Honey Walnut Shrimp (Better than take-out)

By: takestwoeggsPosted: 02/09/2021 Updated: 28/11/2023
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 30 minutes
Better than take-out, budget-friendly crispy honey walnut shrimp tossed in a creamy, sweet sauce topped with caramelized walnuts. This recipe will give panda express a run for its money!
Honey Walnut Shrimp (Better than take-out)

Better than take-out, budget-friendly crispy honey walnut shrimp tossed in a creamy, sweet sauce topped with caramelized walnuts. This recipe will give Panda Express a run for its money!

Up close of a plate of fried shrimp and walnuts on a bed of rice

Honey walnut shrimp is my absolute GO-TO order for Chinese takeout. I always order this dish even if it is the most expensive item on the menu because it is 100% worth it. This dish may be $$$ in restaurants but it is pretty inexpensive if you make it at home. We are ballin’ on a budget here. Pair this honey walnut shrimp with my all-time favorite fried rice and you have yourself a gourmet Chinese dinner.

Looking down at a table spread of shrimp, broccoli, and rice

What is honey walnut shrimp?

Honey walnut shrimp originated in Hong Kong. This dish has become immensely popular and can be found in almost every Chinese restaurant. Honey walnut shrimp is also popular in Chinese banquets usually served in large events like weddings, birthdays, Chinese New Year, etc.

The shrimps are lightly coated with cornstarch, fried to create that crispy shell, and tossed in sweet and creamy honey and condensed milk sauce. It is paired with crunchy candied walnuts and served with rice and broccoli. I am warning you now this honey walnut shrimp recipe is addictive. Dare I say, this recipe is even better than Panda Express’ Honey Walnut Shrimp. How can you say no to an easy, budget-friendly, luxurious dish that is incredibly satisfying?

Someone lifting up fried shrimp with chopsticks from a plate

Kitchen Equipment

  • Deep Skillet: you will need a deep enough skillet that will fry the walnut and the shrimp. Ideally, when frying, there should be at least 1-2 inches of oil just enough to cover the shrimp.
  • Thermometer with clip attachment: having a thermometer with a clip attachment will allow you to measure the temperature of the oil more accurately. You don’t have to hold your hand over the hot splattering oil to see whether or not you have reached optimal temperature. You can also use an electric thermometer as well.
  • Slotted Spoon or Spider Strainer: Having a spider strainer is a must if you plan on cooking more Asian dishes. It helps make straining and frying over a hot stove a breeze.
  • Large Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl: you will need a large mixing bowl to toss the shrimp in the sauce with. I personally think using a stainless steel mixing bowl is the best tool for this job since it is not fragile and wide enough to toss the shrimp freely without them spilling out.

Ingredients

This honey walnut shrimp recipe involves the simplest home ingredients that you can make for under $15! You can find all of these ingredients at your local grocery store.

  • Walnut halves: raw walnut halves work the best for this recipe.
  • Shrimp: the simplest way method is to buy already peeled and deveined shrimp. Honestly, when it comes to buying shrimp I always just pick the one that is on sale.
  • Broccoli: this is entirely optional but to me adding the broccoli makes this dish a show stopper and a well-balanced meal.
  • Honey: adds sweetness to the sauce.
  • Mayonnaise: mayo is the base of the sauce that gives it a creamy consistency.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk: the condensed milk thickens and sweetens the sauce.
  • Lemon juice: the acidity from the lemon cuts through the density of the sauce.
  • Sugar: granulated sugar + boiled water makes a simple syrup that creates a light caramel glaze on the walnuts.
  • Salt and Pepper: Season the shrimp and the broccoli.
  • Large egg: the egg binds the cornstarch to the shrimp.
  • Cornstarch: the cornstarch creates a light crispy coating to not make the shrimp feel too overly heavy.
  • Canola oil: canola oil is the best for frying the shrimp and the walnuts because it has a high smoke point and a neutral minimal flavor that doesn’t take away from the original flavor of the ingredients.
  • Sesame seeds: the sesame seeds are optional for a garnish.
Up close of fried shrimp sitting on broccoli
Optionally serve on a bed of blanched broccoli

How to Make Honey Walnut Shrimp

This honey walnut shrimp recipe can be broken down into three different parts for each of the components for this dish 1) candied walnuts, 2) steamed broccoli, and 3) honey shrimp. You can omit the walnuts and broccoli if you want to go straight for the goods but I personally like it with the candied walnuts and broccoli.

