Keo Lac Vung (Peanut and Sesame Candy) Recipe (2024)

By Andrea Nguyen

Keo Lac Vung (Peanut and Sesame Candy) Recipe (1)

Total Time
30 minutes
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Gifting and eating sweets during Lunar New Year is an integral part of the Vietnamese Tet tradition. People often buy festive treats from confectioners equipped with particular skills and specialty ingredients, but you can make this easy, crunchy, delicately fragrant candy from readily available ingredients. This version of northern Vietnamese keo lac vung calls for corn syrup in place of maltose, which is often used in Vietnam. Sometimes, butter is added for a touch of fattiness, but coconut oil also works and makes the candy dairy-free.

Featured in: Tet Is Full of Traditions, but You Can Have It Your Way

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Yield:About 2 dozen pieces

  • 1tablespoon unsalted butter or virgin coconut oil
  • 1cup/150 grams roasted, unsalted shelled peanuts
  • ½cup/60 grams roasted white sesame seeds (see Note)
  • ¼teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾cup/150 grams granulated sugar
  • 2tablespoons corn syrup

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (8 servings)

253 calories; 15 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 6 grams monounsaturated fat; 5 grams polyunsaturated fat; 28 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 24 grams sugars; 6 grams protein; 120 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Keo Lac Vung (Peanut and Sesame Candy) Recipe (2)


  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat or in a bowl in the microwave. Remove from the heat and add the peanuts, sesame seeds, salt and baking soda, then stir to combine. Set near the stove, along with a rolling pin and 2 sheets of parchment paper (each roughly 12-by-15 inches), one of which is set atop a cutting board.

  2. Step


    In a small saucepan, use a silicone spatula to stir together the sugar, corn syrup and 2 tablespoons water. If anything clings to the spatula, scrape it into the saucepan. Clip a candy thermometer to the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a frothy boil over medium heat, then let bubble, undisturbed, until golden and the thermometer registers 300 degrees, 2 to 4 minutes.

  3. Step


    Turn off the heat and immediately dump and scrape in the nut mixture. Stir vigorously for 5 to 10 seconds to combine well. (If it seizes up, rewarm the pan to loosen.) Pour the candy mass onto the parchment on the cutting board.

  4. Step


    Immediately use the spatula to press the mixture into a ¾-inch-thick slab. Put the other piece of parchment on top, then use the rolling pin to flatten the slab to ¼-inch thickness. To smooth out the subtle ridges on top, use the warm saucepan like an iron, running it over the candy. So long as the candy is warm-hot, you can manipulate it; nudge and neaten its sides with the broad side of a knife or metal bench scraper, if you like.

  5. Step


    Remove the top parchment layer. While the candy is warm, cut into 1- by 2-inch rectangles or any other shape you desire. Let cool at least 30 minutes before snapping the pieces apart. The candy tastes best once totally cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.


  • If you’re starting with raw sesame seeds, toast them in a medium skillet over medium heat. Shake the pan frequently until the seeds are a bit plump and lightly toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside on a cool burner for 2 minutes, shaking midway, to finish toasting the seeds.



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Cooking Notes


I may try honey instead of corn syrup.


I've used agave nectar as a corn syrup substitute - works perfectly! I'm going to definitely give this recipe a try : )

Andrea Nguyen

I tried honey but it unfortunately yielded candy that slightly stuck to my teeth so I didn't call for it in the recipe. Brown rice syrup has worked as a corn syrup substitute, but expect a slightly nutty edge in the flavor. Lundberg Farm makes a good brown rice syrup, though that's a product that's not easily found on many supermarket shelves. If you're okay with the candy's texture with honey, go for it! The cool thing with this small batch recipe is you can play with it.


I made with slightly salted peanuts and left out the salt. Definitely a winner!

Vee Oh

The Indians make a similar version called Chikki with roasted peanuts, brown sugar or jaggery and some fennel seeds. No butter/corn syrup.The trick is in melting the sugar and heating to a point when dropped in a bowl of cold water comes together like a mass and doesn't spread.


Agave syrup worked perfectly as a substitute for the corn syrup.


This is a great recipe and the coconut oil adds a special touch. Would definitely make again. Suggest to use store bought roasted, salted peanuts and omit the salt in the recipe. Toasting my own peanuts was difficult, some burnt and had to sort one by one. Sesame seeds were easy to toast. Friends loved these!


Made for a Lunar New Year gift, came out very well! Took about 10 min to reach 300 degrees, and was not golden yet, but I went on anyway. I missed the bit about flattening to 1/4" so I cut them in smaller pieces to make them easier to eat. We ate the trimmed-off edges, and were they ever tasty.The only thing I can say is that I wish I'd made enough to keep!


Can this be made without sugar?


I used honey and it was amazing! My family is from Taiwan and had craved these peanut dessert bars. Definitely going to be making them again.

