Chinese New Year Recipes: the 25+ most traditional recipes to celebrate the Lunar Year

Chinese New Year, or Lunar Year, is celebrated with rich, tangy-flavored dishes. Here it is a selection of 25+ traditional recipes, from Chinese dim sum, main, side dishes and desserts.

By Cookist
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Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar Year, is a celebration that welcomes the new year according to the lunisolar Chinese calendar. The date changes each year, but traditionally the day is usually set between mid-January and February.

This festival (known as chūnjié in Chinese) is all about traditions, fireworks, red color and a lot of food packed with tangy, spicy oriental flavors. We've selected a list of 25+ recipes from dim sum, main dishes, side dishes to typical desserts.

These Chinese New Year recipes are supposed to bring good luck, health and family unity, from longevity noodles to the traditional nian gao cake. That's why people should always serve two whole fish to keep one as a symbol of surplus for the New Year, a whole chicken as integrity and prosperity, while spring rolls should symbolize wealth because of their shape reminiscent of gold bars.

What are you waiting for? Let's start the Lunar Year bringing good luck!

Chinese New Year Appetizers

1. Fried Wontons: a crispy, tasty Chinese appetizer that will satisfy your taste buds
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Fried wontons are a delicious appetizer or snack packed with a mouthwatering savory filling made from pork, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and other tasty ingredients that have been sealed in wonton wrappers and fried to sturdy, crispy golden brown perfection.

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2. Chinese Spring Rolls: the traditional Chinese recipe for a tasty, vegetarian appetizer
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Chinese spring rolls is a cylindrical-shaped vegetarian appetizer that is filled and deep-fried. It is a great classic of Cantonese cuisine and which is often proposed as dim sum by traditional restaurants. Serve spring rolls with a light, sweet sauce, and your guests will keep coming back for more.

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3. Turnip Cakes: the easy lo bak go recipe for a classic Chinese dim sum dish
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Turnip cakes, or lo bak go, are a mouthwatering type of dim sum – a Chinese meal of small dishes usually served with a tea. Easy to find also on restaurant menus, this is a popular dish to serve during Chinese New Year because in the Hokkien language, “radish” is a homophone for “good fortune”.

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4. Lion’s Head Meatballs: a delicious classic Chinese New Year recipe
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Mouthwatering lion's head meatballs are a common dish served in banquet-style Chinese New Year celebrations. It's a classic Huaiyang dish, made from large braised or steamed pork meatballs seasoned with aromatic ingredients like ginger, Shaoxing wine, oyster sauce, five-spice, and other tasty, fragrant ingredients.

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5. Scallion pancakes: the tasty recipe for a classic Chinese street food dish
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Crunchy, chewy, with just the right amount of flakiness, scallion pancakes are a phenomenally delicious Chinese street food that is often found on Chinese takeout menus. These yummy pancakes are also known as cong you bing, and people enjoy them as part of savory breakfast or as an appetizer. That said, these savory pancakes are so tasty, you can cook up a batch for any meal or as a snack. The recipe is a bit of a labor of love, however, the results are well worth the effort!

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6. Youtiao: the delicious recipe for making golden-brown Chinese Dough Sticks
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You know we love anything fried! And these fried dough sticks are no different. Every country has its own variation of a fried dough treat, and these, called Youtiao, do not disappoint. It’s an easy Chinese recipe to make fried dough strips. It’s a popular breakfast item in China, where it’s often enjoyed with a bowl of congee. And it’s sure to become one of your favorites too.

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Lunar Year Main Dishes

7. Braised Short Rib Dumplings: the irresistible recipe for Japanese Gyoza
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Braised short rib dumplings are typical Japanese meat ravioli also known as gyoza, a recipe that took its origin from the Chinese jiaozi. They are small bundles of pasta, rolled out thinly and artfully sealed with the pressure of your fingers, stuffed with minced pork, cabbage, spring onions, fresh ginger and soy sauce, ingredients that make their flavor unique and unmistakable. The gyoza are browned in a pan to get a golden crust, and then steamed with the braising technique, adding a little water and closing with the lid. The braised short rib dumplings are usually served as an appetizer, dipped in soy sauce or sweet and sour sauce, and are perfect to make at home to amaze guests for a party or a special dinner. So let’s find out how to make perfect braised short rib dumplings by following our recipe step by step.

