This Kung Pao shrimp is quick and easy to make with succulent shrimp stir fried with bell peppers, scallions, and peanuts in a savory, spicy sauce. You're going to love the way I make it.
Easy Kung Pao Shrimp Stir Fry
We're making one of my favorite shrimp stir fry recipes in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen tonight, one you're surely going to love.
It's Kung Pao Shrimp, and it is not only loaded with flavor, but it is super easy to make.
This is recipe you'll have on the table in under 30 minutes, even if you're a slow cook like me. There's no need to order Chinese takeout for kung pao dishes when you can make it yourself at home.
It's always better homemade!
What is Kung Pao Shrimp?
Kung Pao Shrimp is Chinese-inspired dish of marinated shrimp stir fried with vegetables and peanuts in a sweet, savory, spicy sauce. You'll more traditionally find Kung Pao Chicken, a famous stir fry dish, but this shrimp version is just as satisfying.
The origins hail from the Sichuan province of China, which produces highly flavorful dishes with wonderful ingredients.
Why You'll Love MY Kung Pao Shrimp Recipe
My version of the recipe focuses on the spicier qualities of the dish by incorporating a good portion of chili peppers, both dried and fresh, though you can easily adapt it to your own tastes.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. I just love that it is so easy to make and so huge on flavor.
Let's talk about how to make Kung Pao Shrimp, shall we?
Kung Pao Shrimp Ingredients
- FOR THE SHRIMP MARINADE
- Soy Sauce.
- Rice Wine. Or use dry sherry.
- Corn Starch. For thickening.
- Shrimp. Peeled and deveined.
- FOR THE KUNG PAO SAUCE
- Soy Sauce. Use both light and dark soy sauce.
- Chinese Black Vinegar. Or use balsamic vinegar.
- Hoisin Sauce. Try my homemade hoisin sauce recipe.
- Sesame Oil.
- Honey. For a touch of sweetness.
- Sichuan Peppercorns. Sichuan peppercorns offer a wonderful spicy, tongue-numbing flavor.
- Chili Flakes.
- FOR THE KUNG PAO SHRIMP
- Vegetable Oil. For cooking.
- Dried Chinese Peppers. Or use chili de arbol or other dried red chiles.
- Peppers. I'm using a red bell pepper and a couple jalapeno peppers. You can use other fresh peppers to your preference. Use only bell peppers for a milder version.
- Scallions. Or use sliced green onion.
- Roasted Peanuts.
- For Garnish. Extra roasted peanuts, chopped scallions, spicy red pepper flakes.
How to Make Kung Pao Shrimp - the Recipe Method
Marinate the Shrimp. In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice wine and cornstarch. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Set aside.
Make the Kung Pao Sauce. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, black vinegar, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, honey, Sichuan peppercorns and chili flakes. Set aside.
Cook the Shrimp. Heat the vegetable oil to medium-high heat to high heat in a large pan or wok. Add the shrimp and stir fry 3-4 minutes, or until just cooked through.
Remove shrimp to a plate and set aside.
Stir Fry the Peppers. Return wok to high heat. Add the bell pepper, jalapenos (if using) and dried chilies. Cook, stirring often, for 1 minute.
Scallions and Garlic. Add the scallions and garlic. Stir fry for 1 minute.
Add Kung Pao Sauce. Add the sauce and peanuts, and stir. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes.
Heat the Shrimp. Add reserved shrimp and stir fry to warm the shrimp, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Garnish and Serve! Sprinkle on peanuts, green onion, chili flakes. Best served with cooked rice (white rice or brown rice) or noodles.
Boom! Done! Your Kung Pao shrimp is ready to serve. This cooks up so fast, doesn't it? I love quick and easy stir fry recipes, especially this one.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Try my Kung Pao Sauce recipe to save time in the kitchen. You can make it a day or 2 ahead of time, then use it as both the marinade and sauce.
- Feel free to swap in any of your favorite vegetables to enjoy your Kung Pao shrimp your way.
- Spice it up by using extra spicy chili peppers, or including fiery chili flakes in your Kung Pao sauce.
