28 Of The Best Traditional Chinese Dessert Recipes

Dessert is the perfect way to close off a delicious meal.

Desserts are beloved across the world, and with so many different cultures boasting very different cuisines, you can bet that there are some incredibly unique desserts out there just waiting to be discovered. 

One of the most famous cuisines in the world is that of Chinese cuisine, which boasts some incredibly iconic dishes, flavors, and ingredients.

28 Of The Best Traditional Chinese Dessert Recipes

However, for as much as you hear about famous dishes like chow mein, or szechuan chicken, you don’t so often hear about some of China’s many desserts.

And China boasts a massive number of awesome desserts that are totally worth checking out when you get the chance. But which of the many desserts are most worth trying?

Which ones will give you a really authentic Chinese dessert experience, and light up your tastebuds?

If you’ve been pondering this yourself, then you should read on down below, because we are going to take a look at 28 of the very best Chinese desserts that you have to experience yourself!

1. Fried Milk

Let’s kick off this list with a dessert that very often surprises people: fried milk! Fried milk is totally incredible and oh-so-sweet.

The soft creaminess of the milky center and the crispy texture of the breadcrumbed outer coating makes this an easy dessert to indulge in.

Naturally, you are probably wondering how milk can be fried. It is done by mixing milk with cornstarch, which quickly thickens it up before it is then left to cool in the refrigerator.

After that, you simply dip it in breadcrumbs and allow it to fry!

They’re very fun to make, so why not try them out?

2. Red Bean Popsicles

Red bean paste is used all across China as a filling for various sweet, and even savory, foods. Red bean paste is known for its incredibly sweet flavor that also has very earthy and often creamy notes.

Naturally, this means that red bean flavoring lends itself perfectly well to popsicles. This recipe will show you how to make your own red bean popsicles that you can slowly suck on during those hot summer nights!

3. Chinese Fried Dough

If you’ve never tried Chinese fried dough before, the closest point of comparison we can point to is churros.

However, what makes Chinese fried dough unique is that it has a slightly more chewy texture, and is designed entirely for dipping in sweet sauces.

They are totally worth trying out for yourself, and they actually offer a very unique experience that churros alone cannot offer!

4. Candied Banana Fritters

Before they are fried, these bananas are first soaked in syrup, which allows them to become incredibly sticky and sweet.

When they have been fried, this sweetness becomes all the more apparent, as each bite you take will release the sweetness directly into your mouth, as the batter seems to melt away.

These are totally unlike any banana fritters you have ever tried before, so you owe it to yourself to experience them!

5. Almond Tofu

Though it is called tofu, this dessert recipe can perhaps more closely be compared to almond jello.

Almond tofu is an incredibly popular dessert all across China, thanks to its fun and exciting texture that makes it both tasty and refreshing to eat, but also because of its creamy flavor. 

If you want a traditional dessert that tastes totally modern, then this just might be the one for you!

6. Green Tea & Coconut Ice Cream

Ice cream is just as popular in China as it is in the West, and thus there are some very unique flavors out there waiting for you to try.

This is definitely one of our absolute favorites. It’s easy to make, and within no time at all, you will have a traditional tasting dessert in a modern form.

7. Ma Lai Go (Chinese Steamed Cake)

This dish can be a little difficult to make, but with the right steps and a little bit of elbow grease, you can very easily create a steamed cake that tastes as good as it looks.

The steaming process causes the cake to be incredibly fluffy, so it’s like biting into a soft cloud! 

The creamy taste of the cake further makes them seem heaven-sent.

8. Tang Yuan (Glutinous Rice Balls)

The sweet ginger syrup is definitely what makes this particular dessert work so well.

The way that the colorful rice balls absorb the warming flavor of the ginger syrup is totally irresistible, and every bite you take into them will send a wave of flavor coursing through your mouth. 

This is an easy dessert to eat, and is a delight for diners of all ages!

9. Chinese Sesame Balls

These nutty and satisfying balls of flavor make for a totally perfect dessert, and a fantastic way to close off any good meal.

The softness of the balls themselves makes them a treat to bite into, while the sesame seeds that are dotted across the surface are slightly crunchy, which creates a textural contrast that makes them more memorable.

