Shrimp Tempura is the perfect Japanese appetizer made with a light batter and fried super crisp in just 15 minutes.
Easy quick Asian appetizers are a fun addition to your favorite takeout copycat meals including Crab Rangoon and Panda Express Cream Cheese Rangoon. Don’t forget to dip them in Sweet and Sour Sauce!
Shrimp Tempura is one of the Japanese recipes that can seem really intimidating because it needs to be so light and crispy to be enjoyed. The idea of frying food in generally can be scary, but this recipe uses a cold batter that isn’t heavy and is really easy to make.
YES, this tempura recipe is so easy it won’t scare you away. You’ll use regular flour in addition to corn starch to make the tempura batter. Some people add ice water to the mixture, but here we use club soda to create a lighter texture.
Looking for a good dipping sauce for your tempura? Find an authentic tempura sauce recipe in the FAQ below, or enjoy this recipe with Spicy Mayo, Honey Mustard, or any of your favorite Asian sauces. Enjoy Shrimp Tempura as an appetizer, or serve it over Steamed Rice for a delicious dinner.
How to Make Shrimp Tempura
The process for making this recipe is easy, but involves a very specific technique to achieve that perfect crispy texture. It is extremely important to note that the shrimp gets a dry-batter coating before getting a cold wet-batter coating.
- Heat Oil: Get the oil heated up first so it’s ready when the shrimp is battered. You’re going to deep fry the shrimp so use at least 3 inches of oil in your pot.
- Dry Batter: Combine all the dry batter ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until the batter is fully blended. Do not mix the batter a lot, just until the dry ingredients are combined.
- Wet Batter: After the dry batter is complete, mix the club soda into the dry batter to make it a wet batter. Then dredge the dry-battered shrimp through the wet batter. Also, make sure the club soda is VERY cold (or even put the mixture over a bowl of ice). This is key.
- Fry: Then fry the shrimp until crispy. Do NOT remove the shrimp to a plate with paper towels. The paper towels will create steam which will lose the crispy texture you’ve worked so hard for.
More Asian Shrimp Recipes
Frequently Asked Questions
Combine 1 cup dashi soup stock, ¼ cup mirin, and ¼ cup soy sauce in a saucepan. Bring the ingredients to a boil then allow to cool.
Start with raw, peeled and deveined shrimp. Because shrimp cooks so quickly, they will be pink throughout by the time your tempura batter is golden and crispy. If you begin with cooked shrimp, the result will be rubbery inside.
Make sure the oil temperature is right even if you have to use a thermometer. You’re looking for 375 degrees for just 2-3 minutes
Use an easy mixture of regular flour, corn starch and baking powder mixed with club soda, salt and pepper. Not a single ingredient that is difficult to find.
Well, in culinary use, baking soda is another name for sodium bicarbonate which is one of the ingredients used in baking powder. To get more scientific, baking powder contains an additional acidic ingredient to make more bubbles and is used in recipes that don’t contain an acidic ingredient which helps produce more leavening bubbles. Both are used as leavening agents due to the little bubbles of carbon dioxide produced from the baking soda.
Additionally, it’s different from yeast which is a living organism that yields a distinct flavor and smell versus the chemical-based baking soda.
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Key Ingredients for making Shrimp Tempura
- Shrimp: Shrimp can be found in any grocery store. You can get the frozen kind in the bag, or the fresh one’s on ice at the fish market. Shrimp comes in various sizes. It’s recommended to get the largest shrimp you can just for fun. Sustainably farmed fish is fine, but wild caught tastes better. Bonus points if you can get them from your local farmer’s market fish seller.
- Baking Powder: This is what helps give your fried batter the light and crispy breaded consistency on the shrimp. Although baking powder is easy to source from your local grocery store, it is important to note that baking powder is NOT baking soda; even though your baking powder does contain baking soda.
- Corn Starch: Used as a thickener, corn starch can easily be found in the baking section of any grocery store, along with baking powder. They’re usually all stacked next to each other.
- White Pepper: This special ingredient is more mild in flavor than its black pepper relative. It also boasts a more earthy flavor as compared to the more spicy flavor of black pepper. If you have whole white pepper corns, use a spice grinder to get closer to the powdered grind needed in this recipe, or just buy pre-ground white pepper.
