Tangyuan (Glutinous Rice Dumplings)

Tangyuan, also known as glutinous rice dumplings, is a popular Chinese dessert often enjoyed during the Lantern Festival, which marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations. Here’s a simple recipe for Tangyuan for 4 people.


For the Tangyuan Dough:

  • 1 cup glutinous rice flour
  • About 1/3 to 1/2 cup water (adjust as needed)

For the Filling:

  • Sweet red bean paste, sesame paste, or crushed peanuts (choose your favorite)

For the Syrup:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2-3 slices of ginger (optional)
  • A few drops of vanilla extract (optional)


  1. Prepare the Filling:
    • If you’re making your own sweet red bean paste, sesame paste, or using crushed peanuts, prepare it in advance.
  2. Make the Tangyuan Dough:
    • In a mixing bowl, gradually add water to the glutinous rice flour while stirring continuously.
    • Knead the mixture into a smooth, elastic dough. If it’s too dry, add a bit more water; if too wet, add a bit more glutinous rice flour.
    • Divide the dough into small portions and roll each portion into a ball.
  3. Flatten Dough and Add Filling:
    • Take a dough ball and flatten it in the palm of your hand.
    • Place a small amount of your chosen filling (red bean paste, sesame paste, or crushed peanuts) in the center of the flattened dough.
    • Fold and pinch the edges together, forming a smooth, sealed ball. Make sure there are no cracks.
  4. Cook Tangyuan:
    • Bring a pot of water to a boil.
    • Carefully drop the Tangyuan into the boiling water. Stir gently to prevent sticking.
    • Cook until the Tangyuan float to the surface, indicating that they are cooked (this usually takes about 5 minutes).
  5. Prepare the Syrup:
    • While the Tangyuan are cooking, prepare the syrup. In a separate pot, combine water, sugar, and ginger slices (if using). Bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
    • Optional: Add a few drops of vanilla extract for flavor.
  6. Serve:
    • Once the Tangyuan are cooked, carefully transfer them to serving bowls using a slotted spoon.
    • Pour the hot syrup over the Tangyuan.
  7. Enjoy:
    • Serve the Tangyuan hot and enjoy this delightful and sweet treat.

Tangyuan can be enjoyed as a warm dessert, especially during the winter months, and they hold special significance during the Lantern Festival. Feel free to customize the filling and syrup according to your preferences.

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