I have to give credit to my wife for this recipe. She noticed that the few squash plants we have planted in our tiny city garden had a bunch of blossoms on them and said to me, “Can you like… eat those?” And then these Tempura Squash Blossoms were born!
Squash blossoms are so delicious and a really special item that you can only get for a few weeks depending on your squash supply.
While there are a few ways to eat them, stuffing the blossoms with a simple ricotta filling and then frying the blossoms in a light tempura batter is about as good as it gets in my book. They need nothing else but a sprinkle of salt and they are good to go!
How to find squash blossoms
The hardest part of this recipe is probably finding squash blossoms. It’s not exactly something you can buy at Costco (yet!). Ideally, you would be able to raid your home garden and snip off a few larger blossoms or ask kindly to harvest some from a neighbor or friend (payback will be delicious).
Occasionally, you’ll see them in local farmers markets, but that can be pretty hit or miss. You can also use larger zucchini blossoms or this recipe as well.
In short, finding them can be tough unless you are growing them, but if you can find them then make these Tempura Squash Blossoms!
What do squash blossoms taste like?
Squash blossoms are a very subtle ingredient, but they obviously taste a bit floral since they are, well, flowers. But, they have more flavor than you might think and are actually good in things like quesadillas (like this version from Mexico in my Kitchen).
How to prepare the squash blossoms
While squash blossoms are delicate because they are flowers, I’m always surprised that they are actually sturdier than they might look. That’s why it’s even possible to stuff them and fry them like this.
If I know where my squash blossoms came from (like my garden) I honestly don’t bother washing them. I just brush off any obvious dirt and call it good. If you do want to wash them, you can rinse them, but just be gentle and dry them well before proceeding with the recipe.
If you are harvesting the blossoms yourself, be sure to cut down about 1/2 inch on the stem of the blossom. This makes it easier to handle them so you don’t have to pick up the blossom itself.
Some people recommend removing the stamen from the squash blossoms before stuffing and you can do that, especially if you have a large stamen in one, but I don’t ever worry about it. They will be cheesy and fried and your guests (or spouse) will probably not notice.
Stuffing the Squash Blossoms
The thing to remember about stuffing squash blossoms is restraint! If you fill these too much, they will just burst open and you’ll have a big mess on your hands in your fryer pot.
For this filling, I like to stir about 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese with some salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and a little lemon juice in a small bowl. That will be enough filling for probably 8-10 squash blossoms and you can adjust the amount based on how many blossoms you are frying.
When you are stuffing the blossoms with the ricotta mixture, it helps to use a tiny spoon that can delicately work into the center of the blossom without breaking the blossom leaves. I like to use a tiny baby spoon for stuffing the squash blossoms. It’s okay if the leaves do break a bit because you’ll be battering and frying the blossoms anyway.
I have a really easy tempura batter that’ I’ve used for years. For my batter, I combine equal parts all-purpose flour and cornstarch. Then I add a big pinch of salt and add something bubbly to the batter, like club soda, sparkling water, or beer. On this particular day I used a nice pale ale which worked very well.
Once your batter is whisked together, it should be the consistency of a light pancake batter.
Heat your neutral oil (like vegetable oil or peanut oil) in a pot to 350˚F. I actually use a pretty small pot for this and just fry a few at a time because they fry very fast.
Once your oil is hot, dip a stuffed squash blossom in the tempura batter, coat it well, and then immediately move it to the hot oil. When you add the squash blossoms to the hot oil, add them very slowly to the oil, taking a few seconds to add the blossoms to the oil.
The blossoms will fry completely in about a minute, literally. They cook very fast which means you can do a few batches of the blossoms in just a few minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the blossoms from the oil and let them drain on a few paper towels. Season the fried tempura squash blossoms with a pinch of salt.
You could serve them with some tomato sauce for dipping, but frankly I think they are best on their own.
My Tempura Squash Blossom Recipe
10-12 squash blossoms
1/2 cup ricotta
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic
Pinch salt and pepper
2 cups neutral oil, for frying
3/4 cup corn starch
3/4 cup flour
12 ounce can of beer (Won’t use it all)
- Dust any dirt of the squash blossoms or lightly rinse them with cold water. Dry well.
- Stir together ricotta with spices and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Carefully stuff squash blossoms with ricotta cheese mixture. You can use a tiny spoon for this or add the filling to a piping bag and use that to fill the squash blossoms.
- Heat frying oil to 350˚F.
- Whisk together flour, cornstarch, a pinch of salt, and enough beer or club soda until the batter comes together into a thin batter, like a light pancake batter.
- Working with a few blossoms at a time, dip into the tempura mixture and then immediately transfer to the hot oil for frying. Fry for about a minute, flipping once to ensure even cooking.
- Drain squash blossoms on a plate with a paper towel. Season with a pinch of salt and enjoy warm.