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Kung Pao Shrimp

A better-for-you take on a popular restaurant dish, this Kung Pao Shrimp is intensely flavorful, well-balanced, high in protein, and full of veggies. Tossed in a sweet, tangy sauce, it’s ready in less than 30 minutes!

Kung pao shrimp in a white plate with chopsticks
Homemade Kung Pao Shrimp is healthy and tastier than takeout; it takes just 30 minutes or less.

What Is Kung Pao Shrimp? 

Kung Pao shrimp is a Chinese recipe made with a combination of shrimp and veggies tossed in a sweet and sour Kung Pao sauce. Every chef has their own spin on the dish. However, it typically features soy sauce, hoisin, sesame oil, and a dash of chili flakes or whole chili peppers for a bit of heat. Similar to the ever-popular Kung Pao Chicken recipes found in many fast food and takeout restaurants, Kung Pao shrimp features the same flavors, but the cooking technique used varies from chef to chef. 

Why You’ll Love This Kung Pao Shrimp Recipe

  • Unlike takeout or fast food, this Kung Pao recipe is never greasy
  • Ready in just 30 minutes, you can whip it up in less time than it takes to order from your local restaurant.  
  • It’s high-protein and full of veggies yet so scrumptious you’d never guess it’s good for you, too. 
  • A filling main course, it pairs well with all your favorite sides like Asian sticky rice, perfect Instant Pot brown rice, and Lo Mein noodles.
  • Prep work is simple and cleanup is a breeze, meaning you can get in and out of the kitchen in no time! 
Kung Pao Shrimp in a white plate with chopsticks
Kung Pao shrimp is the perfect busy weeknight meal the entire family will love.

Pro-Tips for the Best Kung Pao Shrimp

If you’ve never made a Kung Pao style recipe before or are a little hesitant to prepare shrimp, be sure to follow the steps below to ensure that your meal turns out perfectly every single time. 

  • Prepare In Advance. For easy cooking, be sure to have all of your ingredients on hand and ready to use. This means you’ll want to chop your veggies, peel and devein your shrimp, and whisk the Kung Pao sauce before you begin to cook. 
  • Use a Large Skillet or Wok. Make sure your wok or skillet is large enough to hold all of the ingredients without crowding them together. This will allow them to cook evenly, resulting in crisp veggies and tender shrimp. 
  • Avoid Overcooking. Be sure to stay near the stove, and keep a close eye on your shrimp! You’ll want to remove them from the heat as soon as they are opaque. Otherwise, they may become rubbery. 

Flavor Variations

The ingredient list for this Kung Pao shrimp is short and sweet, but you can easily mix and match your favorite items to suit your needs and preferences. For instance, some of our favorite variations include:  

  • Adding in extra vegetables like onions, baby corn, mushrooms, snap peas, water chestnuts, and sliced zucchini. 
  • Play with proteins: try replacing the shrimp with chicken or beef. 
  • Swapping out the peanuts with cashews or sesame seeds. 
Kung Pao Shrimp in a white plate
Serve this dish with fluffy Jasmine rice, fried rice, or noodles.

Commonly Asked Questions

What kind of shrimp are best for this recipe? 

We prefer to use jumbo shrimp, though any size will work as long as they’re raw. Note that all shrimp can shrink in size quite a bit after cooking, so you may want to use larger shrimp.

Can I make kung pao shrimp ahead of time? 

Yes. Once cooled, leftovers can be transferred to an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. As with most shrimp recipes, this dish is best when eaten fresh and hot off the stove.

What’s the difference between Szechuan and Kung Pao Shrimp? 

Made with very similar ingredients, the primary differences between the two is that Szechuan shrimp is generally sweeter than Kung Pao shrimp recipes. Kung Pao classically contains peanuts, whereas Szechuan shrimp does not use nuts.

Also Try Orange Chicken Recipe (Extra Crispy!)

More to Cook and Eat

Did you make this?

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Kung Pao Shrimp in a white plate with chopsticks

Kung Pao Shrimp

5 from 38 ratings
A better-for-you take on a popular restaurant dish, this Kung Pao Shrimp is intensely flavorful, well-balanced, high-protein, and full of veggies. Tossed in a sweet, tangy sauce, it’s ready in less than 30 minutes! Pairs well with rice.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Amy Dong



  • In a bowl, add the broth, oyster sauce, Sriracha, and cornstarch. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a large non-stick pan or wok, add 1 TB oil over medium-high heat. Once oil is just smoking, add shrimp and peanuts. Cook 1 minute or just until shrimp turn spotty and partially opaque in color. Transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
  • In the skillet over medium heat, add remaining oil, bell peppers, garlic, and ginger. Stir to combine. Cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Stir in broth and bring ingredients to a boil.
  • Add back the shrimp and peanuts. Simmer just until the sauce thickens and the shrimp turn fully opaque, no longer than 1 minute. Do not overcook. Immediately remove from heat once shrimp turns opaque and serve warm.


See original article for variations and substitutions. 
If needed, double check that your brand of oyster sauce is gluten-free.
If you enjoyed this recipe, come back and give it a rating ♡

Nutrition (per serving)

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 356kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 190mg | Sodium: 657mg | Potassium: 742mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1046IU | Vitamin C: 65mg | Calcium: 208mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Fat
Method: Skillet, Stir Fry, Stovetop

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Recipe Rating


    • Hayley Dhanecha
    • 5 stars

    What a flavourful and amazing looking dish, love it that this kung pao recipe can be done in 30 minutes!!

    • Loreto and Nicoletta
    • 5 stars

    Big fan of Kung Pao chicken. Never thought to make it with shrimp. Love that it is not greasy, and it looks fabulous. I am left with a huge craving!
    Thanjs for sharing!

    • Elaine
    • 5 stars

    If I had to name my favorite way of making shrimp, this would be it. Fantastic execution and great tips, thank you!

    • Tammy
    • 5 stars

    Love a lightened up recipe! The spice and flavors here are perfect…A great dish for weeknights or weekends 😀

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