Perfect Potato Tempura: Crispy Recipe & Make-Ahead Tips

Imagine biting into a piece of potato tempura: the light, airy crunch of the batter giving way to a soft, warmly comforting potato inside. This delightful dish brings a twist to the traditional tempura you might know, which originally hails from Japan. While typically featuring seafood and vegetables, swapping in potatoes offers a heartier, satisfying experience that’s hard to resist.


To recreate the delightful crunch and soft interior of potato tempura at home, you’ll need a selection of simple, accessible ingredients. Follow these lists to gather what you need for the tempura and the dipping sauce.

Potato Tempura Ingredients

  • 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup iced water
  • Vegetable oil, for deep frying
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 small piece daikon radish, grated (optional)
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped (optional)

Necessary Equipment

To ensure your potato tempura turns out impeccably crispy and enjoyable, you’ll need a few specific tools. Having the right equipment will simplify the cooking process and help achieve the best texture and flavor.

Essential Tools for Preparation

  • Vegetable Peeler: This will help you peel the potatoes quickly and efficiently.
  • Sharp Knife: You’ll need a sharp knife to cut the potatoes into even slices or strips, depending on your preference.
  • Cutting Board: Choose a sturdy cutting board for safety and ease when slicing the potatoes.

Cooking Equipment

  • Deep Fryer or Large, Heavy Bottomed Pot: A deep fryer is ideal for maintaining consistent oil temperature, but a large pot can also work well.
  • Cooking Thermometer: Ensuring the oil is at the correct temperature (approx. 350°F) is crucial for that perfect golden crispiness.
  • Slotted Spoon or Spider Strainer: These tools are essential for safely adding and removing the tempura from the hot oil.
  • Paper Towels: Have plenty ready to drain excess oil from the fried tempura.
  • Mixing Bowls: Needed for preparing the batter and the dipping sauce.
  • Whisk: Essential for mixing the tempura batter to the right consistency.

With everything ready, you’re all set to make potato tempura that crisps beautifully and tastes delicious.

Prep Work

Before diving into cooking, taking care of all the prep work is crucial for a smooth and efficient cooking experience. Start with prepping the potatoes and then move on to preparing the batter.

Preparing the Potatoes

  1. Select and Peel Potatoes: First, choose medium-sized potatoes for a more uniform cooking time. Using a vegetable peeler, gently remove the skin from each potato.
  2. Slice the Potatoes: With a sharp knife, cut the potatoes into slices about 1/4-inch thick. This thickness is ideal for ensuring that the potatoes cook through without absorbing too much oil.
  3. Soak the Slices: Place the sliced potatoes in a bowl of cold water to remove excess starch. This step helps in achieving a crisper finish. Soak them for about 15 minutes.
  4. Dry the Potatoes: After soaking, drain the water and pat the potato slices dry with paper towels. It’s important that the slices are dry to help the batter adhere properly and ensure crispiness when fried.

Preparing the Batter

  1. Chill the Ingredients: Store the flour and water in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make the batter. Cold ingredients help create a light, airy batter that doesn’t absorb too much oil.
  2. Mix Dry Ingredients: In a mixing bowl, sift together 1 cup of all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Sifting avoids lumps and distributes the baking powder evenly.
  3. Add Ice Water: Slowly pour in 1 cup of ice-cold water while whisking the mixture gently. Aim for a consistency similar to thin pancake batter; it should be somewhat lumpy—do not overmix.
  4. Rest the Batter: Let the batter sit for a few minutes while you heat the oil. This resting period allows the flour to hydrate lightly, enhancing the texture of the tempura.

Following these steps carefully, you ensure your potato tempura starts off on the right foot, promising delicious results.

Cooking Process

Now that your potatoes are sliced and your batter is chilled, it’s time to dive into the cooking process. Let’s get those potato slices perfectly crispy and prepare a tantalizing dipping sauce to complement them.

Frying the Potato Tempura

  1. Heat the Oil:
    Pour enough vegetable oil into a deep fryer or a large, heavy pot to submerge the potato slices. Heat the oil to 350°F (175°C). Use a cooking thermometer to ensure the temperature is accurate for that ideal golden crispiness.
  2. Dip and Coat:
    Take a few potato slices at a time, dip them into the rested batter, ensuring each slice is evenly coated. Allow any excess batter to drip off before frying.
  3. Fry the Potatoes:
    Carefully place the coated potato slices in the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pot; fry in batches to maintain the oil temperature and ensure even cooking. Fry each batch for about 3-4 minutes or until they are golden and crisp.
  4. Drain and Serve:
    Use a slotted spoon to remove the tempura from the oil and drain on paper towels. This helps to remove any excess oil and keeps them crisp. Serve hot for the best texture and flavor.

Making the Dipping Sauce

  1. Combine Ingredients:
    In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 tablespoon mirin (sweet rice wine), 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger. Stir these together until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Adjust to Taste:
    Taste your sauce and adjust the ingredients as needed. If you prefer a tangier flavor, consider adding a few drops of rice vinegar.
  3. Serve:
    Pour the sauce into small serving dishes. This dipping sauce pairs beautifully with the crispy potato tempura, enhancing the overall flavor with each bite.

Serving Suggestions

After you’ve mastered the art of making crispy potato tempura and whipped up a tantalizing dipping sauce, the next step is presenting and enjoying your creation. Here are some serving suggestions to enhance your tempura experience:

Pair with Dipping Sauces

Beyond the soy-based sauce you prepared, consider offering a variety of dipping options to cater to different tastes. A creamy wasabi mayo can add a punch, or a sweet tamarind sauce might offer a delightful contrast.

Accompany with Salad

Balance the warmth of the tempura with a cool, crisp salad. A simple mixed greens salad dressed with a light vinaigrette complements the dish without overshadowing the star—your potato tempura.

Serve as an Appetizer or Side Dish

Potato tempura makes a fantastic starter or side. Serve it before a main course of sushi or alongside a robust entrée like grilled fish or steak. This versatility makes it perfect for diverse menus.

Offer with Rice

For a more filling option, pair your potato tempura with a bowl of steamed jasmine or sushi rice. The subtle sweetness of the rice pairs beautifully with the crispiness of the tempura.

Tempura Party Platter

Create a social eating experience by arranging various tempura on a large platter. Include vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, and sweet potato along with your potato tempura. This variety invites everyone to try a little bit of everything.

Make-Ahead Tips

When preparing potato tempura, everyone loves the idea of having less stress and more time to enjoy the cooking process. Here are some make-ahead tips that can help streamline your cooking experience and ensure your tempuras are as delicious as possible.

Prep the Potatoes Early

You can peel and slice your potatoes up to a day in advance. After slicing, soak them in cold water and store them in the refrigerator. This not only saves you time just before cooking but also helps remove excess starch, which can make your tempura crispier.

Prepare the Dipping Sauce

The soy-based dipping sauce can also be made ahead of time. Simply mix all the ingredients according to the recipe and keep it in a sealed container in the fridge. The flavors will meld beautifully as it sits, enhancing the overall taste when served with the hot tempura.

Ready the Batter Beforehand

For the crispiest results, it’s preferable to use the batter immediately after mixing. However, you can measure out the dry ingredients for your batter (flour, baking powder, and any spices) and keep them combined in a sealed container. When you’re ready to fry, just add the cold water or soda water to the mix.


So there you have it—you’re all set to dive into the world of potato tempura! Armed with these tips and techniques you’re ready to impress your family and friends with this crispy delight. Remember the joy of cooking comes from experimenting so feel free to tweak the ingredients and make this recipe your own. Whether it’s a cozy family dinner or a special gathering potato tempura promises to be a crowd-pleaser. So why wait? Get your ingredients ready and let the frying begin!

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