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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

4.70 from 26 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-

  • 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


  • 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.


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

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
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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. 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.

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

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 5 stars
    LOVE this recipe! One of my favorites to make now. So easy & delicious! Thank you so much for sharing! it is now a staple in our household and tastes better than restaurant sweet & sour.

  6. 5 stars
    This was so delicious!! Tastes better than restaurant quality and so easy to make! Definitely a family staple now. Thanks for the recipe!! We absolutely love it!

  7. 5 stars
    Made half the recipe for 2 of us. Did use 1/2 cup crushed pineapple and it was distributed well.
    Everything else was the same. Served over cauliflower rice. Very good. Will definitely make again.

  8. 5 stars
    Super quick to make, tastes better than anything I’ve had in a restaurant or authentic take-out. Not too sweet, just the right sour tang. You should under-cook the shrimp because when you add it back to the sauce, which is going to be really hot, the shrimp will end up being over-cooked. I put the cooked shrimp over rice and THEN added the sauce over it and the shrimp was perfect. Will absolutely make this again. Great recipe Jessica Garvin!