Candied Walnuts

  1. Fry the walnuts. In a small saucepan or deep skillet, heat about 1 inch of oil to 325F around 3-4 cups. Fry the walnuts for 4 minutes or until golden brown. This oil will be used to fry the shrimp.
Walnuts frying in a deep dish pan on stove
  1. Make the simple syrup. While the oil is heating, mix 2 tablespoons of water with 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and a pinch of salt into a frying pan over low heat stirring occasionally for 4 minutes or until reduced about 1/2 way.
  1. Candy the walnuts. Once the walnuts are fried immediately scoop them out with a slotted spoon, drain the oil and transfer to the simple syrup. Coat the walnuts with the simple syrup on medium low heat until no remaining liquid in the frying pan and the sugar has browned. This creates the thin candy coating.
Someone straining walnut from a deep pan of oil on a stove
  1. Transfer to a parchment-lined sheet pan. Be sure to spread them out so they are not touching each other.
Candied walnuts cooling off on parchment paper

Broccoli

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Blanch the broccoli florets in the boiling water for 30 seconds-1 minute depending on how firm you want the broccoli. Transfer to a bowl of cold water for 10 seconds to stop the cooking process. Drain and plate in a circle.

Shrimp

  1. Mix sauce. In a mixing bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, honey, sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice. Set aside.
Mixing together a creamy sauce for honey walnut shrimp
  1. Prepare the shrimp. Peel and devein the shrimp. Cut the backs of each shrimp a little deeper to get a nice coating and more opened shape. Season with salt and pepper.
Cleaned and de-shelled shrimp on a plate seasoned with salt and pepper
  1. Coat the shrimp. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg and prepare the bowl for cornstarch. Dip the shrimp into the egg, drain excess and then dredge in the cornstarch.
Dredged and breaded shrimp on a plate
  1. Pan fry the shrimp. In the same deep skillet, re-heat the oil to 350F. Working quickly, place the shrimp into the oil. Be sure to separate the shrimp so they do not meld together. You will have to do this in a few batches. You may need to re-dredge in cornstarch if the moisture absorbs the cornstarch. Fry them for about 2-3 minutes until golden brown.
Drying fried shrimp in a paper towel lined bowl
  1. Toss the shrimp with the sauce. Using a slotted spoon or spider strainer, transfer the fried shrimp into a large stainless steel mixing bowl lined with a paper towel to drain excess oil. Remove the paper towel and pour the creamy sauce mixture onto the shrimp and toss until coated.
Fried shrimp being tossed in a creamy sauce
  1. Serve. Place the shrimp into the center of the plate with the broccoli, sprinkle with candied walnuts and sesame seeds and serve with rice.
Looking down onto a plate of sauced fried shrimp and rice

Tips for The Best Honey Walnut Shrimp

  • Use an oil thermometer with a clip attachment. The thermometer with a clip attachment has made frying in oil 100x easier. With the clip attachment, I don’t have to continue holding the thermometer or worry about it falling in or out of the pan. A thermometer also will help you regulate the temperature of the oil. When you heat oil, the temperature fluctuates quickly, and having an attached thermometer will help you monitor these fluctuations.
  • Use a deep skillet. For this dish, I recommend using a deep skillet instead of a saucepan. A wider skillet will allow you to fry more shrimp without them touching each other.
  • Butterfly cut the shrimp. After peeling and deveining the shrimp, cut the back of the shrimp along the spine about halfway deep. This will have the shrimp open up beautifully when you cook them.
  • Keep coating the walnuts in the sugar syrup until no water remains. This is an important step to guarantee the crisp walnut candied crunch. If you remove it from the heat while there is still water on the pan, it may be too early and result in a chewy walnut.

Storage Instructions

This honey walnut shrimp recipe is best served immediately. The crunch will dissolve over time by the sauce. You can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days but the texture will no longer be crispy.

