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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

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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)

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Read More From Delishably


  • 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

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