Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry

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Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry — Made with juicy shrimp, crisp-tender veggies, and a homemade stir-fry sauce, this stir-fry is QUICK and EASY! It’s ready in just 25 minutes and tastes so much better than takeout! Serve the stir-fry with noodles or rice for a complete meal. 

Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry — Made with juicy shrimp, crisp-tender veggies, and a homemade stir-fry sauce, this stir-fry is QUICK and EASY! It’s ready in just 25 minutes and tastes so much better than takeout! Serve the stir-fry with noodles or rice for a complete meal. 

Quick and Easy Shrimp Stir-Fry Recipe 

This stir-fry combines the best parts of any takeout dinner — a slightly spicy, umami sauce, succulent shrimp, and perfectly crisp-tender veggies — but it’s made at home in 25 minutes! 

The shrimp stir-fry sauce steals the show for me. It’s not shy on garlic flavor, and it coats every nook and cranny of the broccoli florets and shrimp with sticky, saucy flavor. 

Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry — Made with juicy shrimp, crisp-tender veggies, and a homemade stir-fry sauce, this stir-fry is QUICK and EASY! It’s ready in just 25 minutes and tastes so much better than takeout! Serve the stir-fry with noodles or rice for a complete meal.

The flavors of garlic and toasted sesame oil take center stage in the stir-fry, and the sweet snow peas and bell pepper are the perfect fresh and crispy flavor balance to the stronger flavors of the sauce. 

Keep this garlic shrimp and veggie stir-fry tucked up your sleeve for those moments when you need to get dinner on the table now.

Here’s looking at you busy weeknights after a long day at work or back-to-school season. This is so much faster than ordering carry-out, and a million times tastier! 

Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry — Made with juicy shrimp, crisp-tender veggies, and a homemade stir-fry sauce, this stir-fry is QUICK and EASY! It’s ready in just 25 minutes and tastes so much better than takeout! Serve the stir-fry with noodles or rice for a complete meal.

Is It Spicy?

Because I know people will ask, the stir-fry sauce is by no means spicy.

The tablespoon (or so) of Asian chili sauce gives it some oomph, but it’s a flavorful spice rather than a burn-your-mouth-off spice. 

However, if you want to make the dish spicier, be my guest. Just add more chili sauce or sprinkle on some red pepper flakes.

Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry — Made with juicy shrimp, crisp-tender veggies, and a homemade stir-fry sauce, this stir-fry is QUICK and EASY! It’s ready in just 25 minutes and tastes so much better than takeout! Serve the stir-fry with noodles or rice for a complete meal.

Shrimp Stir-Fry Ingredients 

The stir-fry shrimp and vegetables come together using easy-to-find ingredients that are available at most chain grocery stores. You may need to visit the international section of your local grocer for a few of the ingredients, but you shouldn’t have any issues locating everything. 

Here’s what you’ll need to prepare the shrimp stir-fry and sauce. 

For the stir-fry: 

  • Oil (olive oil, peanut oil, and vegetable oil will all work) 
  • Red bell pepper 
  • Broccoli
  • Snow peas
  • Baby bok choy
  • Raw shrimp (see section below for notes on what type of shrimp to buy) 
  • Sesame seeds, green onions, cilantro, etc., as desired for garnishing
Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry — Made with juicy shrimp, crisp-tender veggies, and a homemade stir-fry sauce, this stir-fry is QUICK and EASY! It’s ready in just 25 minutes and tastes so much better than takeout! Serve the stir-fry with noodles or rice for a complete meal.

For the stir-fry sauce: 

  • Garlic cloves
  • Low-sodium soy sauce
  • Water
  • Light brown sugar
  • Toasted sesame oil (regular will work too, but the sesame flavor won’t be nearly as strong. If you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, their Toasted Sesame Oil is reasonably priced with great flavor) 
  • Asian chili sauce (See my Tips and Info below)
  • Cornstarch 

Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.

Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry — Made with juicy shrimp, crisp-tender veggies, and a homemade stir-fry sauce, this stir-fry is QUICK and EASY! It’s ready in just 25 minutes and tastes so much better than takeout! Serve the stir-fry with noodles or rice for a complete meal.

