15 Recipes for a Lunar New Year Celebration

Lunar New Year, also called Spring Festival, is a time for friends and families to come together, feast and wish for a prosperous new year. Whether you cook traditional dishes that symbolize wealth and longevity or gather around the table with modern takes on the classics, these Lunar New Year recipes are sure to make your meal one to remember.

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Photo By: Teri Lyn Fisher

Photo By: Teri Lyn Fisher

Photo By: Chantell Quernemoen

Photo By: Tara Donne ©FOOD NETWORK : 2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

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Photo By: Teri Lyn Fisher

Photo By: Teri Lyn Fisher

Photo By: Chantell Quernemoen

Photo By: Chantell Quernemoen

Photo By: Chantell Quernemoen

Tangyuan with Peanut Filling

Tangyuan, or chewy rice balls, are traditionally eaten as a dessert during the family reunion dinner on Chinese New Year's Eve. Each bowl of tangyuan symbolizes unity; and the smoothness of each ball represents how smooth the family's year will be. The rice balls have a soft and slightly bouncy texture and a sweet surprise in the center. The traditional filling for tangyuan is made with black sesame seeds, but we chose a less typical version — a sweet, nutty and luscious peanut filling.

Get the Recipe: Tangyuan with Peanut Filling

Chicken Pot Stickers with Dipping Sauce

Dumplings are delicious any time of year, any way you make them — Lunar New Year included. The wonderful thing about enjoying them during the holiday is that they make a great family project. Gather everyone together to fill and fold the dumplings. Then cook and eat!

Get the Recipe: Chicken Pot Stickers with Dipping Sauce

Steamed Striped Bass with Ginger and Scallions

Steamed fish is one of the most common dishes eaten during Lunar New Year as it symbolizes wealth and prosperity in the coming year. If this is your first time cooking a whole fish, Jet’s recipe makes it easy. He pours a simple sauce (made with just a few ingredients) over the fish before baking so you’re guaranteed a savory, flavorful finish.

Get the Recipe: Steamed Striped Bass with Ginger and Scallions

Chinese Almond Cookies

Almond cookies like these are thought to resemble coins, making them particularly popular as a symbol of good fortune during the Chinese New Year. Traditional recipes are made with lard and flavored with almond extract. We used butter and almond flour in these to boost the nutty flavor and create a crumbly texture similar to pecan sandies. Enjoy them year-round, particularly with a cup of tea or coffee.

Get the Recipe: Chinese Almond Cookies

Carrot Steamed Buns

Molly’s steamed carrot buns are a wonderful addition to any Lunar New Year meal. They take a bit of planning (the dough needs to rise) but you can save some time if you make the filling a day in advance. Just be sure to store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to fill and steam the buns.

Get the Recipe: Carrot Steamed Buns

Mushroom and Leek Spring Rolls

Spring rolls are a Lunar New Year favorite. They look like gold bars — so they are a symbol of wealth and prosperity. Ming fills his with three types of mushrooms, leeks and a flavorful blend of ginger, garlic and serrano chiles before deep frying each one to the perfect, rich golden color.

Get the Recipe: Mushroom and Leek Spring Rolls

Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes

Tender, buttery dough wraps around sweet, sticky pineapple filling in these tasty Taiwanese cakes often gifted and enjoyed during the Lunar New Year, but also found year-round. The filling is made from crushed pineapple that's cooked down with sugar until thick and jammy. The shortbread-like dough is then wrapped tightly around the filling and pressed into traditional molds, then baked until just golden.

Get the Recipe: Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes

Steamed Pork-and-Mushroom Shumai

Don’t let their small size fool you. These steamed dumplings have big flavor, thanks to ingredients like ginger, soy sauce, and toasted sesame oil. A simple blend of chile paste and soy sauce make a delicious sauce for dipping — and the perfect finishing touch.

Get the Recipe: Steamed Pork-and-Mushroom Shumai

Bai Qie Ji (White Cut Chicken)

In Cantonese families, bai qie ji is typically made for Chinese New Year reunion dinner because it is simple to cook, results in succulent chicken and pairs well with the other dishes in the holiday dinner. Bai qie ji is usually paired with a soy sauce dipping sauce when made at home, but we've paired ours with a scallion-ginger sauce, a typical accompaniment in restaurants.

Get the Recipe: Bai Qie Ji (White Cut Chicken)

Scallion-Ginger Sauce

Scallion-ginger sauce is usually served alongside soy sauce chicken, bai qie ji (white cut chicken) and roasted meats with rice (commonly called rice boxes) in restaurants in Chinatowns around the country. There are many methods for making it, from a no-cook version (which results in a very green sauce with a sharp scallion and ginger flavor) to a browned version (which results in a beautiful flavor but less appealing color). Our combination method produces a happy medium. The hot oil brings out the vibrant green of the scallions and mellows the sharpness of the scallions and ginger.

Get the Recipe: Scallion-Ginger Sauce

Chocolate Sesame Balls

A nod to the sweet, filled rice balls eaten during the Spring Festival, these sesame-coated sweets have a delicious surprise inside — a dollop of chocolate-hazelnut spread.

Get the Recipe: Chocolate Sesame Balls

Pan-Fried "Turnip" Cake (Law Bak Go)

These turnip cakes are a great addition to any Lunar New Year celebration. Food Network Kitchen staffer Vivian Chan remembers making about 30 every year with her mom, some to gift to friends and family and a couple to enjoy at home on New Year morning.

Get the Recipe: Pan-Fried "Turnip" Cake (Law Bak Go)

Pork Soup Dumplings

Molly says, "Xiao long bao, or soup dumplings, are Chinese steamed dumplings that have soup inside of them. They are like magic! I grew up eating these with my family at our favorite dim sum restaurant in Chicago's Chinatown and later learned how to make them by combining my family's go-to pot sticker recipe with the secret ingredient: soup gelatin, which melts down into soup once the dumplings are cooked."

Get the Recipe: Pork Soup Dumplings

Fortune Cookies

There’s no better way to start a new year than by spreading warm wishes to the ones you hold near and dear. That’s why we love the idea of homemade fortune cookies. Your friends and family will love cracking the cookies open to find a hand-written note, wishing them a prosperous new year.

Get the Recipe: Fortune Cookies

Ginger-Glazed Salmon

Molly’s spin on serving fish for Chinese New Year has a sweet touch — she glazes the salmon with maple syrup because it’s one of her dad’s favorite flavors.

Get the Recipe: Ginger-Glazed Salmon