Skip the heavy, greasy takeout and make a better-for-you version of Honey Walnut Shrimp. Crispy shrimp in a sweet, creamy sauce is one of our restaurant favorites made even better at home!
When it comes to Chinese food, my oldest daughter and I have the same favorite dish - honey walnut shrimp. And while you can get it at almost any Chinese restaurant or fast food place, it's expensive and often thickly battered and deep fried.
I actually prefer this easier, lighter version that I can make at home to feed my whole family for about the same price as one serving at a restaurant!
Shrimp is one of our favorite proteins because it's so versatile and quick to cook! I've already shared my sheet pan shrimp fajitas and angel hair pasta with shrimp, tomatoes and fresh basil, so I figured now that I've got Mexican and Italian cuisines covered, it's time to turn to Chinese food!
In my take on honey walnut shrimp take-out, I'm swapping out a heavier batter for a simple, light dusting of cornstarch. It actually gives just enough of a coating to make the shrimp crispy without weighing it down or getting soggy.
I've seen other recipes that first dip each shrimp in an egg wash, but I find that not only is it unnecessary, it makes the outer coating heavier than I like anyway. Plus, it's a mess and a hassle!
Sometimes the simplest approach really is the best, and here, that means just tossing the shrimp and cornstarch in a gallon-size ziploc bag and shaking until the shrimp are evenly coated. Bah-da-bing, bah-da-boom, shrimp are ready for the pan.
The other swap I make is to pan-fry the shrimp in just a couple tablespoons of corn oil instead of deep-frying them. Corn oil has a higher smoke point than most other cooking oils at 450°F so it's great for stir-frying and sautéing.
Just be sure to cook the shrimp in two batches because you don't want to crowd the pan!
To make the candied walnuts, it's just a matter of combining sugar and water in a saucepan and bringing it to a boil to make a quick simple syrup, then adding the walnuts for a couple of minutes before draining and spreading the walnuts out on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Those crunchy, candied walnuts are almost impossible for me to resist and I always make sure there are plenty because otherwise I inevitably pick through stealing everybody else's walnuts when they aren't looking.
And the sauce is even easier. It's just mayonnaise, honey, and a tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk. For an even better-for-you approach, you could swap out the mayo for plain Greek yogurt.
Everything gets stirred together to make a sweet, creamy sauce that coats each bite of shrimp and walnuts.
Serve it with white rice and a nice green vegetable like baby bok choy and boom, you've got dinner that is loads better (and better for you!) than take-out.
More Asian Food Favorites
- Beef with Broccoli
- Easy Weeknight Chicken & Vegetable Stir-Fry
- Grilled Thai Pork Tenderloin with Coconut Lime Peanut Sauce
- Cambodian Chicken Red Curry [Somlar Kari Saek Mouan]
- Thai Coconut Mango Sticky Rice
- Asian Slaw with Ginger Peanut Dressing
- Korean Beef Tacos (Bulgogi)
- Oven Baked Korean BBQ Chicken Wings
- Slow Cooker Korean Beef Short Ribs (Kalbi)
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Honey Walnut Shrimp
- 1 ½ pounds large raw shrimp peeled and deveined
- ½ cup cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 Tablespoons oil divided
- Thinly sliced scallions for garnish
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 3 Tablespoons honey
- 1 Tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup walnut halves
- Stir the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Add walnuts and continue to boil for 2 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper using a slotted spoon and spread in a single layer. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, honey and sweetened condensed milk.
- In a large ziploc bag, combine the cornstarch and salt. Add the shrimp to the bag, then seal and shake to coat evenly in the cornstarch.
- Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add half of the shrimp to the skillet, shaking off excess cornstarch first, taking care not to crowd the pan. Cook until the shrimp curl into a 'c' shape and are pink and crisp on the outside, about 2 minutes per side side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining two tablespoons of oil and the remaining shrimp.
- Combine the crispy fried shrimp and honey sauce and toss to coat. Sprinkle with candied walnuts and green onions and serve.