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Sticky Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

Succulent shrimp is tossed in a honey, garlic, chili sauce with fresh ginger and cooked quickly for a speedy, satisfying supper in these sticky shrimp lettuce wraps.

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honey garlic shrimp lettuce wraps with and Asian cabbage slaw in butter lettuce on a plate with sesame seeds

Homemade Shrimp Wraps

This speedy, satisfying dinner is big in flavor—just the way we like it! Crisp, crunchy lettuce makes a light, fresh bed for the most flavorful shrimp we’ve eaten. The shrimp is cooked in a soy sauce and honey-garlic sauté sauce and is ready in a flash. We’re making a side of White Rice and Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw to make this tasty dinner.

raw shrimp on a plate next to butter lettuce, cabbage slaw, cilantro, soy sauce, Sesame oil, Chili sauce, Brown sugar, honey

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What’s Sticky Shrimp?

Sticky Shrimp is coated in a sweet-savory-spicy sauce that hits all the spots, and because it has cornstarch, honey and brown sugar in it, it really does stick to the shrimp—it coats them in the best way. Here’s what you’ll need to make these delightfully sticky, speedy sautéed shrimp:

  • Soy sauce and sesame oil – These will deliver a deep savory and umami note, and they love shrimp! Check out our recipe for Garlic Shrimp Stir Fry.

  • Chili sauce, like sambal oelek – Have you noticed that this is the secret to success in many of our recipes? We love adding a little flash of heat to Sesame Garlic Ramen Noodles and Kung Pao Chicken.

  • Brown sugar and honey – Let’s turn the sweetness up for these sticky shrimp lettuce wraps with both brown sugar and honey for a golden glow.

  • Fresh garlic and ginger – Because, flavor.

  • Cornstarch – This helps thicken the sauce. If you don’t have cornstarch on hand, you can use potato starch or all-purpose flour.

soy sauce, Sesame oil, Chili sauce, Brown sugar, honey, minced Garlic, minced ginger mixed in a little bowl for a marinade
soy sauce, Sesame oil, chili sauce, brown sugar, honey, Garlic, ginger sautéed in a pan for shrimp lettuce cups

What Is The Best Lettuce for Making Lettuce Wraps? Drumroll, Please!

We’ve covered this before, but the very best lettuce on earth for making shrimp lettuce wraps is, hands down, butter lettuce! AKA bibb lettuce, AKA Boston bibb lettuce, this buttery, tender lettuce is ideal for making lettuce wraps because of its cupped shape and relative sturdiness. We also love that it has a nice flavor—no bitterness at all, just a nice mild sweetness to compliment the sticky shrimp. A salad spinner would be helpful here, but is not necessary.

honey garlic shrimp sautéed in a pan for homemade shrimp lettuce cups
honey garlic shrimp lettuce cups with sticky sweet marinated shrimp Asian cabbage slaw in butter lettuce

How to Clean Shrimp

Time to get your hands dirty! Learning how to peel and devein shrimp can seem like a daunting task, but it’s really pretty simple. Also, it’s not technically necessary to devein your shrimp, so if you want to skip it, you can. The “vein” is the shrimp’s digestive tract, and it can have a little sand or grit in it sometimes, so we like to remove it.

  • Defrost! Defrost your shrimp in a bowl of cold water in the fridge.

  • Peel! Drain the shrimp. Begin to peel the shrimp by holding the shrimp in one hand and use your other hand to peel off the legs. Once the legs have been removed, you can take the shrimp shell off by peeling it, beginning from where you took off the legs.

  • To keep the tail on—we like to leave the shrimp tail-on— just hold it firmly in place with one hand while you peel the shell of the body of the shrimp with your other hand.

  • To remove the vein, hold the shrimp with the back side up. Use a sharp, small knife (like a paring knife) or a shrimp deveiner to make a shallow cut along the vein (the dark line that runs along the back of the shrimp). Once you've made the incision, use the tip of the knife to scrape out the vein.

  • Done! Time to get cooking!

honey garlic shrimp lettuce cups with sticky sweet marinated shrimp Asian cabbage slaw in butter lettuce

More Speedy Shrimp Recipes to Try

Now that you’re a shrimp cleaning pro, you might be feeling emboldened to branch out and cook more shrimp! We’re all for that. Here are a few shrimp recipes we’ve been making a lot lately:

For more recipe inspiration you can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest. Have you tried this recipe? We love when you share your meals. Tag us on Instagram using #themodernproper. Happy cooking!

Sticky Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  10 min
  • Cook Time:  20 min
  • Calories: 216

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ⅓ cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste, such as Sambal Oelek
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger (from a 1-inch piece)
  • 2 pounds medium shrimp, deveined, tails removed
  • 1 (13-ounce) bag chopped cabbage salad (dressing packet discarded)
  • 1 to 2 heads butter lettuce, leaves separated (about 20 leaves)
  • Cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

Method

  1. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water. In a separate small bowl combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, chili sauce, brown sugar, honey, garlic, and ginger. Stir in the cornstarch slurry.

  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sauce to the pan. Once the sauce is simmering, add the shrimp and cook until the sauce thickens and the shrimp is opaque, about 5 to 8 minutes.

  3. Spoon the cabbage slaw into the lettuce cups and top with the shrimp. Sprinkle with the cilantro and sesame seeds and any remaining sauce, if desired.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories216
  • Protein23 g
  • Carbohydrates20 g
  • Total Fat4 g
  • Dietary Fiber2 g
  • Cholesterol220 mg
  • sodium1487 mg
  • Total Sugars14 g

Sticky Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

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  • Gwen

    Could this be served cold. Make a few hours before serving as a appetizer

    Sure, it would probably be great!

  • Jeanette

    I was thinking of making a cucumber salad to go with these, is there anything else you recommend?

    Our Fried rice would be a yummy addition as well!

  • kathy

    very good recipe that doesn't take too long to make. I used just under 1/3 cup Bragg's liquid aminos as the low salt soy sauce but I will use less next time. I felt like the soy taste overpowered the ginger and honey. Other than that it's a nice light dinner that I'll be making again.

    Thanks Kathy, we are glad you enjoyed it!

  • Katy

    SO GOOD and a snappy recipe! I didn't do the slaw in this recipe since I wanted a little more to it, but the shrimp glaze... holy smokes! The absolute best and will definitely be going into my meal plan rotation!

    Thanks Katy, that is so great to hear. We are so happy you loved it!

  • Jenn

    This was so good. Just the right amount of heat. I added some rice noodles for additional texture. 5 stars

    Thanks Jenn, glad you loved it!

  • Sarah

    Made these tonight. So good and so so flavorful. Highly recommend. My cooking time was more like 3 minutes for 16-20/lb sized shrimp. Can’t wait to make again. If someone wants extra sauce I would recommend doubling the sauce.

    Thanks Sarah, so happy you loved them!

  • Jenelle

    These were very tasty and quick to make. I think I'd add a little less sambal oleek next time as they were a little spicy but not too bad. This would be a fun meal when having people over as they assemble their own food.

    Thanks Jenelle! Happy you enjoyed them and they would definitely make a fun party idea!