Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp Copycat
Let’s make Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp at home and even better! It’s the perfect balance of sweet and savory with an addicting crunch. Serve it with some rice or chow mein for a delicious homemade version of your favorite takeaway.
What is Honey Walnut Shrimp?
If you ever been to Panda Express or any Chinese restaurant in America, you’re probably very familiar with honey walnut shrimp and love it. I’m not a huge seafood person but when it comes to honey walnut shrimp, it’s just deliciously irresistible. It’s slightly sweet from the honey but then the savoriness and crunch from the tempura batter comes through to make this the most beautifully constructed dish. It’s super easy to make and tastes a lot more fresh when made at home and with love. My favorite part is the crunchy walnuts glazed in a simple syrup. Those alone make for the perfect snack.
How to Make Honey Walnut Shrimp?
There are basically 5 parts to making honey walnut shrimp but each step is super quick and simple.
- Make the sauce. The sauce is super simple to make. Just add honey, mayonnaise, sweetened condensed milk, and white vinegar to a small bowl and mix. That’s it! I love using Japanese Kewpie Mayo instead of American mayo but either works perfectly fine. Japanese mayo is just more yellow in color, richer, and slightly more tangier and sweeter. I made the sauce using both types of mayo and loved both.
- Candy the walnuts. My favorite part of making honey walnut shrimp because I end up snacking on them as I finish the rest of the meal. You basically just bring equal parts water and sugar to a boil to make a simple syrup. Then add the walnuts and boil for about 3 minutes. Take out the walnuts with a large slotted spoon and allow to cool. The syrup will firm up as it cools.
- Make the tempura batter. Whip together some egg whites until fluffy and bubbly. Then add cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and black pepper. You can stop right here but I personally like to add more spices to bring a bit more flavor to this dish so we’re going to also add chili powder, paprika, and garlic powder.
- Prep the shrimp. We are going to use 1 pound of large raw shrimp for this recipe. Make sure it is deveined and the shell and tail are taken off. Then season with salt and black pepper.
- Batter and fry the shrimp. Dunk the shrimp in the tempura batter. Take out and let any excess drip off and then drop in hot oil. Fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Toss in the sauce with walnuts. Garnish with green onions and enjoy!
Tips & Notes
- Feel free to customize the sweetness in the sauce to your taste. Add more or less honey and sweetened condensed milk depending on preference. I don’t like it when it’s too overwhelmingly sweet and this recipe has the perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess.
- The method of candying the walnuts in this recipe is super simple and always turns out delicious. But if you’d like a more rich taste, toast them in a pan with some salted butter (or unsalted butter and a pinch of salt) and brown sugar.
- To make this recipe even more simple, just add salt and black pepper to the tempura batter. The chili powder, paprika, and garlic powder is not necessary. I just like the extra flavor and color it brings to the dish.
- Make sure your oil is hot enough (350°F) before frying the battered shrimp. Shrimps cooks really fast so the good part about that is that it cooks through by the time the outside is golden brown. If your oil is NOT hot enough, the batter will soak up too much oil and the final product will be soggy rather than crispy.
Turn it Into a Full Meal
The best way to enjoy honey walnut shrimp in my opinion is with plain jasmine rice. It’s also delicious with coconut rice which is made by boiling jasmine rice in coconut milk with sugar and salt. If you would like to make some other dishes to go with it, fried rice or chow mein are great options. You can also whip up some crispy orange chicken to go with it which I’ve linked down below. For something lighter, you can make a vegetable stir-fry with bell peppers and broccoli.
Some other dishes you may like:
If you have any questions about this recipe, let me know in the comments! If you make this, send me a picture on Instagram! I love seeing your remakes SO much.
Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 pound large shrimp deveined, peeled, and tail off
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 large egg whites
- 2/3 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- vegetable oil for frying
- scallions to garnish
- jasmine rice for serving with
TO MAKE THE SAUCE
- In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, honey, sweetened condensed milk, and distilled white vinegar. Mix until smooth and set aside.
TO CANDY THE WALNUTS
- Heat a small pan or pot over medium heat. Add the water and sugar and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes and then add the walnuts. Boil for another 2 minutes. Take out the walnuts with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate or tray and set aside.
TO MAKE THE TEMPURA BATTER
- In a mixing bowl, add the egg whites. Use a hand mixer to beat the egg whites until fluffy and bubbly.
- Add the cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper and whisk together. Set aside.
TO PREP THE SHRIMP
- Toss shrimp in a large bowl with salt and black pepper.
TO BATTER AND FRY THE SHRIMP
- Heat oil to 350°F in a wok or pot.
- Dip each shrimp in the batter and then let any excess drip off before dropping in the fryer. Make sure not to overcrowd them. Fry in batches if needed. Fry the shrimp until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Take out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a wire rack to let any excess oil drip off.
- Transfer the shrimp and walnuts to a deep bowl. Add the sauce (as much or as little as you like) and toss it.
- Garnish with sliced green onions and serve with rice. Enjoy immediately for maximum crispiness.