The vegetable tempura you see pictured here is what I learned to make in Culinary school, and it is what you will find in most Japanese restaurants – at least those in Southern California. It is light, airy, crunchy, and simple. The dipping sauce is also simple. This recipe is part of this month’s Family Dinner Book Club celebrating the book The Peace Tree of Hiroshima.

Simple food is what we found all over Japan when we travelled there a few years ago. I sort of knew that Japanese food was understated and mellow, but I didn’t fully appreciate it until I was there amidst the natural beauty and tradition of Japanese culture.

This light and fluffy tempura is also what we found in Japan. However, we also found a few different styles of tempura! I was not expecting that. We had tempura that had a thicker coating and was tossed in some sort of sauce. I wonder if that was a regional variation, or if that was catering to the Western palate. I don’t know, but I do know that it was all tasty.

Vegetable tempura is a great way to get some veggies into your kids bellies. Yes, it is deep fried, but it is a quick fry, and the veggies maintain a nice al dente crunch. Bonus if your kids enjoy dipping! I made the traditional tempura dipping sauce, and I added my own Japanese-inspired dipping sauce that I like to use on rice bowls, fried rice, noodles, the sky is the limit!

What vegetables will you turn into tempura?

vegetable tempura recipe from

Vegetable Tempura


Tempura Batter:

  • 120 grams (1 cup) +60 grams (1/2 cup) all purpose flour, separated
  • 63 grams (1/2 cup) cornstarch
  • 1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 470 milliliters (2 cups) ice cold water
  • 900 grams (2 pounds) favorite vegetables (green beans, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, lotus root, eggplant, parsnips, radishes, etc)
  • Neutral oil for frying (peanut, safflower, sunflower)

Classic Tempura Dipping Sauce:

  • 175 milliliters (3/4 cup) dashi
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin

Sarah's Favorite Sauce:

  • 118 milliliters (1/2 cup) low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fish oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil


Tempura Batter:

  1. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the 60 grams of flour with the cornstarch.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the 120 grams flour, eggs, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in the ice cold water until the batter is smooth and thin.
  3. Slice the vegetables into bite sized pieces, and set a medium pot filled halfway with oil over a medium flame to heat.
  4. The oil is ready once it has reached 350F degrees, or a pinch of flour sizzles immediately when submerged.
  5. Dredge the vegetables in the flour/cornstarch mixture, then dip in the tempura batter, and repeat (so you will have dipped the vegetable into each bowl twice).
  6. Gently drop into the oil, and fry for 1-2 minutes, until the batter is very lightly browned. Depending on the size of your pot, you can fry about 6-10 pieces at a time.
  7. Remove using a slotted spoon or spider strainer onto a paper towel lined plate.
  8. Repeat this process until all the vegetables have been fried. Serve with dipping sauces.

Classic Tempura Dipping Sauce and Sarah's Favorite:

  1. Whisk the ingredients together and serve with the tempura.

20 Comments on Vegetable Tempura

  1. Daniela Anderson
    May 12, 2017 at 2:17 pm (4 years ago)

    Oh my! What a treat! I’ve been craving tempura for quite a while now, it’s been on my list for ages, was actually thinking of a mixture of vegetables and prawns. These veggies are cooked to perfection, fantastic job!

  2. Veena Azmanov
    May 12, 2017 at 2:44 pm (4 years ago)

    My favorite Vegetable tempura!Nothing beats a good tempura.. Can’t wait to try your sauce.

  3. Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy
    May 13, 2017 at 2:37 pm (4 years ago)

    We happen to love Japanese cuisine. This looks fantastic. I have never made tempura at home. Perhaps it is time I gave it a try. My kind of tasty appetizers for sure.

  4. ManilaSpoon
    May 13, 2017 at 3:54 pm (4 years ago)

    I love Japanese food and every time we order in a restaurant you can be sure there’d be tempura!! Love that I now have this delicious recipe to try!

  5. Kylee from Kylee Cooks
    May 13, 2017 at 4:08 pm (4 years ago)

    I love tempura vegetables – especially with some amazing dipping sauces. Japanese food isn’t so common (aside from sushi) here in AZ – but I could make this myself, happily!

  6. Marlynn | UrbanBlissLife
    May 13, 2017 at 6:26 pm (4 years ago)

    I love tempura. We usually order tempura vegetables and prawns as our main appetizer when we eat out at Japanese restaurants. Can’t wait to make this at home!

  7. Amanda
    May 13, 2017 at 6:44 pm (4 years ago)

    This is more delicious looking than anything I have had a Japanese restaurant! Tempura veggies are my favorite. Thanks for such a great recipe.

  8. Adriana Lopez Martn
    May 13, 2017 at 11:59 pm (4 years ago)

    You never go wrong with tempura is yummy, easy and who does not like a fried yummy appetizer nice recipe =)

  9. Christine - Jar Of Lemons
    May 14, 2017 at 5:40 pm (4 years ago)

    It’s been awhile since I’ve had Vegetable Tempura, but I always love it! Your recipe looks delicious!

  10. swathi
    May 14, 2017 at 6:26 pm (4 years ago)

    Do you know when I was in Japan I love tempura. I never got that taste in tempura once I left Tokyo. Your recipe sound delicious. I am missing the taste from restaurants in Japan.

  11. Sandhya Ramakrishnan
    May 14, 2017 at 7:14 pm (4 years ago)

    This is a treat for sure and I would not mind the deep fried goodness once in a while. That is what makes it extra flavorful and I will not have it any other way. Looks so tempting!

  12. valmg @ From Val's Kitchen
    May 14, 2017 at 7:56 pm (4 years ago)

    That coating does look nice and light. I think I’d actually really like to try giving it a go on some chicken or pork, I bet that would be yummy.

  13. Uma
    May 14, 2017 at 8:25 pm (4 years ago)

    Never had them before. But sounds like Indian deep fried snacks! But you baked them and I would love to bake my vegetable tempura too:)

  14. Jessica (Swanky Recipes)
    May 14, 2017 at 9:44 pm (4 years ago)

    Now, this would be fun to make for a get-together with friends or family. I just love that these are vegetarian and can be paired or made with a variety of sauces, yum!

  15. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way
    May 15, 2017 at 4:14 am (4 years ago)

    It’s been years since we’ve attempted to make tempura. Ours was not light and crunchy. Looks like we’ll have to make another attempt and use your recipe. It does look delicious.

  16. karyn
    May 15, 2017 at 6:02 am (4 years ago)

    We use tempura a lot on fish but never veggie.. Thank you for the inspiration.. Delicious recipe

  17. Priya Srinivasan
    May 15, 2017 at 7:45 am (4 years ago)

    That is one classic appetizer! I have tasted tempura just once, your post reminding me to make it again! that dipping sauce sounds delicious!

  18. traditionallymodernfood
    May 15, 2017 at 12:06 pm (4 years ago)

    I like tempura we used to have it every time when we visit restaurant, now I have the recipe, will try it soon. Sarah’s Dipping sauce sounds interesting

  19. Anvita
    May 16, 2017 at 2:49 pm (4 years ago)

    I have only tried these at a Japanese Restaurant, never at home. I should give this a try.

  20. Pat
    January 11, 2019 at 9:14 am (2 years ago)

    It was delicious!! Had to make a second batch for dinner,lol. I kept snacking on the first.


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