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The Secret to the Best Shrimp Tempura

Stephanie Launiu is a Native Hawaiian lifestyle and cultural writer. She has a degree in Hawaiian Pacific Studies. She lives in Hilo.

 The Best Shrimp Tempura

The Best Shrimp Tempura

Rate how much you love shrimp tempura!

The Secret to Delicious Shrimp Tempura

Have you ever been to a restaurant serving Japanese cuisine and wondered how they made such scrumptious shrimp tempura? Or how their batter was so light and crispy around the eggplant and zucchini they serve on the side?

Now you can cook shrimp tempura like a Japanese chef.

Although the shrimp is always the star on the plate, itʻs not the shrimp that makes the tempura so mouthwatering. The secret ingredient to the best tempura batter is a Japanese breadcrumb called panko. Here in Hawaiʻi I can buy panko at any grocery store. If you live somewhere where Asian food is not easily found, check out the Asian food aisle, look for Asian markets or search for an online source. Panko isnʻt expensive; you just have to find it.

Panko is not the brand name; it is simply a type of breadcrumb. There are many manufacturers who make panko, including Progresso. Unlike regular breadcrumbs, panko is made from bread without crusts. The crustless bread is coarsely ground into flakes that end up large and airy. Foods deep-fried in panko end up with a light, crunchy coating, and they stay crispier longer because they donʻt absorb grease as easily.

For the best results, buy panko breadcrumbs that are as finely ground as you can find. There are different types of crumbs from fine to coarse.

Panko can also be used as a binding agent in dishes like veggie burgers or crab cakes.

Using this recipe, your tempura batter will be light and crunchy. It can be used to deep fry fish, onions, sweet potato, eggplant, zucchini, thinly sliced carrots, mushrooms, snap beans, and tons of other healthy tidbits.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

20 min

20 min

40 min

2 servings (5 shrimps per serving)


  • 10 jumbo shrimp or prawns (the bigger, the better!)
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 eggs (yolks only)


  1. Prepare the shrimp. Remove shells. Make a shallow slit down the back to devein the shrimp. If you canʻt locate the vein, itʻs not a big deal.
  2. Turn the shrimp over and make a few tiny slits across the belly. Bend the shrimp so that it is as straight and long as possible. Lay aside on paper towels to absorb any moisture.
  3. Heat vegetable or peanut oil to 170 degrees C. If you donʻt use a thermometer, an easy way to check temperature is to use chopsticks. When there are small bubbles around the chopstick, the oil is ready.
  4. Separate out the egg whites, and beat egg yolks. Youʻre not going to need the egg whites. Add 2 ice cubes into the bowl to keep the mixture cold. Set bowl aside.
  5. In a separate bowl place 1 cup white flour.
  6. In a separate bowl, add panko breadcrumbs.
  7. So now you have the shrimp laid out as long as possible, the egg yolk mixture, white flour in a bowl, and another bowl of panko. Youʻre ready to roll!
  8. When the oil is hot, you are ready to deep-fry the shrimp.
  9. Do these steps with each individual shrimp: Roll in flour, then dip in scrambled egg, then coat with panko breadcrumbs and place carefully in fryer or a deep frying pan. Remember, the flour is first, NOT the scrambled egg mixture.
  10. Fry about 2 minutes on each side or until the batter is golden brown. Place the fried shrimp onto a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any oil. As soon as theyʻre cool, theyʻre ready to eat!

This video demonstrates how to make shrimp tempura with panko. It gives suggestions for spices you might want to mix in with the flour and the egg mixture, and gives a visual on how to slit the shrimp across the front to stretch it out and make it longer. Whatever you want to add to make this recipe better for your family is up to you. Happy eating!!

Video: How to Make Shrimp Tempura With Panko

This is the easiest and best brand of frozen shrimp tempura I've found. 20 minutes in the oven and you've got shrimp just like in a Japanese restaurant. Excellent for 2 or 3 people.

This is the easiest and best brand of frozen shrimp tempura I've found. 20 minutes in the oven and you've got shrimp just like in a Japanese restaurant. Excellent for 2 or 3 people.

Excellent Costco Alternative

I never thought I'd say this (or write it), but I recently found a frozen shrimp tempura brand at Costco that is excellent.

For me, cooking up a batch of shrimp tempura still makes sense for a group. But when there's only two of us eating, the frozen shrimp is already cooked and pops right into the oven on a cookie sheet. In each box of 20 frozen pre-breaded shrimp, there are four packages of five shrimps each so you don't have to cook all 20 at one time. There are even small packets of tempura dipping sauce included in the box.

After only 20 minutes, you've got shrimp tempura just as good as in a Japanese restaurant.

In fact, I served it up to someone who said that they wonder whether the shrimp tempura they had in a restaurant was actually this brand from Costco. It was that good!

© 2014 Stephanie Launiu

Read More From Delishably


Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on August 03, 2015:

Thanks for letting me know Cris Sp! I always make sure that panko is in my pantry, and you'll be a hit at the potluck. Happy cooking!

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on July 30, 2015:

Came back to let you know that panko works . Found it from the Asian Store and it's now a regular in my pantry.