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8. Baozi: the easy recipe for making Chinese Steamed Pork Buns
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Imagine fluffy, light buns filled with a flavor-packed pork filling—these Chinese Steamed Pork Buns will become your new favorite! Baozi (pronounced bau-suh) refers to a type of steamed bun with a savory filling.

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9. Kung Pao Chicken: the mouthwatering recipe for a popular Chinese takeaway dish
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With its salty, sweet, spicy flavor, kung pao chicken is one of the best-loved Chinese takeaway dishes out there. If you love kung pao chicken but want to make a healthier version, don't fret – this easy kung pao chicken recipe tastes just as good as anything you'll order from a takeaway but is far healthier.

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10. Beef and broccoli: a fast and delicious stir-fry recipe
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This easy-to-make stir-fry is as mouthwateringly tasty as it is healthy. Beef and broccoli is a quick recipe you can whip up in under 20 minutes, which makes it a stellar option for busy families looking to keep things simple without skimping on flavor or nutrition. It's a healthier take on a takeaway favorite that you can tuck into without worrying about excess grease or salt content. Wondering what kind of sauce is used for beef and broccoli? It's a lightly sweet, wonderfully fragrant ginger-garlicky soy sauce that is just so good. This ultra-appetizing beef and broccoli boasts loads of fresh flavors and is a fantastic way to get your kids to eat freshly prepared vegetables. You have a few options for cuts of beef, but as far as what kind of beef is best for beef and broccoli, look to flank steak. Flank steak is the best option for this recipe – it stays tender and can hold up to a longer cook time without getting tough.

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11. Almond Chicken: the authentic Chinese main recipe
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Looking for a quick and easy recipe for a weekday dinner meal? This Almond Chicken is a super tasty Chinese stir-fry recipe—it’s easy to make, comes together quickly, and is healthy too!

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12. Roast Chicken: the flavorful main dish recipe for a juicy, tender whole roast chicken
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Roast chicken is a classic main dish recipe everyone should know how to cook. With a delicious crispy skin, whole roast chicken is juicy, tender on the inside and rich in flavor thanks to butter and aromatic herbs such as rosemary, sage and thyme. Perfect for a family dinner as well as for a special occasion, this recipe is so tasty and easy to make that will beat any rotisserie chicken.

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13. Cashew Chicken Stir-fry: complete meal rich of flavor
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If you’re looking for a quick meal that will become your new go-to, this cashew chicken stir-fry is for you! This recipe requires simple ingredients and less than 30 minutes. If you are short on time, you can prep this dish ahead of time by having everything measured and chopped before preparing. This dish results in tender stir-fry chicken in an extremely creamy garlic sauce, accompanied by roasted crispy cashews for the perfect bite. Serve with steamed rice or veggies on the side to complete your meal!

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14. Chinese lemon chicken: the crispiest oriental chicken recipe ever
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This chicken dish has practically all kinds of flavors familiar to mankind! It’s sweet, it’s tangy, it’s salty, and if you wish to add some hot pepper then it can be spicy too. This classic chicken dish tastes just like the one, which you order-in, except that it is much more flavorful and reliable.

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15. Beef Stir-Fry: a quick, flavorful recipe for busy weeknights
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For a fast, easy dish that's packed with flavor, there's nothing like this easy beef stir-fry. It's a simple yet flavorful Chinese main dish recipe that works for any occasion.

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16. General Tso’s Chicken: favorite Chinese takeout made at home
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General Tso’s chicken, consisting of crunchy pieces of chicken covered in a smooth, spicy, and sweet sauce, is a common take out dish from Chinese restaurants. It seems decadent and complicated with the range of flavors and ingredients, but is simple to make. General tso’s chicken is similar to orange chicken, another famous Chinese dish of crunchy chicken covered in a sweet orange sauce.

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17. Shrimp stir fry: the fast, healthy weeknight dinner with incredible much flavor
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This shrimp stir fry recipe is mouthwateringly delicious and absurdly easy to make. It takes about half an hour from the moment you start chopping your veggies to when you're taking your first forkful. Thanks to ingredients like soy sauce, ginger, sesame, and chili flakes, this stir fry is loaded with flavor and offers a clever way to sneak more vegetables into your diet (or your kids'!). This shrimp stir fry recipe is the perfect at-home copycat for the popular Chinese takeaway dish. For that authentic taste, you'll want to break out your wok although a large saute pan will work in a pinch.

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18. Orange Chicken: the authentic recipe for making a tasty Chinese main
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Orange chicken is made from pieces of boneless chicken thigh or breast which are fried until crispy, then covered with a caramelized, sweet orange sauce.