- Club Soda: Club soda is water carbonated artificially and contains added minerals for taste. You can find the budget friendly version in any grocery store. You’ll want it to be extra cold when making the wet batter. It helps give a boost to the workings of the baking powder in the batter. You can substitute with plain seltzer water (artificially carbonated and contains no added minerals) or the naturally bubbly sparkling mineral water.
Variations on Shrimp Tempura
- Coconut Shrimp: Yummy coconut flavored batter served with Easy Light Coconut Rice makes for a yummy dinner!
- Dynamite Shrimp: Coat the fried shrimp in a sweet and spicy sriracha mayo sauce and serve with Chow Mein Noodles for an easy meal with amazing flavors.
- Honey Walnut Shrimp: Turn them into this sweet and amazing copycat flavor from your favorite Chinese fast food restaurant!
How to Make Vegetable Tempura
Since vegetables won’t cook as quickly as shrimp, the time you spend frying vegetables once covered in batter is only to cook the batter, not the vegetables. Depending on the vegetable, you will need to cook it before frying.
- Broccoli Florets: Steam for 2 minutes.
- Carrot Slices: Steam for 3-4 minutes.
- Sweet Potato slices: boil until fork tender but not falling apart.
- Onions: Can be used raw, or for 20 seconds.
- Acorn Squash: Steam until fork tender.
- Mushrooms: Can be fried raw.
- Zucchini: Steam for 2 minutes.
Once you’ve cooked and cooled your vegetables, dredge them in the dry tempura mixture. Add in the club soda, dip the vegetables in the batter and let excess batter drip away before frying until golden brown.
How to Serve Shrimp Tempura
- Serve as a snack with a side of Jasmine rice topped with fresh cut green onion.
- You can add them to tacos for a yummy and crispy fusion fusion taco flavored with teriyaki sauce.
- Make fun feast of Asian snacks and serve them alongside homemade Dragon Rolls, Potstickers, or Spring Rolls!
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How to Store Shrimp Tempura
- Serve: Do not leave Tempura Shrimp at room temperature longer than 2 hours.
- Store: Sealed in an airtight container, Shrimp Tempura will last in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
- Freeze: Freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet, then transfer to a plastic freezer bag up to 2 months. Reheat in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups club soda , cold
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- vegetable oil , for frying
- 1 pound shrimp , deveined and shells removed (21-25 count)
- Set a pot of oil (3 inches deep) on medium high until it reaches 375 degrees.
- Whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, kosher salt, and white pepper in a bowl together.
- Dredge the shrimp lightly in the mixture and set aside.
- Add in the club soda and whisk, then dip the shrimp in the batter before carefully frying in the oil for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.
Photos used in a previous version of this post.
My family loves deep fried shrimp but through years of trial and error I never could nail a recipe, until now. This is by far the BEST tempura recipe I have made!! It Is full proof, and as you said, make Darn sure the wet ingredient is cold, I also used a bowl of ice under the bowl of the wet ingredients. This is better then any restaurant shrimp and now all my friends are using this recipe! Thank you!
Hello, I cannot find the Dashi Soup Stock anywhere. What can I substitute it with?
Can you substitute sprite for club soda or is it too sweet?
Its likely that it would be too sweet.
can I substitute Rice flour for the flour in your recipe? I want to make tempura with your recipe but am curious if rice flour is a similar result? Thanks 🙂
It may change the crispness a bit but experimentation is always fun.
so, you dredge the shrimp in the dry mixture and set aside. then you pour in the club soda into the remaining dry mixture then dip the shrimp again? I’m a bit confused.
Hello Millie, some people add ice water to the mixture but I use club soda to create a lighter texture. The soda provides a degree of extra leavening from its bubbles, making the batter rise better and providing a lighter texture. Hope this clears that up for you. Thank you!
Looks amazing! Gonna try this today, vegs ….hoping to make a teriyake dipping sauce w it.. im looking for a brown gravy thats used for chicken n broccoli, theres many ice tried but, come short of flavor….love gravies!
I would give a 10 stars if I could! There were leftovers as we all got full! I also did tempura green beans, just going to the garden and picking them. Lol. I didn’t have the club soda, so I used a Flat Tire ale These are the most amazing shrimp, better than a restaurant, I have ever had. Even after 2 hrs, they’re still crispy and delicious! Thank you 1000 times thank you for posting this recipe!
Thank you Karen!
Hi Sabrina! What if I don’t have seltzer water? Would beer work? Or i have diet coke. Lol.
