Flaky, crispy, and filled with delicious flavor, Chinese Scallion Pancakes are a restaurant favorite that you can easily make at home! This simple, budget-friendly Green Onion Pancake or Chinese Pancakes recipe requires just 7 ingredients (one of which is water) and 40 minutes to make. Plus, it’s naturally vegan to boot!
Table of Contents
What Are Scallion Pancakes
Scallion pancakes are a popular street food from China that are often served as a breakfast or snack. They are essentially unleavened flatbreads stuffed with alliums. They have a crispy, flaky texture and a delightfully savory flavor powered by toasted sesame oil and green onions.
Some years back, I came to know about the existence of these super tasty pancakes from the Mainland China Cookbook. From there on I started making these pancakes – also known as Cong You Bing in Chinese – adapting them to locally available ingredients.
Green onion pancakes are truly addictive and make up for a great snack or breakfast. Although these are similar to an Indian Spring Onion Paratha, they are called pancakes. Who am I to disagree?
About Green Onion Pancake Recipe
Made with just 7 inexpensive ingredients in 30 minutes, this recipe for spring onion pancakes is one you need in your weeknight arsenal.
This scallion pancake is slightly different from the Chinese version because it is made with whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour. That said, it has all the hallmarks of the traditional recipe because it is:
✓ An adaptable and forgiving recipe.
✓ Easy to make.
✓ Great for meal-prep. The stuffed & rolled uncooked pancakes can be frozen. (Thaw before frying)
✓ Easy to scale up.
Ingredients & Substitutions
1. Whole Wheat Flour – I opted for whole grain flour here to make these tasty fried scallion pancakes a bit healthier and heftier. The amount of water will depend on the quality of flour, so add water in parts while kneading. You should get a soft dough much like a roti or naan dough. Instead of whole wheat flour, you can use all-purpose flour.
2. Water – Hot water is added when mixing and kneading the dough. As a result, the pancakes have a soft texture on the inside and the normally heavy, dense consistency of whole wheat flour is not felt in the layers.
3. Roasted Sesame Oil – Adding roasted sesame oil gives a strong smoky, savory aroma to the pancakes. If you can’t find toasted sesame oil, there is no need to panic. Sunflower oil or peanut oil works well but the smoky flavor won’t be there. Even butter, ghee, or any neutral-flavored oil can be used.
4. Scallions a.k.a. green onions or spring onions – Traditionally, the white part of the onions is skipped, but I prefer adding them along with the greens. If you opt to use the onion whites, be sure to chop them very finely or else the pancakes will break while rolling. Also, if you are using the scallion whites, be sure to use more greens than whites.
5. Salt – Make sure you season your pancakes, even feeling free to add extra salt while they’re still hot from the frying pan.
6. Neutral Oil – Any oil that has a high-smoke point can be used for frying these green onion pancakes. Ghee, vegetable oil, peanut oil, or grapeseed oil are all good choices.
7. Spices (Optional) – Some green chillies can be added for a bit of heat and spice. You can also add Sichuan pepper powder, Chinese 5 spice powder, or crushed black pepper. For that matter, even Indian garam masala can be added for a fun fusion recipe.
Tips For Frying Green Onion Pancakes
1. Frying Pan – It is best to use a cast iron or a thick-bottomed pan for frying as they retain heat more evenly, which gives the pancakes a crisp crust. Using a small shallow frying pan also helps to achieve perfect consistency as the oil does not spread out over a large surface area.
2. Frying Oil – While sesame oil is used in the stuffing, you’ll need a high smoke point oil like vegetable oil for frying. I have used sunflower oil, but you can use peanut oil, butter or ghee for frying.
3. Oil quantity – 1 tablespoon of oil is used for frying each pancake. 1 tablespoon oil (approx 15 ml) looks like a lot, but it’s necessary for making the Chinese pancakes crispy. You can use less oil if you prefer.
How To Make Scallion Pancakes
1. In a mixing bowl, take 2 heaped cups whole wheat flour (250 grams) and ½ teaspoon salt. Note that the dough can be mixed and kneaded in a stand mixer if you prefer.