I'm making shrimp tempura again for next week's potluck!


KonaGirl from New York on November 16, 2014:

Mahalo to you Stephanie. It is always a good thing to meet someone from home!

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on November 16, 2014:

Mahalo Kailua-KonaGirl! It is always comforting to have a bit of local food wherever you may live. Tempura is one of my favorites, and so quick to make. Stay in touch. A hui hou, Stephanie

KonaGirl from New York on November 16, 2014:

Yum! I love tempura! When we were kids we use to go to a Japanese restaurant after school and buy tempura to eat on our walk home. LOL. When I make it now, I substitute a bit of corn starch for the flour in my batter for an even crispier coating. I love Panko and use it for just about everything that calls for breadcrumbs. Great Hub!


Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on September 30, 2014:

Mahalo Thelma! Do let me know how it turns out for you. Aloha, Stephanie

Thelma Alberts from Germany on August 27, 2014:

Yummy! I have not made tempura myself. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I´ll try this as soon as possible. Well done.

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on June 03, 2014:

@CrisSp: Yes, you should be able to find panko in Canada. It comes in different brands. Just remember - flour, egg, panko. Come back & let me know how your batch turned out. I just made some last week along with sliced eggplant, and both were delicious!

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on June 02, 2014:

I landed in your hub by accident but it's a good turn over for an accident because I am looking for a recipe on tempura and this is just perfect. Just not sure if we have this "panko" in Canada. I'll surely check the Asian markets here and hopefully lucky enough to find this secret ingredient.

Also, I don't care if it is called tempura or not, it is all breaded shrimp to me- crunchy, crispy, fresh! Lol!

Thank you for sharing. Now drooling! :)

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on May 15, 2014:

@Mitsuo: I am also on Oʻahu. We should get together and scope out the best tempura places, lol. I havenʻt been there in a while, but I used to like the shrimp tempura at Asahi Grill on Ward Ave. in Kakaʻako. It was always very light, not oily, and their shrimp were huge.

Mitsuo on May 14, 2014:

We have good tempura places in Hawaii. Just gotta know where. Hehe I'm on Oahu. Had a place in Moiliili across now Longs but before when it was Star market I used to go to the restaurant for the Tempura because it was so good. But one day I went there and the Tempura was bad like very chewy and stale so I asked the waitress and she was so surprised. She asked me you really can tell the difference so I asked her what do you mean? She said they ran out of batter so she ran to Star market and bought the cheapest one. She said she would never do that again. Hehe if that was my first visiti then I wouldn't mention anything about the tempura, just I would never order it again. Think restaurant is now called Hide's if its still there. Owner came from Japan

I worked at restaurant Suntory for over a decade in Waikiki and all chefs come from Japan except most Teppan chefs. Great food there but its not cheap. Hehe

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on May 13, 2014:

Thank you @Mitsuo. Someone brought that to my attention a couple of months ago in an earlier comment. Here in Hawaiʻi we call it tempura. Guess Iʻll have to go to Japan to taste the "real stuff". Aloha.

Mitsuo on May 13, 2014:

TEMPURA does not use Panko. EBI FRY uses Panko and these are 2 entirely different dishes. Many people are ignorant to traditional Japanese cosine.

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on March 14, 2014:

Definitely give it a try. My tempura used to come out soft or too oily until I started using Panko. Be sure to dip the shrimp in flour before the egg mixture. Let me know how it goes. Aloha, Stephanie

JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on March 14, 2014:

I've been trying my luck on making tempura myself but i still fail at it. I hope I can do better with your recipe.

Lori Phillips from Southern California USA on February 17, 2014:

Thanks so much. I'll do the same!

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on February 17, 2014:

Yes, I do mean "onolicious"! Always great meeting someone from the islands! I just started following you, and am looking forward to reading your hubs. Aloha, Stephanie

Lori Phillips from Southern California USA on February 17, 2014:

You mean, " ono-licious!" LOL. I'm actually from Hawaii myself!

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on February 17, 2014:

Thanks Lori! Here in Hawaiʻi, I guess we call it all ʻtempuraʻ in this mixed-plate environment. I definitely am grateful for the lesson in proper Japanese terminology and cooking. Itʻs all so delicious! Aloha, Stephanie

Lori Phillips from Southern California USA on February 16, 2014:

This recipe looks delicious but just so you know, there is a difference between true tempura and bread crumb-coated fried shrimp in Japanese cuisine. One is called tempura and the latter falls under the category of "furai" (fried) or agemono (fried foods). Japanese chefs are able to create a light, lacy pattern on the butterflied shrimp with just a light drizzle of batter in the oil. Panko-coated shrimp is called "ebi furai."

Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on February 15, 2014:

Do try it and let me know how it turns out! Once you see how light and crispy the tempura is, youʻll be hooked. Aloha, Stephanie

Natasha from Hawaii on February 15, 2014:

Panko is amazing! I love cooking with it. I've actually never made tempura, though, because I've always figured I couldn't make it well. I have all the ingredients for your recipe at home - perhaps now is my time to try it!

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