Kirbie's Cravings

Honey Walnut Shrimp

Honey Walnut Shrimp is a popular Chinese dish. Crispy fried shrimp are coated in a creamy sweet sauce and topped with candied walnuts. This version tastes just as good as the restaurant or take-out version and is cheaper too.

photo of chopsticks holding a piece of walnut shrimp

Where is Honey Walnut Shrimp from?

Honey Walnut Shrimp originated in Hong Kong. It is a classic Cantonese dish. Because of its immense popularity, the dish can be found at most Chinese restaurants, no matter what style of Chinese food they serve. The dish will often be made with large shrimp or prawns and is usually one of the dishes served during Chinese banquets.

In the US, the dish became more widely known after being introduced at Panda Express. While the Panda Express version isn’t quite the same as the original, it is pretty similar.


  • Granulated sugar
  • Water
  • Walnuts
  • Large eggs
  • Cornstarch
  • Raw shrimp (21-25 count)
  • Oil
  • Scallions or green onions
  • Mayonnaise
  • Condensed milk
  • Honey

photo of a plate of walnut shrimp

Classic Version Versus Panda Express

The classic version features lightly battered shrimp. The shrimp is coated in egg and cornstarch, creating a feathery light crispy coating.

The Panda Express honey walnut shrimp version uses a thicker batter, which creates a thick crunchy shell around the shrimp.

The honey walnut shrimp recipe I’m sharing today is the authentic version.

How to Make the Candied Walnuts

  • First, you make a simple syrup of water and sugar. The syrup is reduced down in a small saucepan until it becomes thick and lightly golden in color.
  • The walnuts are then coated in the syrup.
  • The walnuts are then drained from the syrup and laid out to dry on a sheet of parchment paper. It only takes a few minutes for the syrup to dry and when it does, the walnuts will have a crunchy coating.

Honey Walnut Shrimp Sauce

After the shrimp are fried in a large skillet, they are tossed in a creamy sweet sauce that consists of mayonnaise, condensed milk and honey. The condensed milk and honey sweeten and thin out the mayo sauce so that the shrimp can easily be tossed and coated in the sauce.

Tips for Making Honey Walnut Shrimp

  • The syrup takes about 15 minutes to reduce, so I recommend letting it reduce while you are frying the shrimp to save time.
  • I also recommend that you make the syrup in a light-colored saucepan. The color change is very subtle and it will be very hard to see if you use a dark-colored saucepan.
  • If you wish for even crunchier walnuts, you can toast or fry them first before coating them in the syrup.
  • Because the shrimp batter is made of just cornstarch, don’t expect it to turn a golden brown. The batter will stay light in color but it should crisp up.
  • The dish is usually served with rice and sometimes also paired with broccoli.

overhead photo of a plate of walnut shrimp

More Recipes to Try

photo of honey walnut shrimp

Honey Walnut Shrimp

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Chinese
A homemade version of this popular Chinese dish. Crispy shrimp are coated in a sweet, creamy sauce and topped with candied walnuts.
5 from 4 votes


For the Walnuts

  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves measure a heaping 1/2 cup

For the Shrimp

  • 1 large egg whisked
  • 2/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 lb raw shrimp deveined and shells removed (I used 21-25 count)
  • oil for frying
  • 2 green scallions thinly sliced

For the Sauce

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp condensed milk
  • 1-2 tbsp honey


  • In a small light-colored saucepan, add water and sugar. Bring to a simmer and allow to continue to simmer until syrup turns thick and the color changes to a very light gold color. This should take about 15 minutes.
  • Add in the walnuts and stir until they are evenly coated in the syrup. Using a slotted spoon, drain walnuts from the syrup and place onto a sheet of parchment paper to dry.
  • While the syrup is reducing, you can start frying the shrimp. Add oil to pot being used for frying, adding about 1 1/2 inches deep of oil. Bring oil to medium heat.
  • Set aside whisked egg in a small bowl and cornstarch in another bowl. Coat shrimp in egg and shake off excess egg coating. Then roll shrimp in cornstarch until completely coated. Add to hot oil and cook until shrimp curl up, the coating turns crispy and shrimp are cooked through. Do this in a few batches until all shrimp are fried. Place cooked shrimp on a paper towel-lined plate. Do not wait for the shrimp to turn golden brown. Since these shrimp are battered in cornstarch, the coating will stay pale.
  • In a small bowl, add mayonnaise, condensed milk and honey. Whisk together sauce ingredients. Start with 1 tbsp of honey and add more if desired. Add shrimp to a large bowl and pour the sauce over shrimp. Gently toss shrimp in the sauce until all shrimp are coated. Place finished shrimp onto a large serving plate and top with candied walnuts. Garnish with scallions. Serve warm.


