5 from 10 votes

Tanghulu Strawberries (with Hardened Sugar)

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If you are new to making Tanghulu strawberries, you are in for a sweet treat!  This popular Chinese street-food hard coated dessert has found a new following all thanks to the internet and TikTok.

Take a perfectly ripe, sweet berry and give it the sweetest, most delectable sugar coating so that it shines like it’s encased in crystal.  Then bite into it for the most satisfying, yummy crunch you’ve ever had. 

holding a tangulu candied strawberry with a finger and thumb.

It’s no wonder Tanghulu dessert has become so popular! 

Because the only ingredients are sugar, water, and fresh fruit, there’s no excuse NOT to try it yourself.  Serve these little bites of heaven all by themselves, or use them to decorate cakes, pies, or cupcakes.  You can also leave them on their skewers and serve them in place of cake pops at parties!

Why you will love Sugar Coated Strawberries!

Unique: There is no doubt that sugar coated candied strawberries will make a splash on an appetizer tray!

Viral: Everyone loves trying a viral recipe and this one is it! Tanghulu strawberries are not as popular in all parts of the world but everyone can experience making Chinese vender street food in their own kitchen! From the FYP page to the plate.

Delicious: It goes without saying, but sugar and strawberries just fit. Move over chocolate dipped strawberries, these may just be your newest favorite way to enjoy juicy, ripe fresh fruit!

Ingredients

You only need a few items to make hard coated Tanghulu Strawberries at home:

  • fresh strawberries — washed and dried completely 
  • sugar
  • water
  • skewers — bamboo skewers like you would use for skis kebabs are perfect
  • candy thermometer
tanghulu strawberry ingredients.

How to make Tanghulu Strawberries

Make sure to check out the printable recipe card for full step by step instructions and ingredients.

step by step collage of 6 images showing how to dry strawberries and heat sugar mixture.
  1. Dry strawberries very well with paper towel.
  2. Place each berry on the end of a skewer. Dry once more just in case. Set aside.
  3. Add water to a sauce pan.
  4. Pour in sugar.
  5. Heat on medium heat and stir until sugar is halfway dissolved.
  6. Stop stirring and increase heat to medium high. Use a candy thermometer to boil sugar until it’s about 300 degrees. (About 15-20 minutes)
  7. Remove from heat and dip berries immediately in sugar mixture.
  8. Tap gently to drip any extra sugar syrup and carefully place into the sugar glasses to dry. Repeat until all berries are covered.
  9. Let stand for 10 minutes to harden. 
  10. Remove from skewers and serve immediately. 
dipping strawberries into candied sugar, a collage of 4 images for tanghulu strawberries.

Expert Tips

  • If you are using smaller fruit, such as grapes or blueberries, you can put several on each skewer.
  • While your sugar and water are heating, don’t stir it.  This can cause crystallization of the sugar, and your mixture will turn opaque instead of clear.
  • The mixture is extremely hot, so wear oven mitts and be really careful!
  • Once your sugar and water mixture reach the perfect temperature of 300 degrees, turn your stove to low.  It’s important that the temperature doesn’t continue to rise or you risk burning your sugar.

FAQs about Candied Fruit

What is Tanghulu?


Originating in Northern China, Tanghulu is a popular dessert usually made with sour hawthorn berries contained inside a hard sugar coating and is often sold by street vendors.  It is popular in wintertime and can vary widely, from the type of fruit used to the toppings adorning the confection.

Can Tanghulu Candies be stored?


Tanghulu tastes best fresh, so I recommend enjoying these little morsels right away.  While other fruits may last a bit longer, strawberries will only last about 2 hours after being dipped.

What other types of fruit can you use to make Tanghulu?


Blueberries, pitted cherries, and grapes all work well for Tanghulu fruit skewers.  I’ve heard of people also using oranges, pineapple, mango and kiwi but I haven’t tried them myself.  The sugar will stick better to a fruit with a skin, and fruits that are slightly under ripe will stay skewered better.

Can you make Tanghulu without a thermometer?


If you don’t have a kitchen thermometer, you can absolutely still make Tanghulu.  In order to reach the correct temperature of 300 degrees F, the sugar and water mixture needs to have thickened to a syrup, which takes about 10 minutes at a good boil.  Test for readiness by chilling a metal utensil in ice water, then dip it as you would your fruit.  If the sugar dries immediately then you’ve reached the right temperature and you’re ready to start making Tanghulu.

What does a Tanghulu Strawberry taste like?


They taste just like Strawberry Bon Bon Candy.

white plate with four tanghulu strawberries.

Looking for other dessert ideas using strawberries?  Check out these sweet treat recipes!

5 from 10 votes

Tanghulu Strawberries


Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Tanghulu strawberries, made popular by Chinese street vendors, are hard candied sugar coated bits of fruit that give you the immediate texture of pocket candies combined with the soft center of most fruits. These candied strawberries taste like Strawberry Bon Bons and are a great unique appetizer or dessert that really stand out.

Equipment

  • candy thermometer

Ingredients
 

  • 12 strawberries dried well
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar

Instructions

  • Prep a glass with sugar to hold skewers. Please note my skewers are super long so these tall glasses worked fine. Shorter skewers means a shorter glass or coffee mug or canning jar. Don't plan to fill the sugar glasses with all the strawberries, Mine held about six each. 
  • Dry strawberries very well with paper towel.
  • Place each berry on the end of a skewer. Dry once more just in case.
  • Add water and sugar to a sauce pan. Heat on medium heat and stir until sugar is halfway dissolved.
  • Stop stirring and increase heat to medium high.
  • Use a candy thermometer to boil sugar until it's about 300 degrees. (About 15-20 minutes)
  • Remove from heat and dip berries immediately in sugar mixture. Tap gently to drip and carefully place into the sugar glasses to dry.
  • Repeat until all berries are covered. Let stand for 10 minutes to harden. 
  • Remove from skewers and serve immediately. 

Notes

Beware: Heated sugar is VERY VERY hot. It is easy to burn yourself and hot sugar can really hurt! This is not a recipe that is child friendly and you should take precautions to keep yourself from touching sugar. 
Can Tanghulu Candies be stored?
Tanghulu tastes best fresh, so I recommend enjoying these little morsels right away.  While other fruits may last a bit longer, strawberries will only last about 2 hours after being dipped.
What other types of fruit can you use to make Tanghulu?
Blueberries, pitted cherries, and grapes all work well for Tanghulu.  I’ve heard of people also using oranges, pineapple, mango and kiwi but I haven’t tried them myself.  The sugar will stick better to a fruit with a skin, and fruits that are slightly under ripe will stay skewered better.
Can you make Tanghulu without a thermometer?
If you don’t have a kitchen thermometer, you can absolutely still make Tanghulu.  In order to reach the correct temperature of 300 degrees F, the sugar and water mixture needs to have thickened to a syrup, which takes about 10 minutes at a good boil. 
Test for readiness by chilling a metal utensil in ice water, then dip it as you would your fruit.  If the sugar dries immediately then you’ve reached the right temperature and you’re ready to start making Tanghulu.
What does a Tanghulu Strawberry taste like?
They taste like Strawberry Bon Bon Candy.

Nutrition

Serving: 2strawberries | Calories: 68kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 19mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

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5 from 10 votes

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