If you’ve never experienced the glorious potential of sesame yet, then you should definitely give this recipe a whirl.

10. Durian Ice Cream

This dessert definitely requires something of an acquired taste to fully enjoy, but being that durian is easily one of the most popular fruits in China, it’s definitely one of the most authentic that you could possibly try.

Durian is best known for its very pungent aroma that often puts people off, but the sweet way it tastes easily makes up for it! This ice cream makes for a perfect introduction.

11. Fortune Cookies

We would be remiss to not mention fortune cookies in our list of the very best traditional Chinese desserts, as they are easily the most iconic!

Another great thing about fortune cookies is that they can even easily be made by hand at home! That way, you can fill them with all sorts of cute, fun, or insightful messages for friends and family!

12. Easy Chocolate Chinese Five Spice Cake

Chinese five spice can be used in all kinds of recipes, and not just savory recipes, but numerous sweet recipes too!

This recipe will help you to create a perfectly moist, spongey, and decadent cake that is full of Chinese five spice flavors that you will simply adore.

The way that the chocolate and the spices blend together to create a unique whole makes this recipe more than worth the time.

The inclusion of cinnamon also makes this fiery cake taste even better!

13. Pineapple Buns

Though pineapple buns are soft, decadent, and easy to eat, they are also known for their incredibly fruity and vibrant flavor.

This pineapple bun recipe will show you how to create the very best version of this unique and highly beloved dessert that will prove to you exactly why they are so popular the world over! 

The taste of the pineapple helps to make these buns taste very exotic, but the buns are also incredibly creamy and very deeply fulfilling. 

14. Bing Tang Hu Lu

These are some of the most popular desserts on this list. They can very often be found across China during Chinese new year celebrations, and they are highly favored by children for their incredibly sweet flavor, and satisfying texture. 

These candies are made from the hawthorn fruit, which is very similar to an apple, and a number of them are skewered before being dipped in sugar! They’re rather like candied apples, but much smaller in size!

15. Candied Sweet Potato

With just some sweet potatoes and some syrup, you can very easily create a dessert that is simple, but totally full of flavor. We loved this recipe!

16. Mooncakes

Mooncakes are a little bit more difficult to make than some of the other desserts on this list, but they are some of the most iconic and beloved desserts from China.

The intricate patterns at the top, the unique texture of the cakes themselves, and the decadent fillings help to make them incredibly memorable. 

17. Bow Ties

These delightfully adorable sweet pastries are incredibly popular with children across China, thanks to how small and easy to eat they are.

These delightfully sweet little treats can easily be made at home, and in fact, they’re also incredibly fun to construct.

They can also easily be dipped into sauces, so you could also make some delicious fruity or chocolatey dips to enjoy them with.

18. Lychee Jelly

This jelly dessert uses lychee to create its unique texture, and it is truly a dessert to behold.

The second you put it into your mouth it practically begins to melt away, releasing its fruity and exotic flavors across your tongue. Included within the recipe is also plenty of coconut, which makes it incredibly fragrant and tasty.

19. Dragon’s Beard Candy

This is another traditional Chinese dessert that takes some considerable skill to make, but this recipe will easily show you how to make it taste perfect every time.

Dragon’s beard candy gets its name from its unique texture, made up of thousands of thin strands of candy that are almost reminiscent of fictional dragon’s beards.

It is rather akin to candy floss, and is a popular treat across the country, especially from street vendors. The way it melts in your mouth, and the incredibly sweet taste make this a dessert you have to taste to believe!

20. Red Bean Buns

As we explored before, red bean paste is an incredibly popular ingredient across China, thanks to its uniquely sweet, creamy, and sometimes earthy taste that helps to set it apart from some of China’s other favorite sweet treats! 

One of the most popular ways to experience the glory of red bean paste is to enjoy some red bean buns, stuffed to the brim with delicious and creamy paste that boasts a texture just as delightful as its taste.

21. Lo Mai Chi

Lo Mai Chi can most closely be compared to a traditional Japanese mochi dessert, except what sets these delightfully gooey treats apart from the competition is their incredible fillings.

Stuffed deep within every lo mai chi is a large helping of crushed peanuts that help to give the small dumplings a slightly savory taste that melds perfectly with the sweet taste of the dough.

