Ginger, Garlic & Chili Shrimp

4.5 stars based on 24 votes

chili shrimp

In this quick and easy recipe — adapted from The Splendid Table’s How To Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift  — jumbo shrimp are bathed in a brine flavored with salt, sugar and chili powder, and then sautéed with loads of fresh ginger and garlic. It’s a delicious and flavorful shrimp dish that appeals to kids and adults alike. In fact, the recipe headnote reads: “If there is one recipe in this book that is guaranteed to have your family moaning with gratitude, this is it. After eating these shrimp, a five-year-old has been known to say, ‘Wow, Mom, thanks!’ And they’ve driven a grown woman to shamelessly lick her plate—in front of everyone.” (Thanks to my friend, Kim Cohen, for sharing the recipe with me!)


Before we get started, a few words on buying shrimp. Unless you live on the coast and have access to fresh shrimp, it’s best to buy frozen. The “fresh” shrimp you see in the seafood case at the supermarket are almost always thawed frozen shrimp, and you never know how long they’ve been sitting there. Most shrimp are cleaned and flash frozen shortly after being caught, so you’re better off buying frozen shrimp and defrosting them yourself.  For this recipe, try to find jumbo frozen shrimp (21-25 to a pound) labeled “shell split and deveined.” Come dinnertime, all you have to do is run the shrimp under warm water to quickly defrost and then peel.


Begin by whisking together the water, kosher salt, sugar and chili powder.


Drop the shrimp in the brine and let them sit for about 20 minutes.


Heat the vegetable oil in a large sauté pan, and cook the ginger and garlic for one minute.


Add the sugar and cook 1-2 minutes more. Do not let the garlic brown.


Drain the shrimp in a colander.


Then add the shrimp to the pan and cook until done, 3-4 minutes.


Serve the shrimp over white or jasmine rice. The sauce is salty (in a good way) so be sure not to salt the rice. Enjoy!


Note: After making this recipe as it was originally printed, I made some minor modifications without any noticeable change in flavor. I increased the amount of shrimp from 1-1/2 pounds to 2 pounds (since frozen shrimp are usually sold by the pound) and reduced the brine by half (the recipe made a ton, and it was unnecessary). To see the original version, click here.

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Ginger, Garlic & Chili Shrimp

Servings: 4 - 6
Total Time: 30 Minutes


For the Brine

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined (defrosted)

For Cooking

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • One 4-inch x 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 4 teaspoons sugar


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the salt, sugar, chili powder and water. Whisk until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Drop in the shrimp and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch sauté pan (preferably nonstick) over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 1 minute. Add the sugar and continue stirring until the garlic is pale gold, 1-2 minutes more. Do not let the garlic turn dark brown.
  3. Drain the shrimp in a colander, and immediately add to the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until the shrimp are pink and barely firm, another 3-4 minutes. Serve immediately with rice.
  4. Note: Nutritional information was calculated assuming that approximately 1 tsp. of salt and 1 tsp. sugar are absorbed into the shrimp from the brine.
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Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 223
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 9 g
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 21 g
  • Sodium: 959 mg
  • Cholesterol: 191 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    Nothing short of phenomenal. I was a little nervous about the chili powder, but I believe your recipes deserve a “by the book” approach for any first time. Plain rice is the perfect pairing. Added a mango/avocado/red onion salad for a side and dinner was perfect!

    - Craig on August 13, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I just finished this and it was amazing. Because of comments that it was salty I grounded 1 T sea salt and 2 T table salt and there was no hint of salt. I didn’t have fresh ginger so used a stir-in ginger paste and it worked great, no mincing that fibrous fresh stuff, I hate that. I have leftovers for tomorrow, can’t wait.

    - Dolores on June 13, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I’d usually wind up overcooking prawns or the flavour would be meh but this recipe is such a winner. I think the brining process made a massive difference. My bf said they were the best prawns he’d ever eaten 😀
    Thanks Jenn!

    - Ashara on April 6, 2018 Reply
  • This recipe is easy and delicious. It’s a restaurant quality meal without the price tag. Shrimp are flavorful and moist. I made it for dinner early in the week and my family loved it so much that they asked for it again over the weekend. This is now one of my go-to recipes!

    - Donna Doty on March 5, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Wow what a great recipe. Ate it on a bed of rice and we had no leftovers. We omitted the ginger (unfortunately didn’t have any in the house) and it still turned out great. Definitely making again!

    - Carson Fong on December 5, 2017 Reply
  • I would like to use this as a main entree and wondered what would pair well with it?
    I was thinking of possible rice and broccoli. Any other suggestions?

    - Karen Ann Coughlin on December 4, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Karen, That’s exactly what I serve it with – and I’d leave the rice unsalted as the sauce in this dish is pretty salty. I’d love to know how it turns out!

