30 Classic Chinese Desserts You Need To Try

This mouthwatering blog post explores 30 delicious and iconic Chinese desserts that are must-try treats. From the melt-in-your-mouth textures of Wife Cake and Chinese Almond Cookies to the unique flavors of Osmanthus Jelly and Sweet Red Bean Soup, these desserts showcase the diversity and ingenuity of Chinese cuisine.

Many of the desserts like Tang Yuan, Nian Gao, and Mooncakes hold cultural significance and are traditionally made during holidays like Lunar New Year.

While ingredients like glutinous rice flour, sesame, red bean, and coconut feature prominently, the desserts achieve many textures from steaming and frying to churning silky puddings.

Flavors range from subtly sweet like Chinese Egg Cake to decadent such as Deep-fried milk bubbles bursting with liquid centers. From street food snacks like Candied Hawthorn Sticks to ornate tiered cakes, the collection represents a wide range of Chinese desserts.

Homemade Chinese Doughnuts

Homemade Chinese Doughnuts are a popular dessert in China, and for good reason! These crispy and fluffy doughnuts are simple to make from scratch, and the result is a delectable treat that tastes even better than store-bought.

The dough is made with ingredients such as flour, yeast, and milk and is left to rise before being cut into strips and fried until golden brown. Once they are cooled, the doughnuts are rolled in a cinnamon-sugar mixture, giving them a delicious and fragrant aroma.

Chinese Egg Cake

Chinese Egg Cake is a must-try dessert for anyone looking to explore traditional Chinese cuisine. Its subtle sweetness and lightness make it the perfect after-dinner or midday snack.

These cakes can be enjoyed on their own, or with a cup of tea or coffee for an added layer of flavor. They’re also a great addition to a dessert platter, adding a classic Chinese twist. Try out this easy recipe and treat your taste buds to a delicious and authentic Chinese dessert.

Deep Fried Milk 

Deep-fried milk is a delectable Chinese dessert that is often enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. This recipe consists of a creamy milk mixture that is coated in a batter made of flour, egg, and breadcrumbs before being deep-fried until crispy and golden brown.

Once fried, the result is a crunchy exterior that gives way to a smooth and deliciously sweet milk filling. What makes this dessert extra special is its unique and unexpected texture. It has a crispy outer shell that adds a delightful crunch, which gives way to a gooey liquid interior that melts in your mouth.

Homemade Chinese Fortune Cookies Recipe

Chinese Fortune Cookies are not only delicious but also offer a meaningful experience. It’s always exciting to break open a fortune cookie and read the inspiring message inside. And when the fortune cookie is homemade, you can get creative with your messages and add more personal touches.

Plus, they make great party favors for any occasion, not just the Chinese New Year! Homemade Fortune Cookies can be customized and enjoyed any time of the year, making them a must-try dessert for anyone who loves to get creative in the kitchen.

Tang Yuan (Glutinous Rice Balls) with Sweet Ginger Syrup

Tang Yuan, also known as Glutinous Rice Balls, is a popular dessert that is commonly served during Lunar New Year or Winter Solstice Festival in Chinese culture.

The dish consists of small, chewy balls made from glutinous rice flour that are filled with sweet fillings like red bean paste, peanut butter, or sesame paste. These chewy balls are then served in a warm sweet ginger syrup, which adds an extra hint of spiciness to complement the sweet filling.

Fa Gao (Chinese Prosperity Cake)

What makes Fa Gao truly unique is its distinctive shape that resembles a flower or mushroom. This is achieved by adding a small amount of baking powder to the mixture, which causes the cake to rise dramatically in the center during steaming.

The cake is then decorated with red sugar or peanut oil to create a stunning red-and-white pattern, which is thought to symbolize good fortune and wealth. The texture of the cake is soft and spongy, and its delicate sweetness makes it the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea.

Eight Treasures Rice Pudding 

Eight Treasures Rice Pudding is a traditional Chinese dessert that is famous for its unique ingredients and delicious taste.

