Sweet chili shrimp are the perfect combo of sweet with a little heat. Serve them over rice or quinoa, with a side of stir-fried veggies, for a quick and easy dinner.
Pull out this sweet chili shrimp recipe when you need a meal that comes together in minutes. While the shrimp needs to be marinated for about 30 minutes, the short cook time simply can’t be beat! Three minutes to cook the shrimp and three minutes to thicken the sauce.
I regularly rotate between our three favorite shrimp stir fry recipes – Shrimp & Vegetable Stir Fry, Thai Shrimp Stir Fry with Zucchini and Miso Lime Shrimp Stir Fry. This new one is going straight into the rotation!
While many sweet chili shrimp recipe use store-bought Thai sweet chili sauce, I opted to make my own mixture, using a combination of maple syrup, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, ginger and garlic. The flavor is a little different from the bottled sauce, but equally delicious!
And don’t worry, the “maple” in the maple syrup isn’t an obvious flavor in the sauce. Rather, it functions as a delicious natural sweetener. If you prefer, swap in honey for the maple syrup.
What you need for this sweet chili shrimp:
These are the main components of this recipe (affiliate links included):
- Shrimp: Start with raw large shrimp, peeled and tails removed. Large shrimp are often labeled as 31/35 (31-35 shrimp per pound).
- Maple syrup: Be sure to use pure maple syrup rather than the fake corn syrup stuff.
- Soy sauce: Feel free to swap in low-sodium soy sauce, if desired. For gluten free, use tamari instead.
- Chili garlic sauce: Chili garlic sauce can be found in the international aisle of most grocery stores.
- Garlic and ginger: Fresh garlic and ginger add plenty of flavor to the marinade and sauce.
- Oil: You just need a couple of teaspoons of oil – avocado or olive oil are my choices – to cook the shrimp.
- Cornstarch: To thicken the sauce.
How to cook sweet chili shrimp:
The hardest part of this shrimp recipe is waiting for the shrimp to marinate! Beyond that, this recipe couldn’t be easier.
Start by whisking together the marinade ingredients. Pour a little less than half of the marinade into a ziplock bag, add the shrimp, close the bag and massage to coat the shrimp. If you don’t have any ziplock bags on hand, use a bowl instead. Reserve the rest of the marinade.
Marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours.
Before cooking the shrimp, pour the reserved marinade into a small saucepan and whisk in the cornstarch. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat and cook for just a couple of minutes. The idea is to allow the sauce to thicken slightly, but you don’t want it to become gluey.
Cook time for shrimp is always quick, so be sure to have everything else ready to go before cooking the shrimp. Heat a little oil in a large skillet and add the shrimp, discard the marinade in the ziplock bag. Cook for 1 minute, then flip the shrimp and add the thickened sauce. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Done!
Frequently asked questions:
Can this be made ahead of time?
Shrimp is best when served straight from the skillet. Once it cools, it tends to become a bit rubbery. However, the shrimp can be marinated for up to 8 hours. Prepare the marinade earlier in the day, then thicken the sauce and cook the shrimp (just a few minutes each) right before serving.
What to serve with sweet chili shrimp:
We like this best over brown rice with some stir-fried veggies on the side. It’s also great over quinoa, such as my Veggie Quinoa Stir Fry. Or serve it on top of cauliflower rice for lower carb option.
Can I use honey instead of maple syrup?
Yes! Swap in honey for the maple syrup in a 1:1 ratio.
Can I make extra sauce to pour over rice?
Of course! Feel free to make as much such as you want. Be sure to adjust the amount of cornstarch as you increase the other sauce ingredients.
Other easy shrimp recipes:
Sweet Chili Shrimp Recipe
- Whisk together the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and chili garlic sauce. Pour 3 tablespoons of the marinade into a ziplock bag.
- Pour the remaining marinade into a small saucepan. Set aside.
- Add the shrimp to the ziplock bag, seal and massage to coat the shrimp. Alternatively, marinate the shrimp in a bowl. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
- Whisk the cornstarch into the marinade in the saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Heat a large ceramic, nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer the shrimp to the skillet and discard the marinade in the bag.
- Cook for 1 minute. Flip the shrimp and add the thickened sauce. Cook until the shrimp is just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Stir in the green onion. Serve over rice or quinoa.
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