Tempura Bento 天ぷら弁当

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Tempura Bento | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Eating tempura at home is a treat in our house.  Since deep frying requires my full attention and I cannot help my children with their activities during this time, we only get to eat tempura on special occasion.

When I do make tempura for dinner, my children gets so excited and requests Tempura Bento for their lunch the next day.

On previous day, we had: Shrimp Tempura,

Shrimp Tempura | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.comand Vegetable Tempura for dinner.

Vegetable Tempura | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.comIf you don’t mind deep frying at home, making tempura is very easy.  Just chop veggies and prep shrimp ahead of time and deep fry right before the meal.

And don’t forget to check my step-by-step tutorial for how to make shrimp straight for frying!

Lunch Next Day:

Tempura Bento | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Now some of you may feel strange to see Tempura in a lunch box.  Doesn’t tempura have to be eaten hot?  I’ve received several questions about how to keep lunch warm and how does it taste when the food is cold/at room temperature, etc.

To make the long story short, bentos are mostly sold/eaten at room temperature in Japan.  We choose and pack the food that taste good at room temperature, and we season the food a little bit extra so that the room so temperature food tastes better.

To keep the tempura from getting soggy, reheat the tempura in the (toaster) oven to make it crisp, let it drain and cool completely.  You can close the bento box only after all the food is cooled so that there will be no condensation formed inside the bento box.  However, please note that it’s impossible to keep it crisp and crunchy as when it first came out of the deep fryer.

It’s also about preferences, and you can definitely use a thermal lunch box to keep your food warm.  I answered to those frequently asked questions in my Bento FAQ.  Please feel free to ask me if you have any other questions regarding bentos.

Thank you so much for reading, and have a nice day!

Tempura Bento | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

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Tempura Bento
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 1 Bento
  1. Reheat tempura in the toaster oven until heated through. Set aside to let cool.
  2. Pack rice and let cool.
  3. Wash fruits and cut if necessary.
  4. Start packing cooled foods into bento box.
  5. Cool down completely before closing the bento box.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

If you are new to packing lunches and interested in making bento-style lunch, check out my short video below on How To Make Bento.

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    • Hi Lok! I added a paragraph in the post.

      To keep the tempura from getting soggy, reheat the tempura in the (toaster) oven to make it crisp, let it drain and cool completely. You can close the bento box only after all the food is cooled so that there will be no condensation formed inside the bento box. However, please note that it’s impossible to keep it crisp and crunchy as when it first came out of the deep fryer.

      Thank you for your question!

  1. I really need to jump on the Bento Box bandwagon so I can make my boyfriend and I’s lunches more exciting! These look great, Nami! I am not big on frying food mainly because it makes my house smell like a fast food restaurant. Now if I had a deep fryer, that might change. I may have to try these with or without the deep fryer, though! Thanks for the recipe. Pinned!

  2. I saw the word “bento” in the title and came running :) I love your bento posts, Nami! These may be made with your kids in mind but I know some big grown men who would be very happy to have these for lunch. Tempura is my favorite and I’d eat it hot, cold, or anywhere in between! Great tips!

  3. Like a previous poster, I don’t have a vent/fan so I try not to deep fry too often. Otherwise, I’d make tempura regularly. Your various types look wonderful.

  4. Your kids are so lucky and have great taste in food, I’m sure. A tempura bento box for lunch sounds wonderful – I wouldn’t care if it was soggy! Like most people, I rarely fry but I am happy for now just looking at these pictures.

  5. Good to see another bento post – it’s been a little while. I think so many foods that we think should be cold or hot really taste best at room temperature. Really good post – thanks so much.

  6. Eha

    I love the look of this! For a child or an adult :) ! Just as well I DO read every word you write, as the ‘sogginess’ issue and ‘what does cold tempura taste like’ entered my mind also! I do not usually eat deepfried food but took to this in Japan the very first time I tasted it :) ! Thank you!!

  7. Happy Birthday! How do you celebrate Birthday/Halloween together? I hope you have a wonderful day!

    天ぷら大好き!お子さんたちラッキーですねえ。ビデオも楽しい!お弁当道具かなりいっぱいでいいなあ。でもなみちゃん出来すぎお母さんだよ。怠け者の私は、はずかしくなるよ。 昔に戻って、やり直ししたくなる、マジで。

  8. This tempura bento looks gorgeous Nami! I would be so excited if I had a bento like this everyday :) Shrimp tempura is one of our favorites too and you make it look so crispy and perfect :) Hope you have a wonderful birthday and a fantastic Halloween with your family!:)

  9. I absolutely love tempura. There used to be a restaurant within walking distance of our home that made the best vegetarian tempura. It was a wine bar serving tapas and I loved the tempura so much we dined there frequently. Sadly, the chef left and the wine bar went downhill! xx

  10. I’ve been wanting to make my own bento boxes for a long time, especially now that there’s nothing to eat at work! But I’m really not keen on getting up too early to make them. :( Japanese mothers are amazing really! 😛

  11. Sandra

    Another Bento lunch – wonderful!! 😉 I have found a way around the lack of air vent – I have a portable fan on its highest setting in the kitchen, open all windows and doors wide and get cooking! More Bento please – I love them!

