Home » Dessert » Candy » Tanghulu

Tanghulu

This post may contain affiliate links.

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 tanghulu is amazing to eat as well!

Several tanghulu candy strawberries in a bowl.
Jump to:

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 tanghulu 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 tanghulu 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 tanghulu 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 making tanghulu. 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

What Does Tanghulu Taste Like?

This sweet treat is often made with hawthorn (also known as hawberry, mountain hawthorn or shanzha) in China which offers a tart flavor and apple-like texture. The sugar coating on the outside adds a touch of sweetness to contrast with the hawthorn. Since we are using strawberries here, their natural sweetness complements the candy coating rather than contrasting with it. If you want more of a contrast, consider using a tart fruit instead of the strawberries.

Why is My Tanghulu Sticky?

The candy coating is supposed to be crisp rather than sticky, with a texture like very thin ice. If it's sticky or doesn't set properly that's probably because you didn't bring the temperature up enough or boil it for long enough. If the sugar mixture will harden on to a cold metal spoon right away, that means it's ready to coat the fruit. If not, make sure the temperature is 295°F and give it at least 6 minutes cooking time. Another reason for sticky tanghulu is not drying the strawberries before dipping them in the sugar mixture because the water would interfere with the candy coating.

What is candied fruit called?

Another name is crystallized fruit but candied fruit isn't exactly the same as tanghulu. To candy fruit, it's cooked in sugar syrup and then allowed to sit in the syrup, which results in the moisture from the fruit being replaced by sugar. With tanghulu, the fruit is left intact and the sugar syrup is on the outside instead, so the ingredients are more or less the same but they're not made the same. Also, tanghulu offers a crunch while candied fruit is soft.

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 tanghulu?

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 tanghulu 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 the tanghulu 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
💡TIP: Save it on Pinterest so you can always come back when you need to! 👇

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!
For More RecipesFollow @chopnotch

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%)
Print Recipe
course:
Dessert
cuisine:
Chinese

©

Leave a Comment

Add a rating: