How to make tangyuan, a Chinese New Year dessert

Feb 16, 2021

Tangyuan, or sticky rice balls, are a traditional Chinese New Year dish. Here’s how you can make them at home.

Tangyuan, a dessert made with glutinous rice flour, is a traditional part of Chinese New Year festivities. The rice balls are typically eaten during the Lantern Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the new year. Their round shape is said to symbolize family unity.

In this video, we had our video producer Hanley team up with baby Isaac to make tangyuan for Chinese New Year. They made a version with red bean filling, though they can be filled with other sweet pastes as well. If you’d like to follow along, we have the recipe here:


For the dough:

  • 200 grams of glutinous rice flour
  • 100 milliliters of hot water (about 85 degrees Celsius)
  • 50 milliliters of cold water

For the filling:

  • 80 grams of red beans
  • 60 grams of unsalted butter
  • 50 grams of sugar
  1. Soak the red beans overnight.
  2. In a saucepan, bring water to a boil and slowly cook the red beans until soft.
  3. Mash the cooked red beans to form a paste. Add water if it’s too dry. Stir until smooth.
  4. Heat the paste in a non-stick pan with butter and sugar, and stir until it becomes thick. Put in freezer to cool down.
  5. Mix glutinous rice flour with hot and cold water, taking care to add water bit by bit. If the dough is too sticky, add more glutinous rice flour.
  6. Knead the mix soft. The dough should not stick to your fingers. Cover and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
  7. Portion out the dough into coin-sized round wrappers. Wrap filling into the dough and seal. Repeat for other tangyuan balls.
  8. Cook in boiling water until the balls float.
RecipesChinese New Year


Producer: Tiffany Ip

Videographers: Nicholas Ko and Mario Chui

Editor: Hanley Chu

Mastering: Victor Peña