Honey Walnut Shrimp is my family’s FAVORITE! I love this recipe because it has a lighter batter that really lets the shrimp shine. Paired with the sweet sauce and homemade candied walnuts, this one is going to be a winner!
Shrimp will need to be raw, peeled, and deveined. It’s OK to use frozen, as long as it is completely defrosted before cooking!
The cornstarch batter is the KEY ingredient to my version of this dish – when testing the recipe, I found that cornstarch made the shrimp lighter and crispier than some versions I’ve had at restaurants. This helped balance out the richness of the mayo-based sauce.
I get asked all the time if you can sub black pepper for white pepper – and my answer is, it depends BUT you need to watch the ratio. White pepper has a milder flavor profile than black pepper, so it’s a 1-1 substitute. I would start with less black pepper and add as you go. (But really, you should have white pepper in your pantry! It’s a staple in mine!)
I like to make my own walnuts, so I included the instructions to do so. If you have the time or energy, I highly recommend making them at home because you can control for how sweet they are (I find that some store bought versions are too sweet for my taste) and I think they just taste better fresh! But if you prefer to purchase them, that’s totally fine – just skip step #3 in the recipe.
I used Japanese mayo (Kewpie brand) in this recipe because that is my favorite mayo and the only mayo I keep at home. However, you can use any mayo you have on hand!
If you don’t have lemon juice on hand, you can sub with rice vinegar!
My favorite neutral oil is avocado oil, but you can also use canola or vegetable oil! I don’t use olive oil when cooking Chinese food for two reasons: 1. It has a low burning point and 2. I find that the flavor profile does not usually go with the dish.
Do not let your frying oil drop below 300-325F when frying! I highly recommend you use a thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature. If you see it dropping below 300-325F, fry your shrimp in batches. Frying at a low temperature will result in too much moisture (AKA SOGGY!)
Honey Walnut Shrimp
- 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1 cup whole walnuts
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp condensed milk
- 1 tbsp lemon juice sub rice vinegar
- salt to taste
Neutral oil for frying
- Peel and de-vein shrimp, then make a small cut down the back of the shrimp to butterfly them. This is going to increase their surface area when frying.
- In a small bowl, marinate shrimp with salt, white pepper, baking soda, cornstarch and neutral oil (I prefer avocado oil).
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter then add brown sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add water and bring to a simmer, then stir in your walnuts and cook for 5-6 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Immediately transfer the candied walnuts to a plate to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, season 1/2 cup of cornstarch with salt and white pepper, then lightly coat your marinated shrimp.
- Heat oil to 325F and fry your shrimp in batches for 2-3 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine mayo, honey, condensed milk, lemon juice, and salt to taste. Immediately stir in your fried shrimp and walnuts and enjoy!