Ebi Tempura (Shrimp tempura)

By: takestwoeggsPosted: 11/09/2023 Updated: 28/11/2023
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 35 minutes
Ebi tempura, or shrimp tempura, features large succulent shrimp coated in a light and crispy tempura batter and then fried to perfection. Serve your Japanese shrimp tempura with tempura sauce for the ultimate appetizer.
Ebi Tempura (Shrimp tempura)

Ebi tempura, or shrimp tempura, features large succulent shrimp coated in a light and crispy tempura batter and then fried to perfection. Serve your Japanese shrimp tempura with tempura sauce for the ultimate appetizer.

Tempura shrimp sitting on a plate.

Ebi tempura, or shrimp tempura, is a very popular Japanese dish that is enjoyed by many around the world. What is not to love about these light and crispy tempura shrimp? The shrimp are coated in a very light tempura batter and then deep-fried for the most irresistible blend of crispy textures and savory flavors.

The simplicity of this Japanese appetizer is what makes it so elegant. Pair a plate of this ebi tempura with a side of sweet and savory tentsuyu, tempura sauce for the most well-balanced treat. Shrimp tempura can also be served over a rice bowl or over noodle soup which makes them very versatile.

In this shrimp tempura recipe, I will guide you with all the tips and tricks on how to achieve the crispiest and straightest tempura shrimp. If you are looking for more Japanese recipe inspiration, check out our unagi sushi (eel sushi), chicken katsu, or tekka maki (tuna sushi roll).

What is shrimp tempura?

Shrimp tempura in Japanese is “ebi no tempura” (海老の天ぷら) or “ebi ten” (えび天). “Ebi” translates to shrimp and “ten” translates to ten. Shrimp is the most popular seafood option used in tempura. Other tempura options include a variety of vegetables including Japanese sweet potatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, green beans, Kabocha squash, bell peppers, etc.

This ebi tempura recipe is known for its combination of juicy large shrimp and light and crispy tempura batter. Tempura shrimp can be served as an appetizer or as part of a larger meal with rice or noodles.

Someone dipping a shrimp tempura into a small ramekin of tempura dipping sauce.
Try this shrimp tempura with the perfect dipping sauce here.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

There are several reasons why you will love this shrimp tempura recipe:

  1. Crispy, crunchy, and savory: Ebi tempura is known for its crispy and crunchy exterior with a succulent and savory interior that is satisfying and addictive.
  2. Versatility: Japanese shrimp tempura can be enjoyed as an appetizer, as part of a bento box, or as a topping for rice or noodles!
  3. Comforting: Tempura shrimp is the ultimate comfort food that brings a lot of warmth and nostalgia with every bite.
Looking down at a plate of ebi tempura shrimp.

Kitchen Equipment

You will need the following kitchen equipment to make this tempura shrimp recipe.

  • Kitchen scale: For the most accurate measurements, use a kitchen scale.
  • Heavy-Bottomed Pot: You will need a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pot to fry your ebi tempura.
  • Mixing bowls: You will need a variety of mixing bowls to create your shrimp tempura batter.
  • Candy Thermometer: The best way to prevent your tempura shrimp from getting soggy is by having the oil be at the right temperature measured by a candy thermometer.
  • Spider Strainer: You will need a spider strainer or slotted spoon to scoop the tempura shrimp from the oil.
  • Skimmer (optional): Using a skimmer is helpful in scooping out all the leftover tempura bits in between each batch of shrimp.
  • Wire rack: You will need a wire rack for cooling the crispy Japanese shrimp tempura.

Ingredients

All of the ingredients for this ebi tempura recipe can be found at your local grocery store. I’ve linked all the elements that you can find online for you below.

All the ingredients for the shrimp in shrimp tempura.
  • Shrimp: Use the largest shrimp that you can find for the juiciest bite! I used tiger shrimp.
  • Neutral Oil: You can use any neutral oil with a high smoke point such as vegetable oil, canola oil, peanut oil, etc.
  • All-Purpose Flour: All-purpose flour is used to make the shrimp tempura batter for frying.
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch is used to coat the shrimp to adhere the batter to the shrimp. It also lightens up the batter for a crispy, crunchy batter.
  • Large Egg: The egg combines the shrimp tempura batter together.
  • Sparkling Water: Sparkling or carbonated water will lift the batter allowing it to crisp better and prevent it from being soggy.
  • Togarashi: Togarashi is a popular Japanese spice that can add a little heat and flavor.
  • Salt: a pinch of salt for garnish and added flavor.
  • Tentsuyu dipping sauce: Tentsuyu or tempura sauce is a sweet, salty, and umami-rich dipping sauce that pairs well with this shrimp tempura recipe. You can find my recipe here.
All the ingredients for making tempura batter.

