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Healthy Honey Walnut Shrimp (Paleo)

A healthier copycat Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp recipe featuring crispy pan-fried shrimp, sweet candied walnuts and an incredible creamy sauce. 

Bowl of Honey Walnut Shrimp with green onions on top

Lovers of crispy battered shrimp, you’re going to go bananas over this easy healthy honey garlic shrimp recipe.

If you’ve never tried honey walnut shrimp, the basic gist is we pan-fry battered shrimp to crispy perfection, toast up some candied walnuts and serve them together with an amazing creamy sweet honey sauce.

Honey Walnut Shrimp originates from Hong Kong, and has been made popular in the United States by Panda Express and other Chinese food restaurants.

The traditional version of Honey Walnut Shrimp consists of shrimp battered in mochiko (which is a glutinous rice flour easily found at Asian markets) or cornstarch, candied walnuts that have been toasted in sugar, a mayo-based sauce with a touch of condensed milk in it. 

What we have here is an equally delicious dish to the original recipe, but made gluten-free and refined sugar-free using a handful of basic ingredients you likely already have on hand. 

One of the things I love about this recipe is how easy it is to prepare. 

You use the same skillet to cook the walnuts as you do the shrimp and everything gets tossed together at the end.

While traditional Honey Walnut Shrimp is not spicy, I like adding a drizzle of sriracha to balance out the sweetness and kick up the flavor a notch. If you prefer mild food, skip the sriracha.

close up pan-fried shrimp

Serve it up with Vegetable Fried Rice for a real good time!

Let’s chat about the ingredients!

Honey Walnut Shrimp Ingredients:

For the Shrimp: Raw shrimp that has been peeled and deveined, egg, tapioca starch, sea salt, black pepper, and avocado oil. The shrimp gets dredged in whisked egg then tapioca flour, then pan-fried to a perfect golden brown crisp in hot oil. You can also use gluten-free all-purpose flour, arrowroot starch, or cornstarch in place of the tapioca flour for the crispy coating and olive oil or vegetable oil in place of the avocado oil.

For the Creamy Honey Sauce: Avocado oil mayonnaise (or your favorite mayonnaise), honey, a touch of coconut milk or any non-dairy milk you have on hand, and sea salt. This combination makes for a lusciously creamy sweet sauce, perfect for a sweet and savory experience.

For the Candied Walnuts: Raw walnut halves, avocado oil, honey, and a little sea salt is all we need for the delectable sweet and crunchy candied walnuts, which pair so nicely with the crispy shrimp.

Also be sure to pick up some brown rice or white rice, soy sauce, and green onions for serving this marvelous Chinese cuisine as a complete meal. 

bowl of honey walnut shrimp on top of rice with chop sticks to the side and a bowl of sauce.

How to Make Honey Walnut Shrimp:

Make the Creamy Honey Sauce:

Add the ingredients for the sauce to a small bowl and whisk well until everything is combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Note: If your honey is hard or crystalized, nuke it in the microwave for 5 to 15 seconds, until it is runny enough to combine with the other sauce ingredients.

Creamy honey sauce in a measuring cup

Prepare the Shrimp:

Whisk the egg into a large mixing bowl then place the peeled raw shrimp in the bowl and stir gently until the shrimp is coated with egg. Add in the tapioca flour and gently toss until everything is coated in the flour. Note: this mixture will become very sticky and goopy – this is normal. The shrimp in this tempura batter will want to stick together, but don’t worry – they will come apart during the deep frying process.

Heat the avocado oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place shrimp in a single layer and cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side (note: depending on the size of your skillet you may need to perform this step in two batches so as to not overcrowd the shrimp), until the shrimp have a nice golden brown color, are nice and crispy and cooked through.

Transfer the shrimp to a plate and set aside.

Crispy fried shrimp in a skillet

Make the Candied Walnuts:

Add the walnuts and honey to the same skillet you used to cook the shrimp, leaving any leftover oil in the skillet. Add a small amount of additional oil to protect the honey from burning (honey burns at a relatively low temperature).