This pudding is made by cooking glutinous rice with red bean paste, lotus seeds, peanuts, walnuts, raisins, jujubes, and other ingredients. It is then chilled and served with a sweet syrup made of sugar and water. The result is a sweet, sticky, and nutty dessert that is bursting with flavor and texture.

Dragon’s Beard Candy

Dragon’s Beard Candy, also known as Chinese cotton candy or dragon’s hair, is a unique and classic Chinese dessert that is loved by many.

This delicate candy is made by stretching and pulling a mixture of sugar, corn syrup, and maltose into thin strands that resemble a dragon’s beard. The strands are then wrapped around a filling of peanuts or sesame seeds and shaped into bite-sized pieces.

Red Bean Put Chai Ko (Pudding)

Red Bean Put Chai Ko (Pudding) is a classic Chinese dessert that originated from the southern part of China. This pudding is made by blending glutinous rice flour, rice flour, and sugar with hot water, then adding red bean paste and stirring until it forms a smooth mixture.

The mixture is then steamed until it becomes firm and jelly-like. This dessert is known for its soft and chewy texture with a sweet and nutty flavor. The addition of red bean paste provides a unique and savory taste to the pudding, while the glutinous rice flour creates a soft and chewy texture.

Hong Kong Egg Tart

The Hong Kong-style egg tart is a delicacy cherished for its signature smooth, velvety custard filling encased in a melt-in-your-mouth flaky pastry crust. Made from just a few humble ingredients like eggs, milk, and butter, these petite tarts deliver incredible texture and flavor in each bite.

The filling comes together by gently cooking a mixture of egg, milk, and sugar until set, resulting in a luxuriously creamy consistency with a light wobble. This custard gets spooned into a crisp, flaky crust that shatters delicately with each bite.

Wife Cake 

Wife cake, or lao po bing, is a melt-in-your-mouth pastry that gets its name from its delicate, tender texture that is considered a perfect match for a good wife.

This lightly sweet pastry is made from just a few ingredients like flour, shortening, and a touch of brown sugar yet delivers incredible flavor and texture. Striking the ideal balance of flavor, sweetness, and texture, every component of this pastry comes together in perfect harmony.

Traditional Baked Mooncakes / Yue Bing 

These sweet pastries are typically made with thin, flaky dough and filled with sweet lotus seed paste, and often include a salted egg yolk in the center for a unique flavor combination.

The mooncakes are then baked until golden brown and are usually enjoyed during the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is a holiday that celebrates the harvest and the full moon. What makes Traditional Baked Mooncakes so delicious is the combination of textures and flavors.

Tang Yuan with Black Sesame Filling

Tang Yuan is a beloved Chinese dessert that is commonly served during the winter solstice and other important festivals. These sweet glutinous rice balls are typically served in a warm, sweet broth and come in various colors and flavors.

One popular version of Tang Yuan features a black sesame filling, which is a delicious and indulgent treat that adds a nutty and aromatic note to the dessert. The filling is made from roasted black sesame seeds that are ground into fine sugar and oil to create a rich and flavorful paste.

Snow Fungus Dessert Soup (Tong Sui)

The snow fungus has a slightly crunchy texture that adds a refreshing contrast to the warm and sweet broth, while the red dates and rock sugar provide a natural sweetness that is not overpowering.

Furthermore, Snow Fungus Dessert Soup is not only satisfying as a dessert, but it is also believed to have many health benefits, such as improving skin health, promoting digestion, and boosting the immune system. Overall, Snow Fungus Dessert Soup is a delicious and nutritious dessert that is perfect for those looking for a light and nourishing sweet treat.

Sweet Red Bean Soup (with Tang Yuan)

Sweet Red Bean Soup with Tang Yuan is a classic Chinese dessert that is not only delicious but also very easy to make. The sweet soup is prepared with boiled red beans, which are then blended into a smooth consistency with sugar and water.