Substitutions and Additions

You can customize your tempura shrimp recipe with the following modifications that I’ve listed below.

Substitutions

  • Cake flour: Instead of all-purpose flour + cornstarch you can use cake flour instead.
  • Potato Starch: If you don’t want to use cornstarch, you can substitute it with potato starch.
  • Regular Water: You can easily substitute sparkling water for regular water.

Additions

  • Vegetables: If you want to make a different type of tempura instead of tempura shrimp, you can use sliced Japanese sweet potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, green beans, Kabocha squash, bell peppers, etc.
  • Seafood: You can substitute the shrimp for squid, scallops, fish, or any other seafood.

How to Make Ebi Tempura

Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to make shrimp tempura. I recommend reading the instructions through once before you begin.

  1. Prepare the shrimp. Peel the shrimp leaving the tail at the end. Devein the shrimp and then make very shallow tiny cuts across the underbelly of the shrimp and then again along both sides of the shrimp. Lightly squeeze and straighten the shrimp on a paper towel-lined plate.
Shrimp deveined, peeled, and scored for ebi tempura.
  1. Heat the oil. In a heavy-bottomed pot, add the neutral oil enough to cover about 2 inches of oil in the pot. Place a candy thermometer onto the pot and heat to 350ºF (180ºC).
Heating oil in a deep pan for frying.
  1. Sift the dry ingredients. Sift the flour and cornstarch in a large bowl to remove any clumps.
Sifting dry ingredients for tempura batter.
  1. Mix wet ingredients. In a separate bowl or large measuring cup with a spout, whisk the cold egg. Then mix in the sparkling water.
Mixing together the wet ingredients for tempura batter.
  1. Combine. Slowly pour the wet mixture into the flour while mixing with chopsticks. Mix until it is just combined. Chill the batter and let it rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Tempura batter mixed together in a large mixing bowl.
  1. Coat the shrimp. Gently coat the shrimp with cornstarch and shake off any excess.
Shrimp dredged in cornstarch to prepare for tempura.
  1. Dredge and fry. Remove the batter from the refrigerator and place the bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice to keep the batter cold. Dredge each shrimp into the batter covering thoroughly, remove any excess, and immediately slowly lower the shrimp into the oil. Dip your fingers into the batter and drizzle it over the shrimp while it is frying. Fry each shrimp for about 2 minutes or until the shrimp is pink and the batter is light golden and crispy.
Shrimp tempura being lifted from a large pan of oil after frying.
  1. Cool and serve. Remove the cooked shrimp with a spider strainer or slotted spoon and place onto a wire rack to drain any excess oil.
Setting a fried ebi tempura on a drying rack.

Tips for the Best Ebi Tempura

  • Cut shallow cuts for a straightened shrimp. Shrimp naturally curl when cooked, to prevent this you will need to score the shrimp with a knife with thin cuts 1/2 cm apart down the belly and sides of the shrimp. Be careful not to cut the shrimp apart. Then straighten the shrimp on a paper towel.
  • Keep ingredients cold for the batter. A cold batter is essential for a light and crispy shrimp tempura batter. Chill the batter in the refrigerator until you are ready to fry the shrimp.
  • Don’t over-mix the batter! Avoid over-mixing the batter this will prevent it from being light and airy. The final result should have some small bumps left.
  • Check oil temperature. The perfect oil temperature for frying is 350ºF (180ºC). Use a candy thermometer to ensure accuracy. If the oil is too hot, the shrimp will cook too quickly and become rubbery. If the oil is too cold, the tempura shrimp may become oily.
  • Avoid overcrowding. When frying the ebi tempura, avoid overcrowding the pan to ensure the shrimp has enough space and the oil temperature remains consistent.
  • Drizzle the tempura batter with your fingers over the shrimp in the oil for more crunch. This step is if you’d like the ebi tempura to have the extra bumpy crispy bits for added crunch.

Storage Instructions

This shrimp tempura recipe is best served immediately for the best crunch. You can keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Reheat: for the best crunch, reheat in the oven, or air fryer until crisp on the outside. For frozen ebi tempura, bake in the oven or air fryer immediately without defrosting.

Frequently Asked Q’s & A’s

Why does my tempura not stay crispy?

There may be a few reasons why your tempura batter is soggy and not crispy.

  1. Cold batter: Your batter may not be cold enough. Cold batter doesn’t absorb oil and instead, the batter is shocked when it meets the oil. If your batter is getting warm while cooking, add 1-2 ice cubes to keep it cold.
  2. Oil temperature: The oil temperature needs to be at 350ºF (180ºC). If the oil is too hot, the shrimp will cook too quickly and become rubbery. If the oil is too cold, the tempura shrimp may become oily.

