Make Panda Express-style honey walnut shrimp at home in under 20 minutes. This makes an easy weeknight dinner, featuring crispy shrimp in a sweet, silky mayo sauce and crunchy walnuts.
As someone who loves Panda Express and PF Chang’s, I’ve recreated many of their classics at home, including chicken lettuce wraps, black pepper Angus steak, and black pepper chicken. It’s the honey walnut shrimp, though, that is my kryptonite.
If you’ve never tried it, it features crispy breaded shrimp tossed with walnuts and drizzled with the most incredible honey sauce. My version is BETTER than takeout and the numerous 5 star reviews prove it.
Table of Contents
- It is so moreish. Let’s be real: who can’t stop eating Chinese takeout? Like Hunan shrimp, this recipe is so flavorful, sweet, and savory that you cannot stop eating it.
- Easy to make. Although there are three components, they all take less than 5 minutes to make. It’s also so much cheaper to make at home, and let’s face it…it tastes better!
- Perfect texture. This dish is famous for its incredible textures, and my version is no different- you get the crispy fried shrimp, the creamy sauce, and the crunchy candied nuts.
- Easy to customize. What makes this dish stand out even more is just how easy it is to customize. Keep things classic and serve it over fried rice and noodles, or use it as a salad topping.
Although this recipe is a takeout favorite, the ingredients I used to make it are very basic and can be found at any mainstream grocery store. Here is everything you will need:
- Cornstarch. To make the crispy coating for the shrimp.
- Salt and pepper. To season the batter.
- Egg and Water. Whisk together egg and water to make the batter with cornstarch.
- Shrimp. I like to use peeled and deveined shrimp because they’re faster and easier, but of course, shell-on shrimp works, too- you just need to remove them.
- Vegetable oil. Any oil with a high smoke point is great, including peanut oil, vegetable oil, and sunflower seed oil.
- Candied walnuts. A combination of honey, water, and, of course, walnuts.
- Creamy honey sauce. I used a mix of mayonnaise and plain yogurt to reduce all the fat. There’s also a little extra honey for sweetness. Other options include Japanese mayo (kewpie mayo) or salad cream.
How to make honey walnut shrimp
I’ve included step-by-step photos below to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full printable recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step 1- Make the candied walnuts. Heat honey and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Add walnut halves, coat them with honey syrup, transfer them on a baking sheet, and let them cool.
Step 2- Make the sweet sauce. Whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, and honey in a medium bowl until combined.
Step 3- Coat the shrimp. Stir cornstarch with salt and pepper in a shallow dish and whisk egg and water in another. Toss the shrimp in cornstarch, the egg mixture, and again in the cornstarch.
Step 4- Fry the shrimp. Fry the shrimp in hot vegetable oil for 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer it to a wire rack or a plate lined with a kitchen towel to soak excess oil.
Step 5- Garnish and serve. Drizzle shrimp with the sweet sauce, sprinkle with candied walnuts, and serve immediately.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Dry the shrimp gently with a paper towel to ensure the cornstarch coating sticks.
- Make the candied walnuts first, as they will become crunchy as they are cooling down.
- Fry the shrimp in batches to prevent overcrowding the pan. I find when I add too much, the oil temperature drops and the shrimp becomes a little gummy.
- Keep a firm eye on the shrimp as it cooks. Remember, shrimp cooks very quickly, so once the batter is golden, it’s ready to be removed from the oil.
How to store leftovers
To store. If you have shrimp leftovers, refrigerate them in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
To freeze. The coating loses its crispiness upon freezing. So, I don’t recommend freezing the leftovers.
To reheat. Although shrimp will not be as crispy, you can still reheat the leftovers in the oven at 350°F or in the microwave till warm.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can! Remember to thaw the frozen shrimp in advance and allow them to come to room temperature before using.
If you are allergic to walnuts, you may use roasted almonds, pecans, or whole cashews.
Precooked shrimp overcooks during frying and result in an unpleasant texture. Hence, I don’t recommend using precooked shrimp in this recipe.
More takeout fakeout recipes
Honey Walnut Shrimp
- In a small saucepan, combine the honey and water over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens. Add the walnut halves and stir to coat. Spread the coated walnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let cool.
- Make the sweet sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, honey, and yogurt until smooth. Set aside.
- In a shallow dish, combine the cornstarch, salt, and black pepper. In another shallow dish, whisk together the egg and water. Dip each shrimp in the cornstarch mixture, then in the egg mixture, and then back in the cornstarch mixture.
- In a large skillet or wok, heat about 1 inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot.
- Working in batches, add the shrimp to the hot oil and fry until golden brown and crispy, about 2-3 minutes per side. Place the shrimp on a wire rack while cooking the remaining shrimp.
- Once all the shrimp is cooked, drizzle with the sweet sauce, sprinkle with candied walnuts, and serve immediately.
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