Ultimate Tanghulu Recipe – Master the Traditional Chinese Candied Fruit at Home

What Is Tanghulu?

Tanghulu is a traditional Chinese candied fruit snack that’s very popular in Asia, especially as street food. It’s made by coating fruit on sticks with hard sugar candy. Originally, tanghulu was made with hawthorn berries, but now you can find all kinds of fruits used. This snack has a long history in China and holds a special place in many cultural celebrations and festivals throughout Asia. The crunchy, sweet coating combined with the tart, juicy fruit inside makes tanghulu not only a treat to eat but also a delight to look at. This makes it a favorite among people of all ages, especially during lively street market scenes.

Tanghulu Recipe Ingredients

To make tanghulu, you only need a few simple ingredients. Here’s what you typically need:

  • Hawthorn berries: These are the traditional choice for tanghulu.
  • Sugar: You need granulated sugar to create the candy coating.
  • Water: Just a bit to help dissolve the sugar and make the syrup.

If you can’t find hawthorn berries, no worries! You can easily use other fruits like grapes or strawberries. These fruits work well because they are also juicy and have the right size for sticking and coating. This flexibility makes tanghulu a fun and easy snack to try making at home.

Each of these ingredients contributes to the unique taste and texture of tanghulu, making it a delightful treat whether you stick with the traditional hawthorn or try something new with different fruits.

How To Make Tanghulu

Step 1: Prepare The Fruit

Before making tanghulu, it’s essential to prepare your fruit correctly. Start by washing the strawberries and grapes thoroughly to remove any dirt. After washing, it’s crucial to dry the fruit completely. Wet fruit will prevent the sugar candy coating from sticking properly. To dry, gently pat the fruit with a clean towel and leave them out for a few minutes until there’s no moisture left. This step sets the stage for a successful tanghulu, so make sure the fruit is ready before moving on.

Step 2: Make Sugar Candy Coating

To create the perfect sugar candy coating for your tanghulu, you will need sugar, water, and a pot—preferably a Hexclad pot due to its even heat distribution. Start by mixing equal parts of sugar and water in the pot. Heat the mixture on medium until the sugar dissolves completely, then turn up the heat. You need to heat the mixture to exactly 300°F. Use a candy thermometer to check. At this temperature, the syrup will turn into a hard candy coating when cooled. Be precise with the temperature to ensure the best results.

Step 3: Test The Candy Coating

Once your sugar syrup is ready, testing its readiness is crucial. Take a cup of ice water and drop a little syrup into it. If the syrup hardens immediately and cracks when pressed, it’s ready. This test ensures that your candy coating will be crisp and perfect for coating the fruit. If it doesn’t harden, continue heating and testing until it does. This step is key to ensuring your tanghulu turns out just right.

Step 4: Coat Skewers

Now, skewer your dried fruit. Dip each fruit skewer into the hot sugar coating, making sure each piece is well covered. Work quickly and carefully—the sugar is hot, and it hardens fast. Twirl the skewer to let any excess drip off and to help form an even layer. Place the coated skewers on a baking sheet lined with parchment to cool. This method ensures each piece of fruit is beautifully coated and ready to enjoy.

Step 5: Enjoy!

Once your tanghulu is cool, it’s time to enjoy your freshly made candied fruit! Tanghulu is best enjoyed immediately while the coating is crisp and the fruit is juicy. Share and enjoy this delightful treat with friends or family, and delight in the sweet crunch that makes tanghulu a special and fun dessert.

This simple, step-by-step guide will help you make perfect tanghulu every time. Enjoy crafting and munching on these sweet, candy-coated delights!

How To Clean Pot

When making tanghulu, the sugar can harden in the pot, making it tricky to clean. Here are some easy steps to remove hardened sugar and get your pot sparkling clean:

  1. Fill the Pot with Water: Add water to cover the sugar residue. This helps loosen the sugar stuck on the bottom.
  2. Heat the Water: Put the pot on the stove and heat it until the water boils. The hot water will melt the sugar.
  3. Let It Soak: After boiling for a few minutes, turn off the heat. Let the pot sit with the hot water for about 20 minutes.
  4. Scrub the Pot: Use a scrubbing brush to scrub away any remaining sugar. The sugar should come off easily now.
  5. Rinse and Dry: Rinse the pot with clean water and dry it with a towel.

These steps should help you clean the pot used for tanghulu effectively, dealing with the stubborn sugar residue. This method is both practical and easy to follow.

Tanghulu Recipe Key Tips & Tricks

Here are some simple tips and tricks to make perfect tanghulu, along with common pitfalls to avoid:

  • Use the Right Temperature: Testing the temperature of your syrup is crucial. It needs to be hot enough to harden around the fruit but not so hot that it burns.
  • Choose the Right Fruit: Firm fruits work best for tanghulu. Avoid fruits that are too ripe as they might not hold up when dipped in hot syrup.
  • Prepare Your Work Area: Set up your dipping and cooling areas before you start. Once the syrup is ready, you’ll need to work fast.
  • Keep Everything Dry: Make sure the fruit is dry before dipping it into the syrup. Water can cause the syrup to splatter, which is dangerous.
  • Act Quickly: The syrup hardens fast, so dip your fruits quickly and set them aside to harden.

More Asian Desserts To Try

If you love tanghulu, a sweet and crunchy candied fruit snack from China, you’ll definitely enjoy exploring other Asian desserts that pair well with it. Here are two delicious treats to try: Mango Sticky Rice and Ube Pancakes. These desserts are not only tasty but also offer a glimpse into the rich culinary traditions of Asia.

Mango Sticky Rice

Mango Sticky Rice is a famous dessert from Thailand. It combines ripe, sweet mangoes with sticky rice that’s been cooked in coconut milk. This makes it creamy and aromatic. The mango’s freshness and the rice’s sweetness create a perfect balance. This dessert is especially popular during the hot summer months because it’s refreshing. To make it yourself or just learn more about it, you can check out this mango sticky rice recipe.

Ube Pancakes

Ube Pancakes are a vibrant purple treat from the Philippines. Ube is a purple yam that’s naturally sweet and used in many Filipino desserts. These pancakes are soft, fluffy, and have a unique taste that’s slightly nutty and very comforting. They’re usually enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack. If you’re curious to try making them at home or want more details, here’s a link to an ube pancakes recipe.


1. Can I use other fruits for making tanghulu?

Yes, you can use other fruits like strawberries, grapes, or kiwi to make tanghulu.

2. How long does it take to prepare tanghulu?

Preparing tanghulu typically takes about 30 minutes from start to finish.

3. What is the best way to test if the candy coating is ready?

The best way to test if the candy coating is ready is to drop a small amount into cold water; it should harden immediately.

4. Can tanghulu be stored for later use?

Tanghulu is best enjoyed fresh and does not store well, as the candy coating can become sticky.

5. What are some common issues when making tanghulu and how can I avoid them?

Common issues when making tanghulu include the syrup crystallizing or not hardening properly; ensure the sugar is completely dissolved and avoid stirring the syrup once it starts boiling to avoid these problems.