      - Jenn on December 4, 2017 Reply
  • My partner accidentally bought fine sea salt instead of kosher. Is there a modification I could make?

    - Penelope on July 26, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Penelope, It’s no problem – just use about 3 tablespoons of fine sea salt. Hope it turns out well :).

      - Jenn on July 26, 2017 Reply
  • First time cooking with shrimp, do you have any suggestions for how to peel the split shell shrimp?

    - Mollie on July 12, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Mollie, Here’s a good tutorial. Hope that helps!

      - Jenn on July 14, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    The recipe was easy to follow, the dish was easy to make. Can’t wait to make it again! Loved all the ginger goodness to complement the shrimp.

    - Y. Davidson on May 17, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This shrimp recipe was so easy to make and so delicious. I chose this recipe for an appetizer. It was a great tasting dish.

    - Pattie Davis on February 14, 2017 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I am another who found this to be very salty, and I did use kosher salt as the recipe suggests. However, this was still delicious! I used coconut oil and added some dried shredded coconut to the pan, then a cornstarch slurry at the end to make a sauce which was very good. I love the idea of a brine as it adds so much flavor and will maybe use a bit less salt next time. Thanks!

    - Melissa on January 15, 2017 Reply
  • I’m planning on making this this week, but really dislike/have little time to peel the shrimp. Is there a reason why you use the split shell/deveined rather than peeled?Thank you!

    - Ana on November 19, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Ana, I only use it because it’s less expensive. Feel free to use peeled shrimp that are ready to cook. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on November 20, 2016 Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I am wanting to make this recipe for a bento lunchbox side dish, therefore I wanted to cut it back so that I only had about 10 shrimps to cook in total. Is this possible? If so, how would you recommend cutting back on the ingredients? I’m not great when it comes to figuring that kind of stuff out, so even if you can give me your best guess, it would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance!

    - Shannon Casors on October 31, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Shannon, I think it’s possible, but in order to scale the dish, you’d need to have a sense as to how many ounces of shrimp you’d be using. (You mentioned that you’d like to prepare this with just 10 shrimp, but as shrimp vary significantly in size, it would be helpful to know how many total ounces of shrimp you’d be using.)

      - Jenn on October 31, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I LOVE this recipe – it’s beyond delicious.

    What would you serve as a side? THANKS!

    - Sally on October 16, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Sally, so glad you like this! This would be nice with jasmine rice and a simple steamed veggie.

      - Jenn on October 16, 2016 Reply
  • Hi – would this dish still work if I substituted chicken for the shrimp? I haven’t made it because one of my kids has a shellfish allergy. Thanks

    - Jody on September 1, 2016 Reply
    • Sure, I think it would work with chicken. It will just take a bit longer for the chicken to cook through.

      - Jenn on September 1, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Yet another successful dinner to add to my OnceUponAChef repertoire! So simple and fast to pull together and the entire family loved it. I prepared per the recipe, but next time around (and there will most definitely be a next time), I’m thinking I’ll add broccoli.

    - Linda on July 21, 2016 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I made this recipe today for dinner and it was very good. I could have eaten the entire pan of shrimp myself. Will put this in rotation for dinner as my family loves this dish too.

    - Cherell G on June 26, 2016 Reply
  • Re: Ginger Garlic Chili Shrimp

    Do I need to cook it in batches or can I do all 2 lbs at once in the skillet?

    - Brian on January 16, 2016 Reply
    • Brian, If you have a skillet that will fit that much shrimp without crowding it, then go for it! Hope you enjoy.

      - Jenn on January 16, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I absolutely LOVED this recipe.

    - Lillian on December 3, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this tonight and it was delicious! The most time consuming part was cleaning the shrimp. Served it with roasted broccoli and seasoned sushi rice. I’m glad there are leftovers for tomorrow!

    - Susan B. on December 2, 2015 Reply
  • 1 stars

    I found this not good at all.
    Too much salt, no sauce, which would have been better.
    Sorry but this was a total waste of some good shrimp.

    - Vicky on November 12, 2015 Reply
  • 3 stars

    I followed this recipe exactly other than cutting it in half for 1 lb. of shrimp. I had high hopes but it came out only OK. I didn’t get much in the way of flavor whether it was salty or sweet or gingery, etc. My husband is eating the leftovers today and says it is much better since it has had time to soak up all the garlic, ginger, etc. Any suggestions as to how we can get all the flavor at cook time as opposed to the next day? Usually your stuff is great but I was a bit disappointed with this one since I did everything exact but just didn’t get the flavor I expected. Not bad; just not great.

    - Freeda on November 12, 2015 Reply
  • Is this dish spice or hot ?

    - Lisa on November 10, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Lisa, Not really — my kids love it and they don’t do spicy 🙂

      - Jenn on November 11, 2015 Reply
  • I see a nice sauce in your final photo! But your recipe says to drain the marinade. Are you adding the marinade back in the pan? Or discarding it? Where did the sauce come from? Thanks.

    - Francis on October 2, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Francis, That is just the pan juices. Definitely discard the brine.

      - Jenn on October 2, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    The flavor is awesome. I altered only a tad…instead of vegetable oil, I used an olive oil & butter mix. I only had ginger paste on had and it worked for me. I added sugar to the brine but NOT in the cooking part. Awesome! Will make again soon!

    - CreoleAsh on September 21, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this recipe for some friends, and they kept asking me from which restaurant I got the recipe.

    - C. Alan Reber on August 30, 2015 Reply
  • 3 stars

    I love the spices and flavor in this recipe! However, I did have to throw out my first batch as it was EXTREMELY salty (and I drained the marinade all the way). I will continue to use this recipe but tone down the salt by a lot.

    - Hashani Samarasena on August 27, 2015 Reply
  • 3 stars

    We made this recipe last night for the first time. It was clear to us shortly after adding the shrimp that there was not going to be any sauce, so we added some white wine and butter. We also added blanched green beans. Yummy!

    - Carolyn on June 25, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Delicious! I did not find mine too salty. For reference, I used Morton’s Coarse Kosher salt. (Maybe those who found it inedible used table salt, or Kosher salt that is more finely ground, and that threw off their amounts?) The only change I made was reducing the ginger. After I minced the amount specified in the recipe, it seemed so much (in my eye) that I held back about 1/3 of it. I enjoyed it very much–fragrantly gingery without being overpowering. I’ll make this recipe again and again!

    - rodriyaya on February 1, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I wonder how many used table salt rather than kosher salt. Certainly would make a difference.

    - Kay on January 22, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Really easy and tastes great! We would do this one again. I used frozen shrimp which makes it easy for a school night meal.

    - Susan Clayman on December 3, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Jenn. Another five star recipe! I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious. The fresh ginger was so pronounced in this dish and it pairs beautifully with rice. You keep my meals interesting! I am cooking/baking my way through your entire fantastic website.

    - Joanne P on October 24, 2014 Reply
  • Hi Jenn. I’d like to try this recipe of yours and I wonder if I can use Sriracha sauce as substitute for the chili powder? If yes, how much you think I should use? Thank you.

    - Marlon on October 23, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Marlon, Unfortunately, that won’t work for this recipe. Sorry!

      - Jenn on October 24, 2014 Reply
  • Could i use olive oil, or is the heat too high?

    - brian on August 9, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Brian, You could, but I think a milder tasting oil (such safflower, canola or grapeseed) would be a better substitute.

      - Jenn on August 10, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This recipe is FANTASTIC!!! I had all the ingredients on hand and the directions were clear and easy to follow. I don’t even care for shrimp that much but this one is a winner! Thanks so much!

    - Elaine on June 30, 2014 Reply
  • Waaaay too salty. It’s a shame…2lbs of shrimp wasted. We could only eat a little bit of the shrimp and we are not sensitive to salt. I salt items more than the average person. I drained all the brine after exacty 20 mins and did not serve with anything else salty. Very disappointing.

    - Colleen on December 31, 2013 Reply
    • 5 stars

      Did you use coarse Kosher salt like the recipe stated or did you use table salt or fine ground? That would be the difference.
      We made this recipe exactly as stated because this Chef is so always right on target….my family thought it was fantastic!

      - Stephanie on January 15, 2017 Reply
  • This looks delish! I will be trying this tonight!

    - Rebecca on November 7, 2013 Reply
  • Favorite recipe! We cook this once a week. Serve with quinoa. Awesome.

    - F. Shea on November 5, 2013 Reply
  • This is one of my husband’s favorite shrimp recipes. I reduce the ginger by about 1/2 what is called for, and the ginger flavor still stands out. I think with the full amount it would be too strong for me. I get fresh gulf shrimp from my husband’s family, so the most difficult part of this recipe is peeling and deveining the shrimp. But since they are fresh, I can’t complain! I serve this often, with brown or jasmine rice, and a green veggie, usually garlic broccoli or steamed green beans.

    - Amber on October 23, 2013 Reply
  • Another tasty and easy recipe – thank you!
    I increased the amount of garlic and cut back on the salt and sugar a little and it was really delicious. (I also used Japanese sugar which dissolves a little more easily than regular granulated sugar.)

    - M on October 22, 2013 Reply
  • Thanks for posting this recipe. I just tried it and it’s delicious!

    - Jeanne on October 6, 2013 Reply
  • Tried this recipe. Simple Easy and Delicious!

    - edbtxas on September 15, 2013 Reply
  • Delish!!!! and oh so easy….going to send a copy to my daughter who is just learning how to cook!!
    Thank you!!!
    P.S. I never use salt when cooking, unless absolutely necessary, so when I read Phil’s comment, I only used a slight sprinkling of Kosher salt and and everything was delicious and NO LEFTOVERS!

    - Joan on September 11, 2013 Reply
  • Great recipe, I’m gonna try it. Please send me future recipes to my email.

    - dedee on September 8, 2013 Reply
  • Did you use TABLE salt instead of Kosher salt?

    - Terri on August 29, 2013 Reply
    • Yes,I used kosher salt and I follewed the directions exactly.

      - Phil on August 30, 2013 Reply
  • Jenn- No, just 20 minutes and of course I drained them. They were really salty. I am surprised that no one else thought they were salty. Just not used to so much salt I guess. Thank you for the response.

    - Phil on August 20, 2013 Reply
  • The shrimp were so salty we couldn’t eat them

    - Phil on June 13, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Phil, I am so sorry to hear that. I can see how someone who is sensitive to salt might find this dish a bit salty, but for most people it should be fine. I would say that it’s pleasantly salty in the way that most Asian dishes are. (That’s why I recommended in the post to serve it with unsalted rice.) I have made this dish many times and the recipe has been published in several places, including Gourmet — believe it or not, my version actually has less salt than the original recipe. I’m wondering, did you soak the shrimp for longer than 20 minutes? And did you drain all the brine before adding the shrimp?

      - Jenn on June 14, 2013 Reply
  • Hello, do you have any nutritional info?

    - Mary on May 9, 2013 Reply
  • I purchased the ingredients for this recipe then realized I am out of Kosher salt.

    Can I use table salt instead? If so, how much should I use.


    - Lonnise on May 1, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Lonnise, You would use about half the amount if substituting table salt.

      - Jenn on May 1, 2013 Reply
  • This was delicious and so easy!

    - Jackie on April 25, 2013 Reply
  • Made this for dinner last nice with rice, everyone gobbled it up! Easy weeknight dish, fresh ingredients, a definite repeater….thanks!!

    - Cheryl Fortunato on April 23, 2013 Reply
  • So good and so easy, never used frozen shrimp before since I live on the coast, but I thought with your comments I would try it. They were great and I will be making it many more times. Thank you so much for your recipes, I get excited everytime one arrives in my email.

    - Theresa Kaye on April 22, 2013 Reply
  • How do you make more sauce for the shrimp?

    - Meryl on April 22, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Meryl, I find that this dish has plenty of sauce but if you’d like more, you might try adding a bit more ginger and garlic, and adding a few tablespoons of the brine to the pan along with the shrimp.

      - Jenn on April 23, 2013 Reply
  • can you use dried ginger and minced garlic

    - ellen tinder on April 21, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Ellen, Unfortunately, dried ginger won’t work in this recipe. Fresh minced is a must. Hope you enjoy it!

      - Jenn on April 21, 2013 Reply
  • Yum! Thanks for the dinner idea!

    - Amy Simonson on April 18, 2013 Reply
  • Going to make this yummy-sounding shrimp dish for sure but am going to substitute vegetable oil with coconut oil.

    I wonder how this would be with the Peruvian chicken green sauce on the side — any excuse to use that sauce.

    - Batzion on April 18, 2013 Reply
    • I love that sauce!!!

      - Lisa on May 3, 2013 Reply
  • No, nothing with any sugar content…stevia, splenda?

    - amanda on April 18, 2013 Reply
    • I’d try it with splenda…I find the taste of stevia to be bitter.

      - Jenn on April 18, 2013 Reply
  • Also, do you defrost the shrimp first?

    - amanda on April 18, 2013 Reply
    • Yes

      - Jenn on April 18, 2013 Reply
  • Could I use a sugar substitute? Trying to do a no sugar detox right now but this looks great!

    - amanda on April 18, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Amanda, Can you have honey or agave? I think those would work.

      - Jenn on April 18, 2013 Reply
    • The sugar in the brine serves a purpose but the sugar added later is totally uncalled for.

      - Blake on July 25, 2013 Reply
  • Does the brine make the shrimp more tender?

    - Meg @ Peaches and Cake on April 18, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Meg, Not really, but it adds tons of flavor.

      - Jenn on April 18, 2013 Reply
  • That looks delicious! I love using fresh ginger with shrimp.

    - BusyWorkingMama on April 18, 2013 Reply
  • I’ve got that cookbook and I remember seeing this recipe but had forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder! Yours looks fabulous!

    - Kath on April 17, 2013 Reply
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