37 Recipes for a Lunar New Year Celebration

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.

January 18, 2023

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Time to Celebrate

Lunar New Year, also called Spring Festival, is a time for friends and families to gather, feast and wish for a prosperous new year. The foods you’ll find on the table during this festive season are deeply symbolic and meant to celebrate togetherness and signify wealth and good fortune. The dishes range from savory preparations like noodles, dumplings and whole fish to desserts — like these tangyuan (or, chewy rice balls). Tangyuan 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

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

Dumplings with a Crispy Skirt

Dumplings with a crispy skirt are essentially pan-fried dumplings with a thin and crisp outer layer (the "skirt") for an added texture. They're popular at izakayas throughout Japan, where they're called hanetsuki gyoza ("gyoza with wings") and at Chinese dumpling shops, where they're sometimes called binghua jianjiao ("ice-flower fried dumplings"). In this recipe, we developed a foolproof method for the skirt. Typically, it's made from a slurry of just flour and water but if the ratio is off, it can result in a thick skirt that is gummy. We added cornstarch and vinegar to the slurry to help prevent gluten from forming, resulting in a super thin and crisp skirt.

Get the Recipe: Dumplings with a Crispy Skirt

Abalone and Shiitake Mushrooms in Brown Gravy with Bok Choy

Abalone and mushrooms, representing gold ingots and coins respectively, are natural additions to a Lunar New Year table and thought to bring wealth and good fortune or prosperity to the family. I follow the tradition of braising them in oyster sauce to make a savory gravy that coats every inch of the ingredients. The beautiful ring of vibrant green bok choy provides both a visual and flavor contrast to the finished dish, but blanched yu choy, napa cabbage or even iceberg lettuce could be substituted. I used extra-thick dried shiitake mushrooms and large and meaty abalone, but feel free to use what's available to you as long as the mushrooms and abalone are similar in size. Definitely serve this with rice to sop up all the delicious gravy.

Get the Recipe: Abalone and Shiitake Mushrooms in Brown Gravy with Bok Choy

Ba Bao Fan

Served during weddings, Lunar New Year and other celebrations, the Chinese dessert known as "eight treasure rice" is made with eight different fruits, nuts and seeds. It’s said to be auspicious because the pronunciation of "eight" in Chinese is close to the pronunciation of the Chinese word for luck or fortune. Although the dessert is brushed with sugar syrup before serving, it’s not very sweet. Our recipe includes extra sugar syrup to serve on the side for those who want to bump up the sweetness. Feel free to substitute other fruits, nuts and seeds.

Get the Recipe: Ba Bao Fan

Kuy Teav

Kuy teav, a rice noodle soup with Chinese origins, is traditionally served for breakfast in Cambodia. It takes on layers of flavor from shrimp, pork and vegetables. This dish is also popular during celebrations, including Lunar New Year (there is a large Chinese-Cambodian population in Cambodia and throughout the world). Noodles are a symbol of longevity, and when combined with the rich stock over crisp lettuce leaves, herbs, sliced chiles, soy sauce and lime, it’s the perfect soul-satisfying celebratory dish.

Get the Recipe: Kuy Teav

Crispy Stuffed Lotus Root with Pork

Lotus root is prized for its characteristic texture, which is similar to water chestnuts. Even after stir-frying, frying, boiling, braising or steaming, it remains crisp and tender. This traditional dish is made during Chinese New Year — in Cantonese, lotus root ("leen ngau") is directly translated to "year have," meaning you should have another year to come — and is a beautiful harmony of crunchy coating, crisp lotus root and savory (and juicy) pork filling.

Get the Recipe: Crispy Stuffed Lotus Root with Pork

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

Nian Gao

Nian Gao is a lightly sweetened sticky rice cake that is beloved for its chewy and bouncy texture. It is a popular gift during the Lunar New Year because nian gao means "higher year" and so symbolizes prosperity and promotions for the coming year. The simplest version of the cake is made with brown sugar, water and glutinous rice flour, but you can find many variations. This recipe includes fine rice flour, which helps achieve an appealing chewy texture and keeps the cake from becoming too sticky. Enjoy the rice cake by itself or with condensed milk as a dipping sauce to add a sweet and creamy note that borders on dessert. Nian gao is also great with some hot tea for breakfast.

Get the Recipe: Nian Gao

Hot Pot at Home

Hot pot is a tasty, festive and communal cooking and dining experience that involves little more than a table set with a portable butane stove, a pot of bubbling broth and platters of raw meat and/or seafood and vegetables. Various condiments and a dipping sauce or two are common, as well. In the spirit of hot pot, a winter staple in various Asian countries, our recipe is flexible. Feel free to sub out any of the components according to your taste.

Get the Recipe: Hot Pot at Home

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

Kimchi Mandu

These kimchi dumplings are stuffed with kimchi, ground pork and tofu--a perfect combination. Kimchi mandu taste best when made with super-ripe, over-fermented kimchi that is pungent and sour, but your favorite store-bought kimchi will work too. This recipe makes a lot, but you can freeze the dumplings, then boil, steam or pan-fry a batch whenever you want a snack. (I call for steaming here to showcase the kimchi flavor.) You can form the dumplings in different shapes too; I like a tortellini-shape because it is super easy. The dipping sauce is completely optional--but is a quick and delicious addition!

Get the Recipe: Kimchi Mandu

Gambler’s Lucky Day Dumplings

For Lunar New Year, we would always eat dumplings for good luck. It is said the more dumplings you eat, the wealthier you will be for the rest of the year! The flavors of these prime short rib and butternut squash dumplings stem from the traditional Vietnamese beef stew: bo kho. The stew is perfect to eat alone, but this fun twist on the traditional recipe turns it into dumplings and gets the entire family involved.

Get the Recipe: Gambler’s Lucky Day Dumplings

Longevity Noodles

Noodles are a part of many celebratory Chinese meals, Lunar New Year included. Not only do these yi mein symbolize long life, but eating them is believed to bring prosperity and luck.

Get the Recipe: Longevity Noodles

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

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

Thịt Kho Trứng

While a kho is often a weeknight dish that can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes, for the Tết season, you don’t want any old braise. You want a kho that’s worthy of the Lunar New Year table. That means springing for top-quality skin-on, center-cut pork belly, palm sugar and fresh young coconut. Skin-on pork contains plenty of collagen, which will break down during the gentle cooking process to add lusciousness to the caramelized savory gravy, making it perfect for ladling over copious amounts of fluffy new-crop white jasmine rice.

Get the Recipe: Thịt Kho Trứng

Singapore Mei Fun

Singapore mei fun, a classic noodle dish in Chinese restaurants around the world, did not originate in Singapore--and many Singaporeans have not even heard of the dish that bears their country’s name. It was created in Hong Kong when it was a British colony and curry powder was readily available. Mixed with rice noodles and a variety of proteins and vegetables, it is the perfect seasoning for this satisfying stir-fry. This version of the dish features chicken, shrimp and char siu, but any protein will work. Or substitute mushrooms for a vegetarian version (you can sub vegetarian oyster sauce for regular oyster sauce). Feel free to change up the vegetables too, just keep them thinly sliced for easy eating with the noodles. We prefer a carbon steel wok for this recipe because it adds a charred flavor from the high heat.

Get the Recipe: Singapore Mei Fun

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

Stir-Fried Rice Cakes with XO Sauce

Rice cake in Mandarin roughly translates to high year, so there are often sweet or savory dishes involving rice cakes during the Lunar New Year. My family almost always preferred to have them savory. This is an easy at home version that includes pantry ingredients that are luxurious to me and my family.

Get the Recipe: Stir-Fried Rice Cakes with XO Sauce

Manduguk

There are as many variations of Korean dumpling soup as there are variations of dumplings and broths—you can mix and match your favorites. I like to make my broth as simple as possible. This one comes together in less than an hour without compromising on flavor. The meaty dumplings are subtly garlicky from the Korean chives and they pair nicely with the umami-packed dasima anchovy broth. This recipe yields a lot of dumplings and broth, but you can freeze half of each to enjoy the fruits of your labor a second time around.

Get the Recipe: Manduguk

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

Buddha's Delight

Traditionally consumed by Buddhist monks, Buddha’s delight (Lo Han Jai) is now popular around the world as a healthy vegetarian Chinese restaurant option. The dish is also a staple on the first day of Lunar New Year—for lunch or as a side dish for the dinner feast—and is seen as providing a purifying and cleansing start to the new year. In our version, we chose vegetables with texture and flavor in mind, resulting in a pleasant combination of crunchy, tender and crisp elements. (We also included garlic and ginger, which may not align with a strictly Buddhist diet.) Feel free to mix and match with other vegetables, such as bamboo shoots, lotus root, bean sprouts or carrots--to name a few.

