It’s made with our homemade stir fry sauce that can be easily made in advance, then the veggies and shrimp cook up quickly and in no time you’ll have a healthy, flavorful, delicious meal that the whole family will love!
Shrimp Stir Fry Ingredients
One of the most beautiful things about making stir fry at home is how customizable it is! If you have veggies on hand that need to be used up, throw them in the mix.
When I decide on vegetables for stir fry, I like to have a mixture of textures – some crunchy, with different shapes – and a variety of colors.
Here’s what I typically use for this stir fry recipe, keeping it simple so the shrimp can shine!
- Shrimp: medium or large, more on these in a minute.
- Broccoli: shrimp and broccoli is a classic combination, and the hearty broccoli florets bulk up this stir fry while adding texture and crunch.
- Garlic: there is garlic in the sauce, but adding thinly sliced garlic cloves delivers even more flavor!
- Ginger: similar to garlic, we’re adding more ginger for even more flavor!
- Bell Pepper: a wonderful addition for its crunch and color, use red, orange, or yellow bell peppers!
- Shredded Carrots: a shortcut taken in this recipe… use pre-shredded carrots. They cook quickly, add some color, and blend in well with all the rest of the veggies. You can also use whole carrots and chop them into evenly sized pieces, just be sure to add them sooner, as noted below.
- Stir Fry Sauce: making homemade sauce is key because you can adjust the flavors exactly to your preferences, you know just what is in it, and it’s so easy to make!
What Kind of Shrimp to Use in Stir Fry
If you find yourself at the store, confused by shrimp (aka prawn) options, here are a few notes to look for:
- Fresh or Frozen: honestly, either will work! If you use frozen shrimp, just be sure to thaw them before making this recipe.
- Wild Caught or Sustainably Farmed: when buying seafood, it’s important to be sure that it is sustainably sourced. I like to look for the Best Aquaculture Practices endorsement or use the Seafood Watch app for guidance.
- Peeled, Deveined, and Tails-Off (if you want!): to make your life easier, look for peeled and deveined shrimp; it’s up to you if you want to cook the shrimp with tails on or off. The tails add a little more flavor, but it’s definitely easier to eat if they are already off.
- Medium-Sized Shrimp: …or large. Either size will work well with bite-sized vegetables. Medium will be listed as 41-50, which is the amount of shrimp per pound, whereas large will say 31-35.
How to Make Shrimp Stir Fry
In just a few simple steps, you’re going to be devouring dinner in no time! As always, be sure to see the full recipe card below for all the instructions.
- Whisk together the sauce if you don’t have it made already. This recipe comes together quickly, so having the sauce ready means you can move through speedy fast!
- Cook the shrimp halfway through. Start by cooking the shrimp on one side, until they are about halfway cooked. The reason we won’t be cooking them completely through is that they will finish cooking with the sauce, and this prevents them from overcooking.
- Remove the shrimp and set aside.
- Add the broccoli to the hot skillet. The broccoli will take the longest to cook, which is why we are adding it first. If you are adding additional veggies that take longer to cook, do so now.
- Add bell pepper after the broccoli has had its start.
- Add garlic, ginger, and shredded carrots. Saute them for a minute to just get tender…
- Add the stir-fry sauce and bring it to a simmer to begin thickening.
- Add the shrimp back in and continue to simmer for a minute or two until they are cooked through and the sauce is thick.
And that’s it! Now it’s time to dig in and enjoy…with rice (or cilantro lime rice) if you so desire (I do!)!
What is the best kind of pan to use?
I’d be amiss to not recommend that you use a wok if you have one, but you don’t need one to be successful with this recipe. Using a wok gives the veggies and protein enough room to cook evenly.
If you don’t have one, no problem, just use a large skillet with sides. I like my 12-inch cast-iron skillet because it gives a lot of room for the veggies and shrimp to cook while maintaining even heat.
If you love to make stir-fry for dinner, I highly recommend this wok. It’s a perfect size – large enough to hold all your veggies, proteins, and noodles while cooking them evenly.
Photo credit: www.amazon.com
As I mentioned, you can add virtually any additional vegetable you’d like. The one important note to remember when changing the vegetables is to consider their cook time so that they aren’t either under or overcooked.
- Longer-Cooking Vegetables: these vegetables should be added at the beginning since they typically take 6-8 minutes to cook.
- Mushrooms, asparagus, cauliflower, large dice or round sliced carrots, onion slices, snap peas, and zucchini.
