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How to Make Tanghulu with Sugar Alternative


Fun to make and refreshing to eat. This homemade tanghulu recipe only uses 3 affordable ingredients with a healthier twist!
Share this sweet snack with your friends and family, using your favorite fruits for an extra personal touch.  



What is Tanghulu?

Tanghulu, a beloved Chinese street snack, has quite a sweet story[1]! Traditionally crafted with Hawthorn fruit skewered onto bamboo sticks and coated in sugar, these treats have been satisfying sugar cravings since the days of the Song Dynasty.

Nowadays, it's all about creativity and variety. From strawberries to grapes and tangerines, tanghulu has evolved into a whole new assortment of fruity delights. 


What Does Tanghulu Taste Like?

Tanghulu tastes like a Gushers with an outer coating similar to a Jolly Rancher. At the first bite, you will taste a pure caramel-like goodness with a crunch to follow. Once you bite through the sugar coating, it's a gush of fruity flavor! Whatever fruit you decide to use will determine the juicy sensation you'll taste. Strawberries are a favorite choice of fruit!




But there's a little art to getting that perfect crunch and flavor balance. Too much time on the sugar can lead to a tougher bite and a hint of bitterness if it's a tad burnt! Most recommend heating the liquid sugar until it turns a lovely yellow color.


Is Tanghulu Healthy?

Tanghulu isn't just a tasty treat; it's a guilt-free snack that packs a punch of goodness! The use of fruits is a healthy alternative to most other desserts because of its fruity foundation[2].


Using fruits adds a natural flavor in addition to packing essential vitamins and fibers. They are naturally low in fat and calories while being excellent sources of potassium, carbohydrates, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C. 


The Secret to an Even Healthier Tanghulu

While tanghulu is already a healthier dessert option, white granulated sugar might raise concerns for those mindful of their health. We know that too much sugar isn't the best for us, potentially leading to issues like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.


But fear not! There's a sweet secret to ease your worries. The use of monk fruit blend extract has worked wonders in substituting white sugar. In my family's experience, this blend has been a hit, especially for my grandparents, who are diagnosed with diabetes.


They've tried other alternatives like Splenda and Stevia with little success until discovering this gem. It melts into a perfect caramelized texture, solidifying on fruits like traditional sugar. There might be a hint of menthol-like aftertaste, but it's the best alternative with its low-calorie count, non-glycemic nature, and safe sweetening properties[3].



Of course, the golden rule still applies – moderation is key, even with healthier alternatives like this one!


How to Store Tanghulu

The best way to enjoy tanghulu is to munch on them right when they're ready to be eaten! But sometimes, we end up with leftovers, especially if you're experimenting or making big batches.

The best way to store tanghulu is to place it on a tray covered with a single layer of parchment paper. Avoid stacking the skewers to prevent them from sticking to each other. Keep them in an airtight container to prevent exposure to high humidity, causing the sugar to melt and lose its crunchiness.

You can keep them in the fridge for up to three days. However, shelf life may vary depending on the type of fruit used and how fresh they are. 

Want more healthy delicacies? Check out these tasty dessert recipes!


Help support Assuaged and SAVE on great vegan organic products and more at Thrive!

Let us know if you enjoyed this healthy alternative for tanghulu! We would love to see any fruit or sugar variations you come up with. You can even share your own plant-based recipes with the Assuaged community on our ➡️Share A Recipe⬅️ page! 

Le Tanghulu Recipe with Sugar Alternative

Le Tanghulu Recipe with Sugar Alternative

Yield: 5 skewers
prep time: 15 M cook time: 10 M total time: 25 M


  • 10 pieces of fresh fruit (berries, etc.)
  • 200g monk fruit sweetener
  • 100g water



  1. Wash and clean fruits thoroughly. Ensure there is no dirt or residue.
  2. Pat the fruits dry. The fruits are typically uncut, but you can cut the fruits if you prefer to.
  3. Divide the fruits among long bamboo skewers. It is common to arrange 3 fruits per skewer. Ensure the fruits are touching and at the cover end of the skewer. If you are keeping on the leaves of the fruits, ensure the leaves are pulled away from the berries.
  4. Place the skewered fruits on a tray lined with a single layer of parchment paper.
  5. Fill a bowl with cold water and few pieces of ice to create a water bath. This will shock the fruits after the sugar coating and prevent overheating.
  6. Combine the sugar and water in a pot. Heat on high until the sugar mixture is boiling (~250°F). You can test its readiness by dipping a bamboo skewer into the mixture and immediately putting it in the water bath. If the sugar hardens and is immovable, the mixture is ready. If not, continue heating and try testing again. Beware, if the mixture goes above 300°F, it will burn.
  7. Quickly tip the pot to the side to fully dip the fruits on the skewers. Twirl them to completely coat the fruit. If you do not have heat-protection, you can also use a spoon to quickly pour onto the skewers while twirling them. The fruits should all be fully coated with the liquid sugar.
  8. Place sugar-coated skewers into the water bath, fruit-side down, allowing them to fully cool for ~1 minute. Use scissors to trim any sugar drips if needed.
  9. You have successfully made tanghulu! Serve them immediately for the best taste :)
Candy Fruits, Tanghulu, Vegan Desserts
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Carolynn Le

Carolynn Le

Hello! My name is Carolynn Le and I'm currently a fourth-year student at the University of California, Irvine, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Biological Sciences. 

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