Top 14 Popular Lucky Desserts for Chinese New Year

Written by Sally Guo Updated Mar. 17, 2023

Chinese New Year is also an excellent excuse for people to gorge on desserts and snacks. The lucky desserts for the lunar new year include Nian Gao, Tang Yuan, Peanut Brittle, Sachima, etc. 

1. Nian Gao (Chinese Rice Cake)

Chinese rice cake or Chinese New Year's cake is a Chinese homonym for "year higher" which cherishes the people's wishes for more prosperity in life and success in their career year by year. It is traditionally one of the top desserts during the Chinese New Year.

Made with glutinous rice flour, Chinese rice cake was originally yellow and white, symbolizing gold and silver. But modern-day rice cake has developed into an even more colorful festive food.

Chinese New year dessert - cake

2. Tang Yuan (Rice Dumpling)

Tangyuan is a symbol of family reunion. It is a must-dessert at the Lantern Festival.

Stuffed with white sugar, rose, sesame, bean paste, walnut kernels, and more, rice dumplings are round and made of glutinous rice flour served in soup. However, ways of making and naming them are different in the north and south of China.

Lunar New Year snack- Tangyuan

3. Peanut Brittle

Peanut Brittle is a very popular sweet snack for the Chinese New Year. It is mainly made of made with shelled peanuts and malt sugar. The snack tastes sweet and crispy. Eating peanut brittle always means a happy, sweet, and prosperous coming year. 

Chinese spring festival dessert - Peanut Brittle

4. Sachima

Sachima (caramel treats) are sweet (Manchu) pastries popular in Beijing. They are made of fried strips of dough coated with syrup, pressed together, and cut into blocks.


5. Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake

Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake

Chinese steamed sponge cake, also called Fa Gao or Fortune Cake in Chinese, is a very common food for breakfast in the country, but people particularly like to eat it at the Spring Festival for its lucky symbolic meaning.  The name of this snack sounds similar to the Chinese expressions for getting richer.  Eating Chinese steamed sponge cake is believed to have a prosperous next year. 

The cake tastes sweet and soft with a special fragrance. 

6. Sesame Seed Ball

Sesame seed balls are most kids' favorite snack. It is a type of fried food made from glutinous rice flour that is often filled with red bean paste and rolled in white sesame seeds. They are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Chinese New year dessert - cake

Eating sesame seed balls means happiness and prosperity. Almost every Chinese family will prepare some sesame seed balls for the Lunar New Year. 

7. Chinese Rice Padding

Eight-Treasure Rice Padding

Chinese Rice Padding is also called Eight-Treasure Rice Padding. The dessert has eight kinds of things in it, including red jujubes, lotus seeds, dried longans, and other various dried, candied fruits. As the Number 8 is believed to be the luckiest number in Chinese culture. Eating Chinese Rice Padding (Eight-Treasure Rice Padding) is said to bring good luck for the next year. 

8. Sugar Melon

Sugar melon (糖瓜 táng guā) is a unique sweet snack in east China's Shandong Province, where Super Melon is a must-eat snack during the Chinese New Year period.

People first boil yellow rice flour and malt sugar into a batter, then beat and stretch the batter into a pumpkin shape before it cools, and finally roll it with sesame and shake to form a sugar melon. With its crispy and sweet taste, sugar melon is children's favorite.

9. Ginger Candy

Ginger candy is a handmade snack in the west of Hunan. It perfectly combines ginger juice and maltose.

People believe that eating a piece of ginger candy after a rich meal can help to promote digestion.

10. Sugar Rings

Sugar rings in southern China are just as important as fried dough twists in northern China. These flower-shaped fried sweets are made of wheat flour, egg, and sugar, especially popular in Guangxi and Guangdong Provinces.

11. Walnut Cookie

A walnut cookie is a traditional Chinese new year dessert. It is mainly made of flour and walnut. The cookies look slightly yellow with many cracks in them. It tastes crispy with a walnut fragrance. 

12. Sesame Crunch Candy

For the Chinese, the New Year celebration is incomplete without having sesame candies.  The main ingredients are sesame seeds and caramelized sugar. The candies are sweet and crispy with a pleasant fragrance.  

The Chinese like this dessert not only because of its great taste but also of its auspicious symbolic meanings. Sesame is always associated with prosperity in Chinese culture. Eating sesame crunch candy thus is believed to have a good and prosperous new year. 

13. Mahua

Mahua ( má huā), or fried dough twists are made of two big, thick dough strips, filled with tasty ingredients including osmanthus and other nuts, and fried until golden.

14. Red Dates

In Chinese culture, red dates symbolize happiness, auspiciousness, and flourishing. It is a popular snack served during the Chinese New Year.

Red dates are sweet and have a delicious taste with rich nutrition.  Chinese people have invented many ways to eat red dates. Red dates can not only be eaten directly but can also be put in porridge to make eight-treasure rice stew soup. In addition, there are many small snacks made with red dates, such as milk crisp with red dates and walnut, and so on.

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