This is the recipe you need to make TikTok Tanghulu strawberries!

tiktok strawberry tanghulu

Tanglulu strawberries first appeared on TikTok in December and totally went viral!  These candied strawberries are absolutely delicious and make a great sweet treat. 

What is TikTok Strawberry Tanghulu

Tanghulu is a traditional street snack in China.  Normally it’s made with hawthorn fruit, but I’ve never seen this fruit in the USA.

tiktok tanghulu

The hawthorn fruit is very tart, which is why it’s a great choice for tanghulu.  I’ve only had hawthorn in the form of haw flakes which is a candy that helps with nausea.

The name tanghulu actually refers to the shape of the hawthorn on the skewers. “Hulu” in Chinese means gourd which is the shape of two spheres together. Thus tanghulu traditionally has an even number of fruits to form the shape of a gourd.

On TikTok however most westerners that make this are using one strawberry instead of two to a skewer. This is probably because it’s easier to coat in the sugar syrup.

The only time I’ve actually seen tanghulu is in chinese period dramas of the ancient period in China!

And I’ve always wanted to try it!

The unavailability of hawthorn is probably why everyone on TikTok is using strawberries to make tanghulu.

What Fruit Can You Use for Tanghulu

On TikTok I’ve only seen people use strawberries for tanghulu, but pretty much any fruit you can cover in chocolate you can use for this tanghulu recipe from TikTok. 

tanghulu strawberry

Because tanghulu is a sugar coated fruit, I’d pick a tart fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, or kiwi. 

Before I saw Tanghulu on TikTok, I actually watched the k-pop stars, BlackPink make tanghulu with grapes too which looked delicious!  

What Does TikTok Tanghulu Taste Like

The best part of tanghulu is that satisfying crunch of the sugar exterior!  That crunch is what makes it so special!

tanghulu recipe

Tanghulu is basically fruit coated in sugar, so of course it’s pretty sweet.  Which is why it’s good to pair it with a tart fruit for balanced flavors.

Do You Need a Candy Thermometer to Make Tanghulu

You do not need a thermometer to make this TikTok tanghulu strawberry recipe.  You can simply dip one of your skewers into the syrup then dunking it in ice water to make sure it will harden.

What Kind of Sugar Should I Use for Strawberry Tanghulu

Traditionally you would use Chinese rock sugar or rock candy to make tanghulu.  Rock sugar is crystalized sugar commonly used in Chinese braised dishes.  It is less sweet than regular white sugar and you can find it in most Asian grocery stores.

Rock sugar also imparts a glossy shine to braised meats which is probably why it’s popular to use with tanghulu.  It’ll give your tanghulu that same gloss!

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But you can use regular white sugar for strawberry tanghulu if you do not rock candy.  I used sugar in the raw because I had several boxes of it at home.

UPDATE: I made this again with rock sugar and it was really good! If you decide to use Chinese rock candy, the ratio of water to sugar is a bit different.

TikTok Tanghulu Recipe (Candied Strawberry)


  • Strawberries (or Other Fruit)
  • Sugar
  • Water
tanghulu ingredients

To make the syrup you need 2 parts sugar to one part water. If you are using rock candy instead of sugar the ratio is 1 part sugar to 1 part water.

How To Make TikTok Strawberry Tanghulu

  1. Wash, dry, and trim your strawberries or fruit of your choosing.
  2. Skewer them on one end.
  3. Boil water and sugar together over medium heat until you form a syrup.  
  4. Test your syrup by dipping an extra skewer in the syrup then dunking it in ice water.  You’ll know the syrup is ready if it hardens immediately in the ice water.
  5. Dunk your strawberries into the syrup then place them immediately on parchment paper to cool and harden. Or you can dunk them in ice water to harden.

Tips on Making Tanghulu

If you are using rock candy, dissolve it a bit first with boiling water (half the amount of total water). Rock candy takes longer to melt so even though the syrup is at the right temperature for hardening, there are still bits of rock sugar at the bottom which won’t melt.

On TikTok everyone trimmed aka cut the top off the strawberries, it’s actually better not to do this. Cutting it leaves an open surface and causes the strawberry to macerate more quickly. You can either leave the strawberries as is, or just pull off the green leaves.

If you do not get a hard candy shell, you did not cook the syrup long enough. The rock sugar definitely hardened faster than the cane sugar I used.

Once your syrup has reached the right temperature turn your heat down to low while you coat your fruit so the syrup does not harden or burn.

It’s much easier to skewer only one strawberry at at time and coat in the syrup. If you have more than one like I did (I used 4 to keep with the Chinese tradition of a gourd shape), you will need a spoon to coat the tanghulu.

How to Make Tanghulu Without a Candy Thermometer

Though it would be easier to make tanghulu with a candy thermometer you do not need one. Just dip a spoon or knife into the syrup when it looks ready then swirl in iced water. If it hardens then it’s ready, if it’s sticky then it’s not ready.

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I did not use a candy thermometer at all and found that the tanghulu syrup made from rock candy hardened immediately without even dipping it in ice water when it was ready.

If you do have a candy thermometer the temperature you need to reach to make the tanghulu syrup is 300 degrees F.

Can You Store Tanghulu

I would recommend you not store Tanghulu. You should eat it immediately after making it. Even after just an hour, the strawberries started to macerate and drip liquid making kind of a mess.

I also left it overnight in my fridge, and that was a big mistake. It dripped everywhere!

For more TikTok Recipes check out these posts: TikTok Cloud Bread, Dalgona Coffee, Whipped Coffee without Instant Coffee, Olive Oil Cake, TikTok Crispy Roasted Potatoes, TikTok Milk Balls. My full list of TikTok Recipes.

tiktok strawberry tanghulu

TikTok Strawberry Tanghulu Recipe (Candied Strawberry)

The exact recipe for Tanghulu Strawberries you see on TikTok! Make candied strawberry!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 4


  • 1 Pint Fresh Strawberries
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Water


  • Wash, dry and trim your strawberries or fruit of your choosing.
    tanghulu ingredients
  • Skewer the strawberries on one end.
  • Simmer water and sugar together until you form a syrup, about 5 to 10 minutes.
    how to make tanghulu
  • Test your syrup by dipping an extra skewer in the syrup then dunking it in ice water.  You’ll know the syrup is ready if it hardens immediately in the ice water.
  • Dunk your strawberries into the syrup then place immediately on parchment paper to cool and harden. Or alternatively you could dunk the strawberries in ice water to harden immediately.
    tanghulu strawberry
Keyword candied fruit, candied strawberry, tanghulu, tanghulu strawberry, tiktok tanghulu