Bursting with a tangy and sweet flavor, this Sweet and Sour Shrimp is ready in 20 minutes and made with no processed sugar. It is also lower in sodium and fat than restaurant versions!
Enjoy the flavors of takeout without the heft, sodium, and processed sugar with this Sweet and Sour Shrimp Recipe! This dish is ready in under 25 minutes, family-friendly, and loaded with juicy pineapple, sweet peppers, and tender shrimp. Make it for dinner tonight!
A few months ago, when writing shrimp recipes for my new cookbook, I realized that I had yet to share a shrimp recipe on the blog. I've been so caught up in my love affair with salmon that shrimp totally passed my mind.
But, after testing multiple versions of the shrimp scampi for the cookbook, I realized that shrimp deserves a little bit of my heart -- and space on the blog -- too.
So today I'm setting out to set right this wrong. I figure there's no better way to do it than share this Sweet and Sour Shrimp recipe with you.
Sweet and sour dishes and stir-fries are something I enjoyed often as a kid but tended to steer away from as an adult. Often deep-fried and full of sodium (and possibly MSG) when served in restaurants, they're dishes that usually leave me not feeling so great after the meal.
So, I decided to design a recipe that has all the flavor of takeout or restaurant sweet and sour shrimp while being more nutritious and made with whole foods.
One that instead of leaving me with a food coma, would energize and sustain me.
Starting with pineapple juice as a base, I created a sauce that had just enough reduced-sodium soy sauce for umami, apple cider vinegar for tang, and toasted sesame oil for savoriness. Instead of using processed white sugar, I rounded the sauce out with raw honey and ground ginger -- two naturally sweet ingredients that also add delicious dimension.
Let's also not forget a final squeeze of sriracha into the sauce. Enough to add a kick, but not bowl you over.
Finally, when you have a sauce this good there's really no reason to have to deep fry your shrimp. Instead, we give it a quick stir-fry over high heat, leaving it tender and delicious. Toss this shrimp in the sauce with stir-fried peppers and onions and canned pineapple and we are good to go.
Serve this dish over freshly steamed white or brown rice -- or heat some up from frozen for ultra convenience -- and we have a recipe that I am more than excited to share as my first shrimp recipe on the blog! I hope you enjoy it, friend. 💖
Table of contents
- This shrimp stir-fry recipe is...
- Recipe ingredients:
- Ingredient substitutions
- How do you cut the tails off of shrimp?
- How do you thaw frozen shrimp?
- Can you make this recipe gluten-free?
- A note about how to used the canned pineapple:
- How to make sweet and sour shrimp:
- Recipe pro-tips:
- How do you make rice fast?
- Can you make this recipe spicier?
- Can you double or triple this recipe?
- How long do leftovers last?
- Can you freeze leftovers?
- Tools needed to make sweet and sour shrimp:
- Other quick dinner recipes you'll love:
- Get all my new recipes as they drop. Sign up to receive new recipes each week.
This shrimp stir-fry recipe is...
- Ready in 20 minutes
- Bursting with a tangy and sweet flavor
- Processed sugar-free
- Lower in sodium and fat
- Made with clean ingredients
- Rich in protein
If you're looking for a new healthy dinner idea, this recipe is for you!
This list of recipe ingredients looks long, but please don't let it scare you! Many of the ingredients are either pantry staples or easy to find vegetables.
- Pineapple juice - naturally sweetens the sauce
- Canned Pineapple - strain the juice out for the sauce and use the chunks for the stir-fry (see my notes below for more on this!)
- Apple cider vinegar
- Reduced-sodium soy sauce
- Ginger powder - for natural sweetness with a little kick!
- Toasted sesame oil - adds savory notes to the sauce, balancing it out
- Honey - preferably raw. Regular honey works as well, though.
- Sriracha - adjust the amount used to your liking
- Avocado or coconut oil - or any other mild oil that can handle high heat
- Sweet onion
- Sweet pepper - red, orange, or yellow are perfect
- Green onions
- Raw peeled & deveined shrimp, tails removed - use raw shrimp. See my notes below on how to remove the tails if you can't find tailless shrimp removed (like I experienced)
- Cilantro (optional) - we'll be using it as a garnish; use if you please!
