Sweet and Sour Shrimp

published Jun 5, 2022
Sweet and Sour Shrimp Recipe

Serve this sticky shrimp, bell pepper, and pineapple stir-fry over rice for an easy and satisfying meal.


Prep20 minutes

Cook10 minutes to 12 minutes

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a platter of grilled sweet and sour shrimp topped with julienned green onion and bowls of white rice on the side.
Credit: Maria Do

Sweet and sour shrimp is an easy Chinese American stir-fry that can be made at home with everyday ingredients. This dish pairs large succulent shrimp with a tangy honey sauce in a satisfying meal that comes together in 30 minutes. 

What Is Sweet and Sour Shrimp Made Of?

The sweet and sour sauce is made with honey, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, cornstarch, and pineapple juice. I prefer honey over sugar because of the nuanced flavor and thick consistency honey adds to the sauce. 

As for the other ingredients, this recipe has a lot of flexibility to add different veggies like many other stir-fries. This recipe includes red bell pepper and pineapple chunks, but feel free to swap in zucchini or broccoli, if you prefer.

The shrimp can be frozen or fresh but should be shelled (tail-on is OK) and deveined. If frozen, make sure to defrost it before cooking. I like to get jumbo (21/25) to colossal shrimp ( U-15) size because they won’t overcook as quickly in a hot skillet than smaller sizes.

Credit: Maria Do

Do You Marinate Sweet and Sour Shrimp?

No, sweet and sour shrimp does not need to be marinated. The shrimp is tossed in a sweet and sour sauce directly in a skillet or wok while cooking.  

How to Serve Sweet and Sour Shrimp

Sweet and sour shrimp is often served hot over warm white rice and garnished with sesame seeds and scallions.

Sweet and Sour Shrimp Recipe

Serve this sticky shrimp, bell pepper, and pineapple stir-fry over rice for an easy and satisfying meal.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes to 12 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


For the stir-fry:

  • 1 (20-ounce) can

    pineapple chunks

  • 1

    medium red bell pepper

  • 6

    medium scallions

  • 4 cloves


  • 1 (2-inch) piece

    ginger, or 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 pound

    peeled and deveined uncooked jumbo shrimp (21 to 25 per pound)

  • 1 tablespoon

    neutral cooking oil, such as avocado or vegetable

  • 2 teaspoons

    toasted sesame oil (optional)

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 2 teaspoons

    white sesame seeds

  • 4 cups

    cooked white rice, for serving (optional)

For the sweet and sour sauce:

  • 1/2 cup

    pineapple juice (reserved from the can)

  • 1 tablespoon


  • 1/3 cup

    rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons


  • 3 tablespoons


  • 1 tablespoon

    low-sodium soy sauce or tamari


Make the sweet and sour sauce:

  1. Reserve 1/2 cup pineapple juice from 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunks and place in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon cornstarch and stir with a fork until combined. Place 1/3 cup rice vinegar, 3 tablespoons honey, 3 tablespoons ketchup, and 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce in a second small bowl and stir to combine.

Make the stir-fry:

  1. Drain off the remaining juice from the can of pineapple. Dice 1 medium red bell pepper into 1-inch pieces. Thinly slice 6 medium scallions, keeping the scallion whites separate from the greens. Grate or mince 4 garlic cloves and 1 (2-inch) piece fresh peeled ginger. Pat 1 pound jumbo shrimp dry with paper towels.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Add the bell pepper and scallion whites and cook, stirring frequently, until the scallions begin to brown on the edges, about 2 minutes. Add the pineapple, garlic, and ginger. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

  3. Add the honey mixture and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and stir to coat in the sauce. Cover and reduce the heat to medium to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the shrimp turns pink on the outside, 1 to 2 minutes. Uncover and add the pineapple juice and cornstarch mixture. Stir to coat the shrimp in the sauce and simmer uncovered until the shrimp are fully pink and the sauce is thickened, 60 to 90 seconds more.

  4. Remove the pan from the heat. Add 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil if desired, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and toss to combine. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed. Garnish with 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds and the scallion greens. Serve with white rice if desired.

Recipe Notes

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