This is the best tanghulu recipe! It’s so easy to make and this candied fruit is made with just a three simple ingredients including strawberries, water and sugar. This recipe is a fun twist on the classic Chinese street food.
What is Tanghulu?
Tanghulu is a popular candied fruit snack from Northern China. This Chinese street food is different from traditional candied fruit because the hardened sugar syrup creates a hard crunchy shell around the fresh fruit rather than the soft candied fruit that you may be used to.
Traditional Tanghulu is served on long bamboo skewers which make it easy to eat anywhere. Classically it is made with Crataegus pinnatifida fruit, also known as mountain hawthorn, but it can also be made with any type of fruit that you like.
In this post I will teach you how to make Tanghulu at home with just a few simple ingredients!
Why you will love this recipe:
- The taste! The crunchy sugar coating around the fresh fruit is so sweet and refreshing.
- It’s easy to make and only requires 3 ingredients – fruit, sugar and water.
- It’s fun to make! Watching the sugar harden around the fruit is so satisfying.
- You can use any type of fruit that you like for making this candied fruit snack including grapes, raspberries, blueberries or strawberry.
- You may have seen this trend on TikTok. This recipe is also known as TikTok candied strawberries.
- This would be a great recipe to serve at brunch, Easter, a baby shower, bridal shower or your next party or gathering. You could even make it for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day!
- It’s dairy free, gluten free and vegan.
Ingredients and substitutions:
- Fresh fruit – I personally love using strawberries but you can use any fruit you like including oranges, grapes, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or even apples.
- Granulated sugar – I use organic cane sugar but you can also use white sugar too.
- Water – this is used to make the hard sugar coating that will coat the fruit.
How to make this recipe:
First, wash and dry the fruit and place it on a skewer.
Then put the water and sugar in a medium sized pot and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Using a candy thermometer, boil the sugar water until the temperature reaches between 250 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit. This will take ~10-20 minutes.
Once the sugar water mixture has come to temperature, quickly dip the fruit skewers into the sugar mixture to coat the fruit and then place each fruit skewer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
The sugar coating on the fruit should harden very quickly, once it does serve and enjoy! If you aren’t eating it right away, move it to the fridge so that the sugar coating stays hard.
To make Tanghulu without a thermometer:
To make Tanghulu without a candy thermometer, you can test the temperature of the boiling sugar water by dipping a spoon into cold ice water and then dipping the spoon into the syrup. If the sugar syrup hardens immediately, then you have reached the proper temperature. You can then start dipping the fresh fruit into the boiling sugar water.
- Make sure you let the sugar water mixture get to 250-300 degrees Fahrenheit before you dip the fruit in it – If you try dipping the fruit at lower temperatures the sugar coating won’t harden (trust me I tried it).
- I highly recommend using a candy thermometer to make Tanghulu. You need the sugar water to get to the perfect temperature to ensure it will harden around the fruit. This is hard to do without a candy thermometer.
- Make sure you dry the fruit completely before putting it on the bamboo skewer. If it is still wet the sugar coating may not harden.
- I recommend using fresh fruit, and not frozen fruit to make this recipe.
- You can easily double or triple this recipe if you are serving a crowd – just be sure to keep the 2:1 ratio of sugar to water.
Variations and add ins:
- You can use any type of fresh fruit that you like to make this recipe including strawberries, grapes, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, oranges, grapefruit, watermelon, etc.
- You can use either cane sugar or white granulated sugar to make this recipe. Just note that white sugar tends to boil faster so it will be quicker to make.
How to store:
Store any leftovers in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 7 days.
Frequently asked questions:
What is Tanghulu made of?
Tanghulu is made from fresh fruit, sugar and water. Classically it’s made with Crataegus pinnatifida fruit, also called mountain hawthorn, but you can use any type of fresh fruit that you like to make it.
What is the Tanghulu ratio of sugar to water?
For Tanghulu to turn out properly, the best ratio of sugar to water is 2:1. For example, if you are using 1 cup of sugar, use 1/2 a cup of water.
How do you eat Tanghulu?
You eat Tanghulu right off the bamboo stick that’s it’s made on. Simply bite into the hard sugar coating and enjoy!
How long does Tanghulu take to harden?
If your sugar water is the right temperature, between 250 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit, the sugar coating will harden almost immediately when you dip the fruit into it.
Why is my Tanghulu sticky?
Tanghulu can be sticky if you don’t allow the sugar water mixture to reach the appropriate temperature (between 250 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit). If the sugar water isn’t hot enough it won’t harden when you dip the fruit in it, instead, it will turn into a sticky sugar coating rather than a hard sugar candied coating.
Other recipes you will love:
- Turtle Cookie Bars
- The Best Healthy Blondies
- Cranberry Lemon Bars
- Lemon Macaroons
- Double Chocolate Avocado Brownies
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This is the best Tanghulu recipe! This Chinese street food is really easy to make and makes the perfect treat that everyone will enjoy.
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1.5 cups water
- 1 lb fresh fruit
- pinch sea salt
Wash and dry the fruit and place them on a skewer.
When the sugar water mixture has come to temperature, quickly dip the fruit skewers into the sugar mixture to coat the fruit and then place each fruit skewer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
The sugar coating should harden very quickly, once it does serve and enjoy!
To change the flavour slightly, add a pinch of sea salt to the boiling sugar water.
- If you do not have a candy thermometer, you can test the temperature of the sugar water mixture by dipping a spoon into cold ice water and then dipping the spoon into the syrup. If it hardens immediately, then you have reached the proper temperature.
- If you parchment paper is not good quality, your candy may stick to the paper.
- If you don't eat this right away you can store Tanghulu in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 7 days.
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