These succulent sesame shrimp with a wonderful sauce of honey and garlic are ready in just 20 minutes, including prepping the ingredients.
They are really good over cauliflower rice or even over raw spinach leaves - they wilt the leaves just enough to slightly cook them.
If you like shrimp and enjoy Asian-style dishes, you will love this quick recipe. It takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, so it's ideal for weeknight dinners.
I make sesame chicken quite often for my family, simply because I almost always have chicken in the fridge. But when I have shrimp on hand, I often opt to make sesame shrimp.
The full list of ingredients and their measurements is included in the recipe card below. Here are my comments about some of those ingredients:
- Light soy sauce: I rarely use traditional soy sauce in my recipes. I just find it too salty. Needless to say, if you need this dish to be gluten-free, you should use an alternative.
- Unsweetened ketchup: I like the one by the Primal Kitchen brand.
- Honey: Just one tablespoon. It doesn't make the dish sweet. It merely balances out the other flavors. And you can use a sugar-free alternative if you wish.
- Cornstarch: Just a little to help thicken the sauce. You can certainly use a low-carb alternative, but as you can see, a serving of this recipe only has 6 grams of carbs, and this is when cornstarch is used.
- Avocado oil: This oil has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point, making it ideal for high-heat cooking.
- Shrimp: I usually use large shrimp, peeled and deveined. The tails can be on or off - it's purely up to you.
- Maple syrup is an acceptable substitute for honey, although personally, I prefer honey.
- You can use white wine vinegar instead of rice vinegar.
- Add ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the sauce for some heat. My husband likes this version very much!
- Sometimes I cook the shrimp in ghee or refined coconut oil instead of avocado oil.
- Chopped cilantro is a nice addition. Sprinkle it on top of the finished dish.
Sesame Shrimp Instructions
Scroll down for the recipe card to read the complete instructions. Here are the basic steps for making this recipe:
Mix the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients. (Photos 1-2).
Cook the shrimp. Now partially cook the shrimp in some oil. This should take 3-4 minutes. (Photos 3-4).
Finish the dish. The final step is to add the sauce to the pan and finish cooking the shrimp until they're opaque for about 2 more minutes. (Photos 5-7).
That's it! Dinner is served. (Photo 8).
If you forgot to thaw your shrimp overnight in the fridge, simply place them in a bowl of cool water and let them defrost, replacing the water once.
It should take about 7 minutes for them to thaw. Place them on paper towels to drain, then proceed with the recipe.
It's actually easy. Simply use unsweetened ketchup and a sugar-free honey substitute. Even with cornstarch, a serving of this recipe has just 6 grams of carbs.
You can slightly reduce the carb count further if you use a low-carb thickener instead of cornstarch.
Shrimp are small - even large ones - and they can become overcooked quite easily. When they're overcooked, they're dry and stringy.
You'll notice that in this recipe, we slightly undercook them at the first stage of cooking, then finish cooking them after adding the sauce.
As a general rule, most stir-fried shrimp are ready after about 5 minutes of cooking on medium-high heat.
But you do need to make sure that they're fully cooked - they should be opaque rather than translucent.
I prefer using avocado oil which has a reliably high smoke point. With sesame oil, it greatly depends.
Refined sesame oil can be used for cooking, but cold-pressed unrefined sesame oil, especially toasted, has a relatively low smoke point and is not suitable for high-heat cooking.
So I prefer to drizzle sesame oil on the finished dish rather than use it to cook the shrimp.
I like to serve this saucy dish on something that would absorb the sauce. So I often serve it on top of any of the following:
- Cauliflower rice
- Mashed cauliflower
- Sauteed spinach
- Mashed pumpkin
- Sauteed green beans
- Shirataki sesame noodles
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in a sealed container, for up to 3 days. Reheat them gently, in the microwave, at 50% power.
More Shrimp Recipes
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For the sauce
For the shrimp
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 ½ lb. raw shrimp large, peeled, and deveined
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or ¼ teaspoon of any other salt**
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons green onions sliced
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients. Set aside.
- Cook the shrimp: In a large frying pan, heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, kosher salt, and black pepper. Cook the shrimp, stirring often, for about 3 minutes. They won't be fully cooked at this point.***
- Give the sauce one more stir and add it to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Keep cooking and stirring until the sauce thickens and the shrimp are cooked through and well coated in the sauce, about 2 more minutes. Serve immediately.