Crispy Deep Fried Chinese Five Spice Shrimp Recipe

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Savor the flavor of this Chinese Five Spice Shrimp Recipe. A crispy, delicious appetizer perfect for any occasion!

Celebrate Chinese New Year with an easy, spiced prawns recipe. This dish is a symphony of tastes, combining aromatic five-spice powder with juicy shrimp.

Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or just craving something special, Chinese five-spice shrimp are just what you need!

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While you may prefer to skip to the recipe card, we suggest reading the entire blog post to avoid missing valuable tips and substitution suggestions and to ensure you have the necessary ingredients, equipment, and understanding of the steps and timings.

A bowl of Crispy Five Spice Shrimp
Image for Illustrative Purposes

Chinese Five Spice Shrimp Recipe

We first made this recipe back in 2012 for the Year of the Dragon Chinese Banquet we hosted for family and friends.

It was a surprisingly quick and easy dish that we served as an appetizer. But it works equally well as a main meal with a side dish or two! Try them with simple white rice and some Stir Fried Snowpeas and Water Chestnuts.

To make this simply delicious dish, large prawns/shrimp are coated in a light, crispy batter, deep fried to golden brown, and seasoned with spices, salt, and pepper. Serve alongside a dipping sauce of your choice (we love Sweet Chili Sauce).

The spices bring warmth and depth, while the crispy shrimp offer a satisfying texture. It’s a testament to the simplicity of ingredients coming together to create something extraordinary!

What is Five-Spice Powder?

Chinese five-spice powder is a blend of star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds. Each spice contributes its unique flavor, creating a balance that is both aromatic and deeply satisfying. 

This spice blend can be found in your local grocery store, and if you enjoy Chinese food, it’s a must-have ingredient in your store cupboard.

How To Make Our Chinese Five Spice Shrimp Recipe

If you want the quick printable recipe card, scroll to the bottom of this post to print it out. But for all the tips, keep reading!

Number of Servings: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 5 minutes | Total Time: 15 minutes

Step 1 – Gather Your Ingredients

The ingredients and tools in this recipe are conveniently linked to online retailers like Amazon or Amazon Fresh.

  • Large, Raw Shrimp/Tiger PrawnsShelled, deveined, heads removed, tails on.
  • Egg
  • Potato FlourIt has a multitude of uses in Chinese cooking, including thickening sauces, dredging, and deep-frying, as we will be using in this recipe. If you cannot source this ingredient, it can be substituted for cornstarch (US) or cornflour (UK).
  • Groundnut OilAlso known as peanut oil.
    • If allergies are a concern for you, or you can’t source this oil (another common ingredient used in Asian cuisine), you can use another type of neutral oil, such as canola, sunflower, or vegetable oil.
    • Do not get this confused with sesame oil, which is for dressing food rather than cooking with it.
  • Chinese Five-Spice Powder
  • Sea Salt
  • Ground White PepperA quintessential spice in Chinese recipes. It has an earthier, spicier flavor than black pepper. Do not substitute white pepper for black pepper unless you really have to!

The complete list of ingredients with measurements is on the recipe card at the end of this post.

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Step 2 – Kitchen Tools

The Purple Pumpkin Blog uses both cups and weighted measurements in its recipes, making American cups and kitchen food scales valuable tools for trying all the recipes. We provide US customary, imperial, and metric measurements. Still, it’s important to note that while you can combine cup measurements with weighted measures, never mix US customary/imperial (pounds, ounces, pints, etc.) with metric (kilograms, grams, liters, etc.).

Step 3 – Make The Batter

Make the batter for the shrimp by mixing the beaten egg and flour with the 2 tablespoons of water in a bowl. Set aside.

Step 4 – Prepare The Seasoning

In a small bowl, combine the Chinese five-spice powder, sea salt, and white pepper and set aside.

Step 5 – Heat Oil for Deep-Frying

Pour the groundnut oil into a deep saucepan (or use your deep-fat fryer) and heat to 180°/350°F.

TIP! Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the oil. If you do not have one, you can test if the oil is hot enough by dropping a cube of bread into it. If it turns golden in 15 seconds and floats on the surface, it is hot enough to fry.

Step 6 – Fry The Shrimp

One by one, dip each shrimp into the prepared batter and lower gently into the hot oil. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the shrimp are cooked and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

TIP! Adding the shrimp to the oil one at a time prevents them from sticking together.

Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice, and enjoy!

Quick Dipping Sauces for Chinese Fried Shrimp

  • Tangy Dipping Sauce: In a small bowl, stir together one tablespoon each of dark soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, with one teaspoon each of sugar and toasted sesame oil until the sugar dissolves. Add some finely chopped green onions and serve.
  • Sweet & Spicy Dipping Sauce: Whisk together two tablespoons each of dark soy sauce and rice wine vinegar with one to two tablespoons each of sugar and Sriracha (to taste) and two teaspoons of sesame oil until the sugar dissolves. Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced red chili peppers.
  • Sweet & Sour Dipping Sauce: Combine one tablespoon each of fish sauce, sweet chili sauce with half a tablespoon each of lime juice and rice wine vinegar in a small bowl. Stir in one teaspoon of sugar until dissolved and add as much chopped red chili pepper as desired.

How to Deep-Fry Safely

If you have not deep-fried food before, it can be quite daunting. However, follow our tips below so that you can deep-fry food at home safely and confidently.

If you plan to deep-fry frequently, it is worth investing in a dedicated deep-fryer, which is safer and more convenient to use.

  • Use an oil with a high smoking point. Vegetable or groundnut/peanut oil is generally the best for deep-frying as they have a neutral taste, are economical to buy, and have a high smoke point. You do not want to use extra-virgin olive oil, which is best for dressing food.
  • Use a large, deep, wide, sturdy pan. We use an old-fashioned pressure cooker saucepan, which fulfills all those requirements. A Dutch oven is another good option.
  • Do not overfill the pan. Never fill the pan more than two-thirds with oil; it may bubble up when you add food and spill over.
  • NEVER throw water on an oil/grease fire. Keep a damp (not wet) cloth nearby to help smother the flames. Alternatively, invest in a fire blanket.
  • Keep a well-fitting lid close at hand. If you don’t have a lid for the pot you are using, you can use a baking sheet. Use this to cover the pan should it catch fire.
  • Invest in a fire extinguisher. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, this is the perfect time to purchase one. You never know when you will need it.
  • Use a thermometer. Oil for deep-frying should be between 180°C and 200°C/350°F and 400°F. A food thermometer will help you to keep an eye on the temperature.
  • NEVER leave a pan of hot oil unattended. In just a minute or two, oil can overheat and catch fire. It is not worth the risk.
  • Never put wet food in the fryer. Excess liquid causes the oil to splutter, which can cause injuries. Particularly wet foods should be patted dry with a paper towel before frying.
  • Turn off the heat. If the oil starts smoking, it has become too hot and may catch fire. Turn off the heat, move the pan to another ring on your stovetop/hob, and allow it to cool completely.
  • Turn the pan’s handle away from the front of the cooker. This is a good kitchen practice for any type of cooking. It will help you to avoid knocking the pan from the stovetop/hob.
  • A Child-free and pet-free zone. This doesn’t need explaining, but hot oil is dangerous stuff. Keep kids and animals shut out of the kitchen when deep-frying.
  • Dispose of the oil safely. Never pour the oil down the sink unless you want blocked pipes. Leave it to cool completely before pouring it into a jug/pitcher and funneling it into its original (empty) bottle or another sealable container for disposal in the trash.

What to Do When Deep-Frying Goes Wrong

Now, if you’ve read through all of that and are panicking, please don’t. Just be sensible and follow the tips provided.

However, if something does happen:

  • Keep calm.
  • Turn off the heat and smother the flames with a lid, a large baking sheet, a damp (not wet) kitchen towel, or a fire blanket.
  • Use a fire extinguisher if you have one.
  • DO NOT spray water on an oil/grease fire. This will cause the flames to spread.
  • Evacuate the area and close the door.
  • Call the emergency fire services on the number in your country of residence when it is safe to do so.

Recipe Tips

  • This recipe is best prepared and served fresh and hot, so it isn’t really suitable for storing or freezing.
  • You can vary the spices that you add to the shrimp:
  • For a kick of heat, add some red pepper flakes/crushed red chilies to the bowl of seasoning. 
  • Add some garlic powder for a garlicky punch.
  • For added zest, serve with lime wedges.
  • The easy recipe can be multiplied to serve more people, but remember to cook in small batches so as not to overload the pan and bring down the oil temperature.
  • If you are not comfortable with deep frying, you can shallow fry over a medium high heat, turning the shrimp until golden.

Printable Chinese Five Spice Shrimp Recipe Card


Below is the printable recipe card. To save ink, any demonstration photos on the recipe card are not printed out.

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Chinese Five-Spice Shrimp Recipe

Chinese Five Spice Shrimp

Yield: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with our Chinese Five Spice Shrimp Recipe! This dish is a delightful fusion of aromatic spices and succulent shrimp, creating a perfect harmony of flavors.


  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100g (4oz) potato flour or cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 2 Tbsps water
  • 600ml (2½ cups) groundnut oil (for deep frying)
  • 12 large raw shrimp/tiger prawns, shelled and deveined with tails left on
  • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper


  1. Make the batter for the shrimp by mixing the beaten egg and flour with the two tablespoons of water in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the Chinese five-spice powder, sea salt, and white pepper and set aside.
  3. Pour the groundnut oil into a deep saucepan (or use your deep-fat fryer) and heat to 180°/350°F.
  4. One by one, dip each shrimp into the prepared batter and lower gently into the hot oil. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the shrimp are cooked and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice, and enjoy!

    Chinese Five-Spice Shrimp Recipe

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 365Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 151mgSodium: 1462mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 16g

This site uses Nutritionix to provide estimated nutrition. Nutritional information is always approximate and will depend on the quality of ingredients used and serving sizes. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.

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Dinner Party Menu Suggestions

You’ve made the Chinese Five Spice Shrimp Recipe for your appetizer, but what about the rest of the courses?

Here are additional recipes to create a menu for a dinner party or special meal:

More Shrimp Recipes

Want to make more meals using shrimp/prawns? Check out these recipes next:

Look here for more: Fish & Seafood Recipes

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