Tanghulu Recipe: A Sweet And Tangy Treat

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Tanghulu, also known as Chinese candied hawthorn berries, is a delightful street food popular in China. These vibrant red treats consist of hawthorn berries coated in a hard candy shell, offering a delightful contrast between the tartness of the fruit and the sweetness of the candy. Not only is tanghulu delicious, but it’s also surprisingly easy to make at home!


Tanghulu Recipe (Chinese Candied Fruit)
Tanghulu Recipe (Chinese Candied Fruit)

1 pound fresh hawthorn berries (frozen works too, thawed and patted dry)

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup maltose (can be substituted with light corn syrup)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • Bamboo skewers

  • Instructions:

    1. Prepare the Hawthorn Berries: Wash the hawthorn berries thoroughly and remove any stems or leaves. Using a toothpick, carefully pierce a hole through the top center of each berry. Thread the berries onto bamboo skewers, leaving a small gap between each one.
    2. Make the Candy Coating: In a saucepan, combine water, sugar, maltose, and vinegar. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture reaches a thick syrup consistency. This will take about 10-15 minutes. To test if the syrup is ready, take a small amount and let it cool slightly. If it forms a hard candy ball when pinched between your fingers, it’s ready.
    3. Coating the Berries: Working quickly, dip each skewered berry into the hot candy syrup, coating it completely. Be careful not to hold the berries for too long, or the candy will harden before you can place them down.
    4. Letting Them Set: Gently lift the coated berries from the syrup and allow any excess to drip off. Hold the skewer upright and twirl it slightly to prevent the candy from clumping. Place the coated berries on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and let them cool completely at room temperature. The candy shell will harden within 15-20 minutes.

    Nutrition Facts (per serving, approximately 5 berries)

    Calories: 120

  • Fat: 0g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 5mg
  • Carbohydrates: 30g
  • Sugar: 25g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Vitamin C: 20% DV

  • Note: These are approximate nutrition facts and may vary depending on the ingredients used.


    Tanghulu is a unique and delicious treat that’s perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth. It’s a fun and festive dessert that’s sure to impress your friends and family. Plus, with its natural source of vitamin C from the hawthorn berries, you can indulge guilt-free (almost!). So why not give this recipe a try and experience the taste of China’s favorite candied fruit for yourself?

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. Can I use a different type of berry?

    Yes, you can! While hawthorn berries are traditional, you can substitute them with other firm fruits like cranberries, cherries, or even grapes. However, keep in mind that the flavor and texture may vary depending on the fruit used.

    2. What if I don’t have maltose?

    Light corn syrup is a readily available substitute for maltose in this recipe. Use the same amount (1/2 cup) as you would for maltose.

    3. The candy coating is too thick/thin. How can I fix it?

    If the candy coating is too thick, it will be difficult to coat the berries evenly. Add a tablespoon of water at a time and bring the mixture back to a simmer until it reaches a thinner consistency. Conversely, if the candy coating is too thin, it won’t harden properly. Continue simmering the mixture for a few more minutes to allow it to thicken slightly.

    4. How long can I store tanghulu?

    Tanghulu can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. However, the candy shell may begin to soften slightly over time.

    5. Can I reheat the candy coating if it hardens?