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!

Love take-out recipes that you can make at home? Be sure to also try our Orange Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork, and Beef with Broccoli!

close aerial view of honey walnut shrimp and rice on a plate with chopsticks

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!

a close view of honey walnut shrimp and rice on a plate with chopsticks

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.

Raw shrimp being tossed in a gallon-size ziploc bag with cornstarch.

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!

A pan full of crispy shrimp for honey walnut shrimp with a bottle of corn oil behind it.

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.

honey walnut shrimp over rice with garnish

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Honey Walnut Shrimp

4.88 from 25 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Servings 6 servings
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! 

Ingredients
  

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

Sauce

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon sweetened condensed milk

Glazed walnuts

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup walnut halves

Instructions
 

Glazed Walnuts

  • 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.

Honey Sauce

  • In a medium bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, honey and sweetened condensed milk.

Crispy Shrimp

  • 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.

Notes

Adapted from Damn Delicious.

Nutrition

Serving: -1g | Calories: 550kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 30g | Cholesterol: 152mg | Sodium: 854mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. I have never had Honey Walnut Shrimp but sounds really nice dish. Love sweet and savory I must try it soon! Thanks for your participation on this shop.

  2. I love that you eliminated the heavy batter - it's one of those things that as you're making it just makes you feel gross before you've even eaten it. This looks amazing!

  3. 5 stars
    This sounds really delicious! I prefer less greasy, less heavy versions of restaurant food too- and I definitely would rather pan fry my shrimp than deep fry. Delicious as usual Amy!

  4. 5 stars
    This looks so delicious! I love shrimp and love seeing new ways of making it without my hubby saying, "shrimp again?" In fact, I think I'll make this on the weekend and I can't wait!!

  5. 5 stars
    I am all about cooking at home too. In fact we have takeout like 6 times a year at the most. Who needs it when you can make delicious (and much more healthy) dinners like this at home. Interesting about corn oil. I remember the days when it was getting a lot of negative reactions. Good to know it is a great oil to work with.

  6. 5 stars
    Honey Walnut Shrimp is my Husband and I's absolute favorite Chinese dish. We can never get enough and we never order it for 2 reasons. 1) It's never gluten free 2) It's very expensive. I will be making this dish over and over again. I love how simple the ingredients are! I love that its naturally gluten free with a light corn starch dusting. I can not wait to eat this up!

  7. 5 stars
    I just LOVE walnuts and I've been totally into seafood lately too. This dish sounds awesome and I love that I can make it at home and customize it with ingredients I have on hand to control everything that goes into it. Takeout comfort food at home, at it's finest! Yum!

  8. I've actually never had - or even heard of - honey walnut shrimp! Given where I live (and the fact that I married into a Taiwanese family) I don't get a whole lot of Western-style Chinese food, but nonetheless, I have to wonder if this is somewhat regional! There are a handful of Canada-specific Western-style Chinese dishes, so who knows? In any case, I can picture the original and all that breading/frying, and I'm sure the version you've got here is both flavourful and light. It sounds like a great meal, and as a big fan of walnuts, it sounds like a great combination of flavours. Cheers!

  9. 5 stars
    Oh wow! I love the flavors here. I've never thought to bring mayo and honey together, and I'm loving it. (I'm a sucker for mayo. I indulge as a treat only once in a while, but this would be a great excuse 🙂 )

    I'm also loving the addition of walnuts. I love a crunch!

  10. 5 stars
    I am always looking for new recipes using shrimp. This honey walnut version looks beyond delicious! I have to try it this week!

  11. 5 stars
    Very nice recipe, I'm always looking for new ways of cooking shrimp, I'll try yours next time the family is craving for shrimps, so much better than take away!

  12. 5 stars
    I'm such a creature of habit when it comes to Chinese cuisine and this isn't a dish I've tried....until now! It looks phenomenal and I can't believe that just a coating of cornstarch will make the shrimp crunchy. That's a tip I'll be keeping for plenty of future dishes to lighten them up.

  13. 5 stars
    This sounds delicious, I love seafood all the time. Cornstarch makes such a good coating for a light coat of crispiness. We fry in Mazola too, fantastic light flavour that doesn't effect the food too much.

  14. This sounds delicious. I am always looking for ways to make a dish less caloric if possible and still retain the flavors. Thanks for this recipe.

  15. I want to make this for 2 lbs of shrimp and I’m wondering how much I should adjust the ingredients for that extra 1/2 cup of shrimp? Or is it not even necessary to make any adjustments to the other ingredients? I’ve never made this recipe before so I don’t know how much sauce there is for this dish.