This homemade Kung Pao Shrimp recipe is so much better than anything you can order as take-out! Crispy pan fried shrimp is all dressed up with the most mouthwatering homemade sauce. Spicy chili peppers, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, garlic, ginger and more create a flavor that’s anything but boring.

A square white plate is topped with rice and kung pao shrimp.

Kung Pao Shrimp

If you’re in the mood for some seriously satisfying kung pao shrimp, I’ve got you covered! Honestly, now that I’ve mastered this easy homemade recipe, I don’t think I’ll order the take-out version ever again. Homemade kung pao shrimp is so much more flavorful and crispy than anything I’ve had delivered in a little paper box.

It all starts with shrimp that’s coated in cornstarch and pan fried until deliciously crispy. In the same pan that the shrimp was fried in, the sauce is made… and let me tell you. This sauce is not to be played with. It’s as spicy as you’d like it to be (more notes on that below) and it’s well balanced with hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey and more.

I feel like calling this kung pao shrimp recipe bold is still an understatement! It’s got so many flavors that come together perfectly and always hits the spot. The best part is that since we’re making it at home, you can control exactly how spicy you’d like it to be. For me, I like a little extra heat so I add some extra hot chili peppers to the mix!

Kung pao shrimp is cooking in a skillet.

How to Make Kung Pao Shrimp

  1. Prepare the shrimp. Place the shrimp in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the cornstarch with a little salt and pepper. Pour the cornstarch onto the shrimp and toss to fully coat.
  2. Fry the shrimp. Heat oil in a large wok (or skillet) over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp to the pan, but shake off the excess cornstarch before you do. Cook in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan! Cook on both sides until golden brown and no longer translucent. Transfer the cooked shrimp to a platter and continue the process until all shrimp are cooked.
  3. Make the sauce. Cook the garlic and ginger in the pan for just 1 minute. Stir in the red chili peppers and cook for another minute. Then, add szechuan peppercorns and dry chilis and cook until crisp. In a separate bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, chili garlic sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, sesame oil and mirin. Pour the sauce into the pan and stir. Cook for about 30 seconds then turn off the heat.
  4. Enjoy! Add the shrimp back into the pan and toss to coat them with the sauce. Sprinkle the shrimp with peanuts, scallions, and sesame seeds. Serve with rice and enjoy!
A plate of kung pao shrimp is topped with chopsticks.

Is kung pao shrimp spicy?

That depends one two things – what your spice tolerance is and what chili peppers you use in your sauce.

The sauce calls for 15 red chili peppers. You can use serrano, fresno, or even red jalapenos. Just be mindful of the heat levels of each pepper if you’re sensitive to spice.

Also, keep in mind that there are lots of other ingredients in the sauce like hoisin and honey to help balance that heat and keep it tamed!

Is kung pao shrimp healthy?

Healthy is a subjective term! What I consider healthy may be different for you. This shrimp is coated in cornstarch and fried in a little oil, so for me, it’s not necessarily on the healthier side. However, it is a protein that I love to eat!

A white plate topped with kung pao shrimp is placed next to a skillet.

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Kung pao shrimp is cooking in a skillet.

Get the Recipe: Kung Pao Shrimp Recipe

Get ready for a fiery and flavorful shrimp stir-fry that explodes with classic Kung Pao goodness – all ready in minutes! Tender shrimp, crunchy veggies, and a sizzling sauce combine for a restaurant-quality dish that's easier than takeout.
5 from 1 vote


  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and devieined
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 15 red chili peppers, chopped, (serrano, fresno, red jalapenos would all work well but be mindful of the heat level if you’re sensitive to spice.)
  • 6 whole dried red chilis
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon black vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons mirin, sweet rice wine
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions


  • 1 wok


  • Place the shrimp in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Season the cornstarch with salt and pepper. Pour the cornstarch over the shrimp and toss to coat.
  • Heat the oil in a large wok or skillet over medium high heat. Shake off the excess cornstarch on the shrimp and add it to the pan in batches being sure not to crowd the pan.
  • Cook the shrimp until golden brown and no longer translucent. Transfer to a platter and repeat with the remaining shrimp.
  • Remove the last of the shrimp from the pan and transfer to a platter.
  • Add the garlic and ginger to the pan. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the red chili peppers.  Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Add the szechuan peppercorns and dry chilis, cook until crisp, approximately 1 minute.
  • Whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, chili garlic sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, sesame oil and mirin. Pour the sauce into the pan and stir, cooking for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat.
  • Return the shrimp to the pan and toss to coat.
  • Sprinkle the shrimp with the peanuts, scallions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately with rice, if desired.


  • Spice level: Adjust the number of dried chilies or the amount of chili garlic sauce to control the heat.
  • Customize: Add other veggies like zucchini or snow peas.
  • Sichuan peppercorns: For a more traditional flavor and numbing effect, add 1 tsp of Sichuan peppercorns with the dried chiles.
Calories: 245kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 0.2mg, Sodium: 1722mg, Potassium: 313mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 472IU, Vitamin C: 12mg, Calcium: 33mg, Iron: 1mg