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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

Powered by Edamam

  • 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, Edamam.com. 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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  • 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
    • 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.)

  • I LOVE this recipe – it’s beyond delicious.

    What would you serve as a side? THANKS!

    • Hi Sally, so glad you like this! This would be nice with jasmine rice and a simple steamed veggie.

  • 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

    • Sure, I think it would work with chicken. It will just take a bit longer for the chicken to cook through.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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, If you have a skillet that will fit that much shrimp without crowding it, then go for it! Hope you enjoy.

  • I absolutely LOVED this recipe.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Is this dish spice or hot ?

    • Hi Lisa, Not really — my kids love it and they don’t do spicy 🙂

  • 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.

    • Hi Francis, That is just the pan juices. Definitely discard the brine.

  • 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!

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

  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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!

  • 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!

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • Hi Marlon, Unfortunately, that won’t work for this recipe. Sorry!

  • Could i use olive oil, or is the heat too high?

    • Hi Brian, You could, but I think a milder tasting oil (such safflower, canola or grapeseed) would be a better substitute.

  • 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!

  • 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.

    • 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!

  • This looks delish! I will be trying this tonight!

  • Favorite recipe! We cook this once a week. Serve with quinoa. Awesome.

  • 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.

  • 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.)

  • Thanks for posting this recipe. I just tried it and it’s delicious!

  • Tried this recipe. Simple Easy and Delicious!

  • 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!

  • Great recipe, I’m gonna try it. Please send me future recipes to my email.

  • Did you use TABLE salt instead of Kosher salt?

    • Yes,I used kosher salt and I follewed the directions exactly.

  • 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.

  • The shrimp were so salty we couldn’t eat them

    • 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?

  • Hello, do you have any nutritional info?

  • 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.


    • Hi Lonnise, You would use about half the amount if substituting table salt.

  • This was delicious and so easy!

  • Made this for dinner last nice with rice, everyone gobbled it up! Easy weeknight dish, fresh ingredients, a definite repeater….thanks!!

    • — Cheryl Fortunato
    • 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.

  • How do you make more sauce for the shrimp?

    • 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.

  • can you use dried ginger and minced garlic

    • Hi Ellen, Unfortunately, dried ginger won’t work in this recipe. Fresh minced is a must. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Yum! Thanks for the dinner idea!

  • 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.

    • I love that sauce!!!

  • No, nothing with any sugar content…stevia, splenda?

    • I’d try it with splenda…I find the taste of stevia to be bitter.

  • Also, do you defrost the shrimp first?

  • Could I use a sugar substitute? Trying to do a no sugar detox right now but this looks great!

    • Hi Amanda, Can you have honey or agave? I think those would work.

    • The sugar in the brine serves a purpose but the sugar added later is totally uncalled for.

  • Does the brine make the shrimp more tender?

    • Hi Meg, Not really, but it adds tons of flavor.

  • That looks delicious! I love using fresh ginger with shrimp.

  • I’ve got that cookbook and I remember seeing this recipe but had forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder! Yours looks fabulous!

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