How to Make Grape Tanghulu

How to Make Grape Tanghulu

Tanghulu, a traditional Chinese treat involving candied fruit, provides a delightful blend of sweet and sour flavors wrapped in a shiny, crunchy glaze. This delicacy, often seen with hawthorn berries in East Asia, has gained popularity worldwide with its simple yet elegant variation using grapes. If you’re seeking a unique and visually appealing snack that’s both tasty and relatively easy to make, learning to prepare grape tanghulu is an excellent choice. This guide will walk you through the steps to create perfect tanghulu grapes every time.

Ingredients and Tools


  • Fresh grapes – Choose firm, seedless grapes for the best results.
  • Granulated sugar – Essential for creating the hard candy coating.
  • Water – Used to dissolve the sugar.
  • Optional flavorings – Such as vanilla extract or cinnamon, to enhance the taste.


  • Thermometer – Crucial for monitoring the sugar syrup temperature.
  • Bamboo skewers – For dipping and holding the grapes.
  • Saucepan – For preparing the sugar syrup.
  • Baking sheet – Lined with parchment paper to set the coated grapes.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Prepare Your Grapes

  • Wash and dry: Ensure your grapes are thoroughly washed and completely dry. Any moisture can interfere with the hardening of the sugar coating.
  • Skewer the grapes: Insert bamboo skewers into each grape, grouping them into manageable bunches if desired.

Step 2: Make the Sugar Syrup

  • Combine ingredients: In a small saucepan, mix equal parts of sugar and water. For a basic batch, use about 2 cups of sugar with 2 cups of water. This should be enough for about 20-30 skewered grapes.
  • Heat the mixture: Cook the sugar and water over medium heat. Stir continuously until the sugar dissolves completely.
  • Boil to hard-crack stage: Increase the heat and bring the syrup to a boil. Do not stir once it begins to boil. Let it reach the hard-crack stage, typically between 300°F to 310°F. This is where a thermometer is indispensable.

Step 3: Coat the Grapes

  • Dip the grapes: Once the syrup reaches the desired temperature, remove it from heat. Dip the skewered grapes into the hot syrup, ensuring an even coat around each grape.
  • Cool the grapes: After dipping, hold the skewer for a few seconds to let excess syrup drip off, then place it on the parchment-lined baking sheet. The candy shell will harden quickly as it cools.

Step 4: Serving and Storage

  • Serve immediately: Tanghulu is best enjoyed fresh, as the humidity can soften the candy coating over time.
  • Storage: If you must store them, keep the candied grapes in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. They are best consumed within 24 hours for optimal texture.

Tips for Perfect Grape Tanghulu

  • Temperature precision: Maintaining the correct temperature of the sugar syrup is critical. Too low, and the syrup won’t set properly; too high, and it may caramelize.
  • Add flavorings: Enhance your tanghulu with a few drops of vanilla extract or a pinch of cinnamon added to the syrup just before it reaches the hard-crack stage for a subtle flavor twist.
  • Quick work: You need to work relatively quickly once the syrup is ready, as it will start to thicken as it cools. Have everything prepared and within reach before you begin.

Creative Variations

  • Chocolate drizzle: After the tanghulu grapes have set, drizzle them with melted chocolate for an extra layer of indulgence.
  • Nut coatings: Roll the syrup-coated grapes in crushed nuts or sesame seeds before the syrup sets for added texture and flavor.
  • Mixed fruit tanghulu: Experiment with other fruits like strawberries, kiwi slices, or orange segments to diversify your tanghulu creations.

Tanghulu grapes are not only a delicious treat but also a fun kitchen project that even beginners can master with a bit of practice. Whether you’re making them for a special occasion or simply as a delightful snack, these sparkling jewels are sure to impress.

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