    • Hi Sandra! I close my kitchen door so the smell doesn’t go upstairs, and I also open my windows etc… well I do my best to get rid of the smell. I enjoy deep fried food once in a while so I actually don’t mind the “temporary” smell. =P Thank you so much for your comment! I’ll work on improving my bento! :)

  12. Tempura is delicious…It has made my tummy growl… I also reheat fried stuff in a toaster… it definitely better than microwave that makes it soggy.
    I love bento lunches..they look so pretty and nutritious !!

  13. トスターオーブンは良い考えですね。通常通りなみさんの弁当は店より素敵です。


  14. Dear Nami, what a treat in a bento box – your children must adore opening their bento box to find to find delicious vegetable and shrimp tempura in there! I love tempura and so do my kids – I think they would go crazy for having such a lovely bento box!
    P.S.: Hope you had a wonderful Halloween – loved the picture of your two kids in their costumes on facebook!

  15. Yum yum yum! Your kids are so lucky! This beats school food any day! In fact would gladly BUY a bento like this for lunch, anytime :) Hopped over to check out your tempura recipes and picked up some great tips too- thank you so much Nami!

  16. Oh Nami, you’ve fried them to golden perfection and nice thickness of batter! I can’t believe how many tempura restaurants I’ve seen in Tokyo lately…and in bentos too! There are also very expensive Michelin star restaurants specialising in tempura too!!

  17. I love Tempura and tried already to prepare it with the instructions my Japanese friend Eriko gave to me.
    Unfortunately I was not successful ( her instructions were perfect , I’m sure it was my mistake)
    But now, with your step by step instructions I’ll try it again cause your Tempura looks so tempting, it’s a winner :)

  18. Love anything fried, the bento looks so good.
    My boys would love a box like this anytime for lunch. I have everything ready, I guess I’m a bit overwhelmed when it come to packing them all tight. I will surely try it out and shoot out a picture.

  19. Carlyn

    Looks delicious!!!! I don’t mind the tempura being a bit soft!!! What a great lunch!….and a belated happy birthday to you, too!

  20. I’ve never tried making bento before, and even if I did, it probably won’t look half as nice as yours :) I like your little video, especially when you classified the foods into colours. Very nice! I will just keep admiring your bento pictures and hope that one day, someone will make me a bento :p

  21. I love tempura! I used to fight hubby for the sweet potatoes, once they are cooked with tempura batter……they are amazing! Love that you have a tutorial on how to make tempura! Fabulous, Hugs, Terra

  22. I love ordering lunch bento special at Japanese restaurants and my favorite tempura is the sweet potato one. I wish they would provide more than just one. I’m so scared to fry anything at home..not just for health reasons but also bc of the mess factor. However, by making it at home, you can control the quality of the oil (too often fried foods are really brown in color). Yours look perfectly golden and crispy ;). Hope you are doing well, Nami! Enjoy the extra hour 😉

  23. Cristina

    I wish there was another way to enjoy tempura without deep frying. However, Those tempura veggies and this chicken may be the only thing that will change my mind! :) Deelicious, Nami!

  24. Tempura is one of my favorite things to eat! I could seriously them everyday! Haha. Your children are so lucky they have you to make tempura for dinner AND for lunch!!

  25. Tak

    I read some comments regarding venting and smells in frying. I do fing frying to be a messy and smelly affair. If you have access to a balcony or somewhere outside you can build your own makeshift frying station. I just use my Iwatani portable stove on a folding table with my frying pot. I even use it when I’m cooking fish as well. It’s simple without compensating the integrity of your home. As a safety precaution with any type of frying always have a fire extinguisher on hand. Hope this helps some of you…

  26. All your tempuras look perfect! I love tempura of course and find it so magical… if one pays attention it can be a sophisticated feast but a small error and it ends up soggy. I love this bento idea, but was going to ask how do you make the shrimp look so nice as a leftover tempura, but now that I read your explanation, I feel very wise 😉 Thank you for this precious tip.

  27. We love tempura and I don’t make it often because we can’t resist it. I’ve only done veggies, and want to know if you have ever done chicken tempura.

    • Hi Sandra! Chicken tempura is not very common in Japan (usually we use seafood), but when I googled in Japanese, there are some recipes for it! What a surprise! So yes, I think we can use chicken! We usually deep fry chicken after marinade in soy sauce base seasonings, then coat the chicken with potato/corn starch and deep fry. We call it “Karaage” (Japanese fried chicken). I personally think that is tastier. Tempura, you don’t marinade ingredients before dipping in batter to enjoy the flavor of the ingredients. It’s all focus on deep frying technique that makes the difference besides the quality of ingredients. :)

  28. Eating tempura anytime is a treat. I’ve never made it at home, but I sure have bought it a lot. Nice little bento box for the kids. Can I have one. :)