A green onion pancake is one of my favorite Chinese dishes. It’s a chewy savory pancake flavored with oil and onions that has a lightly crispy crust. You only need a handful of ingredients to make them and they are freezer-friendly, too.
I’ve been wanting to try to make my own green onion pancake for a while now, ever since I found a recipe on Gaga in the Kitchen a few months back. Every time I planned o trying it, I always seemed to run out of time. This weekend we had a belated Chinese New Year celebration and I was determined to make them.
My family likes to make traditional dishes for Chinese New Year like jiaozi (dumplings) and char siu (BBQ pork) and everyone was excited to try the homemade green onion pancakes.
What are Green Onion Pancakes?
Green onion pancakes (cong you bing), is a savory Chinese dish. It’s a doughy pancake with several layers that is flavored with oil and green onions that are mixed with the dough. The pancake is pan-fried, creating a crispy exterior and a chewy interior.
You can buy a pre-made Chinese scallions pancake at Asian markets, but they’re actually pretty easy to make at home and taste so good when they’re made fresh. You only need a handful of ingredients to make them.
I got a lot of help from Baby Bro and Baby Bro’s Girlfriend with making the pancakes and they turned out really tasty.
- All-purpose flour
- Boiling hot water
- Vegetable oil
- Sesame oil
- Sliced green onions
Stir the flour and boiling water together with a large wooden spoon. Once combined, knead by hand until a nice dough is formed. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. If too dry, add a little more water. Knead the dough for a few minutes so you develop the gluten in the flour. This will create a good chewy texture for the pancake.
Take a small piece of dough (about the size of your fist) and roll it out as thin as possible. The shape doesn’t matter.
Drizzle some oil and rub it in with your hands so that the entire surface is lightly covered, but there are no pools of oil in any one spot. The original recipe calls for a combo of vegetable oil and sesame oil. Because sesame oil is so strong, we used about a 4:1 ratio of vegetable oil to sesame oil.
Don’t be stingy on the oil or your pancakes will be too dry. Make sure there is a nice thin layer on each one, and make sure it is spread across the whole dough. Sprinkle some salt evenly across the dough. Then sprinkle on the diced green onions. It’s up to your personal preference how much you like.
Roll the dough into a long rope. It’s okay if oil and onions squish out the sides. Coil that rope into a circle.
Flatten the circle with your hand and then use rolling pin to roll out the pancake to your desired thickness. We rolled ours out ¼” thick.
In a pan or skillet, heat up a bit of oil over medium-low heat. Put your pancake on heated pan and pan-fry it until golden brown, and then flip to crisp the other side. Serve pancakes while still warm and crisp.
You can serve it as an appetizer or side dish.
How to Freeze Green Onion Pancakes
One thing that’s nice about this recipe is that you can freeze the pancakes. So, you can make a big batch and have them on hand whenever you get a craving.
- Make the green onion pancake as instructed. Instead of cooking it, once the pancakes are made you can stack them up with parchment in between each so they don’t stick together. Freeze them for up to 3 months.
- When you’re ready to cook one (or a few), leave them out at room temperature to thaw. Then you can cook them in the pan as instructed. If they are still cold when you cook them you may need to add a couple of minutes of cooking time.
More Recipes to Try
If you are looking for more dishes to make be sure to check out my Chinese New Year Recipes round-up for more ideas.
Green Onion Pancakes
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups boiling water
- oil vegetable and sesame oil
- about 1 1/2 cup green onions diced
- Mix the flour and water together with a large wooden spoon. Once combined, knead by hand until a nice dough is formed. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. If too dry, add a little more water. Knead the dough for a few minutes, so that you will have a good chewy texture for the pancake.
- Take a small piece of dough (about the size of your fist) and roll it out as thin as possible. The shape doesn't matter.
- Drizzle some oil and rub it in with your hands so that the entire surface is lightly covered, but there are no pools of oil in any one spot. Gaga said she uses a combo of vegetable oil and sesame oil. Because sesame oil is so strong, we used about a 4:1 ratio of vegetable oil to sesame oil. Don't be stingy on the oil or your pancakes will be too dry. Make sure there is a nice thin layer on each one, and make sure it is spread across the whole dough.
- Sprinkle some salt evenly across the dough. Then sprinkle on the diced green onions. It's up to your personal preference how much you like.
- Roll the dough into a long rope. It's okay if oil and onions squish out the sides. Coil that rope into a circle.
- Flatten the circle with your hand and then use rolling pin to roll out the pancake and thin it to your desired thickness. Ours we about 1/4 inch thick.
- In a pan, heat up a bit of oil over medium/low heat. Put your pancake on heated pan and let it cook until golden brown, and then flip to crisp the other side.
- Serve pancakes while still warm and crisp.
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.
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Oh yum. I always wondered how these were made, it looks easy enough to make at home! Just wondering when you would add the salt? Do you add it to the flour before mixing in boiling water or do you sprinkle the surface after rolling it thin and topping with oil?
You sprinkle the salt on the surface of the thin dough. Sorry about that! I updated the directions.
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I have never tasted Green onion pancake.I always eat pancake which is sweet in taste so most of its made with fruits or vegetables.This is new for me so I will try for this.Thank you..
Thanks for the tip. I’ll have to try that next time.
We used American all purpose flour. Flattening out wasn’t a problem..I wonder why it was for you.
The kneading is made a LOT easier by doing the first steps in the food processor (I use 1 cup boiling water for 3 cups of flour, then add a bit more cold water if needed).
flattening it out wasn’t a problem as long as the water is hot when the dough is mixed, making it a lot easier to work with. Also, sprinkle the surface you’re working with with some flour so the dough doesn’t stick to the table or roller and break. At first i was afraid of smushing the pancakes too badly after putting the green onion inside (they start squirting out and breaking through the dough), but everything turns out ok after they go in the frying pan! 🙂
our sausage ones were delicious too when we ran out of onions.
Yeeesss!! Nicely done! Your method is the exact way my grams taught me how to make this dish. Did you use American all purpose flour? Or the asian one from 99ranch? Did you find the dough hard to flatten out? That was my biggest issue – trying to make it as thin as possible. Yours looks so good and yummy! Great tutorial!
I was surprised at how easy they were to make too! This is my first attempt at making any sort of chinese dough product and I was really happy with the turn out.
I eat them a lot when I go to Taiwan. I’m glad you enjoy the photos. I thought it was something that needed more explanation than just words.
They taste great by themselves, with a dip, or even used as a wrap (putting meat or something inside)
This reminds me of snack-time in China! Thank you for the step by step photos. They seem surprisingly easy to make; can’t wait to try this out.
these look fantastic! used to have them for breakfast in china and your post is making me mighty hungry. I love the step by step shots too.
those look super delicious!!maybe a nice earthy dip with that and yummm!! a definate try for this weekend 🙂