how to make tanghulu

Easy Tanghulu Recipe – How to Make Tanghulu

Tanghulu is a popular Chinese street food that consists of fruit coated in a crunchy sugar shell. This easy tanghulu recipe allows you to recreate this delicious treat at home. All you need are fresh strawberries (or any fruit of your choice), granulated sugar, and water. The sugar is boiled with water to create a syrup, which is then used to coat the fruit on skewers. The syrup quickly hardens to form a crispy shell around the fruit. This recipe is a fun and simple way to enjoy tanghulu without having to buy it from a street vendor.

Key Takeaways:

  • Make your own tanghulu at home with this easy recipe.
  • All you need are fresh fruit, granulated sugar, and water.
  • Create a crunchy sugar shell by boiling the sugar syrup.
  • Enjoy this delicious treat without visiting a street vendor.
  • Customize tanghulu by using different fruits or adding flavors and toppings.

Stay tuned for more sections on what tanghulu is, the ingredients and equipment you’ll need, a step-by-step guide, and delicious variations to try. Let’s get started on making tanghulu at home!

What is Tanghulu?

Tanghulu is a popular Chinese street food that originated in northern China. It is a delightful treat made by skewering fresh fruit, such as strawberries or hawthorn berries, and dipping them in a sweet sugar syrup. The fruit skewers are then cooled, allowing the sugar syrup to harden into a crunchy shell around the fruit. The combination of the juicy fruit inside and the crunchy shell creates a delicious contrast of textures that is loved by many.

Tanghulu is not only a delicious snack but also a cultural tradition. It is often enjoyed during the winter months, providing a sweet and refreshing treat in colder weather. Tanghulu is also a festive food during Chinese New Year celebrations, adding a touch of joy and flavor to the festivities.

One of the best things about tanghulu is its versatility. Although strawberries are a popular choice, you can use a variety of fruits to create your own tanghulu skewers. From tangy grapes to tart apples, the options are endless. You can even experiment with different combinations of fruits to create unique flavor profiles.

With its vibrant colors, tantalizing flavors, and satisfying crunch, tanghulu has become a beloved street food not only in China but also around the world. It’s a treat that brings joy to both young and old, making it an ideal snack for any occasion.


Fun Fact:

Did you know that tanghulu is said to date back to the Song Dynasty in China, which lasted from 960 to 1279 AD? Its popularity has endured through the centuries, and it continues to be a beloved treat today.]

Health Benefits of Tanghulu

In addition to its delicious taste, tanghulu also offers some health benefits. The fruit used in tanghulu is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The crunchy sugar coating adds a touch of sweetness without overpowering the natural flavor of the fruit. It’s a guilt-free indulgence that allows you to satisfy your sweet tooth while still enjoying the nutritional benefits of fresh fruit.

Common Variations of Tanghulu

While tanghulu traditionally features fruit skewers dipped in sugar syrup, there are some variations you can try to add a twist to this classic treat:

  • Tanghulu with nuts: Add some crunch to your tanghulu by including nuts, such as peanuts or almonds, in the sugar coating.
  • Chocolate-covered tanghulu: Give your tanghulu a decadent twist by dipping the fruit skewers in melted chocolate instead of sugar syrup.
  • Coconut tanghulu: Roll the tanghulu in desiccated coconut after dipping it in sugar syrup for an extra layer of flavor and texture.

Popular Fruits for Tanghulu

FruitFlavor ProfileTexture
StrawberriesSweet, tangyJuicy, soft
Hawthorn berriesTartCrunchy, slightly grainy
GrapesSweet, refreshingCrunchy, juicy

Ingredients and Equipment for Tanghulu

If you’re ready to make your own tanghulu at home, here are the essential ingredients and equipment you’ll need:

  • Fresh strawberries or fruit of your choice: Tanghulu can be made with a variety of fruits, but fresh strawberries are a popular choice due to their sweet flavor and vibrant color.
  • Granulated sugar: This will be used to create the crunchy sugar shell that coats the fruit skewers.
  • Water: The sugar syrup is made by boiling sugar and water together.
  • Bamboo skewers: These will be used to thread the fruit and create fruit skewers.

With these simple ingredients and equipment, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on your tanghulu-making adventure!