Jess K

Yummy and quasi-easy. The sugar cools quick so you need to move fast.

Deb D

Had this when I visited Cambodia and hoped it would match. Really close to the original. And very easy to make. Other recipes include a teaspoon of vanilla. Has anyone tried that version?


Agave syrup worked perfectly as a substitute for the corn syrup.

Anne V

Will cane syrup work?

Vee Oh

The Indians make a similar version called Chikki with roasted peanuts, brown sugar or jaggery and some fennel seeds. No butter/corn syrup.The trick is in melting the sugar and heating to a point when dropped in a bowl of cold water comes together like a mass and doesn't spread.

Lori K

Made as directed, except lightly chopped the peanuts. Took about 7 minutes for mixture to reach 300. Turned out great - not as pretty as picture, but so easy and delicious!


Why not use lightly salted peanuts and delete the 1/4 tsp of salt?


I used Lyles Golden syrup since I like it better for caramels and I had an open bottle. This recipe never solidified. I ended up wrapping it in the lower parchment paper to try to get it to shape into a sheet that was cuttable. Then when I cut it it crumbled. So now I have tasty crumbs which I assume I can use as a topping for other desserts but not pieces of candy. I don't know why corn syrup would be so essential to the recipe since I make perfectly fine caramel with the Lyles.


I’d use fewer peanuts, maybe 2/3 cup, and roughly chop them as it was difficult to fully incorporate them into the sugar syrup. But overall this was easy to make if slightly stressful due to the speed needed to avoid the syrup from hardening. A dentist’s delight.


I made with slightly salted peanuts and left out the salt. Definitely a winner!


Please let us know if that works! Can’t eat corn products. Thank you!

Sheila Datt, Integrative Nutrition Coach

Not a great idea anyway, unless organic, there's a good chance it's GMO.

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Keo Lac Vung (Peanut and Sesame Candy) Recipe (2024)


What is the popular Vietnamese candy? ›

Keo me xung (Sesame candy)

If you have a chance to visit Vietnam's ancient capital, Hue, don't forget to take home some keo me xung (sesame candy). Made from peanut, sesame, sugar, and rice flour, these traditional Vietnamese snacks are characterized by their rich nutty flavor and satisfying chewy texture.

What is sesame candy made of? ›

Sesame seed candy is a confection of sesame seeds and sugar or honey pressed into a bar or ball. It is popular from the Middle East through South Asia to East Asia. The texture may vary from chewy to crisp.

What is the most popular snack in Vietnam? ›

As surveyed in 2022 in Vietnam, the most bought sweet snack in the week before the survey were fruits with around 58.4 percent of respondents. Among the other popular sweet snacks among Vietnamese were candies, cookies, biscuits, cakes, and yogurts.

What is the national dessert of Vietnam? ›

Vietnamese sweet soup, or "che", is a traditional dessert enjoyed throughout Vietnam. Made from a variety of ingredients such as beans, fruits, nuts, and glutinous rice, che is a sweet and refreshing treat, perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth on a hot day.

What is the name of the sesame candy? ›

Sesame halva is popular in the Balkans, Poland, the Middle East, and other areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. The primary ingredients in this confection are sesame butter or paste (tahini), and sugar, glucose or honey.

Why do Koreans eat so much sesame seeds? ›

Properly toasted sesame seeds are a very important ingredient in Korean cuisine. They add a wonderful, toasted nuttiness to many Korean dishes, and are particularly important in giving vegetarian dishes an extra dimension of flavor.

Why do Chinese eat sesame seeds? ›

In China, sesame seeds are used to flavor cakes, cookies, and popular desserts such as sesame seed balls and fried custard. You'll also find them in savory dishes. Sesame paste, which is made by pulverizing toasted sesame seeds, is an ingredient in noodle dishes that include a thick, nutty sauce.

What candy to bring back from Vietnam? ›

Coconut candy (Keo dua) This sweet treat is made from fresh coconut and malt sugar, creating a chewy texture and a rich tropical flavor. It carries a unique taste that reflects the vibrant culture and natural resources of South Vietnam.

What is the famous toy in Vietnam? ›

Tò He or Vietnamese toy figurine is a traditional toy for children in Vietnam made from edible glutinous rice powder in variety forms of figurines attached on the top of bamboo sticks.

What is the Vietnamese candy wrapped in rice paper? ›

Similar to Vietnamese fresh spring rolls, sweet popiah also involves using rice paper to wrap ingredients. Thin paper-likke crepe made of rice and wheat flour is mainly used, while the fillings include sugar candy, grated coconut and black sesame.

What is the Vietnamese candy with paper on it? ›

Traditionally, coconut candy is wrapped in two layers of wrappings. The inner layer is edible rice paper, and the outer layer is paper soaked in vegetable oil. These measures were necessary to stop the candy from sticking to the paper wrapping.

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