Top Chinese New Year Dessert Recipes

A New Year's celebration wouldn't be complete without sweet treats. Here are some Chinese desserts that are traditionally served during the New Year season, and fun recipes featuring symbolic Chinese foods.

You might try catering to guests who have a sweet tooth with a dessert like sticky cake. For guests who want something lighter, fresh fruit is always an option—oranges symbolize wealth in Chinese culture.

And, if you don't feel up to cooking, some of these items should be available...MORE at Asian bakeries, particularly during the Chinese New Year season.

  • 01 of 08
    Directly Above Shot Of Nian Gao Cake In Plate On Table
    Olive Loei / EyeEm / Getty Images

    This is China's most famous cake, traditionally fed to the Chinese Kitchen God so he will report favorably on a family's behavior when he returns to heaven before the start of the New Year season. In Chinese culture, cakes symbolize togetherness and a rich life. The main ingredient in nian gao is glutinous rice flour, available in Asian grocery stores. The cake is filled with dried fruit and steamed.

    If you're not comfortable with the idea of steaming a cake, here is a recipe for...MORE baked nian gao. The cake is filled with red azuki beans, used in many Chinese festive dishes. And for a little extra help, here are step-by-step instructions, with photos, for making it.

  • 02 of 08
    Chinese almond cookies
    Leung Vai Chi, Rosanna / Getty Images

    No Chinese New Year celebration would be complete without cookies! These almond cookies have a light, delicate flavor that is not too overpowering.

  • 03 of 08
    Deep-fried dough ball with soybean filling
    Krit of Studio OMG / Getty Images

    These are tasty balls of glutinous rice flour that are filled with red bean paste, rolled in sesame seeds and fried. While sesame seed balls are available at Asian bakeries throughout the year, they are especially popular during the Chinese New Year season.

  • 04 of 08
    Close-Up Of Fried Spicy Peanuts On Newspaper
    Devaraya Chowdary / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Peanuts symbolize longevity in Chinese culture. In this easy recipe, the peanuts are coated in a syrupy mixture with brown sugar, corn syrup, and five-spice powder.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08
    Carlo A / Getty Images

    At any Chinese New Year celebration, you'll see red everywhere, as the color red is a powerful symbol of happiness and joy in Chinese culture. Made with red adzuki (azuki) beans, this popular sweet dessert soup is perfect for Chinese New Year. Lotus seeds and dried tangerine peel give the soup an interesting variety of textures and flavor.

  • 06 of 08
    Blank paper in broken fortune cookie on wooden table
    Larry Washburn / Getty Images

    Although they're actually an American creation, fortune cookies are a fun way to end a festive meal. Homemade fortune cookies taste so much better than store-bought, and you can make up the fortunes to put in the cookies.

  • 07 of 08
    Preserved fruit, Kumquat,
    IMAGEMORE Co, Ltd. / Getty Images

    Resembling a miniature orange, kumquats are a popular treat during the Chinese New Year season, as they are a symbol of prosperity for the coming year.


  • 08 of 08

    More Chinese New Year Recipes

    It's not just desserts that make a celebration what it is, flesh them out with these Chinese New Year Recipes.