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This Kung Pao Shrimp recipe lets you have a Chinese takeout favorite on your table in under 30 minutes! Shrimp and veggies are tossed with the sweet and spicy stir fry sauce.
Table of Contents
Why It’s Great
- 30 Minute Meal – I love how stir fry cooks super quickly!
- Sweet Heat – The easy stir fry sauce is slightly sweet that balances the spice.
- Customizable – This is a great recipe to swap in other veggies or even proteins.
Ingredients For Kung Pao Shrimp
- Large Shrimp – Peeled and deveined, but you can leave the tails on.
- Canola Oil
- White Onion
- Bell Peppers – One red and one green.
- Garlic Cloves
- Fresh Minced Ginger
- Red Pepper Flakes – You can adjust the amount to fit your spice preference.
- Dry Roasted Peanuts – If there is an allergy, you can omit or swap in cashews.
- For the Sauce: Soy sauce, granulated sugar, rice wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar), sesame oil, water, and cornstarch
- Sliced Green Onions and Sesame Seeds – for garnish
How To Make Kung Pao Shrimp
Get a detailed list of ingredients & instructions in the recipe card below.
This Kung Pao Shrimp recipe is ready, start to finish, in under 30 minutes and all made in one skillet or wok.
- Mix Sauce – Start by mixing up the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- Cook Shrimp – First, cook the shrimp by heating the canola oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the thawed shrimp and cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp is just turning pink. It will continue to cook when combined later so don’t overcook them here. Place the shrimp on a plate and set aside.
- Cook Veggies – In the same pan, add the onions (you can add a little more oil, if needed) and cook until they start to soften. Then add the bell peppers, ginger, and garlic and cook until they begin to soften as well.
- Add Sauce – Add the sauce to the veggies and cook for 1-2 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the cooked shrimp and peanuts and cook for 1-2 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
- Serve – Serve the kung pao shrimp over cooked rice. Sprinkle it with sesame seeds and sliced green onions.
Shrimp are cooked when they are pink and opaque. They also will start to curl into a ‘C’ shape.
Yes, you can use frozen shrimp but they need to be thawed before using in the recipe. The great thing is frozen shrimp thaw very quickly if you run under cold water.
We love to serve this recipe with cooked rice – white or brown. Or it’s great paired with fried rice like this easy Egg Fried Rice. For a fun side, serve it with these crispy Air Fryer Cream Cheese Wontons.
- Other Proteins – Instead of shrimp, you can swap in cubed chicken thighs or breasts for kung pao chicken. Or try using thinly sliced flank steak to make kung pao beef.
- Other Veggies – I love how customizable this recipe is! It’s perfect to use up other veggies in your fridge. Some other favorites are bok choy, broccoli, and zucchini.
- Spice Level – To make this recipe more or less spicy, feel free to adjust the red pepper flakes. If members of your family have different spice tolerances, you can also serve the recipe with extra pepper flakes on the side.
Storing and Reheating
Storage – Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Reheating – Leftovers can be reheated in a skillet on the stove over medium until warmed.
- Don’t overcook the shrimp – The great thing about shrimp is how quickly it cooks! But be careful not to overcook them as then they get tough.
- Prep the ingredients first – Stir fry recipes cook quickly, so it’s easiest to chop and prep all of the ingredients before starting.
More Asian-Inspired Recipes We Love
- Pan Fried Noodles
- Pork Stir Fry Rice Bowl
- Egg Drop Soup
- Easy One Pot Ham Fried Rice
- Crispy Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe
Kung Pao Shrimp
- 1 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined (tail on)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 small white onion diced
- 1 medium red bell pepper seeded and chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper seeded and chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
- For garnish: sliced green onions and sesame seeds
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 4 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together minced garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, water, and cornstarch. Set aside.
- Heat canola oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the shrimp just turns pink. It will continue to cook when making the sauce. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Add onions to the skillet with more oil if needed. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add the bell peppers, ginger and garlic and cook another 4-5 minutes or until the vegetable begin to soften.
- Pour sauce into the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the shrimp, red pepper flakes and peanuts to the skillet and cook for 1-2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve over rice topped with sesame seeds and sliced green onions (optional).
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.