Chinese Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe (Hua Sheng Bing)

Eric Ginsburg

Enjoy best-selling author Kat Lieu's Heady Chinese Peanut Butter Cookies (Hua Sheng Bing) recipe!

If you're one of the 160,000 people following Subtle Asian Baking on Instagram, you know its creator, Kat Lieu. In her second cookbook — Modern Asian Kitchen, releasing soon — she shares her Heady Chinese Peanut Butter Cookies recipe. But we've got a sneak peek below, including the full recipe!

Courtesy Chinese Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe Photo

Lieu is also the best-selling author of Modern Asian Baking at Home: Essential Sweet and Savory Recipes for Milk Bread, Mochi, Mooncakes, and More. It was released in 2022 to critical acclaim.

Her forthcoming cookbook builds on where Modern Asian Baking left off, and like its predecessor, pulls from cuisines and ingredients from across a broad region rather than being focused on a specific culture or tradition. It has a similarly lengthy full title: Modern Asian Kitchen: Essential and Easy Recipes for Ramen, Dumplings, Dim Sum, Stir-Fries, Rice Bowls, Pho, Bibimbaps, and More.

This description accompanying the book sums it up well: "It’s more about grazing through small plates than sinking into one big one. It’s more about pan-Asian fusions—'third culture' foods, the cooking of the Asian diaspora—than about each culture’s oldest traditions. It’s more plant-forward than meat-centered."

Okay — so now you're convinced, and maybe salivating a little. So let's dig into her Heady Chinese Peanut Butter Cookies!

If you want more from Lieu (besides the obvious avenue of grabbing her book), we'll be publishing her Auspicious Longevity Noodles recipe shortly. 

Courtesy Kat Lieu photo

The Story Behind Chinese Peanut Cookies

Lieu didn't pull this recipe out of thin air. Here's how she explained its background:

"According to legend, hua sheng bing, or Chinese peanut cookies, were first baked during the Qing Dynasty by skilled imperial pastry chefs who handcrafted these treats using ground peanuts, sugar, and flour," she wrote in Modern Asian Kitchen. "Nowadays, these cookies symbolize love and warmth and are enjoyed during Lunar New Year."

But, Lieu added, she hopes you'll enjoy these cookies year-round with friends and family! That's not asking too much of you, we promise.

"They’re surprisingly easy to make and can even be shaped into different animal shapes," she wrote. So have fun with them!

Modifying This Recipe

Traditionally, Chinese peanut cookies would be made with ground peanuts. But like many of us, Lieu had extra peanut butter at home, and built the recipe around store-bought peanut butter. 

If you're feeling particularly ambitious, you could use ground peanuts in your version. But if your goal is a more traditional texture, Lieu recommends using a nutty and crunchy peanut butter!

You could also opt for a smooth peanut butter if you prefer creamier cookies, she added.

"Either way, these cookies will be dreamy, melt-in your-mouth, luxuriously heady, and warm," Lieu writes in her book.

But regardless, she recommends non-hydrogenated peanut butter.

This recipe can be made with red or white miso. Alternately, Lieu suggests 1/4 to 1/3 teaspoon of kosher salt as a substitute.

Vegan, or baking for one? No problem.

"Substitute butter with vegan butter and substitute the egg wash with any plant-based milk or melted vegan butter," Lieu wrote. "A touch of agave nectar or maple syrup mixed with plant-based milk gives the cookies a nice sheen."

Want to pair these cookies with something? Start with hot tea, Lieu said, "like oolong, black, or jasmine."

This recipe makes pretty large cookies. If you'd rather have smaller bites — and more cookies — Lieu suggests dividing them into smaller balls (about 15 g each) and making 24-30 cookies rather than a dozen. This will require more peanuts, of course, since each cookie is supposed to receive one as pictured.

Courtesy Chinese Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe Picture

Ingredient Measurements in Grams

If you'd prefer to use grams to measure your ingredients, Lieu provides the following in her book:

  • 14 g unsalted butter
  • 50 g granulated sugar
  • 45 g brown sugar
  • 250 g peanut butter
  • 100 g all-purpose flour

This is not the full list of ingredients, but it is the ones that require conversions! You'll also note she provided Celsius temperatures for preparation below, too.