- Steamed rice - see my notes below on how to prepare this quickly
- Coconut liquid aminos - substitute this for soy sauce to make this recipe gluten-free
- Agave syrup - works as a replacement for the honey. The flavor will be slightly different if you use this, but it will still be sweet and tart
- Frozen pineapple - you can use frozen pineapple in place of canned. Just stir-fry them with the vegetables during the last few minutes of their cooking time and continue with the rest of the recipe as directed
- Vegetables - thinly sliced carrots, celery, more sweet peppers, or broccoli all work in this recipe, too. You want 2 ½ cups total of vegetables.
How do you cut the tails off of shrimp?
If you can't find tailless shrimp, you can either pinch or cut the tails off. You can also do like I did and just leave them on. It's super easy to eat around them!
How do you thaw frozen shrimp?
If you are thawing your shrimp ahead of time, just place the frozen shrimp in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
To thaw your shrimp quickly, place them in a large bowl with room temperature water for 30-40 minutes, changing the water out halfway through, or until the shrimp are defrosted.
Can you make this recipe gluten-free?
Yes, it is very easy to make this recipe gluten-free, thankfully. Just substitute coconut liquid aminos for the reduced-sodium soy sauce and you will be all set!
A note about how to used the canned pineapple:
Even though the pineapple juice and canned pineapple are listed separately in the ingredient list, all you need is 1, 15 or 20 oz. can of pineapple chunks. Drain off ½ cup of the juice for the sauce, measure out the pineapple chunks, and save the remaining pineapple chunks for later!
How to make sweet and sour shrimp:
- Whisk together the sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a small mixing bowl or measuring cup.
- Heat a 12-inch non-stick skillet or large wok over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until it sputters when flicked with water
- Add the vegetables to the pan and stir-fry until the onions are translucent and the peppers are tender. Pour the veggies into a large bowl and set aside.
- Add the rest of the oil to the pan and stir-fry the shrimp until they are just pink.
- Return the vegetables to the pan with the shrimp. Stir in the sweet and sour sauce and pineapple. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened up.
- Serve hot over rice with cilantro and/or sliced green onions to garnish (if desired).
- Use a hot skillet - one of the foundations of stir-fry cooking is using a hot skillet. It cooks the food quickly while still keeping the vegetables crisp.
- Stir the vegetables and shrimp frequently - another tenant of stir-fry cooking is stirring the ingredients often. Stir them every at least every 15 seconds, or more if the ingredients are cooking quicker.
- Don't overcook the shrimp - In this recipe, we will cook the shrimp partway on its own and the rest of the way with the sauce and vegetables. So, don't cook your shrimp all the way through before we add in the other ingredients. If you do, they will get rubbery and chewy (not fun).
- Start your rice before you start the stir fry (if you're cooking it from scratch) - if you're cooking your rice from scratch, start it before you start the stir-fry. For other ways to cook your rice quickly, read my notes below!
How do you make rice fast?
This is always something I factor in when making a stir-fry: how do I time the rice to be done when the dish is done? It's particularly complicated when I make brown rice-- which often takes a bit longer to cook. Here are my tips on how to time the cooking and make rice quickly:
- Use frozen rice -- freeze your own rice while doing meal prep for the week or buy frozen rice from the supermarket. Trader Joe's has many healthy options!
- Use precooked rice -- almost all the brands I've seen are ready in under 2 minutes! Just pop open the pouch, following the reheating instructions, and you're all set.
- Use instant rice -- most are ready in under 10 minutes.
- Cook your rice in the instant pot -- this is my preferred step these days. Brown rice cooks in 15 minutes (with a 10-minute natural release) so I start it 5 minutes before I cook and the timing works out perfectly. Pro-tip: add the rice to the pot with boiling water (instead of room temperature) to speed up the cooking time.
Can you make this recipe spicier?
