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Hunan Shrimp (Ready In 20 Minutes!)

Hunan Shrimp (Ready In 20 Minutes!)

Make restaurant-quality Hunan Shrimp in just 20 minutes! This spicy shrimp recipe is the perfect balance of crunchy, spicy and savory. Just like our Shrimp Lo Mein, Hunan Beef and Pad Woon Sen recipe.

Succulent shrimp, blistered green beans, and green onions are pan fried and tossed in a rich soy chili sauce. Serve over rice or stir fried vegetables.

More Chinese Takeout Recipes: Chow Mei Fun, Honey Walnut Shrimp, Empress Chicken and Fried Rice.

What is Hunan Shrimp

Hunan Shrimp is a chili-laden dish commonly found on American-Chinese restaurant menus. It’s stir fried shrimp coated in Hunan sauce, made with chili paste, garlic, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. It’s one of the spicier recipes on the menu.

Labeled ingredients to make Hunan Sauce.

What is in Hunan Shrimp

Here are the main ingredients to make Hunan style shrimp, with substitution options. The full list of ingredients is listed in the recipe card below.

Hunan Sauce

Chili Paste – Keep reading for a list of recommended options

Oil – Use your favorite cooking oil (peanut, sesame, grape seed, avocado, canola or vegetable)

Rice Vinegar 

Optional- Add a tsp of honey if you prefer sweetness to your dish.

Shrimp Stir Fry

Shrimp – Fresh or frozen (any size)

Green Beans – Other vegetables to add or replace green beans: bell pepper, zucchini, or snow peas

Not sure about the various Shrimp Sizes? Check out our free Shrimp Size Chart

Bowl of spicy shrimp and green beans next to chopsticks.

Chili Sauce

There are a number of different chili pastes you can use for this dish. We usually stick with Huy Fong Sambal Oelek (pictured below), when making Chinese recipes, but it’s not the only option. Here are some other choices:

Product shot of Sambal Oelek.

How to Make

Making shrimp Hunan style doesn’t require much time, but it’s all hands-on time. Here’s the general steps you’re looking at, when making. For the full recipe, reference the detailed recipe card below. 

Sauce – Whisk together the sauce ingredients.

Shrimp – Coat the shrimp with cornstarch and stir-fry away!

Vegetables – Stir-fry the green beans and green onions.

Sauce it Up – Toss the shrimp and vegetables with the Hunan sauce and grub away!

Side by side photos showing sauce and cornstarch coated shrimp.

Serving Recommendations

This hunan shrimp recipe can be enjoyed solo or next to some other classics. As mentioned above, rice or shrimp fried rice are always a welcome addition. Throw in some extra vegetables to bulk up each serving. Any asian noodle recipe would make a great side dish…think garlic noodles, sesame noodles, etc.

The Hunanese love fermented food, so a batch of our pickled cucumbers or other pickled vegetables would be killer.

Expert Tips

  • Butterfly the shrimp for maximum shrimp to sauce ratio.
  • Make sure the shrimp is 100% dry before adding to the cornstarch. You’ll find the end results will suffer as the coating won’t stick.
  • The oil should be hot (slightly popping) before adding the food. 
  • Do not overcrowd the pan. Fry in batches to avoid brining down the temperature of the oil thereby creating soggy shrimp. 
  • This stir-fried shrimp recipe is best when enjoyed immediately. 

Stir-fried shrimp with text "Tip: Don't Crowd The Pan."


Hunan Chicken – Swap out the shrimp for chicken, to make a classic Hunan Chicken. 

Hunan Beef – Swap out the shrimp for beef, to make a classic Hunan Beef.

Hunan Vegetables – Use any veggies you have on hand instead of using shrimp. Bell peppers, zucchini, broccoli, and asparagus would be great additions. Just add them in with the green beans.

Cut green beans in a skillet.

Hunan vs Szechuan

What is the difference between Hunan shrimp vs Szechuan shrimp is a very common question. Both are comprised of fermented red chili paste, garlic, rice vinegar and soy sauce, however that’s where the base similarities end.

Hunan Shrimp doesn’t include any sweeteners and is hotter than Szechuan shrimp as it uses fresh chilis or chili paste.

Szechuan Shrimp includes dried chilis and a bit of honey or brown sugar to simmer down the spice level. 

Hunan Cuisine

There are eight significant regional cuisines of Chinese cooking: Anhui (徽菜; Huīcài), Guangdong (粤菜; Yuècài), Fujian (闽菜; Mǐncài), Hunan (湘菜; Xiāngcài), Jiangsu (苏菜; Sūcài), Shandong (鲁菜; Lǔcài), Sichuan (川菜; Chuāncài), and Zhejiang (浙菜; Zhècài) cuisines. Read up on each region here>> Wikipedia.

Sichuan and Cantonese are the most well-known in the United States, but Hunan is quickly climbing the ranks.

Also known as Xiang cuisine, Hunan cuisine includes the heavy use of chili paste, vinegar, garlic, ginger and green onions.

Bowl of Hunan Shrimp with chop sticks.

More Asian Recipes To Check Out

Yaki Chicken Udon
Egg Drop Soup
Korean Beef Bulgogi
Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl
Instant Pot Chicken Adobo

Drink Pairings

Stick with an off-dry Riesling or Pinot Grigio when serving Shrimp Hunan.

Bowl of Hunan Shrimp with chop sticks.

Hunan Shrimp

Make restaurant-quality Hunan Shrimp in just 20 minutes! This spicy shrimp recipe is the perfect balance of crunchy, sweet and savory.
5 from 42 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: 30 Minute Meals, Shrimp Recipes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 188kcal
Author: Darcey Olson



  • ½ cup Vegetable Stock
  • Tbsp Chili Paste (*Note 1)
  • 2 tsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp Rice Vinegar
  • ½ tsp Oyster Sauce
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced


  • 1 lb Medium Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp Canola or Vegetable Oil, Divided (*Note 2)
  • 2 cups Chopped Fresh Green Beans
  • 3 Green Onions, Sliced
  • Optional: Serve over Rice


  • Add the stock, chili paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, oyster sauce and garlic to a medium-size mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Pat dry the shrimp and add to a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle cornstarch over the top and gently toss to coat.
  • Pre-heat a wok or large skillet over high heat and add half the oil. Swirl the pan so the oil coats the interior.
  • Once hot, gently add the shrimp to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Add the rest of the oil to the pan. Add the green beans and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the green onions and cook for 1 minute, stirring often.
  • Add the shrimp and sauce to the pan and gently toss to combine. Cook for 2 minutes, continuously stirring, until the sauce is thick.
  • Serve immediately over rice and garnish with extra green onions.


Note 1 - There are a number of different chili pastes you can use for this dish. We usually stick with Huy Fong Sambal Oelek, when making Chinese recipes, but it's not the only option. Here are some other choices:
Note 2 - Use your favorite cooking oil: peanut, sesame, grape seed, avocado, canola or vegetable.


Calories: 188kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 954mg | Potassium: 304mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 748IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 1mg
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