Chili Garlic Sauce Tips and Info

There are two types of commonly found “chili sauce” or “Asian chili sauce” in typical American supermarkets.

One is a more translucent lighter red sauce that’s got hints of orange and pink in it, and it’s often labeled as a “sweet chili sauce”. If you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, I use their Sweet Chili Sauce. The Thai Kitchen brand also makes a Sweet Chili Sauce which is easy to find in most grocery stores. Overall, this type of chili sauce is milder than the next type I discuss.

There’s also chili garlic sauce. It’s a much deeper, ruddier, and reddish color with visible chunks of chili pepper seeds. The most common and recognizable brand is Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce (buy it at your local grocer or big box retailer, link for packaging recognition) with a telltale grass green lid on the jar. Tablespoon for tablespoon, chili garlic sauce is spicier and bolder in flavor than the previously mentioned sauce.

The Huy Fong brand is also famous for their sriracha, which is different and not exactly what this recipe calls for, although would work in a pinch.

Use whichever sauce you like. For kids or spice-weary folks, I suggest the first. For those who like bold garlic flavor with heat, the second.

Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry — Made with juicy shrimp, crisp-tender veggies, and a homemade stir-fry sauce, this stir-fry is QUICK and EASY! It’s ready in just 25 minutes and tastes so much better than takeout! Serve the stir-fry with noodles or rice for a complete meal.

What’s the Best Type Shrimp for Stir-Fries? 

Shrimp cooks very quickly and as such is prone to drying out in stir-fries. Dry shrimp are chewy, rubbery, and not at all what anyone wants to eat!

I recommend using large shrimp for this garlic shrimp stir-fry recipe. That means there are 15 shrimp per pound. U20 shrimp would likely work here too, but they’ll be smaller than U15 shrimp, and therefore will cook quicker.

If you see 26 to 30-count shrimp, that means there are 26 to 30 per pound — aka they’re very small! 

You might be tempted to buy the cheapest shrimp available, but cheap shrimp = small shrimp. And smaller shrimp cook in less than 2 minutes and pretty much always overcook in a skillet. 

I like juicy, succulent shrimp in my stir-fries and am willing to pay more for them. If I’m going to go through the trouble of preparing the shrimp-stir fry sauce and veggies from scratch, I want to enjoy every last bite of my meal! 

Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry — Made with juicy shrimp, crisp-tender veggies, and a homemade stir-fry sauce, this stir-fry is QUICK and EASY! It’s ready in just 25 minutes and tastes so much better than takeout! Serve the stir-fry with noodles or rice for a complete meal.

Is it Better to Stir-Fry Shrimp with the Shells On or Off? 

I purchase fresh deveined shrimp with the shells off but the tails still on for flavor and appearance. I get them the seafood counter at my local grocery store.

Yes, I could save some money buy purchasing intact shrimp and cleaning them myself, but I simply don’t have the time or desire to peel and devein two full pounds of shrimp for dinner. 

My goal with this stir-fried shrimp and veggie recipe was to create a super quick and easy dinner that can be on the table in less than 30 minutes. Standing there shelling and deveining 2 pounds of shrimp will take me that much time on its own! 

Also I despise eating any dish that’s prepared with the shells still on shrimp. It creates the messiest meal ever and is just unappetizing watching everyone struggle with them at the dinner table. Therefore I always make sure to remove the shells before cooking and serving the dish!

Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry — Made with juicy shrimp, crisp-tender veggies, and a homemade stir-fry sauce, this stir-fry is QUICK and EASY! It’s ready in just 25 minutes and tastes so much better than takeout! Serve the stir-fry with noodles or rice for a complete meal.

Should I Use Fresh or Frozen Shrimp?

When shrimp is the star of the show in any recipe, I always like to use fresh shrimp. Simply put, fresh is better and go with this option if you can.

However, based on availability or your budget, you may use frozen shrimp. They are cheaper and available in nearly every grocery freezer case.

However, make sure you know are aware if they are uncooked frozen shrimp OR cooked frozen shrimp.

