moon·​cake ˈmün-ˌkāk How to pronounce mooncake (audio)
plural mooncakes
: a small pastry filled with sweet or savory ingredients and traditionally associated with the Mid-Autumn Festival in Chinese culture and various other East and Southeast Asian cultures

Note: Because mooncakes are traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival, this festival is sometimes referred to as the Mooncake Festival.

The palm-sized symbolic form of the moon is a meticulously baked pastry, usually stuffed with sweet lotus [seed] paste and sometimes … salty egg yolk. As per tradition, mooncakes are given as a token of appreciation and a way to tighten relationships.Hannah Leung
Mooncakes are treated with particular fondness; [Kristina] Cho's recipes for these holiday favorites span a range of styles and flavors (including Cho's inventive "ice cream sandwich" mooncakes).Kelsy Peterson
"… If you miss the pork mooncake you have made a huge mistake, they are … flakey, sweet, salty, and perfect. …"Tali Petschek

Examples of mooncake in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The familiar aromas of barbeque and mooncakes came drifting back with the memories. Austindedios, oregonlive, 3 Sep. 2023 What about red bean buns, almond jelly, mooncake, dan tat or even fortune cookies? Jenn Harris, Los Angeles Times, 26 June 2023 This year’s Mid-Autumn Festival will fall on Sept. 10, so E & S shifted into mooncake production at the beginning of August. Amanda Albee, Dallas News, 22 Aug. 2022 The mooncake, a symbol of the Mid-Autumn Festival, is the other classic treat featured in Cho's book title. Maggie Hiufu Wong, CNN, 20 Oct. 2021 Get an individual mooncake or splurge on a variety pack. Megha McSwain, Chron, 7 Sep. 2022 Its buttery rich and briny yolk, which shines in vibrant hues of yellow and orange, is commonly found in Chinese mooncakes, rice porridge and zongzi (sticky rice dumplings). Elvia Limón, Los Angeles Times, 16 Mar. 2023 Displayed in glass cases, next to Napoleons and tamarind teas, each mooncake is embossed with an intricate design, usually a symbol of good fortune. Diti Kohli,, 4 Nov. 2022 During the Mid-Autumn Festival, families hold a three-day feast complete with lantern lighting, dragon dancing, and mooncake making. Irene Richardson, Country Living, 1 Nov. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mooncake.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


translation of Chinese (Beijing) yuèbing, yuèbǐng

First Known Use

1688, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mooncake was in 1688

Dictionary Entries Near mooncake

Cite this Entry

“Mooncake.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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