With this recipe, you can get flaky and crispy Chinese scallion pancakes every time. They are filled with lots of green onions and freeze well for cooking later!
Chinese scallion pancakes (Cong You Bing, 蔥油餅) is a traditional dim sum order and popular street food dish. The key to this Chinese scallion pancakes recipe is the generous use of oil for a flaky, shattering crust. These pancakes are filled with green onions and have many crispy layers. When eaten alone, scallion pancakes are great either as a pick-me-up breakfast, snack, or side dish! They are also part of other recipes, such as scallion pancake beef rolls and breakfast egg wraps.
This traditional Chinese pancake recipe will give you amazing results every time! It uses a roux of oil and flour to help keep the layers distinct.
How to Make Flaky Scallion Pancakes
Make the Dough
Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Then, slowly drizzle hot water into the bowl while mixing. Mix until most of the water is incorporated. The use of hot water helps to create a soft dough.
Then, use your hands to knead the dough until it is nice and smooth. The dough should be smooth, stretchy, and only slightly tacky. Cover and let it rest for at least 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax, which will make the dough easier to roll out. A lengthier resting period will improve the texture of the final pancake.
Make the Filling
Mix the flour, oil, and five-spice in a bowl. Adding flour to the oil will make the filling more manageable when rolling and creates more flaky layers. The five-spice also adds a nice flavor to the pancakes. Chop the green onion. Note: chop the firmer white ends more finely to prevent them from piercing through the pancake when flattening out later.
Roll Out the Dough
Oil your work surface. Divide the dough into eight pieces. Take one portion and roll it out thinly, about 11 inches in diameter.
Spread on the oil mixture and a large handful of green onions on top. The more green onions you put, the better the pancake will taste. However, too many green onions will make the pancakes are harder to roll and more prone to breaking apart.
Roll the dough into a log. Then roll sideways to form the dough log into a spiral. Use the palm of your hand to flatten the dough. Roll out the dough one more time into a pancake, about 6-7 inches in diameter.
Cook the Chinese Scallion Pancakes
Place a pancake in an oiled skillet and cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until browned and crispy. Slice or tear into the pancakes and enjoy with or without the dipping sauce.
Freezing the Chinese Scallion Pancakes
This Chinese scallion pancake recipe makes quite a few pancakes. If you cannot finish all of them right away, you can freeze them. Stack the uncooked scallion pancakes with pieces of parchment paper in between. Place them on a flat tray and freeze. Once sufficiently frozen, transfer the pancakes to a freezer-safe bag. To cook frozen pancakes, directly cook the frozen pancakes. They cook almost as quickly as a freshly made pancake.
Tips for Flaky Scallion Pancakes
- If the dough is not developing a smooth surface, cover and it rest for 10-15 minutes before returning and kneading it again. Letting the dough rest makes the kneading process easier.
- I like to complete all of the steps up to the spiral for all eight dough pieces before rolling them out the second time. This way, each pancake has some additional time to relax between each step, which makes the dough easier to roll out.
- Do not roll out the scallion pancakes too thinly, or the layers will disappear.
Flaky Scallion Pancakes
- 2 bunches green onions , chopped finely (about 16 green onions) see tips above
- 480 grams all purpose flour (4 cups)
- 2 tsp salt
- 300 mL boiling water (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 30 g flour (1/4 cup)
- 50 g oil (1/4 cup)
- 1/4 tsp five spice
- 1 part soy sauce
- 1 part Chinkiang vinegar (or rice vinegar)
- 1 drizzle of sesame oil
- sesame seeds (optional)
- chili flakes (optional)
- Mix flour and salt in a heat proof bowl. Add the hot water and stir until almost all of the water has been incorporated.
- Knead dough into a smooth ball. The dough should be pliable and slightly tacky. Note 1
- Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for a minimum of 30 minutes. Note 2
- Add five spice, flour, and oil to a bowl and mix. Set the paste aside.
- Divide the dough into 8 pieces.
- On a oiled surface, roll out one piece of dough into a thin circle, about 10" in diameter. Brush about one tablespoon of the oil mixture on top of the dough, leaving some room at the edges. Sprinkle a generous handful of green onions over the surface.
- Starting on one end, roll the dough into a log. Then roll into a spiral. Repeat with the other 7 pieces of dough.
- Flatten one spiraled dough with your hand. Then, use a rolling pin to roll it out into a circle about 6 to 7 inches in diameter. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces.
- Pan fry the pancakes on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until golden brown and crispy.
- Combine all dipping sauce ingredients together. Serve pancakes with sauce.
- To Freeze: Stack uncooked pancakes on a flat tray with parchment or wax paper in between to prevent sticking. Place the whole tray in the freezer for a few hours to harden before transferring the pancakes to a freezer bag. Frozen scallion pancakes are pan-fried the same way as fresh scallion pancakes, but they will take a few minutes longer to cook.
- If the dough is too sticky, add some flour. If the dough is too hard, add some boiling water. The dough should be easy to shape. If the dough is not becoming smooth, let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes before kneading it again.
- The dough will develop a better texture the longer you let it rest. 30 minutes is the minimum amount of time the dough needs to relax so that it is easy to roll out thinly.