Important Frozen Shrimp Tips: If using the former, thaw them and proceed with the recipe like you would if using fresh shrimp. If using the later, I suggest not adding them until the very end of the recipe. You just want to warm them through and not actually cook them (again, since they’ve already been cooked once and then frozen).

Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry — Made with juicy shrimp, crisp-tender veggies, and a homemade stir-fry sauce, this stir-fry is QUICK and EASY! It’s ready in just 25 minutes and tastes so much better than takeout! Serve the stir-fry with noodles or rice for a complete meal. 

How to Make Shrimp and Vegetable Stir-Fry

It took me longer to discuss the merits of the best shrimp to use in stir-fries than it will take you to actually make this recipe! When I say this garlic shrimp stir-fry is easy, I mean it. 

Let’s take a look at how the stir-fry is made: 

Step 1: Prepare the stir-fry sauce. It’s as easy as whisking together the minced garlic, water, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, chili sauce, and cornstarch in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. 

Step 2: Stir-fry the shrimp and vegetables. Heat a little oil in a large skillet or wok, then add the chopped veggies and cook over medium-high heat until crisp-tender.

Step 3: Add and cook the shrimp.

Shrimp Cooking Tips

The recipe states that you should cook the shrimp for about 4 to 5 minutes when you first add them to the skillet with the sauteing veggies.

However, those cooking estimates are only if you used large (U15) shrimp as instructed! If your shrimp are smaller than that, they’ll need less time in the skillet – possibly much less.

Use your eyes, and not the clock, to decide when the shrimp are cooked through! Plus, then the shrimp simmers in the stir fry sauce with the veggies for another 4-5 minutes so you definitely will not have to worry if they’re done or not – they will be!

Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry — Made with juicy shrimp, crisp-tender veggies, and a homemade stir-fry sauce, this stir-fry is QUICK and EASY! It’s ready in just 25 minutes and tastes so much better than takeout! Serve the stir-fry with noodles or rice for a complete meal.

Step 4: Add the stir-fry sauce. Pour the prepared sauce over the cooked shrimp and veggies. Cook a few more minutes to thicken up the sauce. 

Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry — Made with juicy shrimp, crisp-tender veggies, and a homemade stir-fry sauce, this stir-fry is QUICK and EASY! It’s ready in just 25 minutes and tastes so much better than takeout! Serve the stir-fry with noodles or rice for a complete meal.

Step 5: Serve! We love the stir-fry shrimp and vegetables over white rice, but noodles or cauliflower rice are great too. 

Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry — Made with juicy shrimp, crisp-tender veggies, and a homemade stir-fry sauce, this stir-fry is QUICK and EASY! It’s ready in just 25 minutes and tastes so much better than takeout! Serve the stir-fry with noodles or rice for a complete meal.

Storage Instructions 

I don’t love reheated shrimp, so I suggest enjoying the stir-fry while it’s hot and fresh. However, leftovers may be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

If you’re eating this as leftovers, say as for lunch at home the next day, I simply set it out on my counter about 30-45 minutes before I am going to eat it so it has a chance to come up to room temp. This takes the chill off the stir fry, and I can also avoid actually have to microwave it nor deal with reheating it in a skillet.

I do not recommend freezing the leftovers. The veggies would become grainy once frozen, and the shrimp would be rubbery. 

Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry — Made with juicy shrimp, crisp-tender veggies, and a homemade stir-fry sauce, this stir-fry is QUICK and EASY! It’s ready in just 25 minutes and tastes so much better than takeout! Serve the stir-fry with noodles or rice for a complete meal. 

Recipe FAQs

Can I use different vegetables than the recipe calls for? 

Of course! You may use any vegetables you like in this shrimp-stir fry recipe. I used a blend of veggies, but you can also use just one kind. 

For example, a shrimp and broccoli stir-fry would be delicious, as would a shrimp and asparagus stir-fry. 

Or, use a mix of different colored bell peppers. Or add some carrots, zucchini, green onions, water chestnuts, mushrooms, broccolini, green beans, peapods, shelled edamame, or whatever sounds great to you!

What veggies are best for stir-frying? 