Storing Heady Chinese Peanut Butter Cookies

If you somehow don't finish all of these in one sitting, you can store the leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

You can also freeze the cookie dough for up to five months — or the whole cookies.

"If you’ve frozen any, they can be defrosted at room temperature for a few hours and refreshed in the oven at 350°F (180°C) for a few minutes to restore their original texture," according to Lieu. 

The cookie dough will keep in the fridge for a couple days too, if needed.

Gear You'll Need

To make this recipe, you'll need the following kitchen items:

  • Stand mixer (with a paddle attachment)
  • Spatula
  • Plastic wrap
  • Airtight container
  • Parchment paper or silicone mat
  • Baking sheet

Now you're good to go!

Our thanks to Kat Lieu for letting us share this recipe, which originally appears in her book Modern Asian Kitchen, published by Harvard Common Press.


Chinese Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe (Hua Sheng Bing)

      12 Servings


  • 1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon White Miso, or red miso
  • 1 cup Peanut Butter
  • 3/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 pinch of Baking Soda
  • 12-15 Shelled Peanuts, salted or unsalted
  • 1 Egg Yolk, beaten (for egg wash)


  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar and mix until fluffy, a few minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed with a spatula.
  2. Add the miso (if using) and peanut butter and mix for a few seconds before adding the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix until a dough forms. Again, scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. If the dough feels too dry and crumbly, add a little more peanut butter, about up to 1 to 2 tablespoons (16 to 32 g). Cover the dough with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour. This cookie dough can also be stored in the refrigerator for a few days, or up to 5 months in the freezer.
  3. About 20 to 30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) with a rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
  4. I like these cookies big and chonky, like ping-pong balls, about 1.3 ounces (36 g) each or more than a heaping tablespoon. You’ll have about 12 to 15 portions; roll each into a ball between your palms. You may need to compact and squeeze the ball together a bit to keep its shape.
  5. Press a whole peanut into the center of each cookie ball. Transfer the cookie balls to the baking sheet, giving each space. While they won’t expand much while baking, they will need consistent airflow to bake nicely. Brush all the tops with the egg wash.
  6. Bake until the tops shine and the edges are browner, about 16 to 18 minutes.
  7. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet and enjoy them warm.


Our thanks to Kat Lieu for letting us share this recipe, which originally appears in her book Modern Asian Kitchen, published by Harvard Common Press.


From Kat Lieu: "While I love bigger cookies, the portions I listed here may feel too filling for some, so you can divide the dough into smaller balls, about 15 grams each, and make about 24 to 30 cookies instead of 12. You’ll need more peanuts and bake for less time, so plan accordingly."

Source: Kat Lieu
Kat Lieu
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Related Recipes:
Chinese Recipes, Asian Recipes, Cookie Recipes, Dessert Recipes, Lunar New Year Recipes, Cookbook Recipes
Recipe Yields:
12-15 cookies
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Related Post:
Author: Eric Ginsburg
Source: Kat Lieu
Recipe Yields: 12-15 cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Total Time: 62 minutes

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 cookie
Servings Per Recipe 12

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 97
Calories 198

% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g
  Saturated Fat 3g
Sodium 12mg
Total Carbohydrate 15g
  Dietary Fiber 0g
  Sugars 6g
Protein 6g

* Percent Daily Value are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
** Nutrition Facts are estimated based on ingredients and data provided by Fat Secret. Please consult a doctor if you have special dietary needs.

Eric Ginsburg is the Editor of Food Fanatic. He's served as an editor at three newspapers and written for a wide range of publications, including Bon Appétit, Serious Eats, Wine Enthusiast, Southern Living, and Eater Carolinas. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. Follow him on Instagram.

Eric Ginsburg

About Eric

Eric Ginsburg is the Editor of Food Fanatic. He's served as an editor at three newspapers and written for a wide range of publications, including Bon Appétit, Serious Eats, Wine Enthusiast, Southern Living, and Eater Carolinas. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. Follow him on Instagram @eric_ginsburg.

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