This Easy Firecracker Shrimp is sweet, sticky, spicy and crunchy – it's a perfect appetizer or main dish when served with broccoli and rice.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Canola oil – swap out for another neutral cooking oil like olive oil or grapeseed oil.
- Shrimp – this is the star of the show but you could also swap it out for boneless chicken breasts or thighs to make firecracker chicken!
- Flour – whole wheat flour or gluten-free flour can be used instead.
- Eggs – coat the shrimp in mayonnaise or buttermilk instead.
- Salt & pepper – to taste.
- Chili flakes – ground cayenne would also work or you can leave this out.
- Sesame seeds – white or black sesame seeds can be used instead.
- Green onions – garnish with red onions or leave this off altogether.
- Sweet chili sauce – this is basically a spicy version of sweet and sour sauce. Try making your own using honey and hot sauce.
- Orange juice – fresh orange juice is best but bottled orange juice can be used if it’s all you have on hand.
- Soy sauce – coconut aminos or tamari are the best substitutes for soy sauce.
- Sriracha – use any kind of hot sauce of your choice, just keep in mind the taste may vary.
- Garlic – freshly minced garlic is best but jarred minced garlic can be used in a pinch.
- Orange zest – leave this out if you don’t have any fresh oranges.
How to make firecracker shrimp
Step 1: Make the sauce.
Mix together sauce ingredients in a bowl. Microwave for 2-3 minutes until heated through and slightly thickened.
Step 2: Bread the shrimp.
Add flour to a bowl, then whisk eggs in another bowl. Dip shrimp in egg, then coat in flour.
Step 3: Add to a skillet.
Heat oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add shrimp to skillet.
Step 4: Fry the shrimp.
Cook in two batches for 2-3 minutes per side. Add cooked shrimp to a paper towel lined plate to get rid of excess oil, seasoning with salt & pepper, then add cooked shrimp to a large bowl.
Step 5: Toss in the sauce.
Toss shrimp with sauce.
Step 6: Serve and enjoy!
Garnish with chili flakes, sesame seeds and green onions. Serve and enjoy!
What to serve with firecracker shrimp
Taking this firecracker shrimp recipe from an appetizer to a full meal is as simple as adding a healthy grain and veggies. Any of these would be great alongside firecracker shrimp:
- Steamed brown or white rice
- Rice pilaf or risotto
- Cauliflower fried rice
- Baked potato or sweet potato
- Steamed veggies
You could also use the shrimp as part of another dish. Use it to make a shrimp cocktail, add it to tacos or quesadillas, make a shrimp salad or serve it on hoagie buns for a Po Boy sandwich.
Frequently Asked Questions
Firecracker shrimp is a popular breaded shrimp dish that’s sold at Panda Express, and is available at some other Asian restaurants as well. It has a delicious sweet and spicy flavour, but the spicy heat is adjustable. Simply use more or less chili sauce to adjust the spice level to your palate.
The firecracker sauce is the perfect finishing touch to the fried breaded shrimp. All you need to make it is sweet chili sauce, orange juice, soy sauce, sriracha, garlic and orange zest. You can adjust the level of spiciness to your liking depending on your spice tolerance.
To reduce the calories in this firecracker shrimp recipe, you can skip the breading altogether, and simply grill the shrimp on the BBQ. This way, there will be fewer calories and less carbs! You can still serve the shrimp with the sweet and spicy firecracker sauce. To grill the shrimp, place them on wooden or metal skewers. Preheat your grill to 400° Fahrenheit, then grill the shrimp for 2 minutes per side.
Storing and reheating
Store any leftover firecracker shrimp in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can reheat your leftovers in the microwave at 50% power. However, microwaving can change the texture of the shrimp, and the breading may become soggy. To retain a bit of the desirable crunchy exterior, reheat the shrimp by broiling it in the oven for 2 minutes. Watch carefully to make sure the shrimp doesn’t burn!
Freezing this recipe
This firecracker shrimp will keep well in the freezer for 2 to 3 months in glass containers or Ziploc bags. Let it defrost in the fridge overnight then reheat as normal, or reheat from frozen for 10 to 15 minutes at 400° Fahrenheit.
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Easy Firecracker Shrimp
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 lb shrimp
- 1 cup flour
- 2 eggs
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Chili flakes, for garnish
- Sesame seeds, for garnish
- Green onions, for garnish
- 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp orange zest
- Mix together sauce ingredients in a bowl. Microwave for 2-3 minutes until heated through and slightly thickened.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over med-high heat.
- Meanwhile, add flour to a bowl, then whisk eggs in another bowl. Dip shrimp in egg, then coat in flour.
- Add shrimp to skillet, cooking in two batches for 2-3 minutes per side. Add cooked shrimp to a paper towel lined plate to get rid of excess oil, seasoning with salt & pepper, then add cooked shrimp to a large bowl.
- Toss shrimp with sauce, then garnish with chili flakes, sesame seeds and green onions. Serve and enjoy!