Best Crispy Shrimp Tempura

Our best shrimp tempura recipe delivers juicy, perfectly cooked shrimp encased in a light and crispy batter.
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4 servings
Wait Time
20 Mins
Active Time
20 Mins

You'll find shrimp tempura in almost any Japanese restaurant, but they don't always bite or taste the same across the board. Not a lot stay true to the traditional Japanese dish—light, crispy shell around juicy large shrimp—because people commonly mistake it for run-of-the-mill battered and fried seafood.

This easy, home cook-friendly recipe ensures crispy tempura with a foolproof batter. You can use any kind of shrimp for this recipe, regardless of type (white, pink, wild) or size (small, jumbo).


  • 1 dozen large shrimp
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

Tempura Batter

  • 1 cup soda water, cold
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt

Prepare shrimp: Peel shrimp, starting by twisting off the heads. Remove the shell from the inside out, opening its legs while keeping the tail intact. To devein, insert a toothpick about halfway through the back of the shrimp. Slowly pull the toothpick upwards to remove the black, thread-like vein.


Straighten shrimp: Using a small sharp knife, make a few shallow slits along the underside of the shrimp. This helps straighten the shrimp, preventing it from curling while frying.


Dredge shrimp: Combine baking soda, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Toss shrimp in the mixture until well coated. Let sit in the fridge for 20 minutes.


Prepare for frying: While the shrimp rests, heat oil in a wok or heavy-bottomed pot to 375°–390°F.


Make batter: In a large bowl, whisk together cold soda water, flour, baking powder, and salt until there are no dry lumps. Do not overmix!


Fry shrimp: Working in batches, dip cold shrimp into the batter then carefully lower into the hot oil. While shrimp is frying, dip a fork into the batter and drizzle across the shrimp to create a lacy crust. Cook tempura until light golden brown on all sides, about 3–5 minutes. Transfer tempura to a heatproof plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil. Serve immediately with dipping sauce of choice.

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