The timing of the Holocene summer monsoon maximum (HSMM) in northeastern China has been much debated and more quantitative precipitation records are needed to resolve the issue. In the present study, Holocene precipitation and temperature changes were quantitatively reconstructed from a pollen record from the sediments of Tianchi Crater Lake in northeastern China using a plant functional type-modern analogue technique (PFT-MAT). The reconstructed precipitation record indicates a gradual increase during the early to mid-Holocene and a HSMM at ~5500–3100 cal yr BP, while the temperature record exhibits a divergent pattern with a marked rise in the early Holocene and a decline thereafter. The trend of reconstructed precipitation is consistent with that from other pollen records in northeastern China, confirming the relatively late occurrence of the HSMM in the region. However, differences in the onset of the HSMM within northeastern China are also evident. No single factor appears to be responsible for the late occurrence of the HSMM in northeastern China, pointing to a potentially complex forcing mechanism of regional rainfall in the East Asian monsoon region. We suggest that further studies are needed to understand the spatiotemporal pattern of the HSMM in the region.