Fish and Seafood Tempura Recipe

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)
2245 Calories
224g Fat
34g Carbs
29g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 2245
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 224g 287%
Saturated Fat 18g 89%
Cholesterol 185mg 62%
Sodium 790mg 34%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 29g
Vitamin C 5mg 25%
Calcium 83mg 6%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 431mg 9%
*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 a feather-light batter and very hot oil to produce a light, crisp crust on anything from vegetables to shrimp to chunks of firm fish such as halibut, whole smelt, even oysters.  

Tempura is about preparation and speed, heat, light, and air. Remember this and you will succeed and make beautiful, crispy, light and healthy fried seafood, yes, healthy. Done properly, the oil in the deep fryer stays in the deep fryer, and you will have with crispy tempura with only a smidge of oil on your food.​

Tempura dipping sauces are excellent accompaniments, but a really good tempura dish only needs a squeeze of lemon or lime.


  • 1 quart vegetable oil

  • 1 pound seafood or fish (in chunks; whole shrimp or oysters are perfect)

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more for seasoning)

  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

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

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 1 cup sparkling water (ice cold)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Fish and Seafood Tempura Recipe ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

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

    wire rack over paper towels

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Heat the oil to 370 F over medium-high to medium heat in a deep fryer or a deep, heavy pot with a deep-fry thermometer attached to the side. This can take 5 to 10 minutes.

    pot with oil

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Salt the seafood and set it aside.

    salted shrimp in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Mix baking soda, 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. When the oil is hot and not before, whisk the egg yolk and the sparkling water together.

    whisk the egg yolk and the sparkling water together

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  7. Then pour the egg yolk-sparkling water 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 for 2 to 4 minutes, depending on the size of the seafood. When you hear it roiling, popping, and sizzling subside, remove the fish 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. Let the oil come back up to temperature and rapidly prepare another batch and put it into the oil.

    Shrimp Tempura frying in a pan with oil

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga


  • Do not use over-large pieces of seafood or you will not get an ethereal crust.
  • If you have more than 1 pound of fish or seafood, make two batches of the tempura batter and add the liquid to the solid ingredients in the second batch only when you have gone through the first pound of fish. This keeps the batter fizzy and the end-result light and crispy.

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