Tempura: How to Make Japanese Tempura

Japanese Tempura is a Japanese dish usually made up of seasoned and deep-fried seafood or vegetables. The fritter-cooking methods developed in the 16th century by the Portuguese residents in Nagasaki inspired the recipe.

The name “tempura” comes from the Latin word quatuor anni tempora, which refers to the Ember Days when no food is consumed. Cooked temperature pieces are either eaten with dipping sauce, salted without sauce, or used for assembling other dishes.

Tempura is usually served with rubbed daikon and eaten hot right after frying. In Japan, it is often found as a shrimp, shiso leaf, or fritter in soba or udon soup bowls. Tempura is also used with other ingredients. It is called tempura soba or tensoba when served over soba, or buckwheat noodles. Tempura is also used as a donburi meal, serving tempura shrimp and vegetables in a bowl and on top of udon soup over steamed rice.


  • Author: Romae Chanice Marquez
  • Recipe Category: Snacks/Appetizer
  • Cuisine: Japanese

Tempura in restaurants is called tenpura-ya in Japan. As part of a fixed meal or a bento or lunch box, most restaurants offer tempura. It is also a common ingredient in bento boxes from the take-out or convenience store. The whole preparation and cooking time is 20 minutes. This recipe is suitable for at least 2 people. 

Japanese Tempura

Tempura is one of the most famous traditional Japanese dishes. Photo credits to: @tendonakimitsuph. 

Japanese Tempura Ingredients

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour (sifted)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup of water, cold
  • Ice cubes

Japanese Tempura Instructions

Step 1: Gather all ingredients.

Step 2: Sift the flour once or twice in a small bowl to avoid any clumps and make it smooth and clean. Set aside.

Step 3: Gently beat 1 egg in a separate medium bowl before barely adding the yolk and egg whites.

Step 4: Combine water and ice cubes in a cup to make ice-cold water. Measure 1 cup of ice-cold water using a strainer and add it with the beaten egg to the pan. Make sure you don’t apply ice cubes to the mixture of the tempura batter.

Step 5: Attach the sifted flour to the bowl with the mixture of egg and water and use chopsticks to blend the flour gently. Be cautious that the batter is not over-mixed.

Step 6: The batter is now ready to be used immediately. If the batter is not directly used for some reason, place it temporarily (for a few short minutes) in the refrigerator to keep it ice cold until you are ready to deep-fry your tempura.

Step 7: You can now use your tempura in your other recipes.

Japanese Tempura Additional Information

  • Per serving has 374 calories, 18g of fat, 32g of carbohydrates, and 19g of protein. 
  • Use ice water instead of regular room temperature or tap water for a crisp temperature. Try mixing the ingredients of the tempura batter together with chopsticks instead of a whisk to reduce air and the possibility of the mixture being over-mixed.
  • Warm the deep-frying oil before the tempura batter is prepared to ensure that the oil is ready and that when it reaches the water, the batter is at its coldest.
  • This recipe takes 20 minutes to prepare.
  • The dish serves 2 people.

About Japanese Tempura Recipe

Within Japan, there are many non-traditional and hybrid uses for tempura, as well as recently in Japan.

Chefs around the world have tempura dishes on their menus and use a wide range of different batters and ingredients, including non-traditional broccoli, zucchini, and asparagus.


In Japan, tempura is often used as a shrimp, shiso leaf, or fritter in soba or udon soup bowls. Try out this simple recipe to get started with your tempura and other Japanese dishes. For more international recipes, click here.

Featured Image: @nolactosenoprob / Instagram, @akimitsu_canada / Instagram