Chinese New Year desserts seem to be essential in the Lunar New Year. At this time of the year, family members often gather together to cook and enjoy New Year’s Eve dinner as a way to say goodbye to the passing year.
They also prepare delicious, mostly sweet desserts to share with friends and neighbors. The meaningful thing about Chinese New Year desserts is that they always represent a wish for a better year, including reunion, prosperity, wealth, business thrives, luckiness, and more.
Giving cakes or cookies as a gift plays an important role as much as saying best wishes. So, if you have a chance to stay in China during the New Year weeks, be sure to prepare red envelopes for children and bring one of these desserts for other members when visiting local friends or colleagues’ houses.
List Of 14 Meaningful Traditional Chinese New Year Desserts
Go to the kitchen, read my recipes and make your new favorite holiday desserts which might have been introduced to you a long time ago by Chinese neighbors every Lunar New Year.
- Sweet Rice Cakes (Nian Gao)
- Black Sesame Rice Balls (Tang Yuan)
- Water Chestnut Cake
- Crispy Peanut Dumplings (Kok Chai)
- Chinese Peanut Butter Cookies
- Fortune Cookies
- Honeycomb Cookies ((Kuih Loyang / Kuih Rose)
- Almond Thin Cookies
- Chinese Fried Sesame Dessert Balls (Jian Dui)
- Chinese Egg Tart
- Pineapple Tart
- Osmanthus Jelly (Gui Hua Gao)
- Eight Treasure Rice (Ba Bao Fan)
- Preserved Kumquats
14 Chinese New Year Desserts That’ll Make New Year Feast Perfect
These celebratory desserts make New Year’s time sweeter and happier. Make sure to stay tuned for my recipes.
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No Chinese New Year Is Complete Without These Cake Recipes
Ring in the Lunar New Year with plenty of yummy cakes to treat your family and guests. Sounds exciting enough?
The number one cake Chinese people always prepare for the Lunar New Year is sweet rice cakes or nian gao. The reason why it’s a must-have dessert is that nian gao symbolizes prosperity and hope for a higher income year. Friends offer this cake to each other as a gift at the beginning of the year to wish for a better new year.
As you might not know, traditional methods might take up to 20 hours to get the caramelized appearance, but now you can change some steps in order to shorten steaming time to less than 3 hours.
Nian gao can be served freshly right after they cool off or after they’re sun-dried in a week. It’s made from glutinous rice, sugar, water and has a sticky, chewy texture with a sweet flavor.
Are you curious about a quick and easy way to make Nian Gao? Let’s find out now.
Black sesame rice balls are specially served on some Chinese special occasions, including the New Year holiday. They’re made from glutinous rice, filled with black sesame paste, and dipped in sweet soup.
Heart-warming, comforting and delicious, this dessert can make you feel good immediately. Not to mention, tang yuan sounds quite similar to the word that means harmony and reunion, which is highly valued in Chinese culture.
So enjoying these chewy balls at this time is a way to remind each family member about having a good time together.
Most Chinese New Year desserts are straightforward to make, and water chestnut cake is no exception. It might take just a few steps to get a foolproof batch of this dessert within less than 20 minutes.
Fresh water chestnuts taste not only fresh and nutty but also stay crunchy after being cooked. That’s why it’s widely used for cooking some Asian sweet treats. In this case, it’s water chestnut cakes.
Everyone loves munching this cake when having tea with family and friends during this time of the new year.
Chinese Cookie Which Hold More Messages Than Just A Plain Dessert
Yummy to eat and fun to understand – these cookie recipes make me feel eager to give them to other family members and friends
These deep-fried dumplings are a familiar dessert with all Chinese families, and kids especially love them. Their shapes and colors remind me of gold bullions; therefore, they are often present in Chinese New Year festive tables as a message of wealth and good fortune.
Although they look much like curry puffs, they have sweet fillings instead of savory ones. The filling consists of sesame seeds, sugar, and peanuts.
You can try a healthier version of this recipe by putting them in the oven, but in my opinion, I still prefer deep-fried ones because they appear crispier and more satisfying.
A fun fact, in Mongolian cuisine, instead of eating these fried dumplings for New Year celebration, the Mongolians will eat Buuz – a type of steamed dumplings instead.
Peanut cookies are one of my favorite Chinese New Year goodies. If you want to make them from scratch, it’s time to roll up your sleeves because it might take a while. The most time-consuming step is that peanuts must be roasted, shelled, skinned, then ground into powder.
It’s perfect for a holiday treat but you can also enjoy it throughout the year. For example, make a huge batch of this lovely dessert for your weekend buffet party. A successful batch of peanut cookies is indeed melt-in-your-mouth, fragrant, and nutty.
I can’t wait to make homemade Chinese peanut cookies today. How about you?
Fortune cookies are a perfect party option, and your guests will be amazed when receiving many surprising and meaningful messages. The best part? You can make it right in your kitchen and put whatever lines you want into them. Finally, you can create some little miracles. Sounds great?