The red bean paste is then reboiled with more water and sugar to form a slightly thick, syrupy consistency. This sweet soup is usually served with soft and chewy balls of glutinous rice flour called Tang Yuan, which are stuffed with either sesame or peanut butter.

Homemade Tau Foo Fah

The recipe for Homemade Tau Foo Fah is straightforward and can be easily prepared at home. The delicious taste and creamy texture are what make this dessert stand out, which is why it’s one of the classic desserts that people ought to try.

The dessert is incredibly refreshing and light, making it perfect for after-dinner cravings, or to have as a mid-day snack. What’s more? This dessert can be customized to suit any palate, with the addition of various flavorings like vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry for those with a sweet tooth.

Chinese Mango Pudding

The combination of the sweet mango flavor with the creamy and silky texture of the pudding is what makes this dessert so addictive. The tangy and zesty taste of fresh mangoes is balanced perfectly by the sweet and subtle flavor of cream and milk, making it a perfect mix of flavors.

Chinese Mango Pudding is not only delicious, but it’s also a healthy alternative to other desserts. Mango is a fruit that is rich in vitamins A and C, fiber, and antioxidants, making this dessert not just lip-smacking but also nutritious.

Mango Sago

Mango Sago is a popular Chinese dessert that is light, refreshing, and incredibly delicious. This dessert recipe is made with ripe mangoes, sago pearls, water, sugar, coconut milk, and evaporated milk.

The mango is peeled, diced, and pureed, and then mixed with the sweet coconut and evaporated milk. Sago pearls are cooked separately until they are translucent and then added to the mango mixture. The dessert is chilled and served cold, making it a perfect dessert for hot summer days.

Coconut Tapioca Pudding

The sticky, chewy texture of the tapioca pearls perfectly complements the creamy coconut milk, creating a dessert that is both light and substantial. The coconut flavor is mild but distinct, adding just the right amount of sweetness and tropical flair.

What makes this recipe so special is that despite its simplicity, it packs a lot of flavor and comfort into just a few ingredients. The result is a dish that is sweet and rich, with a mild coconut flavor that is both satisfying and indulgent.

Ma Lai Go Chinese Steamed Cake

Ma Lai Go, or Chinese Steamed Cake, is a beloved dessert that originated in Southern China. The cake is made using a combination of flour, sugar, eggs, and coconut milk, which is then steamed to create a soft and fluffy texture.

The cake is often flavored with pandan leaves, giving it a fragrant and subtly sweet flavor that complements the richness of the coconut milk. The cake is easy to make, requiring just a few simple ingredients and a steamer. At the same time, it is packed with flavor, offering a delicate balance of sweetness and coconutty richness that is both comforting and indulgent.

Ji Dan Gao (鸡蛋糕) [Steamed Sponge Cake]

The cake is light and fluffy, with a subtle sweetness that is perfect for snacking at any time of day. What sets Ji Dan Gao apart from other desserts is its delicate texture and the way it seems to melt in your mouth. One of the things that makes this dish so beloved is how easy it is to customize.

You can add ingredients like cocoa powder, pandan leaves, or even matcha to give it a unique flavor. The texture and flavor of the cake go perfectly with a warm cup of tea or a cold glass of milk, making it a great choice for a light dessert or a snack.

Chinese New Year Sweet Rice Cake (Nian Gao)

The rice flour and brown sugar blend creates a dense, sticky cake that slices easily and has a delicate sweetness. Its gelatinous, chewy texture is said to symbolize prosperity and togetherness for the new year. Nian gao is a classic treat that has graced Chinese New Year celebrations for generations.

The cake can be enjoyed plain, pan-fried until golden for added richness, or even dipped in egg and pan-fried for a crispy exterior contrasting the soft interior. This traditional cake uses quality ingredients and techniques to create a dessert with symbolic meaning and comforting flavors.

Steamed Sweet Rice Cake 

Steamed sweet rice cake is a traditional Chinese dessert made special by its soft, pillowy texture and subtle sweet flavor. This cake is made from just rice flour, sugar, and water that gets steamed to create a delicate, smooth treat.