Beer’s what I’m planning to use!
I think a really ‘fizzy’, canned beer will work best.
I can’t wait to try it!!!
I’ll report my findings. 😉
If you have picky eaters who won’t want the dipping sauce, is this batter seasoned enough, or should I add a bit of salt?
Thanks for the recipe! Can’t wait to try it!
It should be able to stand alone but adding the salt isn’t a bad idea either.
This recipe is outstanding! Made with gluten free flour and cold seltzer water, also; sifted dry ingredients before adding the seltzer water. Made one and a half times the batter which was perfect for 2 lbs of shrimp and one and a half sliced yellow squash. Family could not stop complimenting the dinner, said it was “restaurant quality” and I completely agree. Thank You Sabrina for posting! I highly recommend your recipe and will be making again. Side note: made Creamy Honey Dipping Sauce since I did not have ingredients for typical tempura dipping sauce. It was a wonderful choice, will use as my new “go to” dressing.
Thanks for the feedback, Lori.
Everything was wonderful. Thank you so much. I love your recipes and everyone else will too. God Bless.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Susan. You’re too kind.
So easy to make, so crispy and golden and very delicious. My husband and l were impressed. I will be making this again and including it in my keepers recipe book.
Now I am dedicating the rest of my night to investigating your website
Many thanks from Kelly inCanada.
I’m so honored to be considered a “keeper recipe”. Thank you so much for coming back to let me know.
Batter turned out perfect, used some left-over honey dip from your Chinese Honey Chicken recipe which was fantastic with the shrimp.
Also fried some Tilapia in the same batter and that turned out awesome as well, with Garlic Aioli for dipping.
So overall, easily the best tempura batter I’ve tried and very versatile for different types of meat.
Thanks for coming back to let me know, Mike. I appreciate the 5 star rating.
This is the BEST Tempura Shrimp ever! I’ve been trying for more years than I care to share to find a recipe like the one my Aunt Jane used to make. Thank you – this is it!! It is crisp and light, and the tips you provided were very helpful. I prepared a Japanese Tare sauce for dipping and it was amazing.
Thanks for the 5 stars, Theresa.
Excellent, nice and crispy, great flavor, i made a dipping sauce and used pineapple, terrific,.
I had been craving shrimp tempura for days now and found this recipe. This recipe is great! The shrimp tempura came out deliciously crispy! It was easy so make, although I didn’t have club soda so I used ice cold water and still came out great! Thank you! Hit the spot!
Perfect! So glad you enjoyed it, Mary Ann.
can I use peanut oil for frying the shimp?
Do the large shrimp cook that quickly?
Can this batter be used on chicken?
Yes though you may need to make a few adjustments. I would suggest cutting your chicken into thin strips. You may need to increase the cook time to 4-5 minutes as well. Hope this helps!
What a great batter, so light and crispy. This is a little thicker than I think of for tempura batter, but it was great nonetheless . I tried it on chicken strips and I’d definitely use it for fish tacos where this would be perfect. I also did 1/2 inch coins of a small tempura without cooking first and it was just right.
I made this recipe came out perfect!!! Thank you.
You’re welcome, Keisha.
These shrimp tempura turned out awesome! Great recipe… I didn’t have club soda, so I used really cold beer. Delicious, crispy, and light! I had extra batter, so I made sweet potatoes, carrots, and green beans as well. Perfect! (They also reheat well in the airfryer.)
Sounds amazing! Thanks for the 5 stars.
I made this and it was good. I also did 1″ Swai squares and pre-steamed veggies, also good! All cooked about the same amount of time.
So glad you enjoyed it, Patti!
Easy and the shrimp came out light and airy! Thank you for another terrific and EASY recipe!
You’re welcome! Thanks for the 5 star rating.
Can you use this recipe for fish?
I haven’t tried it but I don’t see why not. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out.
My kiddos love shrimp, I need to give these a try! They look delish!
I hope you enjoy it!
These look so perfectly crisp and that batter is so simple to prepare.
Oh I love tempura so much! I can’t wait to try the shrimp recipe!
I hope you enjoy it!
They are so perfectly battered! Amazing.
To make it ketogenic, can I use almond or paleo flour instead of white flour?
I’m not familiar with adjustments for that specific diet. Sorry.
Im curious did you try a keto version?
Yum! This looks so crispy and delicious!
This is the best way to enjoy fried shrimp.
It’s so good!