Juicy, tender shrimp decorated with an array of crisp and colorful vegetables, this shrimp stir fry is perfect for quick weeknight meals. The shrimp stir fry sauce is full of sweet, umami flavor, but is easy to tweak to suit your preferences. Here’s everything you need to know.
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Best Shrimp for Stir Fries
A walk down any fish aisle can be overwhelming. Here is my favorite variety for this shrimp stir fry recipe. Psst–this is recipe specific, I grab different varieties based on the healthy shrimp recipe I’m making.
- Medium-large sized shrimp are best as they’re hardest to overcook–this is key is maintaining a soft not rubbery texture.
- Deveined and peeled will literally save you hours of work.
- Tail on or off, you decide – I prefer tail off so I can eat with ease. That said, leaving shrimp tails on often makes for a prettier presentation, and some feel the shell around the tail offers protection to the meat when cooked at high temps, potentially leading to slightly juicier shrimp.
- Wild caught shrimp are less likely to have been exposed to antibiotics, pesticides, or other chemicals commonly used in shrimp farming.
- Fully defrosted shrimp – if you happen to use frozen shrimp, make sure it’s fully defrosted–this contributes to a better texture and sauce.
Best Vegetables to Use for Shrimp Stir Fry
A handful of veggies pair exceptionally well with shrimp–I use my favorites in this shrimp and broccoli stir fry, but feel free to mix in others if you prefer. Here are some complimentary options:
- Bell peppers add sweetness and vibrant color to any stir fry.
- Broccoli for a bit of crunch and loads of nutrients.
- Snap peas are added to all my stir fry recipes for their crisp texture. Although not common, you can use sauteed green beans instead to cut back on carbs.
- Sauteed mushrooms, especially white or crimini add delicious umami flavor to most Asian shrimp recipes. Psst–our stir fry sauce is loaded with umami-packed ingredients, so don’t think you’re missing out.
- Zucchini is mildly sweet and subtle.
- Greens such as sauteed kale or sauteed bok choy.
What Makes a Great Shrimp Stir Fry Sauce
The secret to any shrimp stir fry recipe is the sauce–a harmonious balance of flavor is dependent on each of these key elements:
- Sweet: Will balance the slightly spicy, salty flavor of this shrimp stir fry. We’ll use brown sugar, honey is another great option.
- Salty: Soy sauce adds salt to this shrimp and broccoli stir fry recipe. I prefer soy sauce to salt, as it also adds umami flavor.
- Acid adds a bit of tang while brightening the flavor of this sauce. We’ll use rice vinegar, however, lime or lemon juice are other great options.
- Heat: For this shrimp stir fry recipe we’ll add crushed red pepper flakes for heat. You can always add more or less. You can also sub in your favorite hot sauce.
- Umami: Adds depth and richness; its flavor is often described as meaty, savory, and brothy-like. It can be added to Asian shrimp recipes via soy, fish, or oyster sauce.
- Thickener: although not needed for flavor, adding a touch of cornstarch thickens the sauce (AND helps to keep the shrimp tender when seared). If eating low carb, you can skip this; I always do when making this keto chicken stir fry. You can also use 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum or substitute arrowroot powder if eating paleo.
How to Make Shrimp Stir Fry
The trick to any shrimp stir fry recipe is to maintain a medium-high heat when sauteeing the vegetables and shrimp and to not overcook the shrimp–it ruins their texture. Here is how to make shrimp stir fry with step-by-step photos:
- Whisk sauce ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
- Quickly saute veggies until they begin to soften.
- Add shrimp and cook through.
- Reduce the heat of your pan, add the sauce and green onions.
How to Serve Shrimp Stir Fry
Serve this shrimp stir fry as you would any of your Chinese food faves: over rice or cauliflower fried rice. You can serve it family style with Asian salmon, string bean chicken breast, or Chinese chicken salad.
Storing, Reheating, and Freezing
You can store, reheat and freeze shrimp stir fry. Here’s how to keep everything as delicious as possible:
- Store leftovers in an airtight container. I always store rice, and sliced green onions separate from the stir fry.
- Reheat in the microwave with a damp paper towel on top. Make sure to stir your leftovers before dishing up a bowl, as the sauce will settle along the bottom.
- Freeze your leftover in a resealable bag, removing as much air as possible beforehand.
More Healthy Shrimp Recipes
- Creamy Garlic Shrimp
- Shrimp Carbonara
- Shrimp Marinade
- Grilled Shrimp
- Shrimp and Avocado Salad
- Shrimp Curry
- Shrimp Saganaki
Shrimp Stir FryPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or avocado oil oil
- 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 12 ounces broccoli cut into small, even pieces
- 1 cup sugar snap peas
- 2 pounds shrimp peeled and deveined, tail on or off depending
- 1/4 cup green onions chopped
- Cilantro chopped
- Sesame seeds
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Add vegetable or avocado oil to a large skillet, over medium-high heat. Once shimmering, add the bell peppers, snow peas, and broccoli, and continue to cook until the veggies just start to soften, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the shrimp and continue to cook until they’re pink/opaque, another 4 minutes.
- Reduce the heat of your pan to medium and add the sauce and green onions. Toss to coat the veggies and shrimp, and continue to cook until it has slightly thickened, the shrimp has cooked all the way through, and the veggies have softened to your liking, about 5 more minutes.
- Serve over rice or cauliflower rice with cilantro and sesame seeds on top. Enjoy!