and needed a little more sour. I am going to add a little more vinegar next time and see if that helps. I served this over steamed white rice.

  6. 5 stars
    Made this tonight and it is a keeper. Had everything I needed except zucchini so added thinly sliced sweet onion, a little more green pepper and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Next time I think I will add snow peas.

  7. 3 stars
    Although a good and easy recipe to make I found it too sweet. I will try it again, however next time I will cut the amount of honey in half.

  8. Easy recipe to make, however I found it very sweet, too sweet. Next time I make it I will cut the honey in half.

  9. 5 stars
    This was delicious!! I made it tonight and WOW!!
    Great recipe!!
    Thank you!

    I have a youtube channel on food and i haven’t posted in a while but this is a definitely perfect recipe, I Love it!! I would love to cook this on my channel to give you a shout out. It was a really delicious thank you!!
    I love pineapple but I did not have any cans of pineapple all I had were the little snack pears that my kids eat so I used the juice of pears and then I added the pear instead of the pineapple it worked great!

  10. 5 stars
    Awesome sauce! Been playing with these recipes for years, same concept with pork and chicken, a wok is what really makes it happen with high heat. My question though is what is the deal with shrimp tails? On or off seing so many recipes with tails on and I don’t see these dishes as finger food dishes????

    1. It is more of a presentation in the photo but I have heard it is best to cook with the tails on.