Fish and Seafood Tempura

Fish and Seafood Tempura Recipe

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
547 Calories
25g Fat
45g Carbs
31g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 547
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 185mg 62%
Sodium 2379mg 103%
Total Carbohydrate 45g 16%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 31g
Vitamin C 7mg 34%
Calcium 99mg 8%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 599mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Tempura is a Japanese style of deep-frying that uses thin batter and very hot oil to produce a light, crisp crust on anything from vegetables to shrimp to chunks of firm fish. Seafood such as halibut, whole smelt, or even oysters and vegetables including zucchini, squash, carrots, onions, and eggplant all come out covered in a tasty golden-brown crust that's indulgent and feather-light at the same time. Our recipe transforms the seafood of your choice into a tasty and beautiful meal. Any seafood will work, from squid to whole shrimp to firm fish chunks. Tempura dipping sauces are excellent accompaniments, but a good squeeze of lemon or lime is also a tangy and sufficient sauce.

When done properly, the oil in the deep fryer, or pan, stays in the deep fryer and the result is crispy tempura with only a smidge of oil in your food.​ Tempura is about preparation and speed. Have all the ingredients ready and chopped, the oil at the right temperature, and this recipe will put dinner on the table in just 30 minutes.

The secret to perfect tempura lies in the temperature difference between batter (cold) and oil (very hot) and in not overcrowding the pan. If needed, always fry in batches to ensure the perfect crispy coating on all pieces. For adventurous palates, try using tempura batter next time you're deep-frying. Use our batter on your favorite fried foods. Eat immediately, as the batter will turn soggy if you let it sit once cooked. A good deep-fry thermometer is a great tool to have at hand when frying tempura.

1:07

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound seafood, such as shrimp, oysters, or fillet cut into chunks

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more as necessary

  • 1 quart vegetable oil

  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

  • 3/4 cup rice flour (or all-purpose flour)

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 1 cup cold sparkling water

  • 1 cup tempura dipping sauce

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Fish and Seafood Tempura Recipe ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Season the seafood with salt and set it aside.

    salted shrimp in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Lay out a paper towel under a rack to place the fried seafood on. 

    wire rack over paper towels

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Heat the oil to 370 F over medium to medium-high heat in a deep fryer or a deep, heavy pot. If possible, attach the thermometer to the side. 

    pot with oil

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Mix the baking soda, 1/8 teaspoon of salt, cornstarch, and rice flour in a bowl until they are fully incorporated.

    baking soda, salt, cornstarch, and rice flour in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. Only when the oil is hot, whisk the egg yolk and the sparkling water together.

    whisk the egg yolk and the sparkling water together

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  7. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients, mixing well. The consistency of the batter should be like melted ice cream.

    egg yolk-sparkling water mixture in a bowl with dry ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  8. Rapidly dip the seafood into the thin batter, shake it off a bit, and drop it into the oil. Do this in batches so the oil temperature does not drop too far. Do not crowd the pot.

    tempura dipped shrimp frying in a pot of oil

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  9. Fry the seafood for 2 to 4 minutes, depending on the size. When you hear the roiling, popping, and sizzling subsiding, remove the seafood immediately.

    tempura shrimp removed from oil with slotted spoon

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  10. Once the seafood is out of the oil, lay it on the rack to drain.

    tempura shrimp on a wire cooling rack

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  11. Check the oil temperature between batches. Fry subsequent batches.

    Shrimp Tempura frying in a pan with oil

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  12. Serve immediately with dipping sauce and enjoy.

    Fish and Seafood Tempura Recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

If Frying More Than One Pound of Seafood

If you need to fry more than one pound of fish or seafood, start by doubling the tempura batter ingredients, but make one batter at a time. Prepare the second batter for the second pound of seafood only when you have gone through the first pound of fish. This keeps the batter fizzy and the end-result light and crispy.


To ensure the ethereal and airy crust, do not use over-large pieces of seafood.

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