When someone suggests Chinese food to you, the chances are that you don’t think of desserts. But there are actually quite a few, some of which can be made with simple store cupboard ingredients! Having made many Asian desserts in the past I would love to show you a list of 26 best Chinese desserts that will be the perfect end to a Chinese feast! Enjoy our selection of traditional Chinese desserts for you to choose from.
Chinese Desserts To Make At Home
1. Almond Jelly
This dessert is super sweet and super simple. You can use roasted almonds ground into a fine powder to give it that signature almond taste. Still, I find a simple cheat version is to use almond butter instead. This is combined with gelatine, a substantial amount of sugar. If it wasn’t already sweet enough, we supplement this with a generous helping of condensed milk. You can increase the almond flavor by adding almond extract. Allow it to set in the fridge in an ice cube tray. Chunks of almond jelly tofu? Nice.
2. Soy Milk Pudding
Suppose you suffer from lactose intolerance or are just trying to cut down on dairy in general. In that case, this Chinese dessert is worth trying. As with our previous suggestion, we use a little gelatine to firm the entire thing up. The substance and creamy thickness of the dish are backed by a generous portion of soaked and plump soybeans, which are then pulped. This is mixed with soy milk and left to set before being topped with a layer of golden soy flour.
If you go Chinese, you will have to steer a little away from ‘conventional. Beans might not be your idea of a dessert, but we encourage you to open your mind. (You’ll have to as they feature in Chinese desserts… A lot!) These aren’t whole beans but feature red bean paste. It actually gives your cakes a nice sweet center. Trust us, it’s really tasty. Aside from the red bean element, these cakes are pretty standard as ingredients go. The good news is that they take 15 minutes from start to finish.
4. Bubble Tea
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have already seen this Chinese dessert. Bubble tea is a sweetened drink with various flavor options supplemented with a juicy and thick layer of tapioca bubbles. These swell as they sit in the liquid and are a little treat to eat after finishing your drink. You might also hear it referred to as ‘boba’ tea. Our favorite is to make a bright green matcha tea, an ingredient that features in plenty of Asian desserts!
5. Fried Milk
Yes, you did hear right, Fried Milk. No, it’s not impossible, yes you have to be careful around hot oil, and yes, this isn’t going to fit in with your diet. But when it tastes as good as this, who cares? This dessert is actually really simple. We mix regular milk and coconut milk before thickening it with cornstarch. From there, we chill it until it is firm, then roll it into thick sausages before coating it in oatmeal and deep-frying. As the milk heats in the oil, it turns all oozy and gooey. It’s a little bit fiddly but set up a production line, and you’ll have a batch ready in no time.
6. Chinese Five Spice Cake
You might not think that chocolate and five-spice go particularly well? But with the current outburst of wild chocolate flavors (we are looking at you, chocolate and chili), you might actually be surprised. This cake also includes coffee along with other traditional cake elements. The Chinese five-spice gives it the merest hint of oriental flavor, but it isn’t too overpowering.
7. Fried Bananas
Banana fritters have appeared on Chinese takeaway menus for years, so we just had to include them in our list of 26 Chinese desserts. When bananas are cooked in high heat, the cell walls break down, and all those delicious sugars caramelize. It really brings out some strong banana flavors. Now, you don’t want a soggy banana. For that reason, we coat the outside with cornstarch in a quick and simple tempura batty. Crispy and sweet? Yes, please! Fried bananas have even made our top list of easy desserts to make at home.
8. Snowflake Cake
Remember how we talked about getting away from the ‘norm’? This cake is actually made with potato starch, but if you don’t have any, you can also use cornflour. It isn’t a traditional cake, but more like a soft and chewy dessert that is served cold. The outside layer is made from gelatin and is dusted with a layer of desiccated coconut, giving the appearance of snowflakes.
