Kirbie's Cravings

Chinese Sesame Bread with Scallions

Chinese Sesame Scallion Bread (also sometimes referred to as Sesame Pancake, 芝麻大餅, pronounced zhi ma da bing), is a fluffy, thick bread filled with scallions and crusted with sesame seeds. It’s commonly found in Northern Chinese cuisine and is especially popular in Islamic Chinese cuisine.

a close-up of a slice of Chinese sesame bread with scallions
I’m interrupting the holiday-themed recipes to share this bread I made the other day. It’s my first try, and while I do want to continue to improve it, I’m pretty excited to share my first attempt with you.

two slices of Chinese sesame bread with scallions stacked on top of each other
Chinese sesame bread is something I’ve enjoyed for years. I always order it when we go to a Chinese Islamic restaurant. I’ve never thought to make it myself because I thought it would be too complicated. But it isn’t! I’ve even included step by step photos to show you.

I learned the recipe from my mom, who was taught how to make it recently after a random encounter with a stranger at the supermarket. 
a whole round of Chinese sesame bread with scallions on a serving plate
Last year my mom retired and since then she’s been a social butterfly. A few months back, a complete stranger started talking to her about persimmons, which led to them agreeing to exchanging fruit from their respective gardens, which somehow led to the woman inviting my mom over to lunch at her friend’s place. This led to my mom meeting this other woman who loves making all these Chinese dishes like sesame bread and dumplings, which led to my mom attending one of her weekly classes and joining their group of friends. And now my mom knows how to make Chinese Sesame Bread. Crazy right?

I swear, when my mom started telling me this story and she began with agreeing to meet up with some stranger, I did not think the story was going to end well.
a slice of Chinese sesame scallion bread on a cutting board
When I went home for Thanksgiving, my mom made one for me. I told her I was really interested in recreating it, but I needed an exact recipe. Growing up, recipes from my mom consisted of eyeballing most of the ingredients and seasonings, making it really hard to learn a recipe. My mom assured me she had a full recipe with all the measurements. Then she started making it, and about halfway through, there were a handful of ingredients where I just had to watch her and there were no measurements…
process photo showing how to prepare the doughprocess photo collage showing how to roll the dough for the sesame bread
So I went back with my partially written recipe, did some additional research, and came up with this. I really loved how this tasted. I did notice that mine is lacking the distinct layers I see in the restaurant versions, but the taste is right. I’m going to try fiddling around to see how I can create more defined layers.

Also I need a bigger pan! Since it’s just the two of us, I don’t have any super huge pans and this one got a bit squished in my dutch oven. I can’t wait to make this again. Mr. K and I devoured this in one day.

You might like my Chinese scallion pancakes, too!

Chinese Sesame Bread with Scallions

Servings: 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Chinese Sesame Scallion Bread is a fluffy, thick bread filled with scallions and crusted with sesame seeds. It's commonly found in Northern Chinese cuisine and is especially popular in Islamic Chinese cuisine.
This savory bread is easy to make but the dough needs time to proof and rest, so be sure to account for that time when you make it.
4.75 from 4 votes


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil plus additional for oiling pan
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 cup chopped scallions
  • 4 tbsp white sesame seeds


  • In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, oil, salt, water, yeast. Using the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer, combine ingredients until dough comes together and then knead on low speed for 2-3 minutes. The dough will be quite sticky. You can also do this by hand, which is how my mom did it.
  • Lightly grease another large bowl. Gather dough and place into the greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
  • Lightly flour a large pastry board or flat surface. Roll dough out. Spread scallions across the surface. Then, roll the dough back up, with the scallions folded on the inside (see photos). Form the roll into a spiral. Carefully use the rolling pin on the spiral, rolling and flattening until it becomes a large round disc. (An alternative method: My mother's method was to grease a large plate and roll dough out with scallions directly onto the plate. This method works but you won't have as many layers.)
  • Sprinkle both sides with sesame seeds, so that the exterior has a sesame crust. I used about 2 tbsp per side. Let dough rest for about 20 minutes.
  • Using an oversized pot or pan, add oil and preheat. Once the oil is hot, slide your bread into the pot/pan. Cook each side for about 7 minutes on medium high heat until both top and bottom develop a brown crust and the inside is fully cooked. Slice and serve. Bread is best enjoyed warm.


Serving: 1slice, Calories: 179kcal, Carbohydrates: 32.1g, Protein: 5.1g, Fat: 3.3g, Saturated Fat: 0.8g, Sodium: 294.7mg, Fiber: 1.9g, Sugar: 1g, NET CARBS: 30

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!


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Recipe Rating

64 comments on “Chinese Sesame Bread with Scallions”

  1. Unfortunately, I cannot eat onions (except in tiny amounts) but would love to make this bread. Any recommendations for substitutions?

