Honey Walnut Shrimp made just like your favorite takeout restaurant with the sweet honey sauce, whole walnuts and crispy fried shrimp!
We love Honey Walnut Shrimp paired with Chicken Lo Mein or Classic Chinese Chow Mein. Add Crab Rangoon as an appetizer and this makes for an easy Chinese takeout meal at home!
Honey Walnut Shrimp
We love Honey Walnut Shrimp, including the Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp which is super popular on the blog. This version is slightly different with more condensed milk, less honey and a hint of acidity. The shrimp are served immediately after cooking so the creamy sauce doesn’t have a chance to make the shrimp less crispy.
How do you make Honey Walnut Shrimp sauce? Well the base of the sauce is mayonnaise. We use classic mayo but you can of course use Asian Mayonnaise if you can find it at your local grocer (here it is on Amazon). In addition to the mayonnaise the most classic ingredient is the sweetened condensed milk. The mixture of mayonnaise, condensed milk and honey is the reason the sauce mixture is an yellow and creamy as you see in the pictures.
Important Note: Make sure you toss the shrimp and walnuts with the sauce just before serving. If the shrimp sits too long the sauce will melt (due to the mayonnaise base) and it will turn clear and sort of gloopy. In addition to that the shrimp won’t be nearly as crispy and we didn’t go through the effort of the rice flour batter only to let the shrimp get soggy.
Do I have to use walnut halves? No, absolutely not. You can use any variety of walnuts you’d like. I use walnut halves because they look so nice and I love the walnut flavor.
Can you make this Honey Walnut Shrimp ahead of time? You can certainly make the candied walnuts ahead of time. The sauce is so easy to make as the shrimp are cooking I don’t really recommend making that ahead of time. You cannot fry the shrimp ahead of time. Seafood is not tolerant of cooking and reheating. In a complete pinch you could use frozen fried shrimp, but please realize the flavors will NOT be similar to the freshly made version.
I love easy shrimp recipes, especially Chinese shrimp recipes because they are cooked so quick that the shrimp stays really tender. Just like the tutorial in my favorite Kung Pao Shrimp, be sure you peel and devein the shrimp well.
How to peel and devein shrimp:
- To peel raw shrimp, tear away at the shell above the first segment of the shell (the tail segment).
- Take a paring knife and make a shallow cut along the spine of the shrimp (the back of it).
- Using the paring knife or a fork, gently remove the black strip of intestines.
- To remove tails just squeeze the shrimp out from the bottom of the tail segment.
What to serve with Honey Walnut Shrimp:
- Add steamed rice or fried rice.
- Add a quick Chinese Lemon Chicken or Panda Express Orange Chicken (Copycat)
- Serve it with Spicy Chinese Sichuan Green Beans, your favorite steamed vegetables or even cauliflower rice.
Want more Chinese Food Recipes?
- Crispy Sesame Chicken
- Chinese Honey Chicken
- Easy Mongolian Beef
- Panda Express Recipes… every single one in fact: Panda Express Recipes Index
- Many more Chinese food options…
Tools Used in the Making of this Honey Walnut Shrimp:
Wok: Great for high heat, quick cooking. This wok is a great addition to your kitchen if you love cooking Chinese food or stir fries in general.
Large Frying Pan: I use this Cuisinart for most of my non cast iron cooking unless I am going with a stainless steel option, then I choose my All Clad.
- 1 cup water
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 1 cup walnut halves
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 4 egg whites
- 2/3 cup rice flour
- 1 pound 13-15 count shrimp peeled and deveined
- canola oil for frying
- In a large saucepan add the water and sugar and bring it to a boil.
- Add in the walnuts and boil for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove with a strainer and put onto a cookie sheet.
- In another small bowl mix the mayonnaise, condensed milk, rice vinegar and honey together.
- Using a hand mixer whip the egg whites to a foamy consistency (this is before it all turns white and has soft peaks).
- Heat oil (three inches deep) in a large dutch oven to 350 degrees.
- Add in the rice flour to the egg whites and mix.
- Dip the shrimp into the rice flour mixture and add it to the canola oil.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oil and cool on a cookie sheet.
- Toss the shrimp and walnuts with the honey mayonnaise mixture.
Can I use regular flour?
Great dish! Loved it. I only had brown rice flour but worked fine.
Also didn’t have sweetened condensed milk so made a sub.
Served over rice. YUM!
Crispy and sweet. The Chinese Sichuan Green Beans are a nice slightly salty complement to this. In addition, I served a mild coconut rice to make a complete meal.
Now I’m hungry, haha! So glad you enjoyed it, Emilia.
Could I use the buttermilk and cornstarch for the shrimp in this recipe? Like your bang bang shrimp recipe does?
It’ll change the batter but yes, it’ll work too.
