Chef John's Chinese Scallion Pancakes


These fun-to-make flatbreads are a common fixture on menus in China, and while they all feature the same few ingredients, they come in a variety of thicknesses. The thinner you make these, the crispier they'll be, but you won't get that nice, layered, oniony inside. On the other hand, if you make them too thick, they can be a little doughy inside, so I try to shoot for something in between.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
20 mins
Additional Time:
2 hrs
Total Time:
2 hrs 50 mins
2 pancakes


For the Dough:

  • 2 cups bread flour

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

  • ¾ cup very hot water

For the Oil Mixture:

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

  • 1 bunch green onions, mostly green parts, thinly sliced

  • 1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil, or as needed


  1. Combine bread flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in hot water. Mix together with a wooden spoon to form a shaggy dough.

  2. Transfer dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead dough until sticky but relatively smooth and elastic, dusting with a minimal amount of flour if needed. Wrap in plastic wrap and let dough rest for 2 hours.

  3. Mix vegetable oil, sesame oil, and flour together in a skillet over medium heat until starting to bubble, about 3 minutes. Cook for 1 minute more. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

  4. Unwrap dough and cut in half. Roll out into a tube and press down with your fingers. Use a rolling pin to flatten dough into a rectangular shape about 1/8-inch thick, flipping over and dusting lightly with flour halfway through.

  5. Paint surface of the dough with the oil mixture until just covered, leaving 1 inch of space on the edges. Sprinkle scallions on top. Roll dough up tightly to seal in the scallions, starting with the long side. Pull the opposite edge over the top once you have reached it.

  6. Coil 1 end of the dough inward toward the middle; wrap the opposite end around the coil to finish, tucking the tip under the bottom. Dust the coil with flour and roll dough out into a pancake about 1/4-inch thick. Repeat with remaining dough, oil, and green onions to make the second pancake.

  7. Heat vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add 1 pancake; lower heat to medium. Cook until crispy and browned, about 4 minutes per side. Repeat with the other pancake. Cut into wedges.

Chef's Notes:

Feel free to substitute all-purpose flour for the bread flour.

You can wrap the dough in plastic wrap and leave overnight. You'll probably get a better flavor, and maybe texture, but the dough will be more elastic, and slightly more difficult to work with.

Feel free to add pepper flakes or other appropriate embellishments before you roll these up.

As far as the dipping sauce goes, I like to mix equal parts seasoned rice vinegar and soy sauce, flavored with a shot of hot sauce, and maybe grating of fresh ginger. Toss in a few sliced green onions, and you'll have yourself a very basic, but perfect condiment for these savory pancakes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

200 Calories
9g Fat
25g Carbs
4g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 200
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Sodium 366mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 2g 5%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 5mg 27%
Calcium 26mg 2%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 109mg 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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