Chinese Peanut Cookies

February  1, 2022
5 Ratings
Photo by Linda Xiao
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Makes 48 to 60 cookies
Author Notes

You may be familiar with these Chinese peanut cookies as a Lunar New Year sweet. Hua sheng bing are often sold in tall plastic containers at the markets. But I can assure you that homemade ones taste far better, and they're easier to make at home than you might think. If the craving strikes, look no further than this go-to recipe.

This recipe comes from my friend and stylist Karen Shinto. Not only do we work together on my cookbook projects, but we also trade recipes. She was so jazzed about these cookies that she emailed photos of them, asking me if I wanted the recipe so I could make them. Heck yes.

These peanut cookies are full of peanut goodness, rich and lardy, but there's actually no lard involved. Ground peanuts, cooking oil, and butter enrich the dough. The confectioners' (powdered) sugar added to the crumbly texture and of course sweetness. Karen used canola oil, but I opted for semi-refined peanut oil that I get at the Chinese market; you can use unrefined peanut oil sold at health food stores. That type of peanut oil adds a lovely roast-y peanut taste and perfume to these delectable treats. The cookies come together very quickly, and you probably already have most of the ingredients you need to make them. As for those cracks? They add so much character. May your Chinese New Year be all the better for having these cookies at your table. Or, secure your wealth by enjoying these cookies all year long. —Andrea Nguyen

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unsalted, roasted peanuts
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 10 3/4 ounces (2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 cup fragrant peanut or canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven; heat to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  2. In a food processor, grind the peanuts until coarse crumbs form. Add the powdered sugar and process, stopping to scrape the bottom if needed, until there's a mixture of fine crumbs and powder. Do not overprocess or you'll end up with peanut butter.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the peanut mixture and stir until well combined.
  4. Drizzle the oil and butter into the bowl. Using your hands, knead to form soft dough. It will soften as you knead it. If the dough becomes too soft to handle and feels oily, refrigerate for 15 minutes to firm up. If the dough feels dry, add more oil 1 tablespoon at a time.
  5. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and arrange on the prepared baking sheets, spacing 1½ inches apart. If you like, put a little decorative stamp on top. I used the top of a clean and dry Sharpie pen cap!
  6. Brush the tops with the egg. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until light golden in color. Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely before eating or storing in an airtight container. These cookies are very delicate and can smudge easily. Be gentle with them.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Joan - Downstairs
    Joan - Downstairs
  • Bonnie L Hunt
    Bonnie L Hunt
  • Andrea Nguyen
    Andrea Nguyen
  • angela l.
    angela l.
Andrea Nguyen is a James Beard award-winning author, cooking teacher, consultant and editor. Her latest book is "Vietnamese Food Any Day" (Ten Speed Press, 2019). She edited "Unforgettable", the biography cookbook about culinary legend Paula Wolfert.

11 Reviews

angela L. February 12, 2022
These turned out great. I was afraid they could be super crumbly, they are not. Spectrum makes an “unrefined” peanut oil that smells nice and peanutty. I couldn’t find unsalted peanuts so I used salted then held back on adding salt until the end (then added salt to taste). I also misread the recipe and processed the flour with the peanuts and sugar, still got a dough that rolled together easily. I ate some while still warm and they were great. Taste was even better the next day.
angela L. March 3, 2022
just baked these into thumbprint cookies. Turned out excellent. Peanuts and jelly:)
karen March 15, 2020
can you use something in place of confectioner's sugar? i'm out!
Andrea N. March 16, 2020
How about if you make a substitute? I just checked for you and found this, from Betty Crocker!
Darian February 5, 2019
I made these last night for Chinese New Year today - they are delicious! A bit crumbly but based on notes I expected that. I used an apple corer then the end of a chopstick to make a little "snout" on top of each in honor of the year of the pig :-)
Joan -. January 29, 2016
I would never have thought about baking peanut cookies - they are so thoroughly ingrained in my brain as a bakery/restaurant item. Now, I'm eager to make batches of them to share for the new year!

I like to use weight measures in baking for more accuracy and fewer dishes. I suspect this recipe was converted to volume from weight measures - otherwise where did 2 cups and 2 tablespoons of nuts come from! If it's easy to do, could you post the weight measures, please?

ChefGam January 29, 2016
OK to use Whole Foods peanut oil or is the taste of the oil sold in Asian stores significantly better?
Andrea N. January 29, 2016
So long as the peanut oil at Whole Foods is unrefined. I think it is and says so on the label. The color is akin to sesame oil. My guess is that their peanut oil is made by Spectrum!
Bonnie L. December 13, 2015
actually, it just says 3/4 and then nothing....
Andrea N. December 13, 2015
That's a presentation issue. The quantity was inputted as 10 3/4 ounces but the system put the 3/4 on the next line. NO bueno. I just edited it to say 10.75 ounces. Thanks for the heads up. It's a lovely cookie. Hope you like it.
Bonnie L. December 13, 2015
i'm missing something in the ingredient list. underneath the 10 oz. of flour it says 3/4 c. but doesn't list what it is? any help with this?