Traditional Cantonese Mooncakes Using Airfryer

August 12, 2015 10 Comments A+ a-

I enjoy baking traditional food items. Items I have done on the airfryer include Chinese New Year almond cookies (recipe here) and peanut cookies (recipe here).

With Mooncake Festival coming up next month, I decided to bake mooncakes ahead of time in the airfryer for fun first. Call me a traditionalist, but while I like to try snowskin mooncakes with interesting flavours (e.g. durian, cempadek, etc), I still love them best in the most basic form - white lotus paste without egg yolk! :) Nevertheless, once you have mastered the traditional mooncakes, snowskin mooncakes should be no-problem for you. 

Below is my no-lard recipe, adapted for the airfryer. Feel free to use other types of fillings - red bean, durian etc, and adapt it for the oven. It's actually a very easy recipe; don't be deceived by its looks. Have fun!

Updates (Sep 2015): We were invited by Philips Singapore to do up a video on how to make these mooncakes. Enjoy!

Traditional Cantonese Mooncakes
Yield: 15 mini mooncakes, 50g each

(A) Skin
120g top/ cake flour* (all purpose flour is ok)
80g golden syrup* 
3/4 tsp alkaline water* (this helps to make the dough more stretchable and give the skin the golden-brown colour) 
30g peanut oil (or any other types of oil)

(B) Filling
520g white lotus paste*
melon seeds (optional)

(C) Egg wash for glazing
1 egg yoke
1 tsp water

Tool: Mooncake mould plunger*

* If you are in Singapore, these items can be purchased from Phoon Huat.
(Update: Kwong Cheong Thye is a great shop too - click here for my review.)

1. Mix the syrup, peanut oil and alkaline water together. 

2. In another bowl, sieve the flour and make a well in the centre. Pour #1 into the sifted flour. 

3. Combine the mixture with a spatula until it forms a soft dough. Wrap with cling wrap and place it in the fridge to rest overnight. This step is known as 醒面.

Tips: The longer you let the dough rest, the easier you can wrap the fillings later.

4. The next day, divide the dough into dough balls of 15g each. For this recipe, you will get 15 pieces of them, with some leftover for "patching" later - if needed. Return the dough balls back into the fridge and keep them chilled.

5. Next, make 15 balls of lotus fillings, each 33g. If you are adding melon seeds, add them together with the lotus fillings balls.

6It is now time to start making your mooncake balls. Remove 1 of the dough balls from the fridge and place it between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper. Press to flatten the dough ball and roll it out thinly into a flat circle. 

Tips: Only remove dough balls from the fridge when you are about to use them. Warmed-up dough can become very sticky and difficult to work with!

7. Wrap the flattened dough around the filling and shape it into a mooncake ball. Ensure that there are no exposed parts. (Repeat to make next 14 mooncake balls.)
After - No exposed parts!

8. Place the mooncake balls, 1 at a time, into mooncake mould plunger. Press hard so that the impression can be properly made (this is my favourite part!). Release the plunger and gently place them onto a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Spray with water to prevent the mooncakes from cracking during baking later.

9. Preheat the airfryer at 160 degrees for 4 min. Bake the mooncakes at 160 degrees for 10 min. 

10. Meanwhile, prepare the egg wash by mixing well 1 egg yolk and 1 tsp water. If you would like the egg wash to have a more even consistency, pass the egg wash through a sieve. 

11. Remove the mooncakes from the airfryer and leave them to cool for at least 15 min (do not skip this step). Thereafter, glaze the top and sides of your mooncakes thinly and evenly with the egg wash. 

12. Return the mooncakes to the airfryer. Continue to bake for another 4 - 6 min until golden brown.

13. Cool the mooncakes completely before storing in an airtight container at room temperature for at least 3 days. This allows the mooncakes to 回油, so that the skin can soften. It will also produce a glossy and shiny surface, and the flavours can be better developed.  

PS: If your kitchen is too warm, you can put it in the fridge sooner.

14. After 3 days, you will find that the mooncakes' surface will turn glossy. For optimal results, wait for up to 7 days. Keep in the fridge if your home is warm. 

15. After 3 - 7 days, the mooncakes are now ready. Serve with hot Chinese tea and enjoy!! 


Many Facebook friends have provided feedback that they have been very successful in making mooncakes using this recipe, even though they are first-timers. Below are some photos. Now, don't you want to try them yourself too? :)

Btw, if you need to find baking supplies and tools for your mooncakes, you must head down to Kwong Cheong Thye, a food supplier shop which is 5-min walk from Aljunied MRT station. The range of mooncake pastes there is way more extensive than Phoon Huat's (at least 20 types) and the service is excellent too. Read on here for my personal review, photos (and pricing)!

If you have tried this recipe too, share your photos with us!
Instagram: @TheHedgehogKnows


Write comments
10 September 2015 at 20:43 delete

I have read your post. thank's for sharing Traditional Cantonese Mooncakes. I was not aware of this cooking method. I love the food at all difficult to handle temptation.

Kelly Low
11 September 2015 at 23:09 delete

Hi Janet, I followed your recipe and made the mooncake last week. Should I keep them in the fridge or will they last till the mooncake festival in the open in airtight containers? Thanks dear

11 September 2015 at 23:43 delete

Hi Kelly, happy to hear that the recipe worked well for you. If you want them to last till mooncake festival, putting them in the fridge in airtight container would be better. I presume that you are from Singapore... well it's just too warm here, sometimes! :)

14 September 2015 at 07:40 delete

Hi Janet, I followed your recipe but doubled the portion (I used all purpose flour) as I was thinking of baking more since I had 3kg lotus paste (Phoon Huat run out of 1kg pack) :). However, I noticed that my dough is not as 'soft' as yours shown in the photo. Just checked the dough in the fridge, it is hard. Is this normal? Anything I should add to the dough to soften it before I make them into balls? Thanks

19 September 2015 at 10:22 delete

Hi Jenny, did you rest the dough overnight in the fridge? The longer you let the dough rest, the softer it will be and easier you can wrap the fillings later. Btw, 3kg is a lot - you will make 90 of the mini mooncakes using the above recipe. Have fun and hee hee share with us *grin*! :)

19 September 2015 at 11:43 delete

Hi. I do not have alkaline water. What can I substitute with? Thanks

19 September 2015 at 13:28 delete

can we bake the moon cakes in the oven. if we dnt have a airfryer

24 September 2015 at 14:05 delete

I'm afraid there are no substitutes. Anyway if you are in Singapore, you can buy it from NTUC Finest - I've seen it before there. About S$1.50 for a small bottle :)

27 September 2015 at 09:17 delete

Hi Swan, sure! Just turn the temperature up to 180 degrees. Timings can be the same (though may differ slightly depending on your oven) :)

18 March 2020 at 14:40 delete

This dessert is looking so yummy and tasty I really like to try your dessert. But if you want to try my mom's hand made baklava with pistachio then you can also visit our sites for getting this amazing dessert at a reasonable price.