Saucy, 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, I think you will love this super quick recipe. It's in minutes, literally. It takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, including prepping the ingredients, 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 whenever I have shrimp on hand, I opt to make this very flavorful sesame shrimp recipe. As long as you take care not to overcook the shrimp, they come out wonderfully succulent and plump, and the sauce is absolutely phenomenal.
The full list of ingredients and their measurements is included in the recipe card below. Here are my comments about a few 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-tasting. It just 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. It's best to use sustainable shrimp if possible.
Making homemade sesame shrimp is so easy! I would say that the only "difficult" part is assembling the ingredients, but even that's not truly difficult. Scroll down for the recipe card to read the complete instructions. The basic steps:
Mix the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients.
Cook the shrimp. Now partially cook the shrimp in some oil. This should take 3-4 minutes.
Finish the dish. Your final step is to add the sauce to the pan and finish cooking the shrimp until they're opaque for about 2 more minutes. That's it! Dinner is served.
Expert tip: thawing shrimp
If you forgot to thaw your shrimp overnight in the fridge, simply place them in a bowl of cold water and let them defrost. It should take about 10 minutes.
Frequently asked questions
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 it 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 it on the finished dish rather than use it to cook the shrimp.
In the past, I used to serve this saucy dish over steamed rice. These days, I serve it over cauliflower rice, and it's just as good.
It's also great on top of raw baby spinach leaves. The hot shrimp and sauce wilt spinach just enough to cook it lightly. Delicious!
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in a sealed container, for up to 3 days. Reheat them gently, in the microwave, on 50% power.
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Honey Garlic Sesame Shrimp
For the sauce
For the shrimp
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 ½ lb. large raw shrimp peeled and deveined
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or ¼ teaspoon fine salt**
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons sliced green onions
- 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, 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 shrimps are cooked through and well coated in the sauce, about 2 more minutes. Serve immediately.