9. Sesame Seed Balls
Sesame seeds are a staple in Chinese cooking. We absolutely love toasted sesame seeds. Once they have turned a little golden, they release a really nutty, buttery flavor. Seeing as we love them so much, we thought that we’d try a dessert that was packed full of them. Aside from the rice flour and red bean paste, you’ll find all of the other ingredients in your store cupboard at home. These are crunchy on the outside and soft, chewy, and sweet on the inside.
10. Chinese Egg Cake
Eggs are another ingredient that features in a vast proportion of Chinese dessert recipes, but, when you think about them, it also features in normal western cakes too, so it isn’t all that unusual. Eggs are a great raising agent. Perhaps this is why these steamed cakes are so lovely and fluffy. The good news is that you can make these in under an hour, and the recipe uses only 6 really basic ingredients.
11. Fa Gao
We were quite surprised to learn that the Chinese love their cakes. So much so that they traditionally serve this one during the Chinese new year. It’s a little denser than the egg cake. It is another cake that is steamed and not baked. Think of it a little like a treacle pudding, and you won’t be far away. Just like the Chinese egg cake, this is actually really simple to make. This one is an improvement in that it only needs 4 ingredients. The hardest part of this recipe is actually the steaming which can take a little practice.
12. Fortune Cookies
“You are going to see an amazing recipe really soon”… How do we know? Because you are reading this. Fortune cookies are great for several reasons. First, they are really light and taste amazing. Second, because you can get creative (especially at dinner parties). The trick to shaping fortune cookies is to do it while they are hot. It can be a balancing act between folding the hot dough and them cooling and cracking before you’ve finished. What are you going to write in yours?
13. Mango Pudding
Have a guess what the most consumed fruit in the world is. In fact, it is mango because China, with the world’s largest population, is a major consumer. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that mango features in their desserts. This is like a really thick smoothy (you’ll need a spoon) thickened with the inclusion of gelatine. You’ll need to plan ahead to allow it to set, but the initial prep shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes.
14. Crystal Cake
Crystal cake is one of the world’s oldest desserts and is about as authentically Chinese as you can get. The cake takes its name from the filling, which, when set, looks like small glittering crystals. As with some other Chinese desserts, the filling is made from a mixture of sweet beansm sugar, rock candy, fruit, and nuts. This is all wrapped up inside a thick layer of shortcrust.
15. Dragons Beard Candy
No dragons were harmed in the making of this dessert. Although the name might sound obscure, this dessert is pretty similar to cotton candy-like you would find on a fairground. This dessert has a fair amount of history. It is made from sugar and syrup, cooked until it caramelizes, and then spun to form really fine strands combined to form a puffy cloud… Or beard. Nice
You definitely don’t want to confuse this with sashimi (Japanese and fish-based). Sachima is a sweet, deep-fried noodle cake. While it may seem odd frying cereals for a dessert, if you think of it as similar to rice crispy or cornflake cakes, it isn’t that hard to believe. The fried noodles are then doused in a thick layer of syrup which binds them and sweetens them. If you really want to wow your guests, you can make the noodles yourself. The recipe is actually very similar to pasta. This is a great dessert to make with only store cupboard ingredients.
17. Tapioca Pudding
Tapioca pudding uses tapioca flour melded with coconut milk to make a rich, creamy, and very filling dessert. Depending on where you are located, you might have encountered this as a school dinner, which British children refer to as frogspawn. This is because of the inclusion of tapioca pearls (which are optional). Provided you can stomach the texture, it actually tastes pretty great, and it is really easy to make.
18. White Sugar Sponge Cake
This is a simple cake that tastes sweet and will fill a hole if you are still a little hungry after your main course. It is made from the most simple ingredients: Rice flour, sugar, a little water, and some baking soda. As with most Chinese cakes, it is not baked but is steamed instead. In China, it can taste slightly bitter as they leave the cake batter for a day or two to ferment. You can make a nice variation by using brown rice flour. The Vietnamese serve a similar version, but this includes coconut milk in place of water.
