Classic Honey Walnut Shrimp Recipe

There are countless ways to cook and serve shrimp, but most shrimp recipes take a salty or savory approach. This recipe for classic honey walnut shrimp opts for sweetening up the shrimp — something that, upon first thought, may seem a bit odd. But fear not, as there are still plenty of savory flavors in this dish. The sweetness comes in through the sauce, which consists of mayonnaise, honey, condensed milk, and a little bit of lemon juice. The result is a creamy, subtly sweet sauce that pairs perfectly with the fried shrimp, and recipe developer Catherine Brookes can definitely attest to the winning flavor combination. 

"This dish might feature some ingredients that you wouldn't typically think of combining," Brookes admits, "but everything comes together in such a delicious way!" Not only do you have the sweet sauce and fried shrimp, but you'll top it all off with some sweet walnuts, adding a nuttiness that really rounds out the flavor profile of the whole dish. As Brookes describes it, you'll end up with "crispy shrimp with a creamy sauce and sweet, nutty topping," and really, does it get much better than that?

Gather the ingredients for classic honey walnut shrimp

As you might expect, you'll need honey, walnuts, and shrimp to make this recipe. Additionally, you'll need sugar, mayonnaise, condensed milk, lemon juice, cornstarch, salt, black pepper, eggs, and vegetable oil.

"Adding a little lemon juice to the sauce adds a slight tang to an otherwise sweet and creamy sauce, helping to balance the flavors," Brookes says of her special ingredient. 

Coat the walnuts in a sweet syrup

The first thing you'll want to do is prepare the sweet walnuts, which will go on top of the whole dish. In a saucepan, heat the sugar and ½ cup water on medium heat, until bubbling. Within a 10-minute period, the sugar should dissolve into the water, leaving you with a sweet simple syrup. Working quickly, toss the walnut halves in the syrup, then transfer them to a sheet of parchment paper to cool. Make sure the walnuts are in a single layer as they cool, otherwise they'll stick together and form an unmanageable clump. 

Mix up the creamy honey sauce

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, honey, condensed milk, and lemon juice. Once these ingredients are combined, set the bowl aside — this is the sauce you'll toss the shrimp in later on.

Fry the shrimp

In a wide and shallow dish, mix the salt and pepper into the cornstarch. In another shallow dish, beat the eggs. Dunk a shrimp into the eggs, then dredge it in the cornstarch before setting it aside on a plate. Repeat this process until each shrimp is adequately coated in cornstarch. 

Now, heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. You'll know the oil is hot enough when it sizzles as the shrimp go in — and, at that point, you can go ahead and place each shrimp into the pan. Fry the shrimp for 3 minutes before flipping them and frying for 3 more minutes. You'll know they're done when they're pink, golden, and crispy on the outside. Remove the shrimp from the heat, and if needed, allow them to drain on paper towels depending on how much excess oil there is.

Serve the honey walnut shrimp over rice

Mix the shrimp with the honey-mayo sauce you made earlier, and make sure that each shrimp is evenly coated in the sweet sauce. Scoop a serving of the shrimp over rice (or noodles) and sprinkle the walnuts on top. Optionally, top the whole thing with some chopped scallions. There you have it — honey walnut shrimp

This is a full meal on its own, but you may want to serve it alongside some vegetables or a salad to round it out. And, while you could save some as leftovers, Brookes highly recommends enjoying the recipe immediately after cooking. "You could keep leftovers in the fridge for the next day, but the shrimp may lose its crispness," she explains. 

Classic Honey Walnut Shrimp Recipe
4.9 from 25 ratings
Sweeten up your seafood night with this easy recipe for classic honey walnut shrimp. The sweet and creamy sauce and glazed walnuts will hit the spot.
Prep Time
Cook Time
walnut shrimp in bowl
Total time: 40 minutes
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup walnut halves
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 ounces shrimp
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
Optional Ingredients
  • chopped scallions, for garnish
  1. Add the sugar and ½ cup water to a saucepan. Heat on a medium setting until bubbling and golden. This should take about 10 minutes.
  2. Toss the walnuts in the syrup and transfer them onto a piece of baking parchment to cool.
  3. Mix the mayonnaise, honey, condensed milk, and lemon juice in a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Mix the cornstarch with the salt and pepper in a wide, shallow dish.
  5. In another shallow dish, beat the eggs with a fork.
  6. Dip each piece of shrimp into the eggs, then into the cornstarch mixture, before placing them onto a plate or baking sheet.
  7. Heat the oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, fry the shrimp for about 3 minutes per side, until pink and crisp on the outside.
  8. Combine the fried shrimp with the mayonnaise mixture, stirring to combine.
  9. Serve the shrimp over rice or noodles and top with the caramelized walnuts. You can also add chopped scallions as garnish, if desired.
Calories per Serving 1,747
Total Fat 135.7 g
Saturated Fat 12.4 g
Trans Fat 0.9 g
Cholesterol 357.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 107.9 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Total Sugars 77.9 g
Sodium 640.3 mg
Protein 30.1 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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