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Tanghulu

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Prep Time: 10 mins    Cook Time: 10 mins

5 from 2 votes

It’s amazing what you can do with just fruit, sugar, and water! This tasty tanghulu recipe is the proof. One of the best fruity treats to come out of Northern China, these candied fruit skewers are both easy to make and gorgeous to look at. Oh, and amazing to eat as well!

Several tanghulu candy strawberries in a bowl.
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Tanghulu tastes a little like Jolly Rancher candy. Once you bite through the hard sugar syrup coating, your teeth will sink into the plump, juicy strawberry inside. Tanghulu is somewhat similar to candy apples, but the coating is much thinner.

To make this Northern Chinese delicacy, fresh strawberries are dipped in sugar syrup and then allowed to cool. You don’t have to use strawberries either. There are plenty of types of fruit that would suit this recipe, either soft ones like peach slices or grapes or something firmer such as apple or pear.

And when I have lots of strawberries on hand, I also really enjoy making this sponge cake or some strawberry parfaits as well.

Main Ingredients

The ingredients used to make Tanghulu laid out on a table.

There are only 3 ingredients in this easy tanghulu recipe, including water, and it’s so easy anyone can make it. Here is what you need:

  • Strawberries: The main part of the recipe. This isn’t a recipe for frozen or canned fruit. You need beautiful fresh fruit to make it. In China, the traditional choice is the seasonal hawthorn fruit and street vendors sell this on every corner during the wintertime. You can also try grapes, tangerine segments, blueberries, pineapple, or kiwi.
  • Sugar: For sweetness. White sugar boils with water to make a sugar syrup and this is what you dip the strawberries in. Sometimes corn syrup is used in the recipe or even brown sugar. Some artificial sweeteners might work, such as monk fruit or granulated Swerve, but stevia and most others wouldn’t caramelize.

Instructions Overview

When working with sugar, you need to work fast, so prep all the ingredients before you begin. Rinse and dry the strawberries and put them on skewers. Add the sugar and water to a pan and bring it to a boil without stirring.

When a candy thermometer reaches 295°F, your sugar syrup is ready. No candy thermometer? No problem. Let the mixture boil for 6 minutes then see if it will coat the back of a spoon and harden. If so, it’s ready. If not, check again in 1-minute intervals.

Tip the pan to the side to pool the sugar syrup and then dip the strawberries in there, one at a time, letting the excess drip off. Then just let the tanghulu dry and harden on a parchment-covered baking sheet.

Overhead shot of Tanghulu candy strawberries.

Common Questions

Can I make tanghulu ahead?

This Chinese delicacy is best made shortly before serving. You can prepare it up 45 minutes ahead if you need to.

How should I store it?

Tanghulu can be refrigerated in a sealed container, but the fruit juice starts to break down the sugar coating after 45 minutes or so, and then the fruit skewers start to get sticky.

Is this dessert suitable for freezing?

Honestly, these strawberry skewers are better served as soon as you have made them. They will freeze, but the texture won’t be good when they thaw out, so I can’t recommend freezing them.

What should I serve with tanghulu?

These candied strawberries are a great snack at any time. You could also serve them for dessert.

Will they stick to the parchment paper?

You can solve this issue in a couple of ways. If you’re not using the best quality of parchment paper, spritz some Pam or nonstick cooking spray over it first. Another solution is to use a silicone baking mat instead of a parchment paper-covered tray.

Close up of a candy strawberry.

Chopnotch Tips

  • The more water your fruit contains, the quicker these strawberry skewers will start to soften and get sticky. Strawberries have plenty of water in them, along with other fruits like peach, pineapple, and melon, while cherries and banana have less, so would last a bit longer before the candy coating softens.
  • Make sure the strawberries are patted dry before dipping them in the sugar syrup, or else the excess water will stop the candy coating from hardening.
  • If you need to make a batch you can double or triple the ingredients. You will need 2 parts of sugar for every 1 part of water.
A candy strawberry in a bowl of sugar.

Tanghulu, known as bingtanghulu in Northern China, is a yummy treat made with fruit. You simply need fruit, sugar, and water to make this delicious and easy sweet snack.

Let us know what you think! Give this recipe a rating in the comments section below.

Recipe

How to Make

Tanghulu

Juicy strawberries are dipped in sugar syrup. They harden almost immediately and make a wonderful snack or dessert for all ages.
SCALE THIS RECIPE
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 10 candies

Ingredients

  • 10 strawberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
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Instructions

  • Poke the end of a wooden skewer into the top of each strawberry where its leaves are. Pull the leaves back so they are not touching the berry and set them aside on a sheet of parchment paper.
  • Add the sugar and water to a small pot, but do not mix. If needed, you can shake the pot in order to get all of the sugar completely wet.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil until the temperature reaches 295°F using a candy thermometer. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, let the mixture boil for 6 minutes and then dip a cold spoon into it. The mixture is ready if it hardens onto the spoon immediately. If not, continue to boil it and test again at 1-minute intervals.
  • Once the mixture is ready, turn the heat off. Tilt the pot to its side so the mixture gathers to one side and then dip each strawberry into it fully. Let any excess drip back into the pot, and then place it back onto the parchment paper.
  • The sugar mixture should harden onto each strawberry almost immediately. If not hardened within one minute, the strawberries were too wet or the mixture wasn’t ready. Once hardened, serve and enjoy!
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Notes

  • The more water your fruit contains, the quicker these strawberry skewers will start to soften and get sticky. Strawberries have plenty of water in them, along with other fruits like peach, pineapple, and melon, while cherries and banana have less, so would last a bit longer before the candy coating softens.
  • Make sure the strawberries are patted dry before dipping them in the sugar syrup, or else the excess water will stop the candy coating from hardening.
  • If you need to make a batch you can double or triple the ingredients. You will need 2 parts of sugar to every 1 part of water.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 81kcal (4%), Carbohydrates: 21g (7%), Protein: 1g (2%), Fat: 1g (2%), Saturated Fat: 1g (6%), Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1mg, Potassium: 19mg (1%), Fiber: 1g (4%), Sugar: 21g (23%), Vitamin A: 1IU, Vitamin C: 7mg (8%), Calcium: 2mg, Iron: 1mg (6%)
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course:
Dessert
cuisine:
Chinese

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