Get the Recipe: Buddha's Delight

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

Soy-Butter Scallop Wontons

Eating copious amounts of dumplings on Lunar New Year symbolizes wealth for the year ahead because the small parcels of dough filled with protein and vegetables resemble bags of money. You won’t have a problem eating all of these scallop wontons tossed in a rich soy-butter sauce. The filling is a simple yet flavorful blend of scallops (which on their own symbolize wealth due their round shape and golden color when seared) and minced jalapenos for a gentle heat and aromatics. The sauce is not traditional, but the rich butter bloomed with chile flakes and salty soy sauce complements the natural sweetness and oceanic flavors of the scallop wontons. Remember, the more dumplings you eat, the richer you will be!

Get the Recipe: Soy-Butter Scallop Wontons

Steamed Fish with Seasoned Soy Sauce and Scallion

This preparation of steamed fish is a classic dish cooked at home for family gatherings, special occasions and Lunar New Year. It is often included as one of the courses at any Chinese banquet, regardless of the occasion. This dish symbolizes good fortune and abundance, as the Chinese word for "fish" sounds very similar to the Chinese word for "abundance." When I was growing up, my mom often made this dish for Lunar New Year celebratory meals. The traditional flavors of this recipe invoke those childhood memories and are sure to bring back nostalgia for anyone who grew up in a Chinese household.

Get the Recipe: Steamed Fish with Seasoned Soy Sauce and Scallion

Hong Dou Tang

Sweet red bean soup is a dessert fixture at Chinese banquets and during the Lunar New Year, when many households also enjoy it as a light snack. It may owe part of its popularity to the fact that in Chinese culture red beans are said to provide strength because of their color (red symbolizes power) and the amount of protein they contain. The soup, which contains chewy small tapioca pearls, is typically thin. We wanted a heartier version, so developed this recipe accordingly. You can always thin it with some water, if you prefer. It’s also lightly sweetened, so feel free to add more sugar.

Get the Recipe: Hong Dou Tang

Bánh Chưng

For the Vietnamese diaspora, glutinous rice dumplings are the heart of Tết (Lunar New Year) celebrations. People from southern Vietnam know these rice dumplings as banh tét and shape them into cylinders; in the north, the cakes take on a rectangular shape and are called banh chưng. Banh chưng fillings vary from family to family, but the three most common ingredients are pork belly, mung beans and sweet rice — which meld together to create a delicious, tender dumpling. Assembling these banana-wrapped parcels is a multi-step process that, like many holiday foods, takes a little bit of advance preparation and time. But that’s all the more reason to gather family and friends into the kitchen to make them together. This recipe makes six banh chưng, but feel free to double (or quadruple) the quantity so you’ll have more than enough to keep for yourself, with plenty to gift all around.

Get the Recipe: Bánh Chưng

Lunar New Year Almond Cookies

Although you can eat these cookies any time of year, they’re especially popular during Lunar New Year. They are adorned with a whole almond for good luck and prosperity.

Get the Recipe: Lunar New Year Almond Cookies

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: Law Bak Go

Fa Gao

Fa Gao, or fortune cake, is a popular Chinese dessert typically eaten during the Lunar New Year to bring luck and money in the coming months. The chewy and lightly sweetened steamed cakes were traditionally leavened with yeast, which helps create the signature cracked flower-like design on top. However, nowadays bakeries often substitute double-acting baking powder; it yields the same effect in far less time. The key to the recipe is to make sure the water is at a rolling boil and generating lots of steam when you cook the cakes. That high heat works with the leavening agent to form the cracks.

Get the Recipe: Fa Gao

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

Tteokguk

While this Korean rice cake soup is popular comfort food year-round, it’s a must-have on Seollal, the Korean Lunar New Year. The rice cakes themselves encapsulate some of the holiday’s major themes: The hope for vitality, goodness and prosperity in the new year. The white color of the cakes signifies longevity and purity, and they are sliced into disc-like shapes that resemble Korea’s old coin currency, symbolizing wealth in the new year. The broth for tteokguk is typically beef-based, with some versions using marrow bones and some, like this recipe, using brisket. The dish is best served right away as the rice cakes can lose their chewy goodness (or even disintegrate) if left in the broth too long. The good news is it’s easy to simmer up the broth and prepare the garnishes the day before, leaving you to just boil the cakes in the broth and garnish the soup before eating. If you want a heartier soup, you can also add store-bought frozen dumplings to the broth, making it an equally traditional Tteokmanduguk, which literally translates as "rice cake dumpling soup."

Get the Recipe: Tteokguk