I found your website about 5 months ago I love the recipes
I made the panda express copycat chowmein and the honey walnut shrimp just excellent my girlfriend and loved it
So glad to hear it! Thanks for the 5 star rating.
I haven’t rated the recipe yet because I haven’t tried it, but it looks fantastic. I love the walnut shrimp at Panda. My question is this, where did you find rice flour? Did you use white or brown? Or can I substitute a different kind of flour? Can’t wait to try it.
You can find rice flour at any grocery store from Walmart to Whole Foods. I hope you enjoy it!
I love,love,love your Dinner Then Dessert site. I first found you on Pinterest and started following you on there. I have made several of your recipes, which by the way have all turned out wonderfully, and my family thanks you Lol.
I have really never been all that impressed with Panda Express until I tried the Honey Walnut Shrimp. Rarely Do I eat seafood with takeout or restaurants because of a bad experience I had of food poisoning, so I took a chance trying there honey walnut shrimp and I became addicted but still a little nervous. When I found your copycat recipe I had to try it right away. I went that day and got everything that I needed. I made it following your recipe to a tee and Holy Moses it was BETTER than it Is at panda express. Unfortunately they have now lost a customer for life. I usually have it delivered to me twice a week at least to get the honey walnut shrimp. It gets quite expensive with the high cost of the food and the delivery service. Now I can make as much as I want or as little as I want and I am saving sooo much money for a far more superior taste. I tend to think it’s your recipe and not my ability or skill LOL. I am signed up for everything Dinner Then Desert. I am 51 and significantly disabled, I hardly ever get out of my home except for doctor appointments and now with the quarantine it’s even worse, so the one joy in my life is cooking. I’ve always been pretty good at it but I always get so excited when I find a recipe blogger that has so many wonderful recipes, especially the copycat ones since I don’t get to go to restaurants and such. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge of cooking. I’m tickled super happy!!
Thank you so much for your kind words. It makes me happy to know that you’re getting so much from the recipes and the site.
AWESOME! I doubled the sauce, because I like sauce – per Panda Express recipe, used cornstarch + egg white for batter and when it got thick,added just a splash of water to thin it out. Used a wok, just enough oil to fry (not completely submerged), served with white rice and candied walnuts. Just yum. Keeping it organized was key. Easy and totally worth it. Thank you!
You’re welcome, Cynthia. So glad you enjoyed it.
My family loved the walnut shrimp! Taste was great! The only hiccup w recipe was the rice flour and egg batter. I tripled checked the instructions and did it correctly but it came out too thick so i added a little bit of water to thin it out. Other than that delicious!!
So glad you were able to adapt and that everyone enjoyed it. Thanks for the 5 stars.
The recipe needs to be fixed. There should be water or soda water added to the shrimp coating. As is, you get paste. Fortunately I used your honey walnut chicken directions.
So, you discard the sugar water that you boiled the walnuts in, correct? I just made this and it was pretty good, I didn’t have all the proper ingredients but it was good.
Yes, that’s correct. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
What could you use if you don’t have a Dutch oven?
You can use a large pot that has higher sides to allow you to heat 3 inches of oil that hot. Enjoy!
This is certainly one of the strangest American dishes I’ve tried.
I am a bit confused about Step 7 Add in the rice flour and mix.
Add the rice flour to what? To the oil from Step 6?
I’ve edited it to read a bit clearer…or so I hope.
You’ll want to add the rice flour in with the egg whites mixture.
Where does the sweetened condensed milk go??
I’ve edited to read correctly. So sorry about that!
There are a couple steps that aren’t totally clear…
1. Where do the condensed milk and vinegar get added in?
2. I’m assuming, but it doesn’t say explicitly, that you add the rice flour to the egg whites?
Would love to make this but wanted to clarify first. Thanks!
I’m not sure if it was a glitch or I need more coffee before posting…thanks for catching that! I edited it so hopefully it sticks this time. 🙂
Your doing good! We’re all human and you come back with all the corrections! Thank you! Sometimes, the coffee doesn’t work ?!
Aw thank you!
And yes, sometimes that coffee seems to missing it’s batteries haha!
Where do I add in the milk and rice vinegar?
Thanks for catching that! I edited it to show correctly.
Looks delicious and so easy to make! !
Steps 6,7,8 are confusing. Do we add the rice flour to the canola oil? The recipe calls for rice vinegar but the instructions don’t mention it.
So sorry it was confusing. I’ve edited it to read a little bit easier now.
You’ll want to add the rice flour to the egg whites you just hand mixed. The rice vinegar is used in step 4.
It looks so good! I really love the flavor combination!
I love shrimp, and this looks delicious!
I love all things shrimp, but I have never tried this recipe! I know what is going on the menu this weekend.
I tried making fried shrimp ahead of time once and it was a big fail! Thanks for pointing out that tip and making it clear not to make everything ahead of time! This only takes a short time to make anyway, so it looks great!