Honey Walnut Shrimp
This Honey Walnut Shrimp is easy to make, and so much better than takeout! Shrimp are coated in a puffy egg white cornstarch batter and fried until golden, then tossed in a creamy sweet sauce and caramelized honey walnuts.
Honey Walnut Shrimp is the first Chinese dish I fell in love with, and my favorite to this day.
When my family and I went out to the Chinese restaurant the next town over, we would ALWAYS order it.
Being 9 years old, my brothers and I always wanted to order the “Pu Pu Platter” purely for name’s sake (you can imagine the snickering), but it was really the shrimp and the peking duck that we wanted to eat at all the Chinese restaurants. So good!
For this dish, shrimp are coated in a whipped egg white and cornstarch batter and quickly deep fried until puffed and crispy.
Then the crispy shrimp are tossed in a sweet, creamy honey sauce and served with crunchy candied walnuts.
Chinese food is one of the best cuisines out there, with some amazing dishes like Orange Beef and Kung Pao Chicken, but this recipe is one of the most popular dishes for good reason. Let’s go through the step-by-step.
Step by Step Overview:
To get started, combine honey, sugar, water, and salt in a large skillet:
Add the walnuts and bring to a boil:
Keep cooking over medium heat, then once the sugar is an amber color, remove the walnut halves with a slotted spoon to a piece of parchment paper:
Next, make the sauce for the shrimp by combining mayonnaise, sweetened condensed milk, honey, and lemon juice in a small bowl:
If you have 10 minutes to spare, I recommend using homemade mayonnaise for the best flavor, or, using a Japanese mayo like Kewpie from the Asian market, which has fantastic flavor.
Then, make the batter for the shrimp!
Whip egg whites and cornstarch in a medium bowl until it’s thick and forms soft peaks:
Toss peeled and deveined shrimp into the batter, to coat:
Deep fry the shrimp in hot oil set to 375 degrees F for 2-3 minutes until puffy and crisp, with a nice golden brown color:
What’s the Best Oil to Use?
As I discuss in my Homemade French Fries post, my absolute favorite fat for deep frying is tallow. Tallow is beef fat, and it’s naturally a very stable fat that can tolerate high heat frying with the least amount of oxidation.
It also has the best flavor and will keep the breading crispier for longer. The typical vegetable oil that is used for frying, like soybean oil, canola oil, or peanut oil, will make the shrimp get soggy very quickly, which ruins the crispy exterior you want for the outside.
Do not use olive oil or avocado oil. These are not suitable for frying.
Deep fry the walnuts for 1 minute, then add them to the crispy fried shrimp, and the sweet creamy sauce, tossing them in a large mixing bowl.
It’s now ready to eat with some steamed white or brown rice, or fried rice. Sometimes I like to garnish with green onions as well.
My entire family loves this, and we hope you enjoy it too!
Tips and FAQ
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Just know it will be soggy later because the coated shrimp have sauce on them.
If you want crispy honey walnut shrimp, it must be eaten right away. To reheat leftovers, warm at 50% power in the microwave in 30 second intervals.
Of all the ground pork recipes out there, this recipe is really well suited for its flavor, and is best here. But you can also try ground turkey or ground chicken as a good alternative. I don’t recommend ground meat in the red meat family, like beef or lamb, as the flavor doesn’t quite work.
Honey Walnut Shrimp
For the honey walnuts:
- 1 cup water
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup walnuts
For the sauce:
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
For the shrimp:
- 1 pound 26/30 shrimp shelled and deveined
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- steamed rice or fried rice for serving
- Combine the water, sugar, honey, and walnuts in a heavy bottomed skillet. There’s no need to stir it, it will spread on its own as it heats up. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat*, and watch very carefully as the mixture first dissolves the sugar, and then starts to caramelize to an amber color. This will go from perfect to burned very quickly, so keep an eye on it, and pull it off the heat when the sugar is amber colored.
- Remove the walnuts with a slotted spoon to a sheet of parchment paper. Set aside.
- Whisk to combine the mayonnaise, sweetened condensed milk, honey, and lemon juice. Set aside.
- Preheat a deep fryer to 375 degrees F.
- First, deep fry the walnuts for 1 minute, until golden brown. Then remove to a plate.
- Now, deep fry the shrimp. Using a handheld mixer, whip together the egg whites and cornstarch until it thickens and forms soft peaks. Dip the shrimp into the batter, then deep fry in two batches for 2-3 minutes each time, until golden brown.
- Drain on a paper towel, then toss in the sauce. Add the honey walnuts to the mix, and serve the dish with steamed rice. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.