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A black individual dinner plate with cooked Jasmine rice on one side and a serving of Kung Pao Shrimp on the other side.

Kung Pao Shrimp

Course: Entree
Cuisine: Chinese, Chinese / American
Keyword: easy kung pao shrimp, how to make kung pao shrimp
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 237kcal
This Kung Pao Shrimp is a little spicy, a little sweet, and a whole lot of yummy. Shrimp, chilis, garlic, cashews, and Szechuan peppercorn powder (easily ordered online) make this dish come to life. Serve over rice. So amazingly good! You can cook this in a wok, or a large skillet.
Print Recipe


  • Wok or large saucepan



  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp corn starch heaping tsps
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp chicken broth
  • 1 tsp sugar


  • 1 lb extra-large shrimp peeled and deveined
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 dried red peppers arbol peppers work well
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup onion roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • ½ cup cashews whole, roasted
  • 3 scallions sliced into thin pieces, divided
  • 1 tbsp Szechuan peppercorn powder optional (but really good)


  • Whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Season the shrimp with salt and pepper all over.
  • Heat the oil over high heat in your wok or a large sturdy skillet.
  • Add the chilis and cook for 1 minute. Toss in the garlic and cook for 15 to 30 seconds, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
  • Add the shrimp and cook, stirring frequently, until pink and curled, about 2 to 4 minutes.
  • Add the onion, bell peppers, and cashews and stir, cooking for another 2 minutes.
  • Pour in the sauce, stirring continuously, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in half of the scallions and a pinch of the peppercorn powder (add a little, taste, and add more if you want more spice).
  • Serve with steamed rice and the remaining scallions for garnish.



Mise en Place is super important here.  This means to be sure and have everything prepped and ready to go before you start cooking!  The dish comes together very quickly and you won't have time to stop and chop or run to the pantry!
Chicken, pork, steak, or tofu can be substituted for shrimp.  Cut into bite-size pieces and cook as you would the shrimp, however, you'll need to add more time when sautéing, as they will not cook through as quickly as shrimp does. 
The Szechuan peppercorn powder is not 100% necessary, and the dish is still delicious without it.  However, it does add the desirable 'slow heat' taste that is so distinct in Szechaun dishes.  It can be ordered online or found at Asian markets.  
The sauce heats up nicely the next day in a skillet over low heat.  Keep leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. 


Calories: 237kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 487mg | Potassium: 280mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1023IU | Vitamin C: 44mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 2mg