The crushed peanuts are also very crunchy and satisfying and create a textural variety to make this dessert worth eating.

22. Deep Fried Ice Cream

That’s right! Another recipe that shows you how to deep fry something you would otherwise think non-friable!

This recipe is totally magical, and when you eventually remove the deep-fried balls of frozen goodness, you’ll be amazed to see that the ice cream itself has remained totally intact! 

This traditional Chinese dessert favorite is a perfect treat for foodies of all ages, and is also perfect for those with a distinct sweet tooth!

23. Ginger Milk Curd

Using the curds from freshly produced milk, this recipe, which originates from Guangdong, is simple but sweet, which has quickly made it a favorite across the country for multiple generations.

The inclusion of ginger juice and sugar ensures that it is always incredibly sweet, but also deeply warming.

This is a great dessert to indulge in during the winter months, as the ginger will warm you up from inside. This dish is also served warm, which further helps this.

24. Eight Treasures Rice Pudding

This recipe will help you to create a rice pudding that totally looks like a sweet feast fit for an emperor! The way in which all of the ingredients are carefully laid out makes this recipe look just as good as it tastes.

Each layer of this dessert boasts a different series of textures and flavors, that are brought together by the incredibly soft and pillowy rice. 

Eating this dessert was just as much fun as making and decorating it!

25. Red Bean Nian Gao

Nian Gao are incredibly crispy parcels that are stuffed with red bean paste and then allowed to deep fry to create a feast for the senses.

As you bite into the hard but brittle exterior of each nian gao, the sweet and smooth red bean paste will begin to slowly ooze out across your tongue, and fill your mouth with delightfully earthy creaminess.

26. Fa Gao

Fa gao is rather similar to a fortune cookie, in terms of its taste, but definitely not in terms of its texture.

We were so blown away by how incredibly soft and fluffy these small cakes turned out to be, and how easily they allowed their sweet flavors to spread across our palates. 

These cakes are totally unique, and though they may look like cupcakes you may have experienced before, they couldn’t possibly be more different.

We strongly recommend trying these soft and delicate cakes for yourself, they’re amongst the most unique on this list!

27. Sachima

This cake treat has a very interesting texture that is derived from the way in which it is made.

A whole bunch of individual dough sticks are bundled together, and then carefully dipped into a sugary syrup, before being baked to perfection. 

This leads to a cake that falls apart with every bite and releases its syrupy taste as you go.

There’s a reason why this dessert proves so popular across China, and this recipe will most definitely show you exactly why!

28. Coconut Tapioca Pudding

This particular dessert can be enjoyed all year round, but it definitely proves a treat during the summer, as the coconut flavor helps to make it taste incredibly exotic.

The softness of the tapioca pearls makes it incredibly easy to shovel this dessert into your mouth and enjoy it not too long after you make it!

The creamy dessert that the tapioca pearls swim in is totally decadent and makes this one of our favorite sweet treats on this list.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do They Have Desserts In China?

Though most of China’s most iconic foods are its savory dishes, there are actually plenty of iconic desserts from the country that very often pass under the radar.

Amongst China’s most popular desserts are sweet treats like red bean buns, and tapioca pearls with coconut. 

What Snack Is Commonly Eaten After A Chinese Dinner?

Very often, after a hearty Chinese dinner, many people will begin snacking on shrimp crackers, which are often colorful in appearance, and have an incredibly powerful flavor that helps to cleanse the palette. 

As well as shrimp crackers, desserts are also commonly eaten after Chinese dinners, including incredibly moist cakes, tapioca puddings, and jellies.

What Dessert Do You Eat On Chinese New Year?

The most popular traditional dessert that is enjoyed during the Chinese New Year holiday is steamed New Year cake, which is a simply flavored, incredibly soft, and delightful moreish cake that can be enjoyed by anyone.

It is believed that by eating this cake, the consumer will have a successful new year!

28 Of The Best Traditional Chinese Dessert Recipes

28 Of The Best Traditional Chinese Dessert Recipes

Recipe by Jenna

Chinese desserts may not get as much attention as other Chinese delicacies, but they are totally incredible and worth making. Here are 28 of our very favorites!

Course: Dessert
5 from 1 vote
Follow Me
Latest posts by Jenna (see all)