19. Pineapple Buns
Ok, you might be happy; you might be disappointed. This Chinese bun recipe doesn’t actually contain any pineapple whatsoever. The name of the cake comes not from its ingredients but from its shape. It is crisscrossed with an intricate lattice that resembles the skin of a pineapple! Don’t be too disappointed that it doesn’t contain fresh fruit. It still tastes divine. The good news is that you won’t have to pop to the store to get a pineapple dessert as it can be made with common ingredients that you would find at home.
20. Mung Bean Cake
Ah, the beans make yet another appearance. However, this time it isn’t red beans but is mung beans. This takes a little bit of time and preparation, but it is well worth it. Don’t worry, there won’t be a bean in sight by the time you have finished. The beans are actually cooked down until they can be ground into a thick paste. From there, they are pressed into a mold before being left to set. This is actually a no-bake recipe, so once they are formed and shaped, they are good to go!
21. Egg Tarts
What we find amazing is that these are very similar to the Portuguese pasteis de Nata! Bearing in mind, it is about 8000 miles away from China, we think that’s quite a coincidence! There is practically no difference. You have a case of flaky pastry (use premade store-bought and save yourself some time) filled with oozy and sweet egg custard.
The trick is to leave the custard slightly wet. It will set on baking, and if you get it right will have just the amount of wobble. You can make individual tarts or one giant tart. The thing we love the most is that after baking, you can freeze them and warm them in the oven whenever you want a portion!
22. Chinese Fried Dough
Anyone for an ‘oil fried devil’, which is what the Chinese call this dish. These are a little similar to churros in how they are prepared, but they are not particularly sweet, unlike churros. They are a little time-consuming to make, but once you get the technique down, you’ll be fine.
The shape comes from pressing each tube of dough down the center with a chopstick. To get a golden exterior, you have to make sure that the oil is hot. A wooden chopstick should bubble vigorously when dunked into the oil. Because these aren’t sweet, they can be served with a dip or fruit-based side. Alternatively, you can go full-on native and eat them for breakfast, just as the Chinese do!
23. Almond Cookies
Did you know that pasta and noodles are the same because the explorer Marco Polo brought noodles back to Italy in the 16th century? The reason we tell you this is that these little cookies are very similar to biscotti. And just like biscotti, they make the ideal light dessert to serve with a coffee! You’ll need almond flour to really get an almond taste, and we like to include a baked almond or two glued to the top with a small dab of sugar syrup. Make sure you brush the tops with an egg wash to make them turn lovely and light brown in the oven.
24. Chinese Rice Pudding
A list of 26 Chinese desserts wouldn’t be complete without including at least one dessert based around rice. After all, they are the number one consumer of rice in the world! This Chinese dessert is slightly different than what you would normally expect from rice pudding.
First off, it isn’t creamy. In fact, it contains no dairy whatsoever. Second, it is served with a mixture of seeds and berries. You’ll also find a generous helping of our Chinese friend, red bean paste. You’ll need sticky glutenous rice to make this dessert. You should be able to find this in any Asian store. Thai sticky rice will work just as well.
25. Chinese Walnut Cookies
Don’t go thinking that these are the same as Chinese almond cookies, as they are completely different. They are traditionally eaten in China, but they are not too dissimilar from a standard ‘western’ cookie… The main difference being that they are very crunchy instead of a little soft and chewy. The walnut element is actually included in the cookie dough. If you aren’t a fan or want to try something different, any nuts will work in similar quantities in the recipe.
26. Red Bean Popsicles
We know you love the thought of red beans in your dessert, so we thought we’d finish strong with a red bean popsicle. Weird? What are you talking about? They are super tasty! Would it help if we told you that you only need three ingredients to make them, and the prep takes two minutes? The beans are soaked, blended with regular milk, and sweetened condensed milk to form a thick paste. From there, you pour into a mold and freeze them. Easy right?
Well, there we have it. 26 Chinese desserts, Which were your favorite (we know, the red bean popsicles, right?) Most Chinese desserts require few specialized ingredients. Can you think of any more? Let us know down below.