Additional Chinese Takeout Recipes to Try

Did you make this honey walnut shrimp recipe?

 

Overhead of a plate of rice and fried shrimp

Honey Walnut Shrimp (Better than take-out)

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Better than take-out, budget-friendly crispy honey walnut shrimp tossed in a creamy, sweet sauce topped with caramelized walnuts. This recipe will give panda express a run for its money!
Servings: 4 Servings
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Candied Walnuts

Steamed Broccoli

  • 8 oz broccoli
  • 1 tsp salt

Honey Shrimp

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 ½ tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 ½ teaspoon honey
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
  • cup cornstarch
  • 1 large egg whisked
  • Sesame seeds optional garnish

Instructions

Make Candied Walnuts

  • Fry the walnuts. In a small saucepan or deep skillet, heat about 1 inch of oil to 325F around 3-4 cups. Fry the walnuts for 4 minutes or until golden brown. This oil will be used to fry the shrimp.
  • Make the simple syrup. While the oil is heating, mix 2 tablespoons of water with 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and a pinch of salt into a frying pan over low heat stirring occasionally for 4 minutes or until reduced.
  • Candy the walnuts. Once the walnuts are fried immediately scoop them out with a slotted spoon, drain the oil, and transfer to the simple syrup. Coat the walnuts with the simple syrup on medium-low heat until no remaining liquid is in the frying pan and the sugar has browned. This creates a thin candy coating.
  • Transfer to a parchment-lined sheet pan. Be sure to spread them out so they are not touching each other.

Blanch the broccoli

  • Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Blanch the broccoli florets in the boiling water for 30 seconds-1 minute depending on how firm you want the broccoli. Transfer to a bowl of cold water for 10 seconds to stop the cooking process. Drain and plate in a circle.

Honey Shrimp

  • Mix sauce. In a mixing bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, honey, sweetened condensed milk, and lemon juice. Set aside.
  • Prepare the shrimp. Peel and devein the shrimp. Cut the backs of each shrimp a little deeper to get a nice coating and a more open shape. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Coat the shrimp. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg and prepare the bowl for cornstarch. Dip the shrimp into the egg and drain excess and then dredge in the cornstarch.
  • Pan-fry the shrimp. In the same deep skillet, re-heat the oil to 350F. Working quickly, place the shrimp into the oil. Be sure to separate the shrimp so they do not meld together. You will have to do this in a few batches. Fry them for about 2-3 minutes until golden brown.
  • Toss the shrimp with the sauce. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried shrimp into a large stainless steel mixing bowl lined with a paper towel to drain excess oil. Remove the paper towel and pour the creamy sauce mixture onto the shrimp and toss until coated.
  • Serve. Place the shrimp into the center of the plate with the broccoli, sprinkle with candied walnuts and sesame seeds and serve with rice.

Notes

  • Use an oil thermometer with a clip attachment. The clip attachment has made frying in oil 100x easier. With the clip attachment, I don't have to continue holding the thermometer or worry about it falling in or out of the pan. A thermometer also will help you regulate the temperature of the oil. When you heat oil, the temperature fluctuates quickly, and having an attached thermometer will help you monitor these fluctuations.
  • Use a deep skillet. For this dish, I recommend using a deep skillet instead of a saucepan. A wider skillet will allow you to fry more shrimp without them touching each other.
  • Butterfly cut the shrimp. After peeling and deveining the shrimp, cut the back of the shrimp along the spine about halfway deep. This will have the shrimp open up beautifully when you cook them.
  • Keep coating the walnuts in the sugar syrup until no water remains. This is an important step to guarantee the crisp walnut candied crunch. If you remove it from the heat while there is still water on the pan, it may be too early and result in a chewy walnut.
  • Storage Instructions. This honey walnut shrimp recipe is best served immediately. The crunch will dissolve over time by the sauce. You can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days but the texture will no longer be crispy.

Nutrition:

Serving: 1g | Calories: 560kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 276g | Saturated Fat: 3.7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 31g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 265mg | Sodium: 325.8mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 20g

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