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Calling out all mushroom lovers, this mushroom tempura is light, extra crispy, and comes with a sweet and spicy soy dipping sauce. The perfect appetizer! Made with just 4 ingredients, it’s also vegan and gluten-free!

Easy Crispy Mushroom Tempura (Vegan + Gluten-Free)

⭐️ Why You Should Try This Recipe

  • It makes a delicious appetizer. This ultra-crispy mushroom tempura makes a great appetizer served with a soy dipping sauce, along with drinks like umeshu or sake.
  • It’s egg-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free. This tempura batter is completely plant-based and made from 3 simple ingredients.
  • It’s super easy and quick. Mix the batter ingredients in a bowl, dip the mushrooms and fry for a couple of minutes. It couldn’t be easier!

📘 What is Tempura

Tempura (天ぷら) is a Japanese dish that consists of vegetables, or seafood dipped in a batter and fried until crispy. This dish first appeared in Japan during the 16th century and is said to have been introduced by Portuguese missionaries.

As opposed to Western-style fried dishes, tempura does not use any breadcrumbs. The batter is only made with flour, sparkling water, and optionally salt and baking soda.

Easy Crispy Mushroom Tempura (Vegan + Gluten-Free)

🥣 Tempura Batter Ingredients

Tempura batter comes together very quickly and requires just 4 basic ingredients:

  • Rice flour – To keep this recipe gluten-free and more authentic, I went with rice flour. Since rice flour doesn’t contain any gluten, it tends to absorb less oil than regular wheat flour and results in less oily tempura with a crispier texture.
  • Sparkling water – The bubbles in the water help make the tempura lighter. It seems beer also works, but I haven’t tried it yet, so I don’t know if it affects the flavor.
  • Salt – For flavor. Just remember not to salt the batter too much, as tempura will later be dipped in soy sauce.
  • Baking soda (optional) – I found that adding a pinch of baking soda to the batter helps give the mushrooms a more golden color. It doesn’t have an effect on the crispiness or texture of the tempura, though, so it’s optional.

🌿 Seasoning

This is where things can get interesting and where you can let your imagination speak. You can add ground spices to the batter like cumin, chili, dried (or fresh) herbs, etc. Freshly chopped cilantro goes well with mushrooms.

Easy Crispy Mushroom Tempura (Vegan + Gluten-Free)

🍄 How to Make Mushroom Tempura

  1. Start by slicing your mushrooms. You can use just one type of mushroom or go with a mix for a variety of textures and shapes. I had the best results with oysters and king oysters. Cremini might be a good fit for tempura as well.
  2. Heat the oil in a deep saucepan. I recommend using about 2 cups of neutral frying oil like canola or peanut oil.
  3. Prepare the tempura batter. While the oil is heating, whisk together all of the batter ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Dip the mushrooms. Working with one at a time, dip a mushroom into the batter and lightly shake to remove the excess batter.
  5. Fry. Immediately transfer the mushroom to the pan and fry for a couple of minutes or until golden brown.

You can serve this mushroom tempura with your favorite dipping sauce. Soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, or even sweet and sour sauce make the perfect accompaniment!

Easy Crispy Mushroom Tempura (Vegan + Gluten-Free)

📔 Tips

Making tempura is easy, but there are a few things you need to get right to end up with light, not greasy, and perfectly crispy mushroom tempura.

  • Your batter must be very cold. I recommend placing your sparkling water in the freezer for 15-20 minutes before starting, so it’s very cold. If you are short on time, you can add an ice cube to the batter. Do not add too much ice, though, or the batter will end up being too thin.
  • The oil must be hot but not too hot. Let me explain: If the oil is not hot enough, your tempura will be greasy and not as crispy. If the oil is too hot, the mushrooms will turn golden brown too quickly and won’t be fully cooked inside. I usually test the oil by dipping a chopstick into it. If it starts bubbling, then the oil is hot enough.
  • Fry no more than 3-4 mushrooms at a time. If you add too many mushrooms at a time, they might end up sticking to each other. Plus, adding too many mushrooms to the oil will slightly lower the oil’s temperature, which you don’t want.
Easy Crispy Mushroom Tempura (Vegan + Gluten-Free)

💬 FAQ

Can I substitute the rice flour?

Yes, you can use all-purpose flour instead. If using all-purpose flour, double the amount of liquid and make sure not to overmix the batter (don’t mix for more than 5-10 seconds). It’s okay if there are some lumps.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

Unfortunately no. This mushroom tempura must be served immediately. Otherwise, it will quickly lose its crispiness and become mushy.

Is this recipe authentic?

This tempura recipe is based on authentic Japanese recipes. Some sources also affirm the original tempura batter was gluten-free and prepared only with rice flour and water.

Easy Crispy Mushroom Tempura (Vegan + Gluten-Free)

These tempura oyster mushrooms make an amazing appetizer, it’s super crispy and tender on the inside. If you are a mushroom lover like I am, you are going to love this one!

