My Honey Garlic Shrimp Recipe is remarkably aromatic, with an intoxicating sticky sweetness and subtle heat. Not to mention plenty of garlic! These tender, melt-in-your-mouth honey shrimp can be made in just 30 minutes and can be served with your favorite Chinese side dishes.
I’ve started spotting sweet and spicy shrimp on almost every menu I read, from bars to high-end restaurants. However, so many of them lack that edge that defines Chinese cuisine: a bit of bite, a hint of heat, and a sticky sweetness that you won’t find anywhere else.
My honey garlic shrimp recipe does all of that and more. With a mouthwatering sweet soy glaze that doubles as a marinade, this dish is tender and packed with flavor.
If you’re well stocked with Chinese Spices and Pantry Staples, then you likely have many of these ingredients on hand! Soy sauce, sesame oil, and lime juice are enhanced with a healthy amount of minced garlic and raw honey for a natural sweetness. A dash of white pepper adds that iconic Chinese heat without being too much.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Shrimp - Large, raw shrimps are perfect. If using frozen, allow them to thaw in the refrigerator prior to marinating.
- Green Onions - Sharp, bright, but not overpowering. It will make an excellent garnish.
- Marinade - The sweet and spicy shrimp sauce we’ll use for a marinade contains:
- Honey - Its sticky sweetness adds the perfect flavor to our marinade. Use a raw, organic variety if possible. Do not replace this ingredient.
- Soy Sauce - Light soy sauce is preferable in marinades, and you can opt for low-sodium varieties if preferred.
- Sesame Oil - Quite strong, aromatic, and nutty. Use light oil if you want just a hint of its flavor, and dark if you like a stronger taste.
- Minced Garlic - Freshly minced bulbs impart their flavor well in marinades, and heighten the overall flavor profile of the sauce. This ingredient is important to the sauce, so try not to replace it with powder alternatives.
- Lime Juice - This juice adds vibrancy, acidity, and citrus to the marinade.
- White Pepper - This pepper is more common in Chinese sauces than black. Its heat is more subtle but also more aromatic.
HOW TO MAKE HONEY GARLIC SHRIMP
- Chop the Onions. Remove the white end of the green onions and peel away any damaged outer leaves. Chop them diagonally into small slices and set aside.
- Mix the Marinade. Pour the honey, soy sauce, lime juice, and sesame oil into a mixing bowl. Add the garlic and white pepper and whisk everything together.
- Marinate. Clean the shrimps in running water, remove the dark veins along their backs, and remove and discard their tails and shells. Drop them into the marinade, cover the bowl, and allow to marinate in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Time to Fry. Add olive oil to your frying pan and heat over medium-high. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the shrimps. Shake each of them to remove excess marinade. Sear for one minute on each side and then set aside.
- Create the Sauce. Once all have been fried, pour the remaining marinade into the pan and boil for 2-3 minutes until it reduces and thickens. Put all of the shrimps back into the pan and toss them in the sauce.
- Serve. Pour over a bed of steamed rice. Dust with sesame seeds and add the green onions atop for garnish and extra flavor.
Can I save leftover honey garlic shrimp marinade?
No, you should immediately boil all that is left in the bowl and use as a sauce. Raw seafood was resting in it for quite some time, so it wouldn’t be safe to use over and over again. Either use immediately or discard.
How do I prevent rubbery shrimp?
Preparing shellfish is a delicate art. You want it to cook through, but it can often become rubbery when cooked for too long. To avoid this, fry each side for just one minute until the shrimps are no longer translucent and before they become tightly closed.
Should I marinate honey garlic shrimp overnight?
No, do not marinate for longer than the 20 minutes described in the recipe. The lime juice works to tenderize them, but too long and they’ll become too soft, mushy, and unappetizing.
Honey Garlic Shrimp
- 1 ½ lbs large raw shrimp
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 green onions cut on the diagonal
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoon lime juice (from 1 lime)
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- Cut the green onion ends off and discard any outer leave that are not edible. Slice them on the diagonal into small bite size pieces. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, lime juice and white pepper.
- Devein and clean the shrimp. Pinch off the tail shells and discard. Add shrimp to the honey soy mixture and marinate 20 minutes, covered, in the refrigerator.
- Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Shake off excess marinade and add the shrimp to the pan. Sear on each side; 1 minute until opaque and cooked through, turn over and cook about 1 minute more. Remove the shrimp and set aside.
- Add marinade to pan and bring to a boil. It should reduce and thicken, about 2 -3 minutes. Add the shrimp back to the pan and toss the shrimp in the sauce to coat the shrimp.
- Serve over steamed rice and sprinkle green onions and sesame seeds on top.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.