This firecracker shrimp recipe makes the best firecracker shrimp, with just the right combination of sweet, heat and awesome flavor, and it's ready in minutes!
Easy Spicy Firecracker Shrimp
Spicy shrimp in the house, my friends! Are you a fan of spicy shrimp? Of course you are. As spicy food lovers, we love upping the heat and flavor on practically everything, and shrimp is an ingredient that loves the spices.
So today, we're making that very thing. We're talking Firecracker Shrimp, and I think you're going to love it.
I've seen so many different recipes called "firecracker shrimp" floating around. There are so many different variations. You'll see them served at restaurants, printed on menus in the appetizer section, but everyone makes it differently.
One restaurant wraps them in spring roll wrappers, fries them, the douses them with soy sauce.
Another tosses grilled shrimp with sriracha alone and calls if firecracker shrimp. Another serves up what is essentially the famous Bang Bang Shrimp and gives it a new name. Say what?
There doesn't seem to be any particular consensus on what exactly defines firecracker shrimp, so I have decided to make it my own way. I've tested various combinations and this is what I personally feel is the best firecracker shrimp out there.
I hope you agree! The result is a nice combination of sweet and heat and you can very easily adjust it to your own spice loving preference.
Let's talk about how to make firecracker shrimp, shall we?
Firecracker Shrimp Ingredients
There are different ways to make firecracker shrimp, but this is my favorite, which I'll call the "Madness Way", with a focus on simple ingredients that allow you to control the spice level.
FOR THE FIRECRACKER SHRIMP MARINADE/GLAZE
- Chili-Garlic Sauce. This is readily available in most stores, but you can also use a sweet chili sauce, or make your own homemade chili-garlic sauce.
- Chili Oil. Use a spicy version. I like to make my own chili oil, though your favorite brand will do. Use canola oil or vegetable oil instead if needed. Sesame oil is good, too.
- Sriracha. Homemade sriracha is great, of course! Or use your favorite.
- White Wine Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is great, too.
- Honey. Or try agave nectar or brown sugar.
- Cayenne. Use paprika for milder, or ghost pepper flakes for hotter! Spice it up, my friends!
- Lime Juice.
- Salt and Pepper. To taste.
FOR THE SHRIMP
- Shrimp. Peeled and deveined.
- Olive Oil.
- Fresh chopped parsley
- Spicy chili flakes
- Sliced hot peppers
How to Make Firecracker Shrimp - the Recipe Method
First, let's make the firecracker shrimp sauce. This is less of a sauce and more of a double duty marinade and glaze. There are many different ways you can make this, with many possible substitutions.
I use the following ingredients: Chili-garlic sauce, chili oil, sriracha, vinegar, honey, cayenne, lime juice and a bit of salt and pepper. Add them to a small bowl.
Whisk! Get it nice and uniform. This is all of the flavor, my friends. Sweet and spicy, the perfect flavor combination.
Control the Heat Factor: If you like more of a milder heat, use paprika instead of cayenne and dial back on the sriracha. Use more chili-garlic sauce. For spicier, use more cayenne or incorporate hotter chili powder. You can also use more sriracha or toss in some hot sauce.
Add the shrimp to a large bowl and add half of firecracker shrimp marinade. Toss to evenly coat the shrimp. Refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes, though you can cook immediately if desired. You can marinate longer if you'd like to, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Cooking the Shrimp. Heat the olive oil in a large pan to medium high heat. Add the shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes per side, until the shrimp is pink and cooked through.
TIP: Shrimp cooks up very quickly, so keep an eye on them. Don't overcook the shrimp or they can become mealy.
Brush on the remaining firecracker shrimp glaze. This will add that extra burst of flavor just before serving. Reserve any leftover marinade/glaze for serving.
Garnish and serve!
Boom! Done! Such a quick and easy recipe, isn't it? It's done and on the table in practically no time, even for a slow cook like me.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Creamy Version. If you'd like a creamy version, save half of the glaze/marinade after it is made. Then, whisk in few tablespoons of mayonnaise until it is nice and smooth. Toss the finished shrimp in the creamy firecracker shrimp sauce and serve it up some some extra on the side as a dipping sauce! It's a bit more like Bang Bang Shrimp this way.
- Cooking Methods. I cook mine on the stove top in a hot pan for simplicity. You can also easily grill the shrimp a few minutes per side, or lightly bread and fry them. Some recipes call for wrapping the shrimp in egg roll wrappers or spring roll wrappers then frying them, but that is more like how a restaurant chain makes them. I prefer my own version.
You can serve firecracker shrimp as the main course with other ingredients, as an appetizer or snack, or make it for your next party. Here are a few ideas for serving:
- Firecracker Shrimp Pasta. Toss them with noodles for a quick and easy dinner. Use ropy spaghetti noodles, or broad fat egg noodles. So good this way!
- Skewers. Thread the uncooked shrimp onto skewers and grill them instead of cooking them on the stove top. Great for barbecues! These are a great party starter.
- Spicy Ramen. Toss them into a bowl of spicy ramen for an excellent meal. I can't get enough spicy shrimp ramen.
- Break out the Toothpicks. Serve them right out of the pan with some toothpicks on the side for the perfect appetizer or game day snack.
- Awesome Shrimp Tacos. Serve them on warmed tortillas with some extra garnish. Firecracker shrimp tacos? I think yes! Drizzle on some of the extra sauce. Make it nice and saucy.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my firecracker shrimp recipe. This is my own version. Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Shrimp Po’ Boy Sandwich
- Blackened Shrimp
- Shrimp Etouffee
- Shrimp Creole
- Spicy Cajun Shrimp
- Shrimp and Red Bean Chili
- Shrimp in Fiery Chipotle-Tequila Sauce (from my cookbook! “The Spicy Food Lovers’ Cookbook“)
- Grilled Buffalo Shrimp
- Shrimp Ceviche
- Aguachile (Mexican Shrimp Ceviche)
- Spicy Ramen Noodles
- Camarones a la Diabla (Diablo Shrimp)
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Firecracker Shrimp Recipe
- 1/2 cup chili-garlic sauce
- 2 tablespoons spicy chili oil
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon cayenne use paprika for milder, or ghost pepper flakes for hotter!
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- FOR GARNISH: Fresh chopped parsley spicy chili flakes, sliced hot peppers
- Whisk together the chili-garlic sauce, chili oil, sriracha, vinegar, honey, cayenne, lime juice and a bit of salt and pepper together in a small bowl until mixed. This is your firecracker shrimp marinade and glaze.
- Add the shrimp to a large bowl and add half of firecracker shrimp marinade. Toss to evenly coat the shrimp. Refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes, though you can cook immediately if desired.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan to medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes per side, until the shrimp is pink and cooked through.
- Brush on the remaining firecracker shrimp glaze. Reserve any leftover marinade/glaze for serving.
- Garnish and serve!
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 7/1/22 to include new information and video. It was originally published on 4/6/20.