This Kung Pao shrimp is quick and easy to make with plump shrimp stir fried with bell peppers, chilies, and crunchy peanuts in a savory, spicy sauce. You're going to love the way I make it.
Kung Pao Shrimp Recipe
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 or rice wine vinegar.
- 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. White pepper is a nice addition as well.
- 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.
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
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon corn starch (mixed with 2 tablespoons water to form a slurry) - optional, for a thicker sauce
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)
- 2 tablespoons doubanjiang
- 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, chili flakes, and cornstarch slurry (if using). 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 doubanjiang, 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.
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 5/19/23 to include new information, photos, and video. It was originally published on 9/28/22.