Chinese Pineapple Shrimp are made to taste just like your favorite Chinese restaurant takeout, but a little healthier. It’s an easy meal that’s simple and quick to make!
Chinese Pineapple Shrimp Recipe
This easy meal is by far one of my family favorites because it’s easy to make, ready in under 20 minutes, and you’ll probably have most of the ingredients at home.
Made with succulent shrimp with flavors of sweet pineapple, a sweet and salty sauce, and crunchy veggies. Add a bed of jasmine rice or brown rice for the perfect weeknight meal.
Pineapple juice: is the star ingredient in this Chinese shrimp sauce. Pineapple juice has a vibrant sweet, and tart flavor that is a little acidic, which brings the perfect balance to the sweet and salty flavors in the sauce.
Corn starch: helps thicken your sauce so it isn’t too runny and it’s more of a thick and sticky consistency.
Brown sugar: adds a sweet, molasses-like, flavor that’s paired with the acid in your pineapple juice and salty soy sauce to create the perfect sticky shrimp sauce.
Soy sauce: brings the umami, or savory, flavor to the shrimp sauce. I like to use low-sodium soy sauce, but you’re welcome to use regular as well.
Fresh ginger: adds a clean and warm flavor with a subtle hint of spice. Ginger is a staple in Chinese cooking.
Chinese Pineapple Shrimp Ingredients
Fresh garlic cloves: are pungent and vibrant with a subtle hint of heat. You can either mince your own or use pre-minced garlic. I don’t recommend using garlic powder or dried minced garlic, as the flavors will not be the same.
Shrimp: for this recipe, I like to use extra large or jumbo shrimp with their shells removed and deveined and tails still on. You can buy either fresh shrimp or frozen at the grocery store, but they need to be completely thawed before starting to cook.
Sesame oil: has an earthy and nutty flavor which can be strong, so be sure not to use too much. Sesame oil is also a staple when making Chinese food.
Pineapple: fresh pineapple is sweet, tangy, and a little acidic, which pairs well with the salty umami flavors of your shrimp sauce, shrimp, and veggies. I prefer using fresh pineapple, but you can use canned pineapple chunks. If pineapple isn’t in season, use the kind that is in juice and not syrup.
Bell peppers: red bell peppers and green bell pepper are both great for this recipe because they’re not too sweet, and they hold their shape well while cooking. You can use snap peas or green beans as a substitute.
I like to serve these shrimp over rice with green onions and sesame seeds.
How to Make Chinese Pineapple Shrimp
- Prepare the sauce. Add two tablespoons of the pineapple juice to a small bowl, and then add the cornstarch, mixing until well combined. Then whisk in the remaining pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, and the grated ginger.
- Cook the shrimp. If your shrimp are wet, blot them dry with a paper towel. Then, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil and the minced garlic over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp to the skillet and spread them in a single layer. Add the salt and black ground pepper. Cook the shrimp for 2-3 minutes on each side. After the shrimp are fully cooked, transfer them to a plate and set it aside for later.
- Cook the pineapple and peppers. Add the sesame to the pan, then add the fresh pineapple and bell peppers and cook for three more minutes.
- Mix everything together. Return the shrimp to the skillet and pour the sauce over, then combine everything together. Let the sauce cook for two to three minutes.
- Serve. For serving, transfer the juicy shrimp onto a serving plate, then sprinkle sesame seeds and sliced green onion on top and serve with white rice.
Can you make this with chicken?
Yes. If you don’t like shrimp or are allergic to shellfish, this is a great recipe to make with chicken. All you need to do is substitute your peeled shrimp with chicken breasts that are cut into one-inch cubes. When you cook the chicken, make sure the internal temperature gets up to 165 degrees F.
Pineapple Shrimp Stir Fry Variations
Change your protein. You can try this recipe with chicken, salmon, or pork. They all pair well with pineapple and Chinese flavors!
Change your vegetables. I like to use bell peppers for this recipe, but you’re welcome to add in any vegetable. I’ve used green beans and snap peas before, and both tasted good.
Add some spice. If you’re a fan of spicy foods, feel free to add a little crushed red pepper or a dash of chili sauce to your sauce for a little bit of a kick.
Add some flavor. If you want to switch up the flavors juice a bit, try adding in hoisin sauce or oyster sauce, which are both Chinese food staples. You could also add a dash of lemon juice or orange juice to the sauce for a slight change in flavor.
What kind of shrimp do I need?
I like to use extra-large shrimp or jumbo shrimp for this Chinese recipe. You can buy either fresh shrimp at the seafood counter or frozen shrimp, but they will need to be completely thawed before use.
You can either buy peeled and deveined shrimp, or you can easily learn how to devein shrimp and clean them yourself. It’s a lot easier than it sounds! For this recipe, I like to keep the tails on.
Why are my shrimp dry and rubbery?
Shellfish are meant to be cooked at a high temperature for a short period of time, especially shrimp. Once your shrimp turn pink and firm, they’re cooked.
If you’re still a little weary about whether your shrimp are cooked, the internal temperature should be at 145 degrees F before ingesting. Overcooking your shrimp can cause them to be dry and rubbery. You can still eat them if they’re overcooked, they will just be a little tougher to eat.
Why is my shrimp mushy?
If the texture of your shrimp is mushy, I don’t recommend eating it. Your shrimp may be mushy because they’re old and the proteins have started breaking down or because of their temperature before putting them into the freezer.
Shrimp that are slimy, mushy, or smell “too fishy” or sour is probably becoming, if not already, spoiled, so please do not eat them.
Can I make this ahead of time?
This is a great meal to make ahead of time or to meal prep for the week! Once your shrimp are cooked, let them cool to room temperature and then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
I never recommend placing hot food in an airtight container because it may cause your shrimp to continue cooking and become tough and rubbery. It can also heat the food up that is surrounding this dish, causing internal temperatures to rise, which can cause your food to go bad.
How to Reheat this Pineapple Shrimp Recipe
To reheat your Chinese shrimp, place your leftovers in a skillet or a microwave and cook until at a safe internal temperature. I prefer to warm mine up in a skillet so that the shrimp and veggies will all cook evenly.
If you don’t have access to a stove, this can be warmed up in the microwave for one minute and then at 30-second intervals, stirring in between until you hit your desired temperature.
WANT TO TRY THIS CHINESE PINEAPPLE SHRIMP RECIPE?
PIN IT to your shrimp recipes, dinner recipes, or Chinese recipes board to save it for later!
Find me on Pinterest for more great recipes. I’m always pinning!
Did you make this recipe? Post a photo on Instagram and tag me @JZEATS or #JZEATS so I can see! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think, too!
Chinese Pineapple Shrimp
For the Sauce
- Add 2 tablespoons of the pineapple juice to a small mixing bowl and then add the cornstarch, mixing until well combined. Then whisk in the remaining pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, and the grated ginger.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and the minced garlic over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp to the skillet and spread them in a single layer. Add the salt and black ground pepper. Cook the shrimp for 2-3 minutes on each side. After the shrimp is fully cooked, transfer them to a plate and set it aside for later.
- Add the sesame to the pan, then add the fresh pineapple and bell peppers and cook for three more minutes.
- Return the shrimp to the skillet and pour the sauce over, then combine everything together. Let the sauce cook for two to three minutes.
- For serving, trasnfer the shrimp to a serving platter, then sprinkle sesame seeds and sliced green onion on top and serve with white rice.