This snack is so simple that you might be ready to forget store-bought products from now on. However, they need to be baked and folded when still warm; you might not make a large batch without some help from family members or friends.
These beautiful honeycomb cookies taste as good as they look and always show up in the festive season. Although the recipe is trouble-free, it might take some practice before you can get crispy yet not greasy cookies.
This dessert asks for a brass mold you can easily find in the Asian market and a couple of basic ingredients in your pantry.
If it’s the first time you make it, you will get used to the method quickly and soon make a large batch of honeycomb cookies. You can keep them in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
Are you ready for some homemade Kuih Loyang? Watch this video:
I like the fact that I can satisfy my craving for sweet stuff without feeling too guilty with this super delicious recipe. As soon as I make it at home, I immediately add it to my favorite dessert list. Actually, I have finished having several jars filled with these almond thin cookies.
To begin with, let’s prepare eggs, flour, almond flakes, sugar, and oil. You can serve them at tea time or give them as a gift to your beloved ones. These nutty and crispy cookies are so good that you don’t even realize that you’ve eaten to the last bite.
Lunar New Year Pastry Recipes Which Surely Impress Your Friends
Send off the passing year and welcome a new one with stunning Chinese recipes for making pastries that are both delicious and meaningful.
Jian dui is made from glutinous rice and red bean paste (or peanut filling). It’s often deep-fried in an oil-boiling pan or tossed in the air fryer. You can easily find this famous dim sum on the street, or you can try making it at home, especially during Lunar New Year.
This ball-shaped dessert looks so yummy, thanks to the fact that it’s fully coated with golden and nutty sesame seeds. I love to enjoy it when it’s still warm and even better with a cup of premium tea.
10. Chinese Egg Tart
Egg tarts might be my well-liked Hong Kong sweet of all time. It has a flaky golden crust that embraces smooth and glossy egg custard.
To get the perfect finish, it’s important that you shouldn’t reduce the amount of sugar because sugar syrup creates a soft layer on top of the custard.
The great thing when you bake a batch at home is that you have the privilege to enjoy it straight after it comes from the oven. You wouldn’t believe how good it tastes compared to lukewarm store-bought ones.
11. Pineapple Tart
Pineapple tart is a well-known staple in Chinese New Year because this treat, like most other Chinese New Year desserts, undoubtedly carries an auspicious meaning of prosperity.
Melt-in-your-mouth, crumbly, buttery crust and soft, tangy tropical filling, pineapple tart seems to be scrumptious in every way.
It might take 2-3 hours to finish if you intend to make it from scratch., You will make your own pineapple jam straight from fresh pineapples, mix and roll the dough, form cookies, and bake. Rest assured that the result is entirely worthwhile.
Pineapple tart seems to be easier than you think. Let’s find out why:
Other Delectable Chinese New Year Dessert Recipes
Let’s wrap up the list of Chinese New Year treats with yummy and good-looking dishes you’ve ever tried.
This osmanthus jelly is such a fancy, sweet way to end your indulgent meal. Osmanthus, if you’re not familiar with it, is an edible flower with a beautiful fragrance. For this reason, it’s widely used in the kitchen in many Asian countries.
It is no exaggeration to say that Chinese New Year would not be the same without this delicate and delectable jelly dessert. The coolest thing is that you can shape them into various appearances depending on what molds you have in the pantry. Flower shape and rectangular shape are the most often seen.
As you might not know, number eight in Chinese is pronounced similar to another word that means thriving in life, especially in business. Therefore, Chinese people love to make and eat eight treasure rice during the Lunar New Year as a flourishing sign for the coming year.
The recipe is relatively straightforward, prepared with cooked glutinous rice, dried fruits, nuts, sugar lotus seeds, and red bean paste.
Traditionally, people use lard to stick all the ingredients together, but you can use sunflower oil or coconut oil instead.
The dish tastes slightly sweet, rich, and super delicious. Thanks to its colorful finish, people believe it also brings them a lot of luck.
Preserved kumquats or candied kumquats are truly addictive due to their sweet and tangy flavors, making them a perfect sweet treat to eat in spring. Not to mention, they own a lovely color and texture, which happens to help create numerous yummy recipes.
Kumquats apparently resemble oranges, just much smaller and have a bit of a sour aroma. They’re popularly used in Asian houses as a pantry staple. And preserved kumquats are essential in the Chinese biggest holiday of the year.
Candied kumquats take time to achieve the best flavor. Make it ASAP. Let’s see this video:
Yummy And Symbolic Desserts For A Better Year To Come
Here’s a selected list of 15 traditional desserts which are popular during Chinese New Year. There are many more recipes out there that I promise to address soon in the future. Please tell me if you’re interested.
As a sweet tooth, I completely fall in love with these treats and their hidden notes. They make me rethink what I am cooking and become more mindful in the kitchen. Perhaps, I could prepare some dishes with a symbolic meaning for my family and friends as a secret way to wish them the best. I find this is a brilliant idea to start.
What do you think? Share with me your cooking experiences, and we can discuss more soon.