I recommend using sturdier vegetables in this stir-fry, like broccoli, bok choy or cabbage, asparagus, and so on. 

Avoid vegetables that cook very quickly, like leafy greens, unless you can time it just right and add them right at the end. If you have some kale to use for example, add a few handfuls at the very end and the carryover heat will wilt it, without disintegrating it.Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry — Made with juicy shrimp, crisp-tender veggies, and a homemade stir-fry sauce, this stir-fry is QUICK and EASY! It’s ready in just 25 minutes and tastes so much better than takeout! Serve the stir-fry with noodles or rice for a complete meal. 

What size shrimp should I stir-fry? 

You’ll want to use large shrimp, preferably U15 count. U20 would likely work too, but avoid small shrimp since they cook quickly and often turn rubbery. 

Make sure to see above for all the shrimp talk in terms of sizes, fresh vs. frozen, and so forth.

How can you tell when shrimp are done cooking? 

Raw shrimp are gray in color and more translucent. You’ll know they’re done stir-frying when they’re pink or pink-and-white and opaque, rather than gray. They will also start to curl into themselves.  

However, this all happens very fast, at times within a 90-second time span, so be very careful not to overcook the shrimp when you first add them to the sauteed vegetables, because they’ll still simmer with the sauce for another 4-5 minutes so you don’t need to worry too much about doneness.

Can I use pre-cooked shrimp in the stir-fry? 

Technically, yes, you can do so as a time saver.

However, raw shrimp really are best in this recipe. If you use pre-cooked shrimp, you’ll want to add them at the very end of the cooking time otherwise they’ll cook even further and become dry and tough. 

Again, see my more detailed explanations about what shrimp to use.

Can the stir-fry be made in advance? 

Although you can technically make this in advance and reheat the leftovers, but shrimp don’t reheat well in my opinion.

Therefore, I recommend making and then eating the stir-fry as soon as it’s finished cooking. 

Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry — Made with juicy shrimp, crisp-tender veggies, and a homemade stir-fry sauce, this stir-fry is QUICK and EASY! It’s ready in just 25 minutes and tastes so much better than takeout! Serve the stir-fry with noodles or rice for a complete meal. 

Serving Suggestions 

You can’t go wrong with serving this stir-fry over a bed of white rice or brown rice. For a twist, jasmine rice is tender and fragrant. Cauliflower Rice or Easy Fried Rice are also great!

Whichever type of rice you select, they all soak up that glorious stir-fry sauce! 

You can also pair the stir-fry with boiled or stir-fried noodles. I have a great Sweet and Sour Noodles recipe if you need one. My Chicken Pad Thai is also a reader favorite!

The stir-fry is a complete meal as is, but you can try serving it with one or more of the following Asian-inspired sides for a better-than-takeout feast at home: 

Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry — Made with juicy shrimp, crisp-tender veggies, and a homemade stir-fry sauce, this stir-fry is QUICK and EASY! It’s ready in just 25 minutes and tastes so much better than takeout! Serve the stir-fry with noodles or rice for a complete meal. 

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4.80 from 5 votes

Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry

By Averie Sunshine
Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry Made with juicy shrimp, crisp-tender veggies, and a homemade stir-fry sauce, this stir-fry is QUICK and EASY! It’s ready in just 25 minutes and tastes so much better than takeout! Serve the stir-fry with noodles or rice for a complete meal. 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6
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Ingredients  

Stir Fry Sauce

  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and very finely minced
  • cup lite soy sauce
  • cup water
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed; or to taste
  • 1 ½ tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce, or more to taste for more spiciness* (See Notes)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Stir Fry

  • 3 tablespoons oil, peanut, vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 fresh red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced vertically
  • 1 ½ cups raw broccoli florets, do not use frozen
  • 1 cup fresh snow peas
  • 1 small baby bok choy, sliced vertically into quarters
  • 2 pounds large raw shrimp with tails on, peeled and deveined** (See Notes)
  • Sesame seeds, green onions, cilantro, etc.; optional for garnishing

Instructions 

  • Stir Fry Sauce – To a small bowl or 2 cup glass measuring cup, add the minced garlic, soy sauce, water, brown sugar, sesame oil, chili sauce, cornstarch, and whisk well to combine; set aside.
  • Stir Fry – To a large, high-sided skillet or wok, add the oil (Tip – I love peanut oil, but not everyone does. It has a very distinct flavor so make sure you know your audience if using it), bell peppers, broccoli, snow peas, bok choy, and saute over medium to medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until the veggies are becoming tender.
  • Keep the veggies in the skillet, add the shrimp, and cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until shrimp are just cooked. Tips – Take care not to overcook the shrimp. They cook faster than you think, and the smaller they are, the faster they cook. I used U15-20 count shrimp and they only need about 4 minutes total. If your shrimp are smaller, 90 seconds per side may be enough to cook them through. Also, the shrimp simmer in the sauce in the next step for an additional 5 minutes or so, so don't overcook them now. Shrimp are done when they go from gray/translucent to pink-white/opaque, and will curl slightly in on themselves.
  • Slowly and evenly pour the stir fry sauce over the contents of the skillet, and simmer for about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring nearly constantly. Tip – The sauce will thicken as time passes from the cornstarch in the sauce. It will seem looser in the skillet on the stove than it will be in reality after you take the skillet off the heat.
  • Optionally garnish with sesame seeds, green onions, etc. if desired. Serve alongside rice (white, brown, fried, cauliflower) or with noodles (such as Sweet and Sour or Thai Curry). Recipe is best served warm and fresh. Leftovers will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 3 days. I don't recommend freezing the dish. I let leftovers come up to room temp on my countertop for 30 minutes before eating them rather than microwaving or reheating in a skillet.

Notes

*There are two types of commonly found chili garlic sauce.
One is a more translucent sauce that’s got hints of orange and pink in it, and it’s often labeled as asweet chili sauce”. If you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, I use their Sweet Chili Sauce. The Thai Kitchen brand also makes a Sweet Chili Sauce which is easy to find in most grocery stores. Overall, this type of chili sauce is milder than the next type I discuss.
There’s also chili garlic sauce. It’s a much deeper, ruddier, and reddish color with visible chunks of chili pepper seeds. The most common and recognizable brand is Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce (buy it at your local grocer or big box retailer, link for packaging recognition) with a telltale grass green lid on the jar. Tablespoon for tablespoon, chili garlic sauce is spicier and bolder in flavor than the previously mentioned sauce.
Use whichever sauce you like. For kids or spice-weary folks, I suggest the first. For those who like bold garlic flavor with heat, the second.
The Huy Fong brand is also famous for their sriracha, which is different and not exactly what this recipe calls for, although would work in a pinch.
**Shrimp – When shrimp is the star of the show in any recipe, I always like to use fresh shrimp. Simply put, fresh is better and go with this option if you can. I use peeled and deveined shrimp, with the tails still on and intact for visual effect, that I purchase from the seafood counter at my local grocery store.
However, based on availability or your budget, you may use frozen shrimp. They are cheaper and available in nearly every grocery freezer case.
However, make sure you know are aware if they are uncooked frozen shrimp OR cooked frozen shrimp.
Important Frozen Shrimp Tips – If using the former, thaw them and proceed with the recipe like you would if using fresh shrimp. If using the later (shrimp that have already been cooked, then frozen), I suggest not adding them until the very end of the recipe, after you add the sauce. You just want to warm them through and not actually cook them (again, since they’ve already been cooked once and then frozen).

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 300kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 191mg, Sodium: 1692mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 8g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    i made the shrimp fried rice and the garlic shrimp stir fry using most of the ingredients you posted and to my surprise I was pleasantly pleased with the outcome of both dishes but especially the garlic shrimp stir fry. It was so good I almost bit my tongue Thank you for sharing these quick delicious meals.

  2. 5 stars
    i made the shrimp fried rice and the garlic shrimp stir fry using most of the ingredients you posted and to my surprise I was pleasantly pleased with the outcome of both dishes but especially the garlic shrimp stir fry. It was so good I almost bit my tongue Thank you for sharing these quick delicious meals.

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad that this stir fry was exceptionally good – that’s wonderful to hear, Ginger!