🥯 More Plant-Based Appetizers

Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!

Easy Crispy Mushroom Tempura (Vegan + Gluten-Free)
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Recipe
Easy Crispy Mushroom Tempura (Vegan + Gluten-Free)

Easy Crispy Mushroom Tempura (Vegan / Gluten-Free)

5 from 4 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
Learn how to make light and crispy mushroom tempura! It makes a great appetizer served with spicy soy sauce or a garlicky tahini sauce!
Prep Time : 15 minutes
Cook Time : 5 minutes
Total Time : 20 minutes
Servings 3 servings (as an appetizer)

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (oyster, king oyster, cremini, etc)
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup cold sparkling water (or more, depending on the brand rice flour used*)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • a pinch of baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cilantro finely chopped, optional
  • 2 cups vegetable oil

Dipping Sauce

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 small chili finely chopped, optional

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat. If you have a thermometer, the oil should be around 350°F (175°C). If you don't have a thermometer, you can test if the oil is hot enough by dipping a chopstick or wooden spoon into the oil. If it bubbles, the oil is hot enough.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the rice flour, cold sparkling water, salt, and baking soda. At this point, you can add your favorite spices or freshly chopped herbs like cilantro or green onions.
  • Dip mushrooms, one at a time into the batter and slightly shake it off to remove excess batter. Immediately transfer to the saucepan and fry for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. I recommend frying no more than 3-4 mushrooms at a time.
  • Once golden brown, transfer the mushroom tempura to a plate lined with a kitchen paper towel to remove excess oil. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms and serve immediately with the dipping sauce!

Dipping Sauce

  • In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, water, maple syrup, lime juice, and chopped chili if using. Taste and adjust saltiness, sweetness, and sourness to your liking.

Notes

  • Your batter must be very cold. I recommend placing your sparkling water in the freezer for 15-20 minutes before starting, so it’s very cold. If you are short on time, you can add an ice cube to the batter. Do not add too much ice, though, or the batter will end up being too thin.
  • The oil must be hot but not too hot. Let me explain: If the oil is not hot enough, your tempura will be greasy and not as crispy. If the oil is too hot, the mushrooms will turn golden brown too quickly and won’t be fully cooked inside. I usually test the oil by dipping a chopstick into it. If it starts bubbling, then the oil is hot enough.
  • Fry no more than 3-4 mushrooms at a time. If you add too many mushrooms at a time, they might end up sticking to each other. Plus, adding too many mushrooms to the oil will slightly lower the oil’s temperature, which you don’t want.
  • Adjust the amount of water. Depending on the brand of rice flour used, you might need to add more water. The batter should be thin and not pasty.
  • For a different dipping sauce, try this garlicky tahini sauce: Whisk together 1/4 cup tahini, 3 tbsp water, 2 cloves of garlic (minced), 1/8 tsp salt, and 1 tsp lime juice. Taste and adjust the saltiness to your liking, and adjust the water to thin as needed.
  • No nutritional information for fried recipes as it’s too hard to calculate.
Course : Appetizer
Cuisine : Asian
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

Learn more ➜

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Hi Thomas, this sounds fabulous! Is it possible to sub chick pea flour instead of rice flour ? Thanks!

Be certain the soy sauce is gluten free! Most are not.

If your choices are limited to Japanese varieties, best to look for a soy sauce labeled “Tamari,” and check to make sure the ingredients don’t include wheat.

…’S like that “all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares” kind of thing…

One of my favorite wheat-free soy sauces is in fact produced in Vietnam.

Thanks for this beautiful recipe, I’m so excited to try it this week !!
Is it possble to substitute the sparkling water by regular still water ? Is it possible to bake the tempura instead of frying to make them a little lighter ?

5 stars
I love this recipe! I’ve tried the recipe both fried in vegetable oil and air-fried, and they were both hits! My family actually requests I make these for birthday dinners :), so thanks for sharing.

A few things I like to add on now are a pinch of black pepper, white pepper, garlic powder and onion powder (or some combination of those)!

Can I fry them in an airfryer instead ?

This worked out great to make tempura! The texture and the taste were really good. I did add garlic powder to the batter to give it a more wholesome taste.

You say this recipe is vegan in the title. Yet you recommend oysters in the recipe… oysters are not vegan. Idiotic.

5 stars
😂 too funny!

Funniest thing I’ve read all day. Thank you. 🤣

5 stars
I love this recipe. Adding garlic powder and onion powder will enhance the taste. Thank you for the recipe Thomas.

5 stars
I made this today, using brown rice flour since I didn’t have white rice flour. The additions to the batter were turmeric, for a more golden look, and cayenne, since I enjoy spicy foods.

I cut up some giant Blue Oyster mushrooms that I had grown here at home and in the pot they went.

The batter was wonderful, with imprints from the bubbles in the airy and crispy crust. And the total outcome was just like the fried oysters I ate when I grew up in Louisiana.

I learn so much everytime I cook one of your recipes, Thomas.

Thank you!