- Mid-Range Cooking Vegetables: typically take around 3-5 minutes to cook up.
- Bell peppers, water chestnuts or baby corn (because they’re basically just reheating), snow peas, the base of bok choy.
- Quicker-Cooking Vegetables: these can be added towards the end because they don’t need much time to become tender.
- Leafy greens like spinach or kale, or the tops of bok choy, bean sprouts, garlic and ginger, shredded carrots, and sliced green onions.
What to Serve with Shrimp Stir Fry
- Cilantro Rice is my absolute favorite thing to serve with stir fry. Jasmine, basmati, or good ol’ white rice are all delicious options, or you can opt for heartier brown rice.
- Quinoa is another grain and a healthy option.
- Rice Noodles would work, too, similar to these stir-fried noodles.
- Garnishes! Top with sesame seeds, sliced green onion, or a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Chopped cashews or peanuts add a lovely crunch, too.
Because this stir fry already has quite a few veggies, I don’t usually feel the need to serve it with any additional veggies, although cheesy pepper jelly wonton cups would be an excellent appetizer.
Tips for Recipe Success
Here are a few important key tips for making the best shrimp stir fry.
- Don’t overcook the shrimp! Be sure to partially cook them the first time – to make this easy, just turn one side pink.
- Cut the vegetables into evenly sized pieces. This ensures even cooking and makes eating easier.
- Prep the veggies in advance. Make sure the veggies are prepped before you start cooking – because it will go quickly once you start. This also means you should make the sauce ahead of time, too. With everything ready, the recipe is quick, quick, quick!
- Use a large pan or wok. This gives the veggies room to cook evenly and allows for proper caramelization. If your pan is too small, they’ll steam instead.
Make-Ahead and Freezing Tips
To make this recipe ahead of time, I recommend prepping the ingredients and sauce, then storing them – separately – in the fridge until you’re ready to make the recipe. This makes weeknight dinners extra quick and makes meal prep easy.
If you want to freeze the recipe or any leftovers, I recommend placing the stir fry in Souper Cubes, then topping with extra rice (if using). Adding the rice on the top means it won’t become too saucy in the freezing process.
Freezing leftovers makes an easy go-to for lunch or dinner, just reheat in the microwave on the defrost setting until heated through, or on the stovetop over low-medium heat.
To store leftovers in the fridge, simply place them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove until heated through.
Yes, you can! There is even a ‘stir fry vegetable’ frozen mix that I’ve seen at many grocery stores. Make the sauce, then cook the shrimp as directed, removing halfway through. Add the frozen vegetables to the hot pan for just a minute, then stir in the sauce and bring to a simmer. Add the shrimp back in and cook until they are opaque and the veggies are heated through.
As long as you use a gluten-free soy sauce, like Tamari, and check the ingredients listed on the other products, you can make this recipe gluten-free.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe 20-Minute Shrimp Stir Fry Dinner
Stir Fry Sauce
- ½ cup soy sauce, low sodium recommended
- ½ cup vegetable stock, or water
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 teaspoons ginger, grated or minced
- 1 tablespoon brown/granulated sugar, or honey, more for a sweeter sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
- The Sauce: whisk together the stir fry sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Pat shrimp dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired. Keep in mind the sauce is salty from the soy, so you don't need a lot, but some salt on the shrimp will help flavor them.
- In a wok or large saute pan, heat oil over high heat. Add shrimp and cook on one side, until cooked only halfway through, approximately 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add broccoli to the hot wok and cook for 3-5 minutes, depending on their size. You don't want them cooked all the way through, just enough so they have a head start. Add the bell pepper and cook for an additional minute.
- Stir in the shredded carrots (if using sliced carrots, add them with the broccoli), garlic, and ginger. Cook for a minute, then stir in the stir fry sauce. Bring to a simmer for about 2 minutes until sauce begins to thicken.
- Add the shrimp back to the stir fry, cooking for an additional 2 minutes or so until they are cooked through.
- Serve over rice if desired, and garnish with green onions, cilantro, bean sprouts, a squeeze of lime, or sesame seeds.
- Shrimp: if using frozen shrimp, be sure to thaw them according to package directions before using.
- Storage: place leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months.
- Sauce: the sauce makes approximately 1 1/4 cups; if you prefer a less saucy stir fry, add about 3/4 cup of the sauce and continue adding more until the desired amount is reached.
- To make the sauce even thicker, add an additional 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch.
- See the stir fry sauce post for additional recipe tips.
- Use stock with no added salt.