Salt and Pepper Shrimp are tender and buttery with a crisp salt and pepper crust. They're easy enough for a weeknight meal and fancy enough for a dinner party! Make them start to finish in less than 30 minutes.
It's the flavor combination in this salt and pepper shrimp recipe that makes these so irresistible! A quick coat of cornstarch before stir frying gives the shrimp a crispy crust without deep-frying. Then they're tossed in the wok or skillet with toasted and ground white and Szechuan peppercorns, kosher salt, garlic and minced, fresh serrano pepper. The recipe is so simple that I know it by heart!
Salt and Pepper Shrimp Ingredients
- Shrimp: ideally medium, shell-on shrimp
- Whole Peppercorns: white peppercorns and Sichuan peppercorns (also called Szechuan peppercorns)
- High Heat Oil: such as avocado oil
- Garlic: fresh garlic cloves
- Fresh Serrano Pepper: or fresh jalapeño pepper
- Fresh Cilantro Leaves: for garnish, optional
- Kosher Salt
I've been making these crispy salt and pepper shrimp for years because it's an easy recipe to make and always spectacularly good. I started with this recipe from Tom Douglas, but swapped in standard shrimp for spot prawns and peeled them (his recipe calls for leaving the shell on).
How to Serve
Pair these as a main dish with cooked rice or Mashed Red Potatoes and Chinese Cucumber Salad for a knock-out meal! Serve as a crowd pleasing appetizer with spicy Remoulade Sauce for dipping. Or pile them into charred corn tortillas for the best Shrimp Tacos you've ever tasted!
More Delicious Shrimp Recipes
How to Make Salt and Pepper Shrimp
Toast peppercorns (white and Szechuan) in a small, dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant and popping, taking care not to let them burn. Coarsely grind in a spice mill and then combine with kosher salt.
In a large bowl, coat peeled and deveined shrimp in cornstarch.
Heat oil in a wok or large skillet until nearly smoking. Add shrimp; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, tossing occasionally to cook evenly. Add garlic, minced chili and peppercorn / salt mixture and toss until shrimp is coated and spices are fragrant. Serve.
Salt and Pepper Shrimp
- ¼ teaspoon white peppercorns
- ¼ teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns also called Szechuan peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup avocado oil or other high heat oil
- 1 pound medium shell-on shrimp recipe note #1
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 small cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon seeded and minced serrano chili pepper or jalapeño
- cilantro leaves for garnish, optional
- Toast peppercorns in a small, dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant and popping, shaking often and taking care not to let them burn. Transfer to a small bowl. Coarsely grind in a spice mill and then combine with kosher salt. Set aside.
- Peel and devein shrimp. Place in strainer and rinse; drain well and pat shrimp dry with paper towels. Place in bowl and sprinkle cornstarch over; toss to coat.
- Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat until nearly smoking. Add shrimp; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, tossing occasionally to cook evenly. Add garlic, minced chili pepper and peppercorn / salt mixture and toss until shrimp is coated and spices are fragrant. Serve garnished with cilantro leaves if desired.
- Large shrimp will also work, but I find that medium shrimp often have better flavor and a firmer texture.
- I love to serve these over a frilly but sturdy lettuce like frisée. And if you're making these in early spring, they're wonderful over fresh pea tendrils.