This Sweet and Sour Shrimp recipe is a restaurant-quality, gluten-free Chinese dish that's ready in minutes and "better-than-takeout!"
All-natural ingredients, it doesn't include preservatives, has no MSG and requires no flour or breading on the shrimp.
Shrimp stir fry with rice is perfect for a quick and filling weeknight dinner!
Ordering Chinese Sweet and Sour Shrimp take-out is an easy, but often costly option.
This quick and easy recipe is ideal for busy weeknights! A "one-dish-dinner" that is preservative-free and delicious! Serve this with a side of Wonton soup and call it dinner!
Why you'll love this recipe
This Chinese Sweet and Sour Shrimp recipe is a go-to menu item at our house! I love it because you can switch out the shrimp for chicken if you don't like seafood! To make things go even quicker, use a microwavable basmati rice and you'll have dinner on the table in less than 15-minutes!
- Affordable: A restaurant order for two could easily cost $25 or more, but this homemade restaurant-quality version feeds 4 people for much less!
- Quick & easy: ready in minutes - 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.
- Gluten-free - no flour or breading on the shrimp!
- When you're craving an Asian-inspired dish, this is definitely a "go-to" meal! I usually add a little soy sauce or have some Hoisin sauce on the side to ramp up that umami flavor you get in a Chinese restaurant!
Shrimp doesn't take long to cook-maybe 5-8 minutes and the onions, bell peppers and water chestnuts saute to just the right texture in a few minutes! The sauce comes together with simple ingredients and is ready in about 5 minutes!
Do I need a wok for Sweet and Sour Shrimp?
A wok is nice, but this can be made with no wok. I use a large non-stick skillet. Woks are generally used for high heat dishes, with heat levels around 400ºF.
This shrimp stir-fry does not require such a high heat, so any non-stick skillet works great.
How to make it:
This is an easy Chinese Sweet and Sour shrimp recipe that comes together in minutes! Just a few simple steps!
- 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
- Aded veggies and shrimp
- 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.
Can I use frozen shrimp?
Fresh or frozen shrimp works in this sweet and sour recipe! If you use frozen, be sure to peel, devein and thaw first.
Some folks have allergic reactions to pineapple. If that's the case, simply make this without pineapple! You can increase the amount of brown sugar or substitute pineapple juice with orange juice.
What type of rice should I use?
Both Basmati and Jasmine rice taste delicious in this recipe. Basmati rice has a nice nutty flavor where Jasmine has a more floral flavor.
Plain white or brown rice works equally well, too.
Make in advance if you're busy! Make the sauce, refrigerate for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, heat the sauce on the stovetop, add in the shrimp and you're done!
Storage and reheating
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or freeze for up to 3 months.
Reheat on the stovetop. The sauce may thicken upon storage and you may need to add a little water.
Serve this Chinese Sweet and Sour Shrimp recipe with a few garnishes of chopped scallions (green onions) and toasted sesame seeds! And don't forget the fortune cookie!
- Wonton Soup or Chinese Sticky Ribs
- Harissa Shrimp with Black Rice
- Crunchy Asian Salad
- Creamy Coconut Shrimp
If you make this recipe, please scroll down and leave a comment and rating! I love to hear from you!
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 , packed
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- ⅔ cup pineapple juice see notes; (optional)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ⅓ cup water
Stir Fry Ingredients
- 1 pound shrimp , peeled and deveined
- 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
- salt and pepper , to taste
- Make the slurry: in a measuring cup, combine cornstarch and water; set aside⅓ cup water, 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Peel, rinse and devein shrimp; set aside1 pound shrimp
- Chop vegetables; set aside1 cup red bell pepper, 1 can water chestnuts, 1 cup green bell pepper
- Prepare rice according to directions3 cups prepared rice
Sweet and Sour Sauce Instructions
- In a medium saucepan, add all sauce ingredients, bring to boil; turn heat to simmer and set aside½ cup rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, ½ cup light brown sugar, 3 tablespoons ketchup
Stir Fry Instructions
- Add sesame oil to a large, non-stick skillet on medium high heat½ teaspoon sesame oil
- Add bell peppers and water chestnuts; cook for 3 minutes1 cup green bell pepper, 1 can water chestnuts
- Next, add shrimp to skillet; cook 3 minutes until shrimp begin to turn pink1 pound shrimp
- Pour sauce into skillet; combine well
- Add cornstarch slurry into skillet; reduce heat and cook until sauce begins to thicken⅓ cup water, 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Plate rice, then add shrimp and sauce; garnish with green onions and sesame seeds3 cups prepared rice, green onions, sesame seeds, salt and pepper
- 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 recipe: