Ginger, Garlic & Chili Shrimp

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This delicious and flavorful ginger, garlic and chili shrimp is a dish that appeals to kids and adults alike.

Bowl of ginger, garlic, and 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!)

What you’ll need to make Ginger, Garlic & Chili Shrimp

Shrimp ingredients including kosher salt, vegetable oil, and garlic.

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 is 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.

How to make ginger, garlic & chili shrimp

Whisk in a bowl of brine.

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

Shrimp in a bowl of brine.

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

Minced garlic and ginger on a cutting board.

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

Ginger and garlic cooking in a skillet.

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

Sugar added to a skillet of ginger and garlic.

Drain the shrimp in a colander.

Brined shrimp in a colander.

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

Shrimp cooking in a skillet.

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!

Bowl of ginger, garlic, and chili shrimp.

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

This delicious and flavorful ginger, garlic and chili shrimp is a dish that appeals to kids and adults alike.

Servings: 4 - 6
Total Time: 30 Minutes


For the Brine

  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 2½ tablespoons sugar
  • 2½ tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined, thawed if frozen

For Cooking

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • One 4-inch x 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped (about ¼ cup) (see note)
  • 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: Check out easy guidance on how to peel, grate, and chop fresh ginger here.
  5. Note: Nutritional information was calculated assuming that approximately 1 tsp. of salt and 1 tsp. sugar are absorbed into the shrimp from the brine.

Pair with

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.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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  • Jenn, would this recipe work well on the grill also? I am a huge fan of your site, thank you!

    • — Katie on February 11, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Katie, So glad you enjoy the recipes! I don’t think this is a good candidate for the grill – sorry!

      • — Jenn on February 13, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Does the amount of brining time depend on the size of the shrimp? I couldn’t find jumbo ones.

    • I don’t think there should be a significant difference, but I’d cut the brining time back to 15 minutes. Emnjoy!

  • So delicious and easy to prepare! I’m so happy I found this site. I needed new inspiration and easy-to-follow recipes and this is it. No leftovers which says a lot at our house 😉

  • I keep coming back to Once Upon a Chef and this recipe just reinforced the habit. I love the style of presentation of the How-To, the approach to food and the taste of the finished product. This was quick, easy, and delicious. Thanks!

  • All ages in our family love this recipe. A perk is that it’s a quick weeknight meal. We usually add it to the top of a grain bowl that has other items like broccoli, match stick carrots, cabbage, etc. Consider doubling the sauce if you use the shrimp in a grain bowl .

  • Missing step – rinse the salt off the brined shrimp. This was so bad. Actually the worst thing I’ve ever done with 4 lbs of shrimp.

  • Hi, can cooked frozen shrimp be used for this recipe?

    • Hi Debbie, I’d stick with raw shrimp for this — sorry!

  • I love shrimp and this is easy to make and a welcome change from the same old shrimp recipes. It was delicious and relatively quick to make on a night after work. Shared recipe with my daughter who made it for dinner guests that raved about it. Thanks for bringing the joy of cooking back into my life. Love to cook but after many years of cooking was craving new favors and recipes. Your blog is awesome!! 5 stars

    • — Mary Dickinson
    • Reply
  • One of my family’s favorite recipes! So easy to make and tremendous flavor. The ingredients are staples in our house so I can whip this up anytime I want too. We do not find it too salty but you can reduce the amount of salt a little if you’re concerned and it will still be delicious and so full of flavor!

  • This is seriously good and easy to make. I love it! I live by myself, and the good thing is that you can actually make enough just for 1 or 2 servings.

  • I found you by googling “ginger garlic shrimp ” and so happy I did. This was excellent – easy to do, with ingredients I had on hand and quick. Thank you for sharing.

  • I made this recipe for the first time last evening and it was delicious! I usually steer away from shrimp recipes as they can be bland but this one was a nice surprise. It was full of flavor and quick and easy. I served it with rice and sautéed zucchini. I love to cook. I have a high confidence level that I will be satisfied with the results of your recipes and once again you did not let me down. Your site continues to be my go to place for recipes. Thank you Jenn.

  • Made this recipe last night, very quick and very easy and very delish! Note: NOT at all salty.
    Lucky we have all ingredients on hand. Recipe is 4-6 servings, cut everything in half for 2 people and still came out very very good, however, wished cooked more for left overs. Only change was instead of marinating shrimp for 20 min, because I got tangential, it marinated for 40 min, even better. And I also added about a tablespoon of butter with the EVOO and immediately put the drained shrimp in the pan (still dripping with marinate which gave it some sauce). So delicious with freshly cooked jasmine rice and a side of steamed spinach with a splash of lemon juice. I already have shared this recipe to family and friends.
    Thank you Jenn for all your recipes…love them all!!!

  • FABULOUS! I, too, did not have Kosher salt so used only one tablespoon of sea salt. I followed the recipe exactly as written (except for the salt). The meal came out perfectly…not at all salty, just super yummy. Thank you Jenn!

  • Another great recipe… didn’t have to change a thing…. made it for guests last evening and they loved it.

  • 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!

    • I guess i encountered the very first disappointing recipe in your collection. It was way too salty and too sugary, the flavors were really off i thought. But obviously not many ppl thought so, as i read all the rave reviews before i cooked it. Oh well!!! I usually LOVE your recipes! Yours is my go to food blog and i love how perfect and delicious everything comes out, so tonight was really a surprise.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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
    • 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!

  • My partner accidentally bought fine sea salt instead of kosher. Is there a modification I could make?

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

  • First time cooking with shrimp, do you have any suggestions for how to peel the split shell shrimp?

    • Hi Mollie, Here’s a good tutorial. Hope that helps!

  • 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.

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

  • 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!

  • 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!

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

    • Can you brine the shrimp longer than 20 minutes or would more be too much?

      • I’d stick with 20 minutes here. Otherwise, the shrimp may be too salty.

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