This Kung Pao Shrimp recipe is inspired by the PF Chang's version! Here we have a sweet and spicy Kung Pao recipe that's loaded with crunchy peanuts, bell peppers, green onions, and a homemade sauce.
Skip ordering takeout and make this healthy Chinese shrimp recipe. Plus, if you have leftovers, you can enjoy them the next day!
If you like eating out, make sure to check out my other copycat recipes. Big Mac's are super easy to make at home. And my Texas Roadhouse chili recipe and my Cracker Barrel apple chicken salad taste just as good (if not better!) than the restaurant versions!
How to Make Kung Pao Shrimp
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Add shrimp and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Toss in ginger and chili flakes, and cook until fragrant.
- Add vegetables and cook to soften.
- While vegetables cook, whisk sauce together.
- Pour sauce into skillet with peanuts and green onions.
- Serve with rice and garnish with green onions.
Full directions for how to make Kung Pao Shrimp are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Tips & Tricks for Kung Pao Shrimp
Peel and De-vein Shrimp
Make sure you are using raw shrimp that is peeled and de-veined for this recipe. Peeling and de-veining the shrimp is important as this will allow the shrip to soak in all the flavors. Leaving the shell on will prevent some of the flavor from soaking into the shrimp.
Heavy-duty, large skillets are great for this recipe as they will heat your food evenly. Flimsy pans and skillets create hot spots that overcook areas of your food. Along with having a heavy-duty skillet, make sure that you also use a large enough skillet to ensure an even cook.
Variations to Kung Pao Shrimp
You can essentially use any veggies you want for this recipe—broccoli, snap peas, and any other veggies. Even using a stir fry mix would be delicious!
I made homemade sauce for my shrimp, but feel free to swap it out with your favorite store-bought brand of Kung Pao sauce. I love making homemade sauce so I can make the flavor exactly to my taste.
I used shrimp for the protein in this dish, but you could always swap the shrimp with chicken, steak, or another type of protein. Or, you could even add chicken to the recipe along with the shrimp. Whatever you choose,just make sure that the meat is fully cooked.
Kung Pao Shrimp FAQs
Is Kung Pao sauce spicy?
You get to control how mild or spicy you want your Kung Pao sauce to be. Adding in the red chili flakes is what brings the heat. If you want your sauce to be mild, simply add less flakes. And if you want an extra spicy Kung Pao, add more!
How do you know when your shrimp is done cooking?
Shrimp is done cooking when it goes from white-gray in color to opaque pinky color. You can also tell that the shrimp is done when it forms a "c" shape as it curls once cooked.
How should I store leftover shrimp?
Store any of the leftover shrimp in the fridge for 2-3 days. I like to meal prep my leftovers with rice on the side. It makes for a great grab-and-go lunch to break up the work week.
Can you double this shrimp recipe?
Yes, you can double the recipe if you want. Just make sure to use a larger skillet that will hold all the ingredients easily without overflowing.
Kung Pao Shrimp
- 1 tbsp olive oil or more as needed
- 1 lb shrimp
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 3 tsp garlic minced
- 1 tsp red chile flakes or to taste
- 1 zucchini chopped
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- ¼ cup peanuts as desired
- 2 green onions green parts sliced, white stems discarded
Kung Pao Sauce
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup sugar or more to taste
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- ¼ cup water
- Place olive oil in a skillet or wok over medium heat.
- Once oil is hot, add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the ginger, garlic, and chile flakes and stir to coat. Cook for 1 minute until garlic is fragrant.
- Add the chopped zucchini and red bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until vegetables are slightly charred.
- While the vegetables are cooking, whisk together the sauce ingredients. Taste and adjust as desired.
- Add the peanuts and most of the green onions to the skillet and stir to combine.
- Add about ¾ of the sauce to the skillet and stir to coat. Cook for 2 minutes to allow sauce to thicken. Add more sauce as desired.
- Serve shrimp over rice with remaining green onions as garnish.
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