Japanese tempura batter is easy to make at home with this three-ingredient recipe. You're certain to have excellent results by following the recipe tips below.
While this recipe for tempura batter is easy to prepare, there are several key points to keep in mind while making the batter. Follow the tips in the Before You Begin section below for making the best tempura batter and tempura.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup ice cold water
- Ice cubes for chilling the water
Before You Begin
- Have all of the items you plan to coat and deep fry with the tempura batter prepared (for example, vegetables, shrimp, fish, etc.) prior to mixing the batter ingredients.
- Always sift the flour. This makes the flour lighter and easier to incorporate into the batter when it's mixed.
- For crisp tempura, use ice water instead of regular room-temperature, or tap water.
- Try using chopsticks to mix the ingredients of the tempura batter together instead of a whisk, to minimize air and risk of over-mixing the batter.
- Heat the oil for deep-frying before the tempura batter is prepared to ensure the oil is ready and that the batter is at its coldest when it hits the oil. Note, the oil should be at 375 F.
- Don't prepare the tempura batter ahead of time as it will not yield the best results.
Make the Tempura Batter
- In a small bowl, sift flour once or twice to remove any clumps and to make it light and soft. Set aside.
- In a separate medium bowl, gently beat 1 egg until the yolk and egg whites are just barely incorporated.
- Prepare ice cold water by combining water and ice cubes in a cup. Using a strainer, measure 1 cup of ice cold water and add it to the bowl with the beaten egg. Make sure you do not actually add ice cubes to the tempura batter mixture.
- Add the sifted flour into the bowl with the egg and water mixture and lightly combine the flour using chopsticks. Be careful not to over-mix the batter.
- The batter is now ready for immediate use. If for some reason the batter won't be used immediately, place it in the refrigerator temporarily (for a few short minutes) to keep it ice cold until you're ready to deep-fry your tempura. Don’t store the batter in the fridge.
Just What Is Tempura?
Tempura is a very popular Japanese dish of deep-fried vegetables and seafood that is coated in a very light and airy batter that is fried to perfection.
It's served at Japanese restaurants worldwide but also is a common dish made in home kitchens. In Japan, you'll often find specialty restaurants that only serve tempura.
Article Updated by Judy Ung.