I am a huge fan of Chinese food. Growing up it was one of my mom’s favorite foods, so we had it quite a bit. I always enjoy trying new Chinese food restaurants. Luckily for me, there is a really good place right across the street from my townhome complex. However, when I am in the mood for American-style fast-food Chinese, Panda Express is my go-to. And one of my favorite entrees to get is their Honey Walnut Shrimp.
This honey walnut shrimp is a copycat recipe of Panda Express’s honey walnut shrimp. I didn’t come up with the recipe. It has actually been around for quite some time. I got the idea from a TikTok video that I saw and of course, had to try it out. It is awesome, such an amazing shrimp recipe. It may even be better than the real thing.
If you are a fan of shrimp, give this honey walnut shrimp recipe a try! It is very easy to make, if I can do it, you can do it. Let’s get started!
Where does honey walnut shrimp come from and what exactly is it?
Honey Walnut Shrimp actually originated in Hong Kong. It is very common to find this dish in Cantonese restaurants. But because it has become really popular it is often featured in other Chinese restaurants and especially American Chinese restaurants, like Panda Express. It was introduced into the United States in the 1980s. It is basically deep-fried lightly battered shrimp served with a sweet mayo sauce and topped with candied walnuts and sometimes sesame seeds and green onion.
Step 1: Gather the Ingredients and tools
In order to make homemade honey walnut shrimp you will need the following ingredients and helpful tools:
- Sugar – This is for the candied walnuts.
- Water – I always used filtered water.
- Walnuts – Use fresh walnut halves.
- Eggs – Only the whites from the eggs will be used for the batter.
- Cornstarch – This will help them get crispy.
- Shrimp – I like to use large deveined uncooked shrimp, they will be gray in color. You can use frozen or fresh. I don’t recommend using the already cooked shrimp, it is just too easy to overcook them. They will be super rubbery and not taste as good.
- Milk – You may need a little milk to thin out the batter for the shrimp.
- Oil – You will need oil for frying, use vegetable, coconut, canola, or avocado oil.
- Mayonnaise – This will go into the sweet coating.
- Honey – You can’t make honey walnut shrimp without the honey, haha.
- Sweetened condensed milk – for the sweet coating sauce.
- Large pot
- Small pot
- Sheet pan
- Wire rack
- Spider ladle
- Wooden spoon
Step 2: How to make Panda Express inspired honey walnut shrimp at home
Begin by candying the walnuts. If you don’t like walnuts you can always just use this candied pecan recipe. You can even use that recipe with the walnuts too if you like. Or just follow this simple method for candying the walnuts.
Add the water to a small pot along with the sugar. Set the burner to medium and bring the mixture to a boil. Essentially making a simple syrup. Add the walnuts and boil them in the simple syrup for about 5 minutes. Then remove them with a spider ladle or something similar and place them on a wire rack that is resting on top of a sheet pan, to dry.
Step 3: Fry that shrimp
Take a large pot and add it to the stovetop burner. Set the heat to medium. Add enough cooking oil to the pot so it is around 1 inch deep, it doesn’t have to be exact. Heat the oil to 350F/176 C.
Time to make the batter for the shrimp. It only consists of two ingredients, egg whites, and cornstarch. Mix the egg whites really well, but not too much, don’t let it get to the soft peaks stage, just beyond frothy.
Save the egg yolks and make Creme Brulee with it, oh yeah, then you will have a nice dessert after.
Once beyond the frothy stage, mix in the cornstarch about 1/4th of it at a time. I usually let it fall through a strainer first, so remove any clumps. Once mixed in, your batter is ready to go. It should be fairly runny. If it is still pretty thick and a few tablespoons of milk and thin it out.
Dip the shrimp in the batter and then using tongs or chopsticks, gently place the shrimp in the hot oil. Don’t overcrowd them, you will probably only be able to cook about 8 to 10 at a time. Let cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Remove the fried shrimp with the spider ladle and place it on the wire rack with the candied walnuts.
Step 4: Make the sweet sauce and serve
In a medium bowl, mix together the mayo, honey, and sweetened condensed milk. It is a super simple, yet tasty sauce. If you want a little zing, you can add a bit of lemon juice to it as well.
Add the fried shrimp and the walnuts to the bowl with the sauce and use a spatula to fold them over and the sauce will coat everything. Don’t stir really hard, just gently fold.
There you go, the honey walnut shrimp is done and ready to serve. Serve on a plate of rice and steamed vegetables if you like.
Here are other recipes you may like:
Honey Walnut Shrimp
- Large Pot
- Small pot
- sheet pan
- Wire rack
- Spider ladle
- Wooden spoon
- 2/3 cup of white granulated sugar 133g
- 1 cup of water 237ml
- 1/2 cup of walnut halves 50g
- 4 large eggs just the egg whites
- 2/3 cup of cornstarch 80g
- 1 lb of uncooked deveined shrimp 453g
- Cooking oil for frying
- 1/4 cup of mayonnaise 57g
- 2 Tbsp of honey 40g
- 1 Tbsp of sweetened condensed milk 20g
Candy the Walnuts
- Add the sugar and the water to a small pot. Set the heat to medium and bring it to a boil stirring occasionally.
- Add all of the walnut halves to the pot and boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the candied walnuts and place them on a wire rack over a sheet pan to dry.
Fry the Shrimp
- Separate the yolks from 4 large eggs and add the egg whites to a large bowl. Whisk the egg whites until very fluffy just after the frothy stage.
- Mix in all of the cornstarch about 1/4th of it at a time. If really thick, add a few tablespoons of milk to thin it out.
- Dip the shrimp in the batter. Then gently place in the hot oil using tongs or chopsticks. Fry the shrimp in stages so they are not overcrowded, for about 5 minutes
- Place cooked shrimp on the wire rack with the walnuts.
Make the Sauce
- Combine the mayo, honey, and sweetened condensed milk in a medium bowl. Then add the walnuts and shrimp to it and fold with a spatula until evenly coated.
- Serve with rice, steamed veggies, etc. Enjoy!
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Check out my other website 101 Creative Dates for fun date ideas. Food and dating go hand in hand!