  • Adapted from Damn Delicious
  • The syrup takes about 15 minutes to reduce, so to save time, I like to let it reduce while frying the shrimp. 
  • I also recommend that you make the syrup in a light-colored saucepan. The color change is very subtle and it will be very hard to see if you use a dark-colored saucepan.
  • How do you know when the syrup is ready? In addition, to the slight color change, the syrup will reduce to about 1/4 in volume when done. You will also notice that the bubbles will become less rapid and will break slower, indicating the liquid is thick.
  • At many Cantonese restaurants, the walnuts are first fried before they are coated, which makes the walnuts even crunchier. You can do this too if you don't mind the extra step.
  • Because the batter is made of just cornstarch, it won't turn golden brown and will instead remain quite pale. However it will crisp up.
  • Because it is difficult to determine the amount of oil absorbed by the shrimp and since not all of the batter is used, no nutrition information is provided for this recipe.

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!




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Recipe Rating

19 comments on “Honey Walnut Shrimp”

  1. this is a very easy recipe for making a delicious shrimp dish. I’m making it for our New Years dinner celebration! along with chicken and Chinese vegetables. my family loves the presentation…Happy 2024!!

  2. I looked at a lot of recipes and thought that yours was very simple and easy to fix. It was delicious. It is a keeper! Thank you.

  3. Is there a way to add the golden color which to me gives
    The dish a more appetizing/appealing look? Just wondering before I try your Recipe. 

    • Are you talking about the shrimp being more golden? That would require using a different batter to fry them. The version I’m sharing is the traditional version of Honey Walnut Shrimp. The thicker, more golden batter is the American Chinese version.

      • What if you added a pinch of turmeric? I know that would digress from the authenticity, but would add the color you are looking for without changing the flavor. At least it wouldn’t change the flavor for me, as I don’t find turmeric to have much taste at all. 

  4. This recipe sounds amazing to me and would love to try it. Husband prefers savory as opposed to sweet. How do you think this would turn out if I added sriracha to the sauce to spice it up a bit?

  5. Hello, could you do these in the airfryer? 

  6. Dumb question:  is this sweetened condensed milk?  Not sure if there is any other kind. Lol

  7. I did make this and it was delicious! It was so good, I’m making another batch because it didn’t last long.
    Thank you very much!

  8. It took me two tries to make this delicious dish perfectly, but the work definitely paid off! This will be going in my regular meal rotation as it ended up pretty quick to prepare after I understood all the steps.

    Some personal notes:

    * I found that I could probably have gotten away with half the amount of syrup for 1/2 cup of walnuts as most of it drained away when I left the walnuts in the strainer. And you can keep the mixed walnuts and syrup reducing in the pot on low for quite a while longer before draining if you’re trying to multitask with the rest of the shrimp prep and frying.

    * Dry off your defrosted shrimp with a paper towel before dipping it in egg. Otherwise, the egg wash doesn’t stick. 🙁 Also, be very very generous with cornstarch on the shrimp. You want them caked in cornstarch before frying them in the oil.

    * Make sure your oil is hot enough! Sticking a wooden chopstick in the oil and making sure there are little bubbles coming off the chopstick is an easy way to tell. I used a large skillet with enough canola oil to fry one half of the shrimp at a time before flipping it to cook the other side.

    * Be very generous with the deep frying time. I don’t think I fried long enough for the first go around since I was worried about the color, so my shrimp turned out soggy and not crispy. I fried them significantly longer the second time, and it turned out perfectly crispy.

  9. So those are the ingredients in that addicting sauce! I didn’t realize condensed milk was in it. This is one of our favorite shrimp dishes whenever we are at a Chinese place. Thanks for sharing this recipe Kirbie.