Vegetable Tempura

Tempura recipe

The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
342 Calories
20g Fat
34g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 342
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 47mg 16%
Sodium 367mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 48mg 242%
Calcium 39mg 3%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 334mg 7%
*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.)

Vegetable tempura is a popular vegetarian choice when eating at a Japanese restaurant, and most places will feature it on the menu. The lightly fried vegetables are delicious as an appetizer, as an accompaniment to a meal, or as a topping for udon noodle soup. And with a few simple ingredients, a little prep time, and some technique, you can make this dish at home.

An assortment of vegetables is good for frying, including broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, and more. Tougher veggies like sweet potatoes, carrots, and winter squash should be par-cooked first and cooled before frying. The batter is made of flour, potato starch (which keeps the batter light), baking soda (which makes the coating puff up), an egg, and ice-cold water; using very cold water helps keep the coating light and crisp. To make restaurant-quality tempura takes some skill and patience, and may require a few tries before it turns out perfectly, so make sure to follow the steps and tips.

If you like making vegetarian and vegan Japanese food at home and want to prepare a full meal, this vegetable tempura pairs well with miso soup and Japanese-inspired sesame and ginger baked tofu.


  • 2 to 3 cups assorted vegetables (e.g., sweet potatoes, broccoli, mushroom caps, string beans, eggplant, bell pepper)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons potato starch

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 cup ice-cold water

  • 2 cups oil, for frying (such as canola, peanut, or sunflower oil)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Prepare your vegetables so they are ready to fry: Trim, stem, and cut the vegetables into uniform 2-inch pieces for even frying. Separate broccoli and cauliflower into medium-sized florets; longer vegetables, like green beans, snow peas, and asparagus, can be left whole. Lightly steam and peel sweet potatoes beforehand if using, and slice into 1/2-inch rounds.

  3. Whisk together the flour, potato starch, and baking soda in a small mixing bowl.

  4. Beat the egg and cold water together in a large mixing bowl, then gradually add in the flour mixture 1/3 cup at a time until just combined. (It's OK to leave a few lumps in the batter; just be sure not to overmix or the tempura coating will be dense instead of light and crunchy.)

  5. Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot to 350 F.

  6. Once the oil is hot, dip the vegetables into the batter, allowing most of the batter to drip off back into the bowl. Then drop them carefully into the oil in small batches.

  7. Fry for 2 1/2 minutes on each side, flipping once, or until crisp and golden brown.

  8. Remove the vegetables from the oil and drain on paper towels.

  9. Repeat with the remaining vegetables and batter.

  10. Serve warm with a dipping sauce such as tentsuyu on the side.

Batter Tips

  • A common technique for mixing the batter is using chopsticks; this helps prevent overmixing.
  • Mix the batter for a minute at most; overmixing will make the tempura chewy. Lumps in the batter are normal.

How do I make sure the tempura isn't oily?

When frying food, if the oil temperature is too low, the food will take longer to cook and will absorb more oil, becoming greasy, limp, and soggy. (And if the oil temp is too hot, the coating will burn, and the inside will be undercooked.) Therefore, it's important that you maintain the correct frying temperature; the easiest way to do this is to use a cooking thermometer.