Simple Salt and Pepper Shrimp

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Appetizer, side dish, snack, light Meal Chinese Inspired
By Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Serves: 4-6
Prep Time: 20 Minutes Cooking Time: 10 Minutes Total Time: ~30 Minutes

Simple Salt and Pepper Shrimp is an addictive little snack. Super savory, fried shrimp with peppery flavors: Sichuan peppercorn, ginger and garlic.


  • The ratios for this recipe are enough for two pounds of shrimp. If you choose to make only 1 lb. of shrimp as I have done below, you will have about 3/4 to 1/2 of the pepper seasoning blend leftover. If you don't want leftover seasoning to save for another use, cut the Salt and Pepper Seasoning blend in half. If you don't have separate black and white peppercorns, use 2 teaspoons of a blend or mix of pink, black and white peppercorns.
  • Salt and Pepper Seasoning Blend
  • 1 tsp. Black Peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. White Peppercorns
  • 1 tsp Sichuan Peppercorns
  • 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • Salt and Pepper Shrimp
  • ~3 cups Grapeseed or Peanut Oil, for frying
  • 1 -2 lb. Jumbo Shrimp, peeled with tails left intact
  • 3/4 cup Cornstarch
  • 1 Bunch Scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 6 Large Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. Finely Chopped Fresh Ginger
  • Lime Wedges, for garnish


Salt and Pepper Seasoning Blend


Heat your wok over high heat. Toast the peppercorns in a dry wok for about 3 minutes, until they are fragrant and begin to lightly smoke.


Transfer the peppercorns to a mortar. Use a pestle to coarsely grind the peppercorns. Add 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, mix to combine and set aside. We will only use about 1/4 to half of the pepper blend for the final dish.

Set Up and Shrimp Prep


Set up your dredging and frying station. Add 3/4 cup of cornstarch to a large bowl. Next to that, set a fine mesh sieve over a smaller bowl to catch the dredged shrimp. We have the wok on the burner, about 1/3 full of grapeseed or peanut oil. This should be about 3 cups of oil. Next to the wok, set a wire rack in a sheet tray to catch the fried shrimp. Set your spider skimmer on the wire rack. Turn the heat up to medium-high under the wok and let the oil heat up.


Meanwhile, add the shrimp to the cornstarch. Lightly toss the shrimp, coating them in cornstarch. Transfer the dredged shrimp, a few at a time, shaking off the excess, to the fine mesh sieve.


Use a probe thermometer to temp the oil. When the oil reaches 400 degrees F, we are ready to fry.

Salt and Pepper Shrimp


Fry 6-8 shrimp at a time, until they are lightly golden – about 2 minutes.


Use the spider skimmer to transfer the fried shrimp to the wire rack. Repeat with the rest of the shrimp, letting the oil come back up to temp between each batch.


Once all the shrimp is fried, cut the heat under the wok. Set a large (4-8 cup capacity) heat-safe measuring cup in the sink and carefully pour the hot oil into the measuring cup. Carefully wipe out the skillet with paper towels to remove any sediment and bits of cornstarch.


Then use a measuring spoon to add 3 tablespoons of the still hot oil back to the wok. Turn up the heat up to high under the wok. Give the oil a minute or two to get very hot. Then add the scallion, garlic and ginger to the wok. Stir fry until fragrant and the scallions begin to slightly wilt and get some color.


Cut the heat under the wok and add the fried shrimp back top the wok and toss to combine with the scallions, ginger and garlic. Sprinkle about 1/4 of the salt and pepper seasoning blend over the shrimp and toss to coat the shrimp in the salt and pepper. Add more of the salt and pepper seasoning to taste, tossing well between each addition.


Transfer the Simple Salt and Pepper Shrimp to a serving tray and garnish with lime wedges.