Kabocha Tempura

Kabocha Tempura

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 18 mins
Total: 38 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Yield: 20 to 22 pieces
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
265 Calories
19g Fat
21g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 265
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 25%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 23mg 8%
Sodium 88mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 8mg 41%
Calcium 34mg 3%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 427mg 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.)

Kabocha Tempura is an appetizer of very thinly sliced kabocha squash that is dipped in a light batter and deep fried to crisp perfection. It is typically served with salt or a dipping sauce. 

Kabocha Tempura is often included in the medley of assorted vegetable and shrimp tempura that is commonly found on the menus of Japanese restaurants. In the fall when kabocha squash is in season, though, kabocha tempura on its own makes for a great appetizer.

"There's something magical about tempura, especially when the batter is made from scratch. This batter coated the kabocha lightly, puffed up when frying, was crispy on the outside and the squash was savory-sweet and tender on the inside. Be sure to finish the tempura with a sprinkling of salt." —Diana Andrews

Kabocha Tempura/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Kabocha Tempura ingredients

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Wash the kabocha. The easiest way to cut a whole kabocha squash is to slice off the bottom and top first to create a flat surface for stability and easy entry points to cut into the kabocha. Remove seeds and fibrous strands from the inner cavity and discard (or save the seeds for roasting).

    Remove seeds and fibrous strands from the inner cavity of the kabocha

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Leaving the skin intact, carefully slice 20 to 22 thin pieces of kabocha. Each piece should be about 1/4-inch thick. The thinner the slice, the faster it will cook. Set aside.

    kabocha slices on a plate

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. In a medium bowl, combine egg, flour, potato starch, and ice cold water. The key to crispy tempura is to ensure that the water is very cold.

    combine egg, flour, potato starch, and ice cold water in a bowl

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Heat about 2-inches of oil in a large skillet or wok to 350 F.

    oil in a pan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Dip a slice of kabocha squash into tempura batter and place it in the hot oil. Allow each slice to cook until tender, about 3 to 4 minutes total. It's best not to crowd the pan by limiting the number of kabocha slices to 3 to 4 pieces at a time.

    battered kabocha frying in a pan with oil

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  7. Transfer to a rack to drain as the pieces become done. Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve immediately with tempura dipping sauce, if desired.

    Kabocha Tempura served with sauce

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi


  • When making the tempura, try mixing in the water just before the kabocha slices are dipped in the batter, and the oil is already prepped for frying.

Additional Information

The tempura batter for this recipe is a mixture of potato starch and all purpose flour. The addition of potato starch lightens the batter over other tempura batter recipes that are 100% flour. The key to crisp tempura, however, is the use of ice cold water over room temperature water. I will often add ice cubes to the water and strain them before measuring the water into the tempura batter.

Make sure that the oil for frying is on medium-high heat at a steady 350 F temperature for optimal frying conditions.