The sriracha in this recipe functions to add a little spunk or kick to the sauce, rather than to make it spicy. If you'd like to add some heat to the dish, however, you can do so by increasing the sriracha up to ¼ cup or by adding some cayenne pepper to the sauce.
Can you double or triple this recipe?
You can definitely double or triple this recipe. You will likely need to cook the vegetables and shrimp in batches (so they don't overcrowd and get soggy) if you do, but otherwise, all of the recipe steps are the same!
How long do leftovers last?
Cooked seafood doesn't last very long, so these leftovers last covered in the refrigerator for just 2-3 days.
Can you freeze leftovers?
Unfortunately, these leftovers do not freezer well.
Tools needed to make sweet and sour shrimp:
- Small mixing bowl or cup
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Cutting board
- Chef Knife
- Wooden stirring spoon or heat-safe spatula
- Large (12-inch) non-stick skillet or wok
More quick dinner recipes:
- Spicy Brown Sugar Salmon
- Peanut Butter Chicken Curry
- House Special Fried Rice
- Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry
- Thai Green Chicken Curry
- Salmon Panang Curry
- Egg Roll in a Skillet
- Homemade Ramen with Seasoned Ground Turkey
If you make and like this recipe, please review and rate it 5-stars at the top of the recipe card. This helps other people to find the recipes and helps this reader-supported publication, too!
Thank you so much for your feedback and support of Mae's Menu!
Sweet and Sour Sauce:
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce or coconut liquid aminos
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons honey (preferably raw)
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2-3 teaspoons sriracha
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons avocado or coconut oil
- 1 large sweet onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 sweet pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 green onions, white and green parts cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 lb raw shrimp, peeled deveined and tails removed (if desired), 21-30 count size
- 1 ½ cups canned pineapple, drained (juice used for sauce above)
- Hot steamed rice, to serve
- Diced cilantro or additional sliced green onions, to garnish (optional)
1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all of the sweet and sour sauce ingredients until combined and the cornstarch has dissolved. Set aside.
2. Heat a 12-inch non-stick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the pan and heat until it sizzles when flicked with water.
3. Add the onions, sweet pepper, and green onion to the skillet or wok. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the onions are translucent and the peppers are tender. Pour the vegetables into a bowl and very carefully wipe out the skillet or wok with a damp paper towel.
4. Return the pan to the heat. Add the second tablespoon of oil and heat up until it sputters when flicked with water. Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook for 1.5-2.5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the shrimp are just pink on all sides. Please note: the shrimp will not be totally cooked yet. That is just fine!
5. Return the vegetables back to the pan with the shrimp. Stir in the pineapple and the sweet and sour sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the sauce has thickened.
6. Remove the pan from the heat. Serve the shrimp over hot rice with diced cilantro or sliced green onions to garnish, if desired. Enjoy!
1. Leftovers last covered in the fridge for 2-3 days. They do not freeze well.
2. For the canned pineapple: st strain the juice out of the can for the sauce before using the remaining fruit for the stir-fry.
3. You can also use frozen pineapple. Add it to the vegetables for the last 2 minutes of cooking time and continue with the rest of the recipe as directed.
4. To make this recipe gluten-free, substitute coconut liquid aminos for the soy sauce.
5. Make sure to use raw peeled, and deveined shrimp for this recipe. If your tails are not removed, you can cut or pinch them off or do like I did, and leave the tails on. They're easy to work around when eating.
6. You can adapt the vegetables in this recipe to your liking. Any combination of 2 ½ cups of thinly sliced carrot, onion, sweet peppers, napa cabbage, broccoli, or celery would also be so tasty in this recipe.
Yield4 (without rice)
Amount Per Serving Calories 307Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 143mgSodium 531mgCarbohydrates 42gFiber 3gSugar 28gProtein 19g
This nutrition breakdown is just an estimate of the nutritional value of this recipe and cannot be taken as facts. The owners of Mae's Menu are not nutritionists or dietitians and therefore cannot be held accountable for this nutrition estimate. Please contact your nutritionist or medical professional for a nutritional breakdown of this food. Furthermore, this food is not intended to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.