    • Not using onions will really change the flavor of the bread since it is heavily flavored with the scallions, but you could try chives

  2. I live in the mountains where the air is dry. I had trouble getting the sesame to stick. I brushed a little water on and tried again. Worked well. We will definitely make this again.

  3. I have been looking for this recipe for a long time since my husband kept raving about a type of green onion bread he had at a restaurant a long time ago. Your recipe is perfect!! The bread turned out to be amazing

  4. I used to go this hole in a wall dumpling place back in college in NYC and I was obsessed with this beef sandwich they had that was made with this sesame pancake. I have been thinking of that sandwich for over a decade. I’m going to have to recreate it using this recipe for the bread.

  5. There used to be a place here in Berkeley that had this on their menu (which was weird if you want to get technical, since it was a Taiwanese restaurant, not Northern Chinese). The family retired a few years ago, so then we would go about 40 minutes away to a Muslim Chinese restaurant for this, but today, I made this, so thank you! It came out really well in my 12 inch cast iron skillet. I did up the recipe and used my sourdough starter. I covered it while on the stove so it steamed the inside while the exterior crisped up, but next time will try without covering to see if the texture is different. Thank you, we love our homemade one!

  6. Hey, I had some trouble with the bread actually baking al the way through- I’ve tried this recipe twice now. What am I doing wrong? Is the bread too think/ my pan not big enough maybe? It’s such a bummer after so much work

  7. thanks for sharing this. I grew up eating this bread but haven’t had it in ages and would really love to try making it. I don’t have an electric stand mixer and don’t have the space to store one. could I just knead the dough by hand? Would it turn out the same?

  8. I lightly kneaded the scallions in, turned into a long loaf and popped it in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes, smothered in sesame seeds. I also substituted the tsp of oil for Sesame Oil. I don’t know if I’d call if flaky, but it was super soft and spongy and flavorful…. so delicious. Who cares about the dinner when you have that bread!

  9. I feel like I’ve been missing out my entire life! I had never heard of this type of bread until a co-worker made it for me. It was delicious! Fortunately, she also shared her recipe – yours! Cannot wait to try this in my own home. 

  10. Hi Kirby. I know this is an old post and you’ve probably perfected it since, but I wanted to let you know that I got slightly visible layers by tossing the scallions in two teaspoons of sesame oil before spreading them over the dough.

  11. I made this tonight and it turned out pretty good! I had a few questions though. How did you get the sesame seeds to stick to the dough? I sprinkled them on top and even tried to roll it into the dough but they all fell off as soon as I transferred the dough to the pan. Also when I flipped the bread, some of the sesame seeds fell into the pan and started burning. I had to take the bread out, wipe it clean, and then fry the bread again since it hadn’t finished cooking. Is there a way that would prevent this from happening? Also can you bake this in the oven instead of frying it in oil? I feel like I used a lot because I didn’t want it to burn. Overall the taste was pretty good though I was worried it was still raw on the inside since the pan I used wasn’t very big. Also is it suppose to fluff up when you cook it? Mine didn’t as it remained pretty flat. Thanks!

    • the sesame seeds are added before the final proof so they will stick to the dough during the final proof. It sounds like your dough didn’t rise as much as it should. It should already be fluffed up before it is cooked. You should not have to use that much oil to cook it– just a thin coat around the bottom of your pan. I have not tried baking it.

      • When you let the dough rest for 20 minutes, is it suppose to puff up again? Mine stayed flat, that’s probably why the sesame seeds didn’t stick. I definitely want to try it again. I’ll not using as much oil in the pan. My problem is my pan is too small and when I stuffed it in, the edges were crowded and much thinner than the middle. Overall it turns out ok but I might try splitting it into two batches next time and make the bread smaller. Thank you so much!

      • Yes, each round of proofing should result in the dough rising. If your pan is too small, splitting the dough is probably a good idea so that it cooks evenly.

  12. I made this tonight and it is excellent. Came together easily but I may have had the burner on the stove a bit high as the first side was a perfect golden brown at 4 minutes., I turned it down, cooked the other side the full 7, and it turned out beautifully. It needed more salt in our opinions, but with a little sprinkle of salt, we loved it. I will definitely make again. Thanks Kirbie, for a great recipe! 

  13. I’m so excited to give this a try. Like you I’m always trying to pull together several recipes to get the desired results.

    Not sure if you’re able to read Chinese but at step 9 the blogger talks about how to get layers. She says the trifold method is what gets layers, whereas the rolling method would make the layers disappear. 

  14. We experienced wonderful Chinese Sesame Seed Pancakes at a restaurant so I went searching on Mr Google. Came across your wonderful recipe and am looking forward to trying it. The restaurant version did not have scallions in it ( though we are familiar with onion pancakes ); they served it with Pulled Pork. Tremendous dish, and very spicy!

