Vegetable Tempura Recipe

Vegetable tempura
Laurence Mouton / Getty Images
  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Ratings (41)

Japanese vegetable tempura is a popular vegetarian choice when eating at a Japanese restaurant, as most places will have a vegetable tempura on the menu. Tempura is deep-fried and battered vegetables. If you enjoy eating it at a restaurant, don't be intimidated. It's pretty simple to make at home.  There are a few things you need to know in order to have your vegetable tempura turn out light, crispy, and perfect, just like the kind you get at Japanese restaurants. 

If this is your first time making your own tempura, this is an easy vegetarian and vegan recipe to try. There are a few tempura secrets to help you out:

  • Use a cake flour instead of all-purpose flour. The cake flour, which is lower in protein than regular flour, will keep your vegetable tempura just a little lighter and fluffier and result in much more authentic tempura.
  • Try not to over mix the batter. Overmixing can bind the batter and cause it to become too thick.
  • Some people suggest adding a bit of sesame oil to the vegetable oil just to add a bit of extra Asian flavor. This is a personal preference. Try it with and without the sesame oil to see which taste you prefer.

As for the vegetables, one favorite is lightly pre-steamed sweet potatoes, but you can really use just about anything, including mushrooms, green beans, asparagus, eggplant, bell peppers, broccoli, or zucchini. If you like exploring different types of foods, try out more vegetarian and vegan Japanese recipe ideas to broaden your cooking horizons.

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup flour (cake flour is preferred)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup oil (or amount needed for frying, use vegetable oil or another high-heat oil such as corn oil or canola oil)
  • 2 to 3 cups chopped vegetables (mixed, any kind)

How to Make It

  1. Prepare your vegetables so they are ready to fry. You'll need about 2-3 cups vegetables, chopped to be about bite-sized. Lightly steamed sweet potatoes and yams are a great option in a vegetarian tempura. 
  2. Once your vegetables are prepared, combine together the flour, salt, sugar, and the baking powder. Slowly add in the oil and water until the mixture becomes completely smooth and creamy. Chill for at least 15 minutes.
  1. When you're ready to cook your tempura, heat several inches of vegetable oil in a wok or in a large frying pan over high heat. Dip the vegetables in the batter, then drop in the oil.
  2. Allow the vegetables to cook for about 3 minutes, until crisp and lightly golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.

That's it! Enjoy your easy homemade vegetarian and vegan tempura!

If you like making vegetarian and vegan Japanese food at home or want to prepare an entire meal, the vegetable tempura pair well with vegetarian miso soup,  Japanese-inspired sesame and ginger baked tofu,  vegetarian Japanese udon noodle soup, or other easy vegetarian Japanese recipes.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
241 Calories
14g Fat
25g Carbs
4g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)