Feel free to swap whole wheat flour with all-purpose flour if you prefer.
2. Mix the salt with the flour.
3. In a saucepan take 1.25 cups water and keep the pan on a medium to medium-high flame for the water to boil.
4. Let the water come to a boil.
5. Now add the boiling hot water in the flour and salt mixture, working in parts. First, add ½ cup of water.
6. Mix with a spoon. Then add more hot water as required till the mixture starts to leave the sides of the bowl and comes together. I added 1 cup water to get a soft smooth dough.
Go easy while adding it as the water absorption will depend on quality and texture of the flour.
If using only all-purpose flour, then you may only need to add ⅓ to ½ cup of boiling hot water.
7. Let the heat from the mixture become easier to handle and then begin to knead the dough.
8. Knead to a soft and supple dough and keep aside.
If the dough is sticky then add more flour.
If the dough is dry and hard, then add more of the hot water which would have become warm by the time you start to knead the dough. Mix and knead till all the water is absorbed and dough becomes soft. Cover and keep aside the dough to rest.
Assemble and Make Chinese Pancakes
9. Rinse the scallion or spring onion stalks in water a few water. Drain all the water. Then peel the white bulbs or the white part.
Finely chop the scallions. I use both greens and whites. Remember to finely chop the whites or else they break the dough during rolling.
Add more greens and less whites. In total, you will need ⅔ to ¾ cup of finely chopped scallions, either only the greens or both whites and more of the greens.
10. Take the entire dough and roll it into a log shape of 10 to 11 inches.
11. Slice the log in 7 to 8 equal parts. Keep the sliced dough circles covered in the same bowl in which the dough was kneaded.
12. Take each part and roll it to a round shape between your palms. Place it on a rolling board and flatten slightly with your fingers.
Sprinkle some flour on the board as well as on the flattened dough.
13. With a rolling pin, roll to a large 8 by 10-inches rectangle. Do not roll the dough too thin.
14. Spread or brush toasted sesame oil all over the dough.
15. Sprinkle the finely chopped spring onion all over, leaving clear space for about ½ inch around the edges. Also sprinkle a light pinch of salt all over the scallions. Adding salt can be skipped.
At this step, you can also add black pepper, finely chopped green chillies for some spicy taste if you prefer.
A pinch of sichuan pepper powder or Chinese 5 spice powder can also be sprinkled. For an Indian flavor, you can add a pinch of garam masala.
16. From any side of the rectangle, gently roll the stuffed dough into a tight roll.
17. Pinch and close the edges.
18. Now hold one of the edges and begin to roll the stuffed dough around it to make a spiral, sort of like a snail shell. Press and seal the last edge at the sides or beneath the roll.
Continue stuffing and turning the rest of the dough into spiral rolls, keeping all of them covered except for the one you’re working on.
19. Take one roll and place it on the rolling board. Sprinkle some flour on it as well as on the rolling board. Press lightly with your fingers.
20. Roll to a slightly thick bread having a 5 to 6 inches diameter.
Fry Scallion Pancakes
21. Heat a small skillet or pan, preferably made of cast iron. Add 1 tablespoon oil and let it become hot. When the oil becomes hot, gently place the pancake in the oil.
You can use peanut oil or sunflower oil or any neutral flavored oil or butter or ghee (clarified butter) for frying. I have used sunflower oil.
22. When one side is cooked and golden, flip over. Cook the second side. Fry on medium heat.
23. When the second side is fried and you see the crispy crusty golden spots then flip over again.
24. Fry both sides till golden . You can fry a couple of times if the pancakes look undercooked. You want a nice golden crust.
The cast iron pan that I have gets too hot, so I increase the heat to medium initially and later reduce the heat to medium-low.
Use a small shallow frying pan as the oil does not spread out over a large surface area and helps in giving crisp edges and a crisp crust in the pancake.