The rice flour lends it a uniquely tender, gelatinous texture almost reminiscent of Japanese mochi. A touch of sugar balances the neutral rice notes with a hint of sweetness. The steamed preparation allows the cake to achieve a soft, cloud-like consistency.

Jian Dui or Sesame Ball

These desserts are made from a glutinous rice flour dough, which is stuffed with a sweet, sticky filling like red bean paste, then rolled in sesame seeds and deep-fried to perfection.

The result is a crispy, crunchy outer layer that is contrasted by the soft, chewy dough and the sweet, gooey filling inside. What makes Jian Dui such a beloved dessert among Chinese cuisine enthusiasts is its unique combination of flavors and textures.

Pineapple Bun

The most exciting feature of Pineapple Buns is their crunchy crust, achieved by placing a layer of sweet Chinese pastry dough on top of the plain bun dough. You can have it plain or with a slab of butter in between the bun, which will melt into the warm bread, creating a sweet and nutty flavor.

Pineapple Buns are perfect for breakfast or brunch and will surely become a family favorite. The name of this dessert can be quite misleading, as it doesn’t really contain any pineapple, but that is because it is named for its resemblance to the prickly fruit.

Chinese Doughnut Sticks (Youtiao, 油条)

The dough for Chinese Doughnut Sticks is made with flour, water, yeast, and baking powder. Unlike other doughs, Youtiao dough doesn’t contain sugar, which makes it perfect for the savory breakfast dishes it’s typically paired with.

After the dough is mixed and rested, it’s rolled out into long cylinders, and then cut into individual pieces. The puffy pieces are then fried until they’re crispy and golden-brown on the outside. The result is a delectable, crispy snack with a soft and fluffy center.

Chinese Almond Tofu (Almond Jelly)

One of the reasons why Chinese Almond Tofu is so delicious is because of its delicate flavor. The almond milk adds a subtle nutty taste that is complemented by the delicate texture of the jelly. What’s more, this dessert is very healthy as it contains no dairy, and it’s gluten-free.

In conclusion, Chinese Almond Tofu is a must-try dessert that is both healthy and delicious. The delicate flavor and silky texture make it a refreshing treat for any occasion, and it’s the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer day. So why not give this classic dessert a try and see what all the fuss is about?

Coconut Osmanthus Jelly 

Coconut osmanthus jelly is a silky, aromatic dessert featuring the lovely pairing of coconut milk and osmanthus flower. Simple ingredients like coconut milk, osmanthus-infused syrup, gelatin, and water are combined to create a subtly sweet, floral treat.

The coconut milk provides a smooth, creamy base while the osmanthus syrup lends delicate floral notes as well as natural sweetness. Gelatin allows it to set into a lush, wobbly jelly. Served chilled in cubes or layers, the jelly trembles enticingly with each bite, melting on the tongue.

Chinese Almond Cookies

Chinese almond cookies have a melt-in-your-mouth texture and nutty almond flavor that makes them an addictive treat. Made from pantry staples like flour, sugar, eggs, and baking powder, these cookies get their distinctive flavor from chopped almonds.

The chopped nuts get folded into a simple dough before the cookies are shaped and baked until lightly golden. The almonds toast and provide a lovely crunch and fragrance. While the cookies are crispy around the edges, their interior stays soft and almost chewy.


Bing Tanghulu Candied Hawthorn Stick

Bing Tanghulu, also known as candied hawthorn stick, is a traditional Chinese snack that has been enjoyed by generations. This sweet and tangy treat is made by dipping fresh hawthorn berries in a syrup made from sugar, water, and sometimes vinegar.

The berries are then skewered on a stick and left to harden until the sugar coating forms a shiny, candy-like shell. The end result is crispy, juicy, and packed with flavor. What makes Bing Tanghulu such a delicious treat is its unique combination of flavors and textures.