Tanghulu Recipe (Chinese Candied Fruit)

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This tanghulu recipe for a popular Chinese candied fruit snack only requires 3 ingredients and has the most satisfying crunch!


tanghulu recipe

What is Tanghulu?

Tanghulu is a Chinese candied fruit snack.

It is traditionally made with hawthorn berries but can be made with other fruits as well.

The fruits are on skewers and in a thin hard candy shell.

Tanghulu is also a super popular street food throughout Asia.

When I visited Korea, there seemed to be a tanghulu vendor on every street.

The skewers usually have strawberries, grapes, or a combination of both.

Biting into it gives you the most satisfying crunch and ASMR moment.

After the crunch, you get a burst of fresh and juicy fruit that’s sweetened by the sugar.

For me, it was love at first bite and I knew I wanted to recreate it at home after my trip.

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Tanghulu Recipe Ingredients

Before you begin making this tanghulu recipe, you’ll need the following three simple ingredients:

  • Fruit: Tanghulu traditionally has hawthorn berries but you can use any fruit of your choice. I am using grapes and strawberries. I think tanghulu is best with sour and tart fruits to balance out the sweetness of the candy coating.
  • Sugar: Sugar creates the hard candy coating and adds sweetness to the fruits. I use Imperial granulated sugar.
  • Water: Water helps turn the sugar into a clear, amber syrup instead of brown caramel.
tanghulu recipe ingredients

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How to Make Tanghulu Recipe

Tanghulu is a simple sweet snack that gives any fruit the most irresistible crunchy candy coating.

This recipe only takes about 25 minutes and makes 10 small skewers

The candy coating can be tricky to get right but don’t worry, I will give you all the tips and tricks!

Let’s walk through how to make this tanghulu recipe step-by-step so you can feel confident about making it at home.

As always, there is a recipe card at the end that you to print out, pin to Pinterest, or save for later!

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tanghulu skewers with grapes and strawberries

Step 1: Prepare the Fruit

Firstly, wash fruit and completely pat dry.

If the fruit is wet, the sugar coating will not stick.

Remove leaves, stems, peel, seeds, or any other inedible parts.

If using a larger fruit, cut into bite size pieces.

Then place fruit onto skewers. I recommend 3 pieces or less per skewer so it is easier to work with.

Once the fruit are on skewers, set it aside while you prepare the sugar coating.

grape tanghulu skewers

Step 2: Make Sugar Candy Coating

To make the sugar coating add sugar and water in a 2:1 ratio in a small pot on low to medium heat.

I am using a Hexclad 2 quart pot.

Do not stir. Stirring introduces more air bubbles causing the sugar to crystalize.

Crystalized sugar will be cloudy and chunky instead of clear and smooth, which is what we want for this tanghulu recipe.

Bring the sugar mixture to a boil and simmer until it is thick like syrup and amber in color.

This takes about 10-20 minutes.

An amber color indicates that the sugar is hot enough to harden like candy which is about 300°F.

If you do not wait until it is hot enough to begin dipping, the sugar coating will not harden.

Instead, the coating will be more chewy and stick to your teeth when you bite into it instead of giving you that satisfying crunch.

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tanghulu Chinese candied fruit

Step 3: Test the Candy Coating

Once the sugar is amber in color or about 300°F, test the syrup to make sure it is hot enough before dipping the fruit skewers.

You can’t have tanghulu without a hard crunchy candy coating so it is important to test the syrup.

To do this, simply drizzle a spoonful of the syrup into an ice water bath.

If it hardens within seconds and cracks when you bend it, then it is ready for dipping.

If it dissolves in the water or is soft and bendy, then let the syrup simmer longer on the stove and test again.

how to make tanghulu recipe

Step 4: Coat Skewers

When the syrup is ready, quickly dip the fruit skewers into it.

Tilt your pot and swirl as needed to ensure that all sides of the fruit are coated.

Then remove from the syrup.

how to make tanghulu

Hold the skewer over the pot and quickly swirl to evenly coat a thin layer while letting the excess sugar drip down.

The quick swirl and drip is important because you don’t want the sugar coating to be too thick and end up breaking a tooth while trying to eat it.

Then immediately dip the skewer into an ice water bath to cool and harden the sugar coating.

strawberry and grape tanghulu

Step 5: Enjoy!

Lastly place the sugar coated skewer on a plate or a cup so that it stands.

Then repeat with the remaining skewers.

It is important to work fast so the syrup doesn’t burn or crystalize.

If it does burn or crystalize, it cannot be fixed. You will have to create a new sugar mixture.

Tanghulu is best enjoyed immediately and not kept as leftovers.

How to Clean Pot

After you are done dipping your skewers, you may notice that the sugar is crystalized or stuck onto your pot.

However, do not worry, it is super easy to clean.

Simply pour water into your pot and turn the stove onto medium heat.

The sugars will easily dissolve. You can use a wooden spoon to scrape the sugar down off the sides if needed.

Then discard the water and wash your pot as usual.

Tanghulu Recipe Key Tips & Tricks

  • make sure fruit is dry before dipping into the sugar coating
  • do not stir the sugar and water syrup mixture
  • wait for the syrup to turn amber (~300°F) before dipping skewers
  • drizzle syrup into ice water bath to test the temperature before dipping skewers
  • quickly dip and swirl to coat a thin and even layer of the sugar coating

More Asian Desserts to Try:

If you like tanghulu, here are some more Asian dessert recipes that you should try!

Save This Tanghulu Recipe!

Tanghulu is a simple snack but has such a satisfying crunch.

I hope this tutorial for how to make Chinese candied fruit is helpful and that you try to recreate this fun treat at home.

Be sure to save this recipe and share it with your family and friends!

If you make this tanghulu recipe, please leave a rating and comment below. I’d love to hear what you think!

Did you make this recipe? I would love to see! Tag me on Instagram @feedmi_

Tanghulu Recipe (Chinese Candied Fruit)

This tanghulu recipe for a popular Chinese candied fruit snack only requires 3 ingredients and has the most satisfying crunch!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 10 skewers

Equipment

  • 10 skewers

Ingredients

  • 1 lb strawberries, grapes, or other fruit of choice (~30 pieces)
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  • Wash fruit and pat dry. Remove leaves, stems, or any inedible parts. Place fruit onto skewers. I recommend 3 pieces or less per skewer so it is easier to work with.
  • In a small pot on low to medium heat, add sugar and water. Do not stir. Bring to a boil and simmer until it is thick like syrup and amber in color (~300°F). This takes about 10-20 minutes.
  • Test the temperature of the syrup by drizzling a spoonful into an ice water bath. If it hardens within seconds and cracks when bent, then it is ready.
  • Quickly dip the fruit skewers in syrup then swirl to evenly coat a thin layer. Immediately dip the skewer into an ice water bath to cool and harden the sugar coating.
  • Place skewer on a plate, repeat with the remaining (work fast so the sugar doesn't burn), and enjoy!

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