What Are Scallion Pancakes?
Scallion pancakes (Cong you bing, 葱油饼) also known as green onion pancakes, are a popular street food in China. The dough is made with scallions, flour, water, and oil, then pan-fried until golden brown. The pancakes are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, with just enough savory flavor to give them an irresistible taste. They are like flatbread but way thinner, and they are often served as an appetizer, or used as a topping for soups and stews.
Scallion pancakes are a traditional Chinese breakfast food that is easy to make at home. A few major ingredients include:
Flour: This recipe uses all-purpose flour, but you can use whole wheat flour if you prefer.
Scallion: By the name of the recipe, the scallion is the key component. You want to cut them into very thin slices and cover them with plastic wrap until you are ready to use. Some people prefer to use the green parts of the scallion only, I enjoy using the green parts and the white parts, I think the combination of them brings out the best flavor!
Oil: The traditional way of making scallion pancakes uses lard (pork fat) due to its rich flavor. If you are vegetarian, try coconut oil. I personally use coconut oil for this recipe, it turns out great! you can substitute it with other types of lard or your favorite oil. Five spice powder also plays a big role in this recipe. It gives the scallion pancake a flavorful blend of spices.
Prepare The Dough
Mix flour, cooking oil, and hot water in a large bowl whisk together and combine until the mixture is crumbly. Knead dough until smooth (it will be sticky). The dough should form a thick dough ball that holds together well but still sticks to your hands when pressed against them. Add a little bit of flour if the mixture is too wet, adjust accordingly. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes.
Then roll out the dough into a cylinder shape and divide it into 4 equal portions, about 2-3 inches wide each. Cover with plastic wrap individually.
Prepare The Filling
In another small bowl, add the five spice powders, salt, and 2 tablespoons of flour. Heat up the coconut oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat until it melts. Pour it into the flour mixture and stir until the batter is smooth. The batter should be in a thick form. Cover, and set aside.
Shape The Scallion Pancakes
After dividing the dough into 4 equal pieces, flatten each piece into an oval shape. Roll out each piece into a thin rectangle pancake about 5 inches wide. Brush one side with the filling mixture and then sprinkle a good number of green onions on it. Fold it over onto itself so that it overlaps by half its width (like folding a letter). Press down on the edges with your fingers to seal them together well.
Dust the surface with a little bit of flour each time to prevent the dough from becoming too sticky. Begin rolling from one end to the other end until it resembles a snail shell. Repeat the same technique with the other 3 pieces of dough. Now you have 4 “snail shells”.
Next, flatten the “snail shells” out to a pancake, about 7 inches wide. Lastly, add a little bit of cooking oil to a non-stick skillet, and slowly put in the shaped scallion pancake face-down. Cook one at a time. The pancake should fit easily across the surface of your skillet. Make sure to press down and hold the pancake with a spatula for about 20 seconds to flatten it further.
I strongly advise that you roll out the dough thinly, so it turns into a crispy and flaky edge. Also, add a little oil to make it more elastic during the shaping process.
Chinese scallion pancakes can be shaped in many ways, this is my way to shape the perfect scallion pancakes.
What Goes with Scallion Pancakes
Scallion pancakes are usually served with a dipping sauce such as soy sauce mixed with vinegar and sesame oil. Scallion pancakes are delicious also with other condiments such as chili oil (a little bit goes a long way!) or sweet-sour sauce depending on your taste buds. I love Sichuan chili bean paste which adds a delicious kick to my scallion pancakes! Also, Chinese people serve them as an accompaniment to congee (rice porridge) and other Chinese dishes like noodles.
How To Store Scallion Pancakes
If you have any leftover scallion pancakes, it's best to wrap them up tightly and store them in the refrigerator for up to three days, or frozen for up to one month. If you are freezing uncooked scallion pancakes, don’t forget to add a layer of plastic wrap between each pancake, to prevent them from sticking to each other.
How To Reheat Scallion Pancakes
If you want to reheat them, place them in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, or until warm all the way through. You can also use the microwave to reheat the cooked scallion pancakes, but keep in mind they’ll start to lose their crispy texture.
If you prefer not to use a microwave or oven to heat up your scallion pancakes, you can also heat the pancake in a non-stick pan. Make sure to flip the pancake until both sides are heated through.
To reheat the frozen scallion pancakes, simply reheat them up with your preferred methods, no thaw is required.
Scallion pancakes are very easy to make at home, which makes them a great family meal choice. I hope you enjoyed this post. Happy cooking!
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- ⅔ cup of hot water
- ½ teaspoon five-spice powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or any other lard or your favorite oil
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups green onion
- In a large bowl, add flour, cooking oil, and hot water and whisk until the mixture is crumbly. Knead dough until smooth (it will be sticky). The dough should form a thick dough ball that holds together well but still sticks to your hands when pressed against them. Add a little bit of flour if the mixture is too wet, adjust accordingly. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Cut up the green onions into thin slices, about two cups. Set aside.
- Roll out the dough into a cylinder shape and divide it into 4 equal portions, about 2-3 inches across. Cover with plastic wrap individually.
- In another small bowl, add the five spice powders, salt, and 2 tablespoons of flour. Heat up the coconut oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat until it melts. Pour it into the flour mixture and stir until the batter is smooth. The batter should be in a thick form. Cover, and set aside.
- Now let’s make the scallion pancakes. Please check the post above for detailed instructions on how to shape the dough and add filling to them.
- Add a little bit of cooking oil to a non-stick skillet, and slowly put in the shaped scallion pancake face-down. Cook one at a time. The pancake should fit easily across the surface of your skillet (the batter should be about ½ inch thick). Cook until they are golden brown on the bottom and firm enough to flip over (this will only take 1-2 minutes). Flip the pancake over and cook another side for about 2 minutes until both sides are golden brown in color.
- Repeat until the rest of the pancakes are cooked.
- Transfer pancakes to plates and serve immediately with a dipping sauce of choice (optional).