Serving Kung Pao Shrimp
You can enjoy kung pao shrimp on its own, but it is best served with Chinese noodles, or with rice. Try it with steamed white rice, brown rice, or stir fried rice.
Kung pao shrimp will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator in a sealed container. To warm, stir fry it in a hot wok or pan with a bit of oil for a minute or 2, then enjoy it again.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my kung pao shrimp recipe. Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you, and how you spiced yours up!
If you love Chinese food and cooking, I recommend these books for the American cook. They're loaded with easy Chinese recipes that are full of flavor. I refer to them quite often.
- Easy Chinese Cookbook: Restaurant Favorites Make Simple, by Chris Toy (affiliate link, my friends!)
- The Essential Wok Cookbook, by Naomi Imatome-Yun (affiliate link, my friends!)
Buy Chinese Peppers Online
- Buy Chinese peppers from Amazon (affiliate link, my friends!) - great for many, many recipes.
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
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.
Kung Pao Shrimp Recipe
FOR THE SHRIMP MARINADE
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine or use dry sherry
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
FOR THE KUNG PAO SAUCE
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar or use balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns black pepper is an OK substitute
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
FOR THE KUNG PAO SHRIMP
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or use sesame oil
- 10 dried Chinese peppers, whole or use chili de arbol - see recipe notes
- 1 fresh red bell pepper chopped
- 1-2 jalapeno peppers chopped (optional, for a spicier version)
- 4 scallions chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- Extra roasted peanuts, chopped scallions, spicy chili flakes
MARINATE THE SHRIMP
- In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice wine and cornstarch. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Set aside.
MAKE THE KUNG PAO SAUCE
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, black vinegar, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, honey, Sichuan peppercorns and chili flakes. Set aside.
FOR THE KUNG PAO SHRIMP
- Heat the vegetable oil to medium-high heat to high heat in a large pan or wok. Add the shrimp and stir fry 3-4 minutes, or until just cooked through. Remove shrimp to a plate and set aside.
- Return wok to high heat. Add the dried chilies and fresh chili peppers. Cook, stirring often, for 1 minute.
- Add the scallions and garlic. Stir fry for 1 minute.
- Add the kung pao sauce and peanuts, and stir. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
- Add reserved shrimp and stir fry to warm the shrimp, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Garnish and serve. Best served with cooked rice or noodles.
Absolutely lovely, nice and spicy and so easy to make. Another great dish, thanks Mike.
Oh if you have a recipe for sweet and spicy camaralised prawns, I'd be interested. Had it once on a visit to San Fran and quite delicious
Mike Hultquist says
Thanks, Gillian! I'll have to add the prawns to my list to make!
This is definitely going in my "must make ASAP" file. kung pao anything is among my absolute favorite dishes but make it shrimp and we're talking top 5.
I've made many versions of this and your's looks near perfect. I love that you use both light and dark soy as well as Chinkiang vinegar. The only thing I disagree on is you can't really substitute the Sichuan peppercorns. Nothing can really replace the prickly ash pods. I am addicted to them. I keep a grinder filled with a mix of Chinese black peppercorns, red prickly ash and green prickly ash pods and use it on most things. I love the slight numbing sensation but it's better if you lightly toast them in a pan like you do dried chilies. The toasting really brings out the scent and flavor of the prickly ash.
Another winner that you have created! I made it ‘as is’ tonight, extra spicy. My only thought (for me personally) would be to add 1 TBS of brown sugar to the Kung Pao sauce. But that is my own taste. Your recipe is perfectly delicious! Thank you!
Mike Hultquist says
Sounds great, Marnie! Thanks!
Made this for dinner tonight but used cashew nuts instead of peanuts and substituted Thai Dragon chillies. Was spicy but divine ❤️
Mike Hultquist says
Awesome to hear!
William W. says
I'm 70+ years old and had versions of this from all over the country. This was my first attempt at this and I have to say I've never had it any better. Directions were easy to follow and I may have been lucky but I think the recipe was just spot on. on to an index card and into my recipe box. Delicious !
Thank you, William W.
Mike H. says
It feels great to read this, William. Thank you!