This shrimp and vegetable stir fry recipe can be whipped up in minutes. Toss it with an easy stir fry sauce and serve it over a bed of rice.
Shrimp and vegetable stir fry is one of the easiest recipes you can have in your dinner rotation. It cooks in minutes and includes those wonderful garlicky gingery flavors that make the best stir fries irresistibly delicious. For my family, this recipe even rivals my wonton stir fry. And that’s saying something!
Stir fries are something I learned to make a long time ago. In fact, it’s the meal I turned to more than any other during my college years. Pick a protein (shrimp, chicken, beef, tofu, pork), add some veggies, whip up an easy sauce, cook it all in the same pan, then serve over a hearty helping of rice.
The tricks to cooking stir fries are simple. Keep the pan hot, cook the protein and vegetables in batches and cut vegetables into pieces that are approximately the same size so that they cook evenly. No one wants over-crisp carrots and soggy broccoli!
What you need for this shrimp and vegetable stir fry recipe:
These are the main components of this recipe (affiliate links included):
- SHRIMP: I used large shrimp, often labeled as 31-35 (in other words, there are 31-35 shrimp per pound). Peel the shrimp and remove the tails. Either fresh or frozen shrimp works.
- OIL: Two types of oil are needed. Use an oil with a high smoke point for stir frying. I usually use avocado oil, but canola is a good option, too. Use sesame oil for the stir fry sauce. Just a little drizzle adds a ton of flavor!
- GINGER & GARLIC: It’s just not a stir fry without garlic and ginger. Fresh is best! Avoid the jarred minced garlic and mince some fresh cloves right before cooking. See my post on How to Mince Garlic.
- VEGETABLES: I used zucchini, sugar snap peas and red bell pepper in this recipe, but feel free substitute with whatever you have on hand. Mushrooms, snow peas, onion, Napa or purple cabbage, bok choy and broccoli are all good options.
- SOY SAUCE: If sodium is a concern, use a low sodium soy sauce. For gluten free diets, substitute the soy sauce with tamari.
- OYSTER SAUCE: Oyster sauce can be found in the international aisle of most grocery stores. For gluten free diets, gluten free oyster sauce can be found online and in some specialty stores.
- AGAVE NECTAR: Use agave nectar or honey for a little sweetness.
- CHILI GARLIC SAUCE: A staple in our house! Find chili garlic sauce in the international aisle of most grocery stores. Alternatively, use extra garlic and some red pepper flakes.
- CORNSTARCH: Use cornstarch to thicken the stir fry sauce.
- RICE: For serving. I like to serve stir fries over brown jasmine rice, but regular brown rice, brown basmati rice or white rice of any of those varieties work just as well. If working more fiber into your diet is a priority, brown rice is a good choice.
See recipe card below for full ingredients list & recipe directions.
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💙What's to love about shrimp and vegetable stir fry:
▪️QUICK & EASY: The beauty of shrimp stir fries is that they come together very quickly. The shrimp cooks in about 2 minutes and the vegetables don't take much longer. Add the sauce and you're done!
▪️FAMILY FRIENDLY: Kids usually adore the taste of stir fry. There's something about that sweet and savory sauce that appeals to everyone. Swap in veggies that work for your family.
▪️VERSATILE: Stir fry recipes are very forgiving. Use whatever protein you have (chicken, shrimp, pork, tofu) and switch up the veggies depending on what's in the fridge and your family's preferences.
How to make shrimp stir fry recipe:
My number one tip for making stir fries…BE PREPARED!
The benefit of stir frying for weeknight meals is that it goes quickly. However, that also means that prepping your ingredients (i.e., your mise en place) is essential.
- PREP: Peel the shrimp, mince the garlic and ginger, cut the vegetables and whisk the sauce ingredients in a small bowl BEFORE you start cooking. Cooking dinner will feel far less frantic if you’re prepared. I promise!
- COOK THE SHRIMP: First up is the shrimp. Heat some of the avocado or canola oil in a nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Shrimp cook quickly, so take care not to overcook them. One to 1 ½ minutes should do the trick for large (31-35) shrimp if you start with a hot skillet. Transfer to a plate.
- COOK THE VEGETABLES: Cook the vegetables in stages. First add the ginger, zucchini and snap peas to the skillet, then the red bell pepper and garlic.
- ADD THE SAUCE: Return the cooked shrimp to the pan, along with the stir fry sauce. Let it thicken for a minute. You’re done! Serve over rice and dig in.
What to serve with this easy shrimp stir fry:
It doesn’t get much easier and quicker than shrimp stir fry with rice. As I mentioned above, there’s a wide range of rice options you can use. Our favorite stir fry rice is aromatic brown jasmine rice, but we often use brown basmati if we’re out of jasmine.
Try quinoa, couscous or even farro.
Serve the stir fry over egg noodles, rice noodles or sweet potato noodles. Soba or udon noodles work, too. Toss the cooked noodles with a little soy sauce and sesame oil.
Low carb options:
To the lower the carb count, swap out the rice with cauliflower rice (we love it in my cauliflower fried rice recipe), zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.
Frequently Asked Questions:
In general, I recommend steering away from store-bought stir fry sauces. They tend to have a lot of added sugar, as well as a significant amount of preservatives.
If you prefer a shrimp stir fry sauce that doesn’t include oyster sauce, try my other homemade stir fry sauce recipe. I like to make a double batch of this recipe to have on hand for the week. It’s fantastic in my wonton stir fry.
Yes and no. Stir fries are best when served hot and fresh, straight from the wok or skillet. When store as leftovers then reheated, the vegetables and protein (such as shrimp) tend to become overcooked.
However, if your goal is to save some time when dinner hour rolls around, do yourself a favor by prepping the ingredients ahead of time. Place them into airtight containers, or bowls covered tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until you’re ready to cook. The sauce can be made ahead, too. Be sure to give it a good whisk before using.
Yes! Stir fries are versatile and it’s easy enough to swap in vegetables that you have on hand or that you prefer. Mushrooms (try shiitake for a treat!), broccoli, celery, carrots and cabbage (Napa or purple) are all good options.
Shrimp and Vegetable Stir Fry Recipe
- Heat 1 teaspoon avocado oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until just cooked through, about 1 minute. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Add 1 teaspoon oil to the skillet and add the ginger. Cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the zucchini and snap peas. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the last teaspoon of oil, along with the red bell pepper and garlic. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender.
- Add the shrimp and sauce to the pan, and stir to coat.
- Remove from the heat. Serve the stir fry over rice.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce and cornstarch until the cornstarch is incorporated.
- Add the water, agave nectar (or honey), oyster sauce, sesame oil and chili garlic sauce.
This post was first published on March 21, 2016 and updated with new tips and text on September 28, 2021.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by USA Rice and the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network as part of the #ThinkRice campaign. All opinions are my own. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.