Classic Fried Honey-Walnut Shrimp Recipe

Chinese cuisine encompasses a wide range of regions and flavors, as well as influences that often come from the Western world. The result is a rich expression of variety, with flavor pairings that taste like they were always meant to be. Honey-walnut shrimp is one such revelation. 

Courtesy of Tasting Table recipe developer Chanel Murphy-Lowe of My Fabulous Food, this recipe features sweet and nutty ingredients paired with juicy shrimp. "One of the highlights of this recipe is the combination of sweet honey glaze, crunchy walnuts, and crispy fried shrimp," she shares, adding, "It creates a delicious balance of flavors and textures that is quite enjoyable." Not to mention, this recipe is on the table in little more than a half hour, which makes this an automatic addition to our weeknight cooking repertoire. There are plenty of ways to customize your meal, from vegetable accompaniments to starchy sides.

Gather the ingredients for this fried honey-walnut shrimp

For this recipe, you'll need walnuts, brown sugar, honey, mayonnaise, soy sauce, rice vinegar, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and cornstarch. You'll also need a neutral cooking oil like vegetable or canola for frying. Buy shrimp (peel and devein it first), thinly slice a couple of scallions, and grab some sesame seeds for garnish. 

Start by toasting the walnuts

Start by preheating the oven to 350 F. Then, spread the walnuts on a baking sheet or pan and toast them for 8 to 10 minutes until they turn a light brown color and become fragrant. If you purchased them pre-roasted, a light toasting in the oven will still help enhance the nutty flavors.

Heat the syrup ingredients

Set a small saucepan on the stovetop on medium heat, and add the brown sugar and an equal amount of water. Cook the mixture as you stir, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens into a syrup. It should take about 5 to 7 minutes. 

Then, toss the toasted walnuts into the saucepan and stir properly to coat them in syrup. Murphy-Lowe explains that "the combination of brown sugar and water creates a sweet and sticky syrup that coats the walnuts, adding a delightful crunch and flavor to the dish." Keep cooking the contents for 2 to 3 minutes to further thicken the syrup. Remove the pan from the burner and set it aside.

If you want to get a head start on this recipe or use these delicious walnuts for various dishes, you can do this step in advance. "Once the walnuts are glazed and coated with the brown sugar syrup, allow them to cool completely," Murphy-Lowe instructs, before sealing them in a container at room temperature. "They should stay crunchy and ready to use for a few days," she says.

Prepare the sauce

Grab a small bowl and add the honey, mayonnaise, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and garlic. Whisk these ingredients until a smooth and uniform sauce forms, then season with salt and pepper to taste. This will be the creamy coating that our fried shrimp get tossed in.

Prep and fry the shrimp

In another bowl, combine the cornstarch and shrimp and toss to coat. This will enhance the crispy fried texture of the shrimp. Place a large deep skillet or wok on the stovetop on medium-high heat. Pour enough oil to reach a height of 1 inch from the bottom of the pan and heat. "It's important to ensure that the oil is hot enough before adding the shrimp to achieve a crispy and evenly cooked result," Murphy-Lowe points out. 

When the oil is hot, carefully add the shrimp to avoid splattering and fry it for 2 to 3 minutes per side until it is golden brown and crispy. Then, use a slotted spoon to transfer the shrimp to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain off the excess oil.

Combine all the components and serve

Finally, mix everything together in a large bowl: the fried shrimp, the honey-mayonnaise sauce, and glazed walnuts. Stir the contents well to distribute everything evenly, then transfer the meal to a serving platter and scatter sliced scallions and sesame seeds on top to garnish. Serve this flavor-packed fried honey-walnut shrimp dish as is or with a steaming plate of rice.

Murphy-Lowe also recommends piling your plate high with steamed broccoli: "The vibrant green color and slightly crisp texture of the broccoli complement the flavors of the dish." She adds, "other options like stir-fried bok choy, snow peas, or snap peas can also work well with this dish."

Murphy-Lowe notes that leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 to 3 days. She warns that "the shrimp may lose some of their crispness upon refrigeration, but you can reheat them in the oven or on a stovetop to regain some texture."

Classic Fried Honey-Walnut Shrimp Recipe
5 from 25 ratings
Make an at-home version of this creamy, crispy Chinese takeout favorite.
Prep Time
Cook Time
honey walnut fried shrimp plate
Total time: 35 minutes
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¾ cup cornstarch, for coating
  • neutral cooking oil, for frying
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar and an equal amount of water.
  4. Cook over medium heat for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens into a syrup.
  5. Add the toasted walnuts to the saucepan and stir to coat them with syrup.
  6. Cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes until the walnuts are well coated and the syrup has thickened. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set it aside.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, mayonnaise, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and garlic.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set the sauce aside.
  9. In another bowl, combine the cornstarch and the shrimp. Toss to coat.
  10. Heat about 1 inch of oil in a large deep skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
  11. Once the oil is hot, add the shrimp and fry until golden brown and crispy, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  12. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shrimp to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  13. In a large bowl, toss the fried shrimp with the honey-mayonnaise sauce and glazed walnuts until well coated.
  14. Transfer the shrimp mixture to a serving platter and sprinkle with sliced scallions and sesame seeds.
  15. Enjoy the shrimp alone or with hot steamed rice.
Calories per Serving 924
Total Fat 68.4 g
Saturated Fat 6.4 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 188.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 54.5 g
Dietary Fiber 3.0 g
Total Sugars 27.2 g
Sodium 665.4 mg
Protein 28.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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