Why does my tempura batter fall off?

This can be prevented by patting the shrimp dry with a paper towel and then coating it evenly and thoroughly with cornstarch. The cornstarch coating acts as a glue with the shrimp and the batter.

How does ebi shrimp tempura stay straight?

Shrimp curl when they are cooked. To keep the shrimp tempura flat, make several shallow cuts along the underbelly and sides of the shrimp before coating and frying. The more cuts you make the less likely it will curl. Be careful to not cut through the shrimp.

How do you keep tempura crispy for hours?

If you want to make your Japanese shrimp tempura in advance and keep them crispy, store them in a preheated oven set to 250°F (120°C).

Did you make this Ebi Tempura?

If you made this dish and loved it, please leave a review and comment below. We would greatly appreciate it!

Share your dish with us on Instagram, and tag us @takestwoeggs—we’d love to see and share your delicious creation!

Hungry for more? Follow us on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, and Facebook for more tasty creations and updates 🍜

Tempura shrimp sitting on a plate.

Ebi Tempura (Shrimp tempura)

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Ebi tempura, or shrimp tempura, features large succulent shrimp coated in a light and crispy tempura batter and then fried to perfection. Serve your Japanese shrimp tempura with tempura sauce for the ultimate appetizer.
Servings: 5 servings
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb large shrimp peeled and deveined with tail on end
  • 3-4 cups neutral oil for frying
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch for coating

Batter

Serve

Instructions

  • Prepare the shrimp. Peel the shrimp leaving the tail at the end. Devein the shrimp and then make very shallow tiny cuts across the underbelly of the shrimp and then again along both sides of the shrimp. Lightly squeeze and straighten the shrimp on a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Heat the oil. In a heavy-bottomed pot, add the neutral oil enough to cover about 2 inches of oil in the pot. Place a candy thermometer onto the pot and heat to 350ºF (180ºC).
  • Sift the dry ingredients. Sift the flour and cornstarch in a large bowl to remove any clumps.
  • Mix wet ingredients. In a separate bowl or large measuring cup with a spout, whisk the cold egg. Then mix in the sparkling water.
  • Combine. Slowly pour the wet mixture into the flour while mixing with chopsticks. Mix until it is just combined. Do not over-mix there should be some lumps in the batter. Chill the batter and let it rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  • Coat the shrimp. Gently coat the shrimp with cornstarch and shake off any excess.
  • Dredge and fry. Remove the batter from the refrigerator and give it a quick mix. Dredge each shrimp into the batter covering thoroughly, remove any excess, and immediately slowly lower the shrimp into the oil while making a swirling motion to fry. Dip your fingers into the batter and drizzle it over the shrimp while it is frying. Fry each shrimp for about 2 minutes or until the shrimp is pink and the batter is light, golden, and crispy. Remove the tempura bits each time to avoid burning and overcrowding.
  • Cool and serve. Remove the cooked shrimp with a spider strainer or slotted spoon and place onto a wire rack to drain any excess oil.

Notes

  • Cut shallow cuts for a straightened shrimp. Shrimp naturally curl when cooked, to prevent this you will need to score the shrimp with a knife with thin cuts 1/2 cm apart down the belly and sides of the shrimp. Be careful not to cut the shrimp apart. Then straighten the shrimp on a paper towel.
  • Keep ingredients cold for the batter. A cold batter is essential for a light and crispy shrimp tempura batter. Chill the batter in the refrigerator until you are ready to fry the shrimp.
  • Don’t over-mix the batter! Avoid over-mixing the batter this will prevent it from being light and airy. The final result should have some small bumps left.
  • Check oil temperature. The perfect oil temperature for frying is 350ºF (180ºC). Use a candy thermometer to ensure accuracy. If the oil is too hot, the shrimp will cook too quickly and become rubbery. If the oil is too cold, the tempura prawns may become oily.
  • Avoid overcrowding. When frying the ebi tempura, avoid overcrowding the pan to ensure the shrimp has enough space and the oil temperature remains consistent.
  • Drizzle the tempura batter with your fingers over the shrimp in the oil for more crunch. This step is if you’d like the ebi tempura to have the extra bumpy crispy bits for added crunch.
  • Storage Instructions: This shrimp tempura recipe is best served immediately for the best crunch. You can keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Nutrition:

Calories: 1409kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 140g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 80g | Monounsaturated Fat: 32g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 147mg | Sodium: 546mg | Potassium: 137mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 211IU | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 1mg

Rate & Review What did you think of this recipe?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating