Honey Walnut Shrimp

5 from 29 votes
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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!

Watch the Honey Walnut Shrimp Recipe Video Below!

Honey Walnut Shrimp plated on a plate

Ingredients for Honey Walnut Shrimp

These Honey Walnut Shrimp are a Chinese banquet classic and so easy to make at home!! Here is what you’ll need for the recipe:

Shrimp

  • 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined – Shrimp will need to be raw, peeled, and deveined. It’s OK to use frozen, as long as it is completely defrosted before cooking! I’m using U-12 or U-10.
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper – 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!)
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch – 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.
  • 1 tbsp neutral oil

Shrimp Coating

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

Candied Walnuts

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.

  • 1 cup whole walnuts
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup water

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayo – 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!
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice – If you don’t have lemon juice on hand, you can sub with rice vinegar!
  • salt to taste

Neutral oil for frying

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.

Raw ingredients for Honey Walnut Shrimp

Honey Walnut Shrimp: Recipe Instructions

Butterfly and Prepare the shrimp

The first step in this recipe is to de-vein and butterfly the shrimp. I’m using the biggest shrimp I can find (U-12 or U-10) for this recipe! After de-veining the shrimp, take a knife and make a small cut along the back of the shrimp in order to flatten it out and create more surface area for the dredge. Once fried, the shrimp will curl up and create a wider, more appealing shape that has more surface area to stick to the sauce.

Once the shrimp are butterflied, marinate the shrimp in a bowl with salt, white pepper, baking soda, cornstarch and neutral oil for about 15 mintues.

In a separate bowl, add 1/2 cup of cornstarch and season with salt and white pepper. Lightly coat the marinated shrimp in the dredge, and shake off any excess cornstarch.

Honey Walnut Shrimp coated in batter

Make the candied walnuts

To make the candied walnuts, melt butter over medium heat then add brown sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add water and bring the mixture to a simmer, then stir in your raw walnuts and cook for 5-6 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Immediately transfer the walnuts on a plate to cool.

Candied walnuts in a pan

Fry the shrimp

In a large pan or wok, heat neutral oil to 325F and fry your shrimp for 2-3 minutes or until bright red and cooked through. Immediately remove and place on a wire rack to drain.

The key tip here is to fry your shrimp in batches so the oil does not drop too drastically in temperature. Use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the oil to ensure it does not drop below 300F.

shrimp frying in oil

Create the sauce and mix together

Once the shrimp and walnuts are done, it’s time to make the sauce! In a bowl large enough to hold the shrimp and walnuts, mix together Kewpie mayo, honey, condensed milk, lemon juice and salt to taste. Once combined, fold in your shrimp and candied walnuts and your Honey Walnut Shrimp is done!

Honey walnut shrimp close up

Enjoy the Honey Walnut Shrimp!

I love Honey Walnut Shrimp so much because it reminds me of big family gatherings at our local Chinese restaurant, complete with the lazy Susan and circular tables with tons of dishes that would be shared amongst everyone! Honey Walnut Shrimp was always one of the most popular dishes at the table so I hope you enjoy making this dish at home!

Honey Walnut Shrimp close up on a plate

Pro Tip – Watch Your Oil Temperature

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!)

Cooking With a Wok (Alternatives)

By now, you know that I LOVE cooking with my carbon steel wok! It is my #1 most recommended kitchen tool, as I believe it is perfect for high-heat cooking and results in restaurant quality Chinese food!

If it is your first time cooking with a wok, make sure to read my “How To Season a Wok” post. There is a video included that shows exactly how to season your brand new wok and how to maintain it so it lasts for years.

If you cannot or do not want to use a wok, you can use a large pan, cast iron, or even a dutch oven.

My KEY TIP would be to avoid crowding your pan – crowding can lead to your XX not cooking thoroughly and becoming mushy. If you think your dish will be crowded, use a larger pan, cast iron, or dutch oven, OR cook in batches.

If you liked this Honey Walnut Shrimp recipe, check out some of the most popular Chinese Take-Out recipes on the blog! Please consider giving a rating and commenting down below what you thought of the recipe! It really helps out the blog!

If you tried this Honey Walnut Shrimp or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the comments below!

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5 from 29 votes

Honey Walnut Shrimp

Servings: 4
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Honey walnut shrimp close up
Honey Walnut Shrimp is a Chinese banquet meal classic that's so easy to make at home! Flash fried shrimp are tossed in a delicious sweet sauce with candied walnuts!

Ingredients 

Shrimp

Shrimp Coating

Candied Walnuts

  • 1 cup whole walnuts
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup water

Sauce

  • 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

    Instructions 

    • 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!

    Nutrition

    Calories: 552kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 24gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 14gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 211mgSodium: 877mgPotassium: 360mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 29gVitamin A: 207IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 109mgIron: 1mg

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

    Additional Info

    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: Chinese
    Tried this recipe?Mention @cj.eats_ or tag #cjeatsrecipes!

    About CJ

    I’m a third generation Chinese-American home cook who has always loved cooking & eating! Welcome to my food blog, where you can find trusted, tested, easy & approachable recipes for the everyday home cook that taste delicious! I am so glad you're here!

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    Recipe Rating




    17 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      My fiancé loves the one from Panda Express and he loves this one way better. It says it’s the best dish ever.
      @fatima.becerra.925

    2. 5 stars
      This dish is my personal favorite. I love all shrimp dishes! You must make the walnuts if you’re doing this recipe. It adds the perfect texture and flavor! So don’t skip out on the walnuts.

      IG: lifewith_jaly