Grace Young’s Creamy Hot Pepper Shrimp Stir-Fry Is the Fast & Fancy Dinner to Make Tonight

updated Aug 26, 2020
Creamy Hot Pepper Shrimp Stir-Fry

Heavy cream and hot sauce combine to create a spicy, decadent sauce for stir-fried shrimp and tender-crisp veggies.

Serves2 to 3

Prep25 minutes

Cook5 minutes to 10 minutes

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Credit: Christine Han

All month long, so many of you have been cooking out of my book Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge, Kitchn’s Cookbook Club pick. Now that you’ve mastered the basic stir-frying techniques, it’s time to go beyond the classic dishes. Stir-frying is so flexible, you can use it to whip together all sorts of meals with just a few supermarket ingredients, like this creamy red pepper shrimp. Here, heavy cream and hot sauce combine to create a spicy, decadent sauce for stir-fried shrimp and tender-crisp veggies. It’s finger-licking good.

Credit: Christine Han

Prepping Shrimp for Stir-Frying

The great thing about shrimp is that, unlike chicken, beef, or pork, it doesn’t need to be marinated. But what you must do, after rinsing — and this is key — is pat the shrimp dry with paper towels. Cooking with wet shrimp will turn your stir-fry into a soggy braise.

In this recipe, the most labor-intensive part can be peeling and deveining the shrimp, but struggle no more. For under $10, treat yourself to a shrimp deveiner. With this handy device I can peel and devein a pound of shrimp in less than 10 minutes. 

Credit: Christine Han

Shrimp Need a Time-Out Minute — Really!

After flavoring the oil with a little minced garlic, push the aromatics to the sides of the wok and add the shrimp, spreading it along the bottom of the wok in an even layer. Now, stop and resist stir-frying for one full minute. Yes, you heard me right. The shrimp need a chance to sear before you add the seasonings and proceed with the recipe. And, trust me: Never try to cook more than a pound of shrimp at a time. Crowding the wok prevents the shrimp from browning.

Once you’ve swirled in the last tablespoon of oil, add the peppers and stir-fry until combined. Finally, give the sauce ingredients a quick re-stir (cornstarch tends to sink to the bottom) before pouring it into the wok. Stir-fry a minute or two until the heavenly sauce comes together. It’s that easy!

Creamy Hot Pepper Shrimp Stir-Fry

Heavy cream and hot sauce combine to create a spicy, decadent sauce for stir-fried shrimp and tender-crisp veggies.

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 5 minutes to 10 minutes

Serves 2 to 3

Nutritional Info


  • 1/4 cup

    heavy cream

  • 3 tablespoons

    chicken broth

  • 1 tablespoon

    dry sherry

  • 1 teaspoon


  • 1 teaspoon

    soy sauce

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    Tabasco hot sauce

  • 1 teaspoon

    sweet paprika

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon

    minced garlic (about 1 large or 2 medium cloves)

  • 2

    medium red, yellow, or green bell peppers

  • 2 tablespoons

    finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

  • 1 pound

    large peeled, deveined raw shrimp, tail on

  • 2 tablespoons

    peanut or grapeseed oil, divided


  1. Place 1/4 cup heavy cream, 3 tablespoons chicken broth, 1 tablespoon sherry, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and 1/8 teaspoon Tabasco in a liquid measuring cup or small bowl and stir until the cornstarch is dissolved. Combine 1 teaspoon sweet paprika and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a small bowl or dish.

  2. Mince 1 large or 2 medium garlic cloves (1 tablespoon). Cut 2 medium bell peppers into 1/4-inch wide strips (about 2 cups). Finely chop 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves. Pat 1 pound shrimp dry with paper towels.

  3. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12 inch skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of the oil, add the garlic, and stir-fry until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Push the garlic to the side of the pan, then carefully add the shrimp and spread into a single layer. Cook undisturbed 1 minute to let the shrimp begin to sear. Sprinkle with the paprika mixture. Using a metal spatula, stir-fry to incorporate the garlic and cook until the shrimp are lightly browned but not cooked through, about 30 seconds.

  4. Drizzle in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the bell peppers and stir-fry until just combined, about 30 seconds. Restir the broth mixture, and then drizzle it into the pan. Stir-fry until the shrimp are just cooked, the vegetables are tender-crisp, and the sauce thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The shrimp can be peeled, deveined, rinsed and patted dry 12 hours in advance. Place in ziploc bag and refrigerate. All vegetables can be prepped up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerated.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 days.

Grace Young’s Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge is Kitchn’s August pick for our Cookbook Club (see how you can participate here). For a great introduction to Grace, check out her video The Wok Therapist, winner of the 2020 James Beard Digital Award.