Shrimp Tempura is a Japanese dish made with fresh shrimp dipped in tempura batter and deep-fried until perfectly crispy. Serve it with soy sauce or tempura dipping sauce.
If you enjoy making Asian dishes at home, you may also like my Teriyaki Shrimp or Chicken Lettuce Wraps. They will be a hit!
If you look at my Asian recipes collection on this site, you will find it to be quite large. We simply enjoy this cuisine! One of our favorite shrimp appetizers is Shrimp Tempura. My Hubby has been asking me for years to make it and it finally happened. This is the easiest way to make restaurant-quality tempura in your own kitchen. The shrimp is juicy and delicious and the coating light and crispy. If you follow my easy steps, you will be enjoying this fantastic dish in no time. And if you have any veggies on hand, dip them in the batter and fry up too!
- jumbo or medium shrimp
- all-purpose flour
- water (icy-cold)
How to make Shrimp Tempura
Step 1: prepare shrimp
- Prepare the shrimp, by deveining them and removing the shell right up to the tail.
- Next, make 4 to 5 small notches on the "belly" of each shrimp. This will prevent them from curling up during frying.
- Toss shrimp in cornstarch.
Step 2: make the batter
- Mix cold egg with water in a bowl. Add flour and stir in. Do not overmix.
- Dip each shrimp in batter.
Step 3: fry
- Heat up oil to 340 to 360 degrees F.
- Drop 3 to 4 batter coated shrimp in the pot and fry for 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Remove shrimp onto a paper towel-lined plate.
- use the largest shrimp you can buy; I used jumbo, that were deveined but had shells on.
- use icy-cold water and cold egg; this will ensure that the batter doesn't absorb too much oil
- make the batter right before frying; if you let it sit too long, the gluten will form and the batter will not be light and crispy
- coat shrimp in cornstarch right before dipping in the batter to ensure it sticks well
- fry 3 to 4 shrimp at a time; this will prevent crowding and ensure that the temperature of the oil won't drop too much
How to serve this dish?
We like this shrimp dipped in low-sodium soy sauce or my Sweet Chili Orange Sauce or Sweet and Sour Sauce. In a Japanese restaurant, you may find it served with Tempura Dipping Sauce.
How to prepare the shrimp?
If you ever ordered this dish at a Japanese restaurant, you will notice that the shrimp is straight, not curled up. To make restaurant-quality Shrimp Tempura, you want to make a few notches in the shrimp to prevent them from curling up during frying. My shrimp was deveined but had the shell on. I removed the shell right up to the tail, leaving it on. Next, make small slits with a knife on the "belly" of each shrimp. I made 4 to 5 on each jumbo shrimp. Lay them out flat on a plate. Also, if your shrimp was previously frozen (like mine), thaw them out, then prep and dab with a paper towel. You don't want them to be wet as it will cause them to splatter when dropped in hot oil.
The dipping sauce
While tempura batter (for chicken, seafood or vegetables) is very easy to make and requires ingredients that are easily available, the tempura dipping sauce is a little bit more challenging. You will need dashi soup stock, mirin, soy sauce, sugar and grated daikon.
Why is my tempura not crispy?
To ensure your shrimp tempura is perfectly crispy, the oil needs to be heated up to at least 340 degrees F. If the oil is not hot enough, the batter will absorb too much of it and it will be soggy.
More Asian recipes:
For more recipes like this one, feel free to browse our Asian Category.
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- 1 lb fresh shrimp jumbo or medium
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cold water
- 1.5 cups oil for frying
- Start by preparing the shrimp: devein them and remove the shell right up to the tail. Make 4 to 5 small notches on the “belly” of each shrimp. This will prevent them from curling up during frying.
- Toss the shrimp in cornstarch and salt.
- Heat up oil in a pot.
- In a medium bowl, mix egg with water.
- Add flour and stir in with a fork. Do not overmix.
- Once the oil reaches 340 to 360 degrees F, dip each shrimp in batter and gently place in the oil.
- Fry 4 to 5 shrimp at a time, not to overcrowd the pot and lower the oil temperature.
- Fry each shrimp 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove onto a plate with paper towel.
- Repeat with all shrimp.
- Serve with soy sauce or Asian dipping sauce.
- You can use vegetable or canola oil for frying.
- Make the batter right before frying. I prepare it while the oil heats up.
- Please note, that the nutrition value can vary depending on what product you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use calorie counter you are familiar with.
I used this recipe on Cod and Shrimp and think it is a very good recipe. I give it a double thumbs up.
David Martin says
These are great and easy but you'll like them even more if you use an equal blend of Cornstarch, Rice Flour & Wondra Flour and use Club Soda rather than water. This makes them incredibly light and crunchy and eliminates the need to keep your batter chilled...
Thank you for the suggestions, David! I need to try it soon!
Robyn H says
I was looking through recipes and came upon yours. It was not only simple to follow but extremely easy. I served homemade Cocktail sauce and a Thai Sweet Chili sauce on the side.
Since I had batter left, I hate to waste, I quickly sliced a large Sweet Onion and made some onion rings. They were fantastic! I've shared this recipe with several neighbors.
Awesome! I love that you made onion rings too! That's fantastic! Thank you so much, Robyn!
how do i cut back on the sodium
None of the ingredients contain sodium.
M.Esther Watkins says
yes there is salt added to the corn starch and the shrimp are from salt water...
Don’t add any salt, easy peasy!
You are talking about about 1/2 teaspoon of sodium in the recipe from cornstarch. As for shrimp, you are talking about such a miniscule amount of absorbed sodium it will not even register. The oil from the frying is worse than any salt you will ever absorb in this recipe.
Took out or fryer after several years and made this. Used the batter on zucchini and shrimp. It was great. Lite batter, let the flavor of the shrimp shine. Will use this again and again
Looks great and yummy! Easy to prepare. Thanks for another amazing recipe!
Thank you, Kathleen!
What other veggies beside zucchine work well?
The Japanese restaurant that I go to makes tempura sweet potato wedges and asparagus. It’s delicious.
Sounds great! Thank you, Maryann!
Fresh green beans are amazing with this batter, too. The restaurant I go to frequently serves them, and they're pretty easy to come by.
Krissy Allori says
Loved this recipe and loved being able to make one of my favorites at home. Big win!
Me too! It's a favorite! Thanks, Krissy!
This was such a hit! My husband is such a fan of shrimp, so I wanted to make this recipe and it did not disappoint!
Awesome! I am glad it was a hit!