Shrimp Tempura

Can’t get enough of perfectly crispy and crunchy tempura shrimp? You will want to try this tempura recipe. You can make crispy shrimp tempura at home with ingredients you have on hand! It will taste just as good as any Asian restaurant, and best of all, it will take minutes to prepare! Don’t hesitate in making perfectly crisp shrimp tempura at home, where you can enjoy as many of these as your hearts desire.

A basket and a plate of homemade shrimp tempura

You don’t have to go out to enjoy this Japanese dish, enjoy shrimp deep-fried in this crispy batter when you prepare this from scratch. It’s super easy to make these delicious Japanese restaurant appetizers in your own kitchen. And, not a single ingredient is difficult to find.

This is a basic and easy shrimp tempura recipe for tasty shrimp in a crunchy tempura batter.

How did Shrimp Tempura get started?

You might be curious about the origin of tempura shrimp, or tempura in general. Frying food in a batter in Japan can be traced back to the middle of the 16th century.

The idea of batter frying was brought to Japan by the Portuguese, which explains why tempura is not a Japanese word but is Latin based. It derives from the word tempora, as in quatuor tempora (the ember days) when Catholics give up eating meat.

Tempura became a favorite dish of the first shogun of the Tokugawa/Edo era, Tokugawa Ieyasu.

A basket of and a plate of shrimp tempura

Why this is the shrimp tempura recipe you should use

This recipe is simple, you do not need special ingredients like potato starch, or corn starch. Ordinary all-purpose flour works well in this recipe. You will make a quick and easy batter, and then deep fry your shrimp. Best of all you don’t need to boil your shrimp before cooking because the frying process will cook the shrimp.

What is Tempura Batter?

Tempura batter is made with flour that is often mixed with ice water. The ice water helps to create a very light and crispy texture. My copycat recipe uses club soda instead of ice water.

There are specialty flours available that are designed to give you super crispy tempura. However, regular flour will work provided you don’t overdo stirring the batter. Too much stirring will activate the gluten in the flour, and you will end up with a batter that isn’t as light as you want.

This easy to make copycat tempura batter recipe will inspire you to fry up shrimp, other kinds of seafood, and fresh vegetables.

Since this recipe is a wet batter, it is not suitable for an air fryer. The batter will drip off before it cooks. If you want to make crispy shrimp in an air fryer, I would batter the shrimp with an egg wash and panko breadcrumbs.

Some Tips for Making Shrimp Tempura:

  • The club soda will work better if it is VERY cold, you may want to place a few ice cubes in a glass and pour the club soda into the glass to make sure it’s ice cold.
  • Mix the batter ingredients just to the point that the dry ingredients are combined. Do not overmix.
  • For deep frying the shrimp, use at least 3 inches of oil in your pot.
  • How long to fry the shrimp? Make sure the oil is hot enough before you start and try not to crowd the shrimp together. Ideally, fry at 375 degrees for just 2-3 minutes until the tempura batter is golden brown.
  • Do NOT place the fried shrimp on paper towels. The paper towels will generate steam, and you will lose that crunchy texture you’ve strived to achieve.  Place the shrimp on a wire rack just like they do in a restaurant.

Make Shrimp Tempura Anytime!

This shrimp tempura recipe makes the best Japanese appetizer. It’s made with a light batter and it fries super crisp in no time. Note that it’s important not to fry the shrimp for too long.

Serve this as an appetizer with a dipping sauce or even soy sauce every time you have an Asian-themed dinner. Or pair your shrimp tempura with rice and some vegetables for a light meal.

A plate of crispy shrimp tempura

Don’t stop with just shrimp you can make vegetable tempura!

This tempura mix can be used to make vegetable tempura. You can use this tempura mix for:

  • a sliced avocado
  • a sliced sweet potato
  • onion rings
  • green beans
  • a sliced zucchini
  • slices of daikon radish
  • Shiitake mushrooms

What type of oil should you use?

Peanut oil, vegetable oil, and canola oil all work very well for deep frying. Peanut oil gives a wonderful taste, but peanut allergies are common.  Most restaurants use vegetable or canola oil, so either one of those are highly recommended.

A plate of crispy shrimp tempura

How to store leftover shrimp tempura

Place your room temperature leftover shrimp tempura into an airtight container, store for up to 3 days in your refrigerator.

Best way to reheat leftover shrimp tempura

Reheat your shrimp tempura in an airfryer at 350 degrees for 3 to 5 minutes for maximum crispiness. If you do no have an air fryer, reheat in a 350 degree oven on a baking sheet for 5 to 7 minutes. Be sure to lay out the shrimp into a single layer.

Love shrimp? Try these recipes

Shrimp Dipping Sauces

Be sure to check out more copycat sauce and seafood restaurant recipes.

A basket and a plate of homemade shrimp tempura

Shrimp Tempura

Make crispy shrimp tempura at home with this easy copycat recipe. Rival any Asian restaurant with easy ingredients to find at home! This tempura mix is super easy to make.
5 from 4 votes
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Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Shrimp tempura
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 650kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp deveined
  • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cornstarch
  • 2 cups club soda or super cold water
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds optional
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs optional (parsley, chives, thyme are suggested)
  • oil for frying

Instructions

  • Peel and devein shrimp.
  • Heat oil to 375 degrees f in a deep fryer or pour enough oil into a large pot to deep fry. You may want to check the oil temperature with a candy thermometer.
  • Mix together flour, cornstarch, and club soda in a bowl. Whisk the mixture until just blended, mix only until there are no lumps in the batter. If desired add some of the fresh herbs to the batter.
  • Dip shrimp one at a time into batter. There is no need to dip the tails. Shake off excess batter. Deep fry for about 2 to 3 minutes, the batter should crisp up, do not let the batter brown, the shrimp will overcook. Remove the cooked shrimp with a large slotted spoon.
  • Drain shrimp on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet. You can keep the shrimp in a warm oven (200 degrees) before serving if desired.
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds and herbs on top if desired.

Notes

  • Peanut oil is my preferred cooking oil, but regular vegetable oil will also work!
You could use this battered shrimp tempura in sushi, these would make a great tempura shrimp roll.

Equipment

Deep fryer
Whisk
Baking sheet

Nutrition

Calories: 650kcal | Carbohydrates: 89g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 429mg | Sodium: 1379mg | Potassium: 314mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 7.8mg | Calcium: 386mg | Iron: 8.6mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. baltisraul

    5 stars
    The addition of the herbs was something we had never used before and it should be a good flavor touch. Sea Bass is on sale this week so we will try on those fillets this weekend. We have even fried chicken in Tempura batter. The result was not a light looking crust as shrimp would be but a darker Southern Fried Chicken looking crust. I assume it is because you
    fry chicken longer. I guess what I’m saying is that Tempura is not just for shrimp At least not in our home. If frying chicken in Tempura, I have found you must drain the chicken on a wire rack longer than normal fried chicken, to get the oil removed properly.

    • Stephanie

      Wow, seabass sounds wonderful! I only have it on rare occasions. I have never made it at home. I should go down to the Asian market and grab some 😉 I’ll have to give your tempura and chicken idea a try! I bet it would make great chicken tenders!

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