Tanghulu Ingredients and Equipment Table

Fresh strawberries or fruit of your choiceBamboo skewers
Granulated sugar

How to Make Tanghulu – Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these steps to make tanghulu at home:

  1. Wash and dry the fruit, such as strawberries, thoroughly.
  2. Skewer the fruit onto bamboo skewers, leaving enough space between each piece.
  3. In a saucepan, combine granulated sugar and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Continue boiling the syrup until it reaches a temperature of 300°F (150°C) or until it forms a hard crack stage. You can test the syrup by dipping a spoon into cold water and then into the syrup. If it hardens immediately, the syrup is ready.
  5. Dip the fruit skewers into the hot sugar syrup, coating them evenly. Allow any excess syrup to drip off before placing the skewers on a parchment-lined baking sheet or plate.
  6. Let the tanghulu cool and harden completely before serving. The sugar coating will become crispy, creating a delightful texture contrast with the juicy fruit inside.

tanghulu tutorial image

Detailed Steps:

  1. Begin by preparing the fruit. Ensure that it is fresh and clean. Wash it thoroughly to remove any dirt or impurities. Pat the fruit dry with a paper towel or clean cloth.
  2. Next, skewer the fruit onto bamboo skewers. Make sure to leave enough space between each piece to allow for easy coating and even browning.
  3. In a saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and water. Use a ratio of 1:1 for the sugar and water. For example, if you are using 1 cup of sugar, use 1 cup of water.
  4. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir the sugar and water mixture until the sugar has dissolved completely. Keep stirring occasionally to prevent the sugar from burning.
  5. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Continue boiling the syrup until it reaches a temperature of 300°F (150°C). You can use a candy thermometer to accurately measure the temperature.
  6. Alternatively, you can test the syrup by using a spoon. Dip the spoon into cold water, then into the hot syrup. If the syrup hardens immediately, it has reached the hard crack stage and is ready to use.
  7. Once the syrup is ready, carefully dip each fruit skewer into the hot sugar syrup, coating them evenly. Be cautious as the syrup will be very hot.
  8. Allow any excess syrup to drip off the skewers before placing them on a parchment-lined baking sheet or plate. This will prevent the tanghulu from sticking to the surface.
  9. Let the tanghulu cool and harden completely. This may take around 15-20 minutes. The sugar coating will become crispy, creating a delightful texture contrast with the juicy fruit inside.

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Avoid overcrowding the skewers. Leave enough space between each piece of fruit to ensure even coating and browning.
  • Be careful when handling the hot sugar syrup. It can cause burns if it comes into contact with your skin. Use kitchen mitts or oven gloves for protection.
  • Allow the tanghulu to cool completely before serving. If you try to eat it while it is still warm, the sugar coating may be too sticky and runny.


Making tanghulu at home is a fun and easy way to enjoy this popular Chinese street food. With just a few simple ingredients and some basic steps, you can create your own tanghulu with the fruit of your choice. Whether you prefer strawberries, hawthorn berries, or other fruits, the sugar coating will add a crispy texture that complements the juicy fruit inside.

Get creative and try different variations of tanghulu by using different fruits or adding additional flavors or toppings. You can experiment with different types of berries, cherries, or even pineapple for a tropical twist. For added flavor, consider adding a sprinkle of cinnamon or a drizzle of chocolate on top of the sugar coating. The possibilities are endless!

Enjoy this delicious treat as a snack or dessert, and impress your friends and family with your homemade tanghulu skills. Whether you make tanghulu for a special occasion or just to satisfy your sweet tooth, these crispy sugar-coated fruit skewers are sure to be a hit. So grab your skewers and get ready to indulge in the irresistible combination of sweet, crunchy, and juicy flavors!


What fruits can I use to make tanghulu?

You can use strawberries, hawthorn berries, or any other fruit of your choice to make tanghulu.

Can I use something other than granulated sugar?

Granulated sugar is traditionally used to make tanghulu, but you can experiment with other types of sugar if you prefer.

Do I need any special equipment to make tanghulu?

You will need bamboo skewers to skewer the fruit, and a saucepan to boil the sugar syrup. Other than that, no special equipment is required.

How long does it take for the sugar coating to harden?

The sugar coating on the fruit skewers will harden within a few minutes after being dipped in the hot syrup.

Can I make tanghulu in advance?

Tanghulu is best enjoyed fresh, but you can make it in advance and store it in an airtight container for a day or two. However, the sugar coating may lose its crispiness over time.

Can I customize tanghulu with different flavors or toppings?

Absolutely! You can experiment with different flavors by adding extracts or spices to the sugar syrup. You can also sprinkle toppings like crushed nuts or shredded coconut onto the sugar coating before it hardens.

Can I make tanghulu with frozen fruit?

Fresh fruit works best for making tanghulu, as frozen fruit may release excess moisture and affect the texture of the sugar coating.

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