Sweet and Sour Shrimp is a restaurant-quality Chinese dish that’s ready in minutes–literally! The recipe is quick, easy and healthier than some take-out versions, which often include preservatives and MSG. Tasty shrimp, stir-fried with bell peppers and water chestnuts, then tossed in a sweet and tangy sauce, served over a fluffy bed of rice. When you’re craving an Asian-inspired dish, Sweet and Sour Shrimp is a go-to meal!
Ordering Chinese take-out is an easy, but often costly option. A restaurant order for two could easily cost $25 or more, but this homemade restaurant-quality version feeds 4 people for much less!
Do I Need a Wok for Sweet and Sour Shrimp?
A wok is nice, but certainly not required. Woks are generally used for high heat dishes, however, this dish does not require such a high heat, so any non-stick skillet works great.
How Do I Make Sweet and Sour Shrimp?
- Make the cornstarch slurry first and set it aside
- Peel, clean and devein the shrimp
- Chop the vegetables
- Combine sauce ingredients in saucepan on low
- Make the rice
- Cook the vegetables and shrimp
- Pour the sauce into the veggie/shrimp skillet
- Add cornstarch slurry to the skillet and cook until the sweet and sour sauce thickens
- Plate rice, top with shrimp/veggie combination and sauce; garnish with green onions and/or toasted sesame seeds
What Size Shrimp Do I Use?
Shrimp size is determined by the number of shrimp per pound. You may see numbers like 16/20 or 20/24 on the package–this means there are about 16-20 shrimp per pound in the package.
Shrimp in the 16/20 category work great in this recipe because the shrimp are large enough (about two bites per shrimp), yet they still cook quickly (in about 3 minutes.) You can use larger shrimp, just keep in mind they will take a bit longer to cook.
Salad, or canned shrimp are not recommended because they cook too fast and have a tendency to be “rubbery” in texture.
What Type of Rice Should I Use?
Both Basmati and Jasmine rice taste delicious in the Sweet and Sour Chicken. Basmati rice has a nice nutty flavor where Jasmine has a more floral flavor. It’s really a matter of preference. Plain white or brown rice works equally well, too.
Craving More Asian Inspired Dishes?
Sweet and Sour Shrimp
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce use tamari sauce for gluten-free
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ⅔ cup pineapple juice see notes
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ⅓ cup water
Stir Fry Ingredients
- 3 cups prepared rice Basmati, Jasmine, White or Brown
- 1 cup red bell pepper chopped
- 1 cup green bell pepper chopped
- 1 can water chestnuts chopped
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- green onions for garnish
- sesame seeds for garnish
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Make the slurry: in a measuring cup, combine cornstarch and water; set aside
- Peel, rinse and devein shrimp; season with salt and pepper; set aside
- Chop vegetables; set aside
- Prepare rice according to directions
Sweet and Sour Sauce Instructions
- In a medium saucepan, add all sauce ingredients, bring to boil; turn heat to simmer and set aside
Stir Fry Instructions
- Add sesame oil to a large, non-stick skillet on medium high heat
- Add bell peppers and water chestnuts; cook for 3 minutes
- Next, add shrimp to skillet; cook 3 minutes until shrimp begin to turn pink
- Pour sauce into skillet; combine well
- Pour cornstarch slurry into skillet; reduce heat and cook until sauce begins to thicken
- Plate rice, then add shrimp and sauce; garnish with green onions and sesame seeds
- Do NOT use fresh pineapple juice; use canned. Fresh pineapple contains the enzyme Bromelain, which keeps the sauce from thickening after you've added the cornstarch slurry.
- Feel free to add other vegetables to the stir fry:
- bamboo shoots
- bok choy
- bean sprouts