RECIPES:
May 4, 2022

Honey Walnut Shrimp

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
This easy pan-fried shrimp recipe is tossed in a sticky sweet sauce and served with candied walnuts and broccoli.

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Honey walnut shrimp is originally from Hong Kong. Now, you can find the popular Cantonese dish in most Chinese and Chinese-American restaurants (even the fast food restaurant, Panda Express). 

Restaurants serve crispy shrimp in a sweet kewpie mayonnaise, honey and condensed milk sauce with candied walnuts and broccoli. Restaurants typically batter and deep fry the shrimps before tossing it in the sweet sauce. However, I opt to simply coat them in a bit of cornstarch before pan-frying them in oil. This lightens up the recipe and balances the sweet sauce. Serve over rice or with steamed broccoli. 

Honey Walnut Shrimp

cooked Honey Walnut Shrimp

What’s in The Sauce?

This sticky, sweet sauce the shrimp are tossed in comes together with 3 simple ingredients:

  • Kewpie mayo 
  • Honey
  • Sweetened condensed milk 

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Shrimp – Because the shrimp in this version are not battered before they are fried I prefer to use relatively smaller shrimp so there is more surface area coated in the cornstarch. Look for extra large shrimp which should have about 26 to 30 per pound. That leaves about 10 shrimp per person in this recipe.
  • Condensed milk – Sweetened, condensed milk is made when all the water has been removed from cow’s milk and mixed with sugar giving it a sweet, caramelized flavor.
  • Kewpie mayo – Kewpie mayonnaise, a Japanese mayo, is richer and tangier than typical American store bought mayonnaise. The emulsion is made with only egg yolks and rice vinegar rather than whole eggs and white vinegar. It can be found in some grocery stores, at Asian markets or online here
  • Honey – Honey helps to thin out the sauce and add natural sweetness. 
  • Walnuts – The walnuts are candied for added sweetness and texture. Halved walnuts are simmered in a reduced simple syrup and left to harden into a thin candy coating on a wire rack. They can be made days or even weeks in advance and stored in an airtight container. 
  • Broccoli – Rather than roasting broccoli as I typically would, it’s simply boiled (though it can also be steamed) to provide a fresh flavor and vibrant color to balance for the mayo sauce.

How to Make Honey Walnut Shrimp

syrup for Honey Walnut Shrimp
Step 1: Make the simple syrup for the walnuts. 

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and ½ cup water. Bring the water and sugar mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens.

Step 2: Make the candied walnuts. 

Add the walnuts and continue to cook for about 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the walnuts from the sugar syrup and spread on a wire rack set over a baking sheet to drain and harden.

candied walnuts for Honey Walnut Shrimp
cooked broccoli for Honey Walnut Shrimp
Step 3: Cook the broccoli. 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium high heat. Add the broccoli florets and cook until bright green and tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a colander and drain then set aside.

Step 4: Coat the shrimp. 

Season the shrimp all over with salt then toss with the cornstarch until the shrimp is evenly coated.

coated shrimp for Honey Walnut Shrimp
Step 5: Fry the shrimp. 

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add half of the vegetable oil and heat through. Work in two batches, frying the shrimp until crispy and the outside is golden brown, about 2 minutes.

Step 6: Continue to fry the shrimp. 

Flip the shrimp and continue to cook until just cooked through and golden brown, about an additional 2 minutes. Remove to a plate, then add the remaining oil to the pan and cook the remaining shrimp.

Step 7: Make the sauce and toss to coat. 

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, honey and sweetened condensed milk until thoroughly combined. Add the shrimp, tossing to evenly coat them.

Step 8: Assemble and serve. 

Plate the coated shrimp and top with the broccoli and candied walnuts. Serve immediately.

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe 

How to Air Fry Shrimp

Toss the shrimp in the cornstarch according to the recipe, then add to the basket of the air fryer. Heat the air fryer to 400ºF (200ºC) and cook the shrimp for 6 minutes. I recommend cooking the shrimp in batches so they have room to spread out. Toss in the sauce and serve as directed.

Variations on this Dish
  • While I use a light cornstarch coating on these honey walnut shrimp, more classic Cantonese recipes have a thicker coating. You can use this batter recipe here
  • I recently had a version at Bonnie’s Brooklyn that included segmented oranges and diced green apples for added crunch and acidity. 
  • If you prefer a more acidic sauce, add 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
What to serve with Honey Walnut Shrimp

Serve this dish on it’s own or serve with a side of white rice, crispy rice or fried rice like this double garlic fried rice recipe

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this honey walnut shrimp recipe, I recommend checking out these favorite takeout at home recipes and more:

Honey Walnut Shrimp

Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the candied walnuts:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup walnut halves

For the shrimp:

  • 2 heads broccoli, cut into florets
  • pounds peeled and deveined extra large 26-30 count shrimp, tails removed
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • ¼ cup kewpie mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 medium green onions, thinly sliced

Instructions:

For the candied walnuts:

  • In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and ½ cup water. Bring the water and sugar mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens.
  • Add the walnuts and continue to cook for about 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the walnuts from the sugar syrup and spread on a wire rack set over a baking sheet to drain and harden.

For the shrimp:

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium high heat. Add the broccoli florets and cook until bright green and tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a colander and drain then set aside.
  • Season the shrimp all over with salt then toss with the cornstarch until the shrimp is evenly coated.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add half of the vegetable oil and heat through.
  • Work in two batches, frying the shrimp until crispy and the outside is golden brown, about 2 minutes.
  • Flip the shrimp and continue to cook until just cooked through and golden brown, about an additional 2 minutes.
  • Remove to a plate, then add the remaining oil to the pan and cook the remaining shrimp.
  • In a large mixing bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, honey and sweetened condensed milk until thoroughly combined. Add the shrimp, tossing to evenly coat them.
  • Plate the coated shrimp and top with the broccoli and candied walnuts. Serve immediately.

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