  15. I seen this with unions and like they said before, you layer it with oil and salt, then flip and layer again, to get the nice layers that falls apart when you eat it. I’m going to add this to my existing recipe. thanks.

  16. Maybe my dough was sticky b/c i weighed the dough.  I try to do weights vs measuring cups, but that can definitely result in less flour.  I also did use active dry yeast, but it was a fresh bottle.  I will try again, maybe just eyeball the dough so it’s not as wet.  Back to the drawing board, thanks for the response back.

    • You could always try adding a tiny bit more flour if it’s too sticky, but yes, I’ve found sometimes weighing it can result in less flour. hope you get it to work!

      • Hi Kirbie! Do you measure your flour by the “scoop and level” method? I find this usually results in more flour (~5 oz) than “spoon to fill the cup and level” method (~4 1/4 – 4 1/2 oz). If I could make a suggestion: it would be very helpful for us “weigh-ers” if you could add a note to your flour amount how you measure. This will ensure more success for readers when trying the recipes. Thank you for your hard work. I’m going to try to make this bread now 🙂

      • Spoon and level, which is the correct way to measure flour. That is true for all my recipes unless otherwise specified.

  17. Hi Kirbie,  So i’ve been trying to recreate the sesame bread I ate in Chinatown in NYC.  Not sure if you ever visited Vanessas or Prosperity Dumpling on your travels, but they make the most wonderful sesame bread sandwiches stuffed with peking duck, roast pork, etc.  I tried you recipe last night and it was close.  My dough seemed to rise nicely, but after cooking it, it seemed to flatten a bit more than what i had in Chinatown.  They split the bread and stuff it.  Did you find the dough difficult to work with as well?  It stuck to everything.  I’m glad I found your recipe as a base.  I’m going to let it rise for quite a while longer today.  Have you experimented with the dough in other attempts?

    • hmm, I did not find the dough difficult to work with. Make sure you use enough oil. Also are you using instant yeast? You need to tweak things if you are using active dry yeast. instant yeast also doesn’t stay fresh as long and needs to be changed out every few months.

  18. I’m wondering if I can pre-make the dough to bake/fry the following day for a dinner party? Any thoughts?  We had these amazing peking duck sandwiches that uses the bread above in NY and my family is clamoring for me to make it for them at home for their uncle and his wife, but I work all day and have time now to do the dough.

    • It’s always tricky if you try to make the dough the day before. The yeast in the dough means it will keep rising if you let it continue to sit, so I don’t recommend making the dough ahead of time.

  19. this looks just delicious, & I’ll be trying it soon. I make most of my family’s bread, & have gotten pretty good at it. I’ve got a couple of Peter Reinhart’s books on baking; for excellent ideas & how-to’s, you can’t go wrong with his books. I had one thought (and will try it myself: instead of vegetable oil, why not use toasted sesame oil (sold in the oriental area of your grocery store). It should really ramp up the sesame flavor.

    • sounds like a good suggestion. i’ll give it a try next time, though I wonder if it would be a bit overwhelming. when i use sesame oil, I only use a tiny bit because the flavor tends to be so strong.

  20. I’ve never had this bread before, so I decided to make it. It is absolutely wonderful! I didn’t have a pan big enough, so I baked it at 190 degrees celsius for 15-20mins and it came out great!

  21. You could try using sesame oil or olive oil. Maybe the taste would be more authentic then?

    • I’m sure it would taste good with either, though sesame oil is so strong so you could only use a little. I didn’t have any issues with it tasting authentic though. mine tasted fine!

  22. Ahhh this is one of my mom’s favorite dishes! I’m totally going to have to try to make this for her. 🙂

  23. I’ve never made a sesame/scallion bread before.. definitely curious to know what the combination tastes like. Definitely a recipe I need to try!

  24. Ha ! Ha ! Ha ! Very funny! The bread looks good.

  25. Funny story about your mom! I’ve never had this bread – what is the texture similar to? Now I’m in the mood for scallion pancakes …

    • It’s very much like traditional bread, but made Asian with the scallions and sesame. hehe. Yeah this totally reminded me of scallion pancakes. Even though they don’t taste similar, it’s a very similar process for making it, down to the spiraling.

  26. was it difficult to flip? I wonder if this would work in the oven…

    • It was a little hard to flip. I used two big spatulas at the same time. I actually thought about whether I should try doing it in the oven. I imagine it should work.

  27. Perhaps spreading a thin layer of oil on the dough before adding the scallions and rolling it up will help with the layers. I do this when I make scallion pancakes, but mix veg. oil and sesame oil. 🙂