25. Place the fried green onion pancake on paper towels to drain. Fry all the scallion pancakes this way. For frying the next pancake, add ½ to 1 tablespoon oil in the pan.
26. Serve Scallion Pancakes hot with your favorite dipping sauce. You can also stack them up in a casserole and serve once you are done frying all the pancakes.
While serving you can squish the pancakes between your palms so that the layers are visible. Take care of the heat while squishing them. You can also slice or cut them in wedges to serve if you prefer.
These tasty Chinese pancakes are delicious on their own, but they also make great pairs for:
- Spicy Dipping Sauce – Green Onion Pancakes can be served with any spicy dipping sauce. We like it with sriracha sauce and Schezwan Sauce. You can also use red chilli garlic sauce, green chilli sauce, ponzu sauce, or even Tomato Ketchup.
- Vegetarian Stir Fry or Sauce-Based Chinese Recipes – You can also have green onion pancakes as a side with any of your favorite Chinese recipes like Veg Manchurian, Paneer Manchurian etc.
- Indian Flavors – For Indian taste buds, mango pickle, lemon pickle, or green chilli pickle all make good accompaniments for spring onion pancakes.
It’s important to not under-work the dough when making these delicate pancakes. The dough should be pliable and soft and not feel firm or tight.
Feel free to use a 50/50 split of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour to make them a little easier to handle.
It sounds like you accidentally added a little too much water. Not to worry; simply add more flour in by the tablespoon until it reaches a soft, pliable and supple consistency.
Sure! Roll and stuff them and again roll them. Keep the uncooked rolled pancakes between single sheets of parchment in an airtight covered container.
They’ll last in a covered container in the fridge for up to 1 day, or in the freezer for up to 1 to 2 weeks. To reheat, defrost and then pan fry or air fry until heated through.
More Chinese Style Recipes To Try!
Indo Chinese Recipes
Indo Chinese Recipes
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Scallion Pancakes | Green Onion Pancake | Chinese Pancakes
For Pancake Dough
- 2 cups whole wheat flour (heaped) – 250 grams
- ½ teaspoon salt or add as required
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil – peanut oil or melted butter or any neutral flavored oil can be used instead
- 1 cup water – boiling hot or add water as required
For Scallion Filling
- 2 to 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil or peanut oil or sunflower oil or butter or ghee (clarified butter) – add as required
- ⅔ to ¾ cup scallions – finely chopped, (green onions or spring onions). add greens more than whites or just the greens
- salt as required
- ½ cup sunflower oil peanut oil or any neutral flavored oil or butter or ghee (clarified butter)
Making Dough and Prepping Scallions
- In a mixing bowl take whole wheat flour and salt.
- Mix the salt with the flour.
- In a saucepan take 1.25 cups of water. Keep pan on a medium to medium-high heat for the water to boil.
- Let the water come to a boil.
- Add the boiling hot water in the flour in parts. First add ½ cup of water and mix with a spoon. If required then add more hot water till the mixture starts to leave the sides of the bowl and comes together.
- I added 1 cup water to get a soft, supple and smooth dough. So go easy while adding water as the water absorption will depend on quality and texture of flour. If using only all-purpose flour, then you may just need to add ⅓ to ½ cup boiling hot water.
- Let the heat from the mixture become easier to handle and then begin to knead the dough.
- Knead to soft and supple dough and keep aside covered to rest.If the dough is sticky then add more flour. If the dough is dry then add more water. Mix and knead till all the water is absorbed and dough becomes soft. Cover and keep aside.
- Rinse the scallion or spring onion stalks in water a few times. Drain all the water. Then finely chop the spring onion greens. You can add a bit of whites too, but finely chop them or else they pop out from the the dough while rolling. Ensure to add more greens and less of the whites. You will need ⅔ to ¾ cup finely chopped scallions.
Assembling & Making Green Onion Pancake
- Take the dough and roll it into a log shape of 10 to 11 inches.
- Slice the log in 7 to 8 equal parts. Keep the sliced dough circles covered in the same bowl in which the dough was kneaded.