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19. Roast Duck: the delicious recipe for a phenomenal holiday dinner
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If you're tired of turkey and want to treat your family to something special this holiday season, nothing beats roast duck. Whether you're cooking up a Christmas or New Year's Eve meal, roast whole duck is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

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Chinese New Year Sides

20. Longevity Noodles: the mouthwatering recipe for easy Chinese Yi Mein
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Longevity noodles are a delicious Chinese dish that is popularly served at all sorts of celebratory events from Lunar New Year banquets to birthdays, weddings, and to celebrate the birth of a new baby. Also called yi mein or e-fu noodles, this delicious dish symbolizes long life, prosperity, and good fortune.

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21. Stir-Fried Lettuce: a fast, tasty Chinese side dish everyone will love
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Stir-fried lettuce is a mouthwatering, quick, and easy Chinese side dish you can make in no time at all. It's a delicious alternative way to enjoy lettuce besides making a salad – Chinese cuisine rarely serves raw vegetables.

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22. Easy Lo Mein: a fast, tasty dinner to enjoy week nights
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If you've been searching for a quick, delicious dinner you can whip up in minutes, it's time to break out your wok and make some lo mein. It's a great way to get in a healthy serving of vegetables, and you can customize it to be vegetarian-friendly with tofu, or load your lo mein with protein like chicken, beef, pork, whatever you prefer. Not only is lo mein inexpensive to make and simple to cook at home, it's also much healthier than the versions you'll get when you order a takeaway – a match made in heaven.

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23. Chow Mein: Flavorful & Fast Weeknight Noodles
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Chicken chow mein is an incredibly fast and easy weeknight noodle dish. It features thinly-sliced chicken in a flavorful soy sauce-based glaze with chewy chow mein noodles.

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24. Lettuce Soup: our recipe for a delicious soup with cheese and crunchy croûtons
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This lettuce soup is a creamy and delicate recipe, a warm and hearty dish to enjoy as a main or side during the colder seasons. Very easy to make, this soup only requires you to stew the lettuce with red onions and then blend it together with cream cheese. The result is a bright green, thick and delicious soup, perfect for all sorts of occasions: from a family meal to a dinner with friends, you can serve it with crunchy homemade croûtons, a drizzle of olive oil and black pepper. Everyone will love it.

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Chinese New Year Desserts

25. Chinese New Year Cake: the delicious, easy recipe for homemade Nian Gao
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Nian gao, or Chinese New Year cake is a fantastic steamed cake typically enjoyed during Lunar New Year celebrations. Made from glutinous rice flour, when served warm it has a sticky, chewy texture that's similar to mochi. It's a little harder and denser when enjoyed cool or at room temperature. Both ways are delicious, although nian gao is best enjoyed cool.

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26. Fa Gao: the impressive, delicious Chinese Prosperity Cake
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Chinese Fa Gao is also known as prosperity cake or fortune cake. It’s a popular Chinese dessert typically enjoyed during the Lunar Year, holidays, ceremonial events, and weddings and is said to bring luck and money.

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27. Chinese Almond Cookies: the traditional recipe to celebrate the Lunar Year
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Looking for a must-have snack to celebrate Chinese New Year? Look no further than these Chinese Almond Cookies. This popular Chinese-American treat is said to have been inspired by the traditional Chinese Walnut Cookie. It’s crispy, crumbly, and packed with almond flavor. You’ll find it hard to stick to only one cookie.

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28. Sesame Balls: the Chinese tasty recipe you need to try
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Sesame balls, also known as Jian Dui, is a traditional Chinese treat made from sticky rice flour dough. It’s filled with a sweet paste (usually red bean paste), rolled in sesame seeds, then fried until round and puffy.

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29. Chinese Steamed Custard Buns: the easy recipe for making Nai Wong Bao
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Chinese Steamed Custard Buns are classic dim sum also known as Nai Wong Bao. It’s an easy dim sum Chinese recipe that you can find in restaurants, or sold from food carts as a popular street food. The custard buns are fluffy similar to milk buns, with a creamy custard filling. They are sweet and delicate in flavor.

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30. Homemade Fortune Cookies: the delicious recipe for a crispy, sugary cookie
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If you're looking for a fun, delicious baked recipe to try, you'll love this wonderful homemade fortune cookie recipe. These tasty cookies are a perfect double for the classic crispy, sugary cookies you get when you order Chinese food.

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