Heat over medium heat and stir occasionally, cooking the walnuts until they are coated in honey and the honey around them is sizzling, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer the cooked shrimp back to the skillet with the walnuts and toss everything together until the shrimp is hot and lightly coated in honey.

Honey candied walnuts in a skillet

Serve the honey garlic shrimp over steamed white or brown rice (or with your choice of side dishes) and drizzle with the creamy honey sauce. If desired, also drizzle some sriracha on top for some heat.

Skillet with honey walnut shrimp

Store any leftover Honey Walnut Shrimp in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To reheat the Honey Walnut Shrimp, heat a small amount of avocado oil in a skillet and heat over medium until the shrimp has heated through and has crisped back up. Note: while you can microwave the shrimp to reheat it, the breading will be soggy and the shrimp will have a rubbery texture.

Honey walnut shrimp with green onions sprinkled on top in a skillet

And that’s it! Your ticket to amazing crispy fried shrimp the entire family will love, guaranteed to taste fresher and even better than the fast food Panda Express version.

If you love this recipe, also try my Sweet and Sour Shrimp!

horizontal photo of healthy honey walnut shrimp in a blue bowl

More Chinese Inspired Recipes:

Enjoy this crispy sweet, savory sticky shrimp experience!

Bowl of Honey Walnut Shrimp with green onions on top

Healthy Honey Walnut Shrimp

Yield: 3 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Crispy pan-fried shrimp with crunchy candied walnuts and a creamy honey sauce is so irresistible! A healthier copycat Panda Express recipe.

Ingredients

For the Creamy Sweet Sauce:

  • ½ cup avocado oil mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp full-fat canned coconut milk, yogurt, or cream
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 to 3 tsp sriracha, optional (for some heat)

For the Shrimp:

  • 3 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup tapioca flour*
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Candied Walnuts:

  • 2/3 cup walnuts
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp avocado oil
  • Pinch Sea Salt

Instructions

Make the Creamy Honey Sauce:

1. Add the ingredients for the sauce to a small bowl and whisk well until everything is combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Note: If your honey is hard or crystalized, heat it in the microwave for 5 to 15 seconds, until it is runny enough to combine with the other sauce ingredients.

Creamy honey sauce in a measuring cup

Prepare the Shrimp:

1. Whisk the egg into a large mixing bowl then place the peeled raw shrimp in the bowl and stir gently until the shrimp is coated with egg. Add in the tapioca flour and gently toss until everything is coated in the flour. Note: this mixture will become very sticky - this is normal.

2. Heat the avocado oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place shrimp in a single layer and cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side (note: depending on the size of your skillet you may need to perform this step in two batches so as to not overcrowd the shrimp), until the shrimp have a nice golden brown color, are nice and crispy and cooked through.

Crispy fried shrimp in a skillet

3. Transfer the shrimp to a plate and set aside.

Make the Candied Walnuts:

1. Add the walnuts and honey to the same skillet you used to cook the shrimp, leaving any leftover oil in the skillet. Add a small amount of additional oil to protect the honey from burning (honey burns at a relatively low temperature). Heat over medium heat and stir occasionally, cooking the walnuts until they are coated in honey and the honey around them is sizzling, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Honey candied walnuts in a skillet

Put it All Together:

1. Transfer the cooked shrimp back to the skillet with the walnuts and toss everything together until the shrimp is hot and lightly coated in honey.

2. Serve the honey garlic shrimp over steamed white or brown rice (or with your choice of side dishes) and drizzle with the creamy honey sauce. If desired, also drizzle some sriracha on top for some heat.

horizontal photo of healthy honey walnut shrimp in a blue bowl

Notes

*You can also use arrowroot starch, gluten-free all-purpose flour or cornstarch in place of tapioca flour.

Nutrition Information
Yield 3 Serving Size 1 Serving (of 3)
Amount Per Serving Calories 700Total Fat 48gCarbohydrates 46gFiber 1gSugar 24gProtein 25g
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collage for honey walnut shrimp

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