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4 black sesame tang yuan in a dark blue bowl.
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4.75 from 4 votes

Tang Yuan with Black Sesame Filling

Easy step by step guide for making your own delightfully springy tang yuan filled with a deliciously sweet and nutty black sesame paste!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Asian
Diet: Gluten Free
Servings: 20 tang yuan
Calories: 101kcal
Author: Edwina


  • food processor


Black Sesame Filling

  • 80 g roasted black sesame seeds ¾ cup
  • 70 g sugar 5 tbsp
  • 60 g unsalted butter 4 tbsp, soften until it will show your finger print when you press it.
  • 1 tablespoon water 15 g
  • 1 pinch sea salt


  • 180 g glutinous rice flour 1½ cup, plus more for dusting
  • 135 g water ½ cup + 2tbsp, room temperature
  • ½ tablespoon vegetable oil


  • 3 tbsp Taiwanese brown sugar or coconut sugar/dark brown sugar/Dark Muscovado sugar
  • 2 cup water
  • 3 slice ginger


Make black sesame filling

  • Add black sesame seeds and sugar in a food processor, grind until they achieve a sandy texture.
  • Add in butter, water and salt. Do long pulses until the mixture becomes a paste.
  • Transfer the black sesame mixture to a bowl, cover and store in the freezer while working on the dough.

Making tang yuan dough

  • In a small sauce pan, bring two cups of water to a boil (for cooking the dough).
  • In another bowl, mix the room temperature water with glutinous rice flour, stir until the water is absorbed by the flour.
  • Squeeze and form a small piece of dough ball (around 1.5" diameter), press it flat and cook it in the boiling water until the dough floats.
  • Add the cooked dough back into the flour mixture along with vegetable oil, and let it cool down a bit before kneading it into the mixture. Continue to knead until the dough is soft and smooth. Add more glutinous rice flour if it's too sticky, or more water if it's too dry. Cover with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.

Prepare the filling and dough

  • Separate the filling into 20 portions and roll them into small balls. Cover and store in the freezer while working on the dough.
  • Roll the glutinous rice dough into a log before cutting it into 20 little pieces. Roll all the small pieces into balls.

Assembling the Tang Yuan

  • To assemble the tang yuan, flatten a dough ball to form a approximately 2.5" (6 cm) round wrap with the edges thinner than the center.
  • Place a piece of black sesame filling in the middle and wrap the dough around the filling. Finally, roll the tang yuan with your hand to form a ball. Repeat the previous step and this one for the rest of the tang yuan and coat them all with some glutinous rice flour.
  • If you are not cooking all the tang yuans right away, it's best to freeze them right after you are done assembling.

Make Brown Sugar Ginger Soup

  • Heat a sauce pan over medium heat, add brown sugar in the pan, cook and stir until it starts to melt. This step is optional, but will help bring out the aroma of the sugar.
  • Add water and ginger and bring it to a boil. The longer you cook this soup, the more ginger flavor you will get, so adjust this step to suit your taste.
  • The soup won't taste very sweet if you use Taiwanese brown sugar. You can add more sugar if you want, but remember that the tang yuan is pretty sweet already.

Cooking instruction ( for cooking 10 tang yuans)

  • In a 2qt pot, bring 5 cups of water to a boil, place the Tang Yuan in the water carefully. Gently move them with a spatula or the back of a spoon to prevent from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Once the water boils again, decrease the heat to maintain a gentle boil and cook until the tang yuans float.
  • Add ginger soup and tang yuan in a bowl and serve.

Freezing Instruction

  • Put the tan yuan in a zip lock bag. Line the bag on a tray and make some space between the tang yuan (so they won't stick together when freezing) and then store in the freezer. Once the tang yuan becomes harder, you can remove the tray as they won't stick together anymore now that they've hardened.


  1. If you prefer very smooth and oozy filling, blend the black sesame seeds as fine as you can and replace the sugar with powdered sugar. You can also try using sesame paste for an ultra smooth texture, although wrapping this as filling would be more difficult.
  2. If you don't have a food processor, replace the black sesame seeds with black sesame powder (about ½ cup + 1 tbsp), and replace the sugar with powdered sugar. Soften the butter before mixing it with all other filling ingredients. 
  3. Cover any glutinous rice dough that you are not working on to keep them from drying out. If the dough became dry and starts cracking, simply apply a bit of water with your hand.
  4. If working in a warmer area, take only part of the black sesame filling out first to assemble and more out once you are finish, to prevent the filling from becoming too soft and hard to wrap.  
  5. Cook or freeze the tang yuan right after you are done making them to maintain their freshness.
  6. To make a vegan version of this recipe, simply replace the butter with coconut oil.


Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 28mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 75IU | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 1mg