- Take each part and roll it to a round shape first between your palms. Place it on a rolling board and flatten slightly with your fingers. Sprinkle some flour on the board as well as on the flattened dough.
- Roll to a large 8 by 10 inches rectangle with a rolling pin. Do not roll the dough too thin.
- Spread or brush toasted sesame oil all over the dough.
- Sprinkle the finely chopped spring onions. Also sprinkle a light pinch of salt all over the scallions. Adding salt can be skipped. At this step you can also add black pepper, green chillies for some spicy taste if you prefer. A pinch of sichuan pepper powder or Chinese 5 spice powder can also be sprinkled. For a Indian flavor, you can add a pinch of garam masala.
- From any side of the rolled dough, gently roll the stuffed dough. While rolling, tighten and then roll. Do not keep the roll loose. It should be a tight roll.
- Pinch and close the edges.
- Now hold one of the edges and begin to roll the dough around it in the shape of a spiral. Press and seal the last edge at the sides or beneath the spiral roll. This way make all spiral rolls from the dough and keep them covered.
- Take one stuffed spiral roll. Sprinkle some flour on the roll as well as on the rolling board.
- Roll to a slightly thick bread having a 5 to 6 inches diameter.
Frying scallion pancakes
- Heat a skillet or pan – preferable a cast iron skillet or pan. Add 1 tablespoon oil and let it become hot. When the oil becomes hot, gently place the pancake in the oil.
- When one side is cooked and golden, flip over. Cook the second side.
- When the second side is fried and you see the crispy, crusty golden spots, flip over.
- Fry both sides till golden. You can fry a couple a times if the pancakes look undercooked. Fry on medium heat. You can fry for some more time to get a more crispy and crusty layer.
- Place them on kitchen paper towels. Fry all the pancakes this way. For frying the next pancake, add ½ to 1 tablespoon oil in the pan.In a similar manner, roll the stuffed spiral dough and later fry the onion pancakes in the skillet in batches.
- Serve scallion pancakes hot with your favorite dipping sauce.
- Depending on the quality of whole wheat flour less or more water can be added. Thus add water in parts while mixing. Knead to a pliable and soft dough.
- If using all purpose flour instead of whole wheat flour then you may need to add less water – about ⅓ to ½ cup boiling hot water.
- Roasted sesame oil lends a smoky aroma in the pancakes. If you do not like this smoky aroma, you can use sunflower oil or peanut oil or butter or ghee or any neutral flavored oil.
- Usually, the white part of the green onions is not added. I prefer adding them along with the greens. If using onion whites then chop them very finely or else the pancakes will break while rolling. Note that if you are using the scallion whites, then use the greens more than the whites.
- For a bit of heat and spice, 1 to 2 finely chopped green chillies can be mixed with the scallions. You can even add sichuan pepper powder or Chinese 5 spice powder or crushed black pepper. A pinch of garam masala can be also be sprinkled on each pancake for a take on Indian fusion.
- It is best to use a cast iron pan or a thick bottomed pan for frying as this gives a crisp crust in the pancakes. Using a small shallow frying pan helps in giving crisp edges and crisp crust as the oil does not spread out over a large surface area.
- Toasted sesame oil can be skipped and any neutral flavored oil or butter or ghee can be used.
- For frying scallion pancakes, any neutral tasting oil can be used. You can even use butter or ghee for frying.
- 1 tablespoon oil is used for frying each pancake. 1 tablespoon of oil makes the pancakes crispy. You can use less oil if you prefer. If you feel the oil is more in the pancakes, then reduce it to ½ tablespoon or even less per pancake.
- Stuffed and rolled uncooked pancakes can be frozen for about 1 to 2 weeks. Keep a parchment or butter paper between each pancake. Stack them up and place in an air-tight container or box. Thaw before frying the pancakes.
- The dough can be mixed and kneaded even in a stand mixer.
- The approximate nutrition info is for 1 Scallion Pancake made from this recipe.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Scallion Pancakes from the archives, originally published in July 2019 has been updated and republished on February 2023.