Prawn Tempura Recipe: Experience The Crunchy Perfection Of This Japanese Classic

Try this prawns tempura recipe with simple ingredients, a tempura batter recipe and quick tips.

Published On Jun 21, 2024 | Updated On Jun 30, 2024


When you think of Japanese cuisine, sushi might be the first thing that comes to mind, but there's another dish that's equally delightful and a staple in Japanese restaurants worldwide – prawns tempura. If you cannot resist fried treats, batter-fried prawn tempura with a light, crispy coating is most likely be your weakness. A game night or a movie night with great company can become the most memorable with this deliciously fried prawn tempura, served with a dipping sauce.  

The Japanese tempura technique involves deep frying ingredients in a light batter made with flour, eggs and ice-cold water. The tempura batter lends a distinctive lightness and texture to the prawn tempura preparation and hence is the hero of the dish. Let’s take a closer look at this delicious treat, and explore some essential tips for making it at home to get authentic prawns tempura.


The ingredients for a tempura flour recipe are simple, but when it comes to achieving perfectly fried prawn tempura, the secret lies in the process. If you follow these tips, you will nail the prawns tempura recipe and be rewarded generously with the results!

  1. Keep things chill: The key in any tempura batter recipe is keeping the batter cold. Place your mixing bowl in another bowl filled with ice to maintain the chilled temperature. This will prevent your batter from absorbing too much oil while frying and give you a light, crunchy prawn tempura instead of a greasy, dense one.
  2. Watch the mix: A good tempura batter recipe needs you to mix it lightly. Leave it slightly lumpy as overmixing can activate the gluten in the flour, making the batter heavier and less crispy.
  3. Heating matters: The oil temperature while frying prawns tempura matters because if the oil is too hot, the batter will crisp up and burn before the prawns even cook. Whereas oil which is barely hot enough will lead to more oil absorption and greasy tempura shrimp. 170-180°C is the ideal temperature for fried prawn tempura.
  4. Fry in small batches: Frying too many prawns at once will lower the oil temperature, leading to soggy prawn tempura. Fry in small batches to maintain a consistent temperature.
  5. Choose and prep well: Begin your prawn tempura recipe with fresh, high-quality prawns that are firm to the touch and have a slightly saline ocean-like smell. Trust us, this will make all the difference to the mouthfeel and bite of your tempura shrimp! It is also important to devein each prawn carefully to ensure you don’t fall sick after relishing this delicacy.

Now that you know the tips and tricks, let’s get into the prawns tempura recipe. This recipe serves about 4 people as an appetizer or 2 people as a main dish.

  1. 12 large prawns, peeled and deveined
  2. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1 cup ice-cold water
  5. Oil for deep frying (vegetable or canola oil works well)
  6. Tentsuyu or tempura sauce (optional)

  1. Peel and devein the prawns, leaving the tails on for presentation. Make small cuts along the underside of the prawn to keep them straight while frying.
  2. Pat the prawns dry to remove any moisture.
  3. In a bowl, lightly beat the egg and add ice-cold water to it, mixing gently. 
  4. Add flour to the egg mixture. Stir lightly with chopsticks or a fork until combined. Remember that the batter should be slightly lumpy – this is okay!
  5. Place the batter bowl into a bigger ice-filled bowl, to ensure that the tempura batter does not warm up as you proceed.
  6. In a deep pot, heat the oil to 170-180°C. You can use a thermometer to check the temperature.
  7. Dip each prawn into the batter, allowing any excess to drip off.
  8. Carefully place the battered prawns into the hot oil, frying a few at a time to avoid overcrowding. Fry for about 2-3 minutes or until golden and crispy.
  9. Remove the fried prawns and place them on a wire rack or paper towels to drain.
  10. Serve the prawn tempura hot, with a side of tempura sauce if desired. You can make a simple dipping sauce by mixing soy sauce, mirin (Japanese sweet sauce), and some dashi (soup stock).

Bonus tip: The dashi made for the Japanese miso soup is exactly what you need for the tempura sauce dip. Check the Japanese miso soup recipe to make a versatile dashi that you can use in the tempura dipping sauce and several Asian recipes.

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