Scallions pancake (green onion pancake or Cong You Bing) is one of the famous and traditional Chinese street foods and the ideal Chinese breakfast. Those crispy and aroma pancakes are available all around China. Making your own scallion pancake at home is easy and enjoyable with this simplified recipe.
- What's Scallion pancake
- 📖Various versions of pancake
- Why this recipe
- More thought about the oil
- How to make the scallion pancake dough
- 💭Cook's Note
- How to store scallion pancakes
- How to freeze scallion pancakes
- What to serve with Scallion Pancakes
- Other Chinese pancakes to try
- Dipping sauce
What's Scallion pancake
Scallion pancake is a popular Chinese street food, a breakfast pancake with a lovely crispy shell and soft inside. The are some other names for the pancake, the Chinese name is Cong You Bing (葱油饼), sometimes called green onion pancake. Scallion Pancakes are made with flour, oil, and chopped scallions or green onions.
It is widely loved because of the strong aroma of scallions or in mainland China, we use green onions. I know that many Chinese restaurants in the world provide this lovely pancake. However, making some at home is a nice experience. Only with simple and everyday ingredients, we can make our own extremely aromatic scallion pancakes. In China, there are, actually, several types of scallion pancakes.
📖Various versions of pancake
In northern provinces, scallion pancake (this version) is thinner, chewy, and with less oil. Those pancakes are usually made in very large pieces around 30 cm in diameter and sold by weight after cutting into small pieces.
In Southern China, for example, Shanghai, scallion pancakes are thicker and fried with a larger amount of oil and creating an even more crispy shell and softer inner part.
Why this recipe
I use limited steps to make the scallion pancake, it is the easiest way. I have tested several versions and find this one is the easiest method but still creates a lovely combination of the crispy, flaky shell and a soft inside. We don't use any oil mixture (油酥) for this recipe.
More thought about the oil
Traditionally scallion pancakes are made with animal fat like pork lard because animal fat usually has a strong aroma which can give the pancakes their unique flavor.
However, you can make them with other oils like neutral vegetable oil to make scallion pancakes much easier to prepare and vegan-friendly.
How to make the scallion pancake dough
In order to make the pancake chewy but still easy to cook, I use both hot boiling water and cold water. Hot boiling water dough (烫面) is soft when well cooked, while cold water dough (冷面) produces a chewier texture. It is a good combination to keep a balance.
I suggest using only the green part of the scallion or green onion. If you want to use the white part too, finely chop them.
- In order to make the pancake chewy but still easy to cook, I use both hot boiling water and cold water. Hot boiling water dough (烫面) is soft when well cooked, while cold water dough (冷面) produces a chewier texture.
- I suggest using only the green part of the scallion or green onion. The hard white part usually pierces the wrapper.
- It is quite important to rest the well-shaped pancake just before the last rolling out.
- In every step of this recipe, cover your single dough with a wet cloth or a plastic wrapper to prevent drying out.
- If you want to create multiple layers inside, try to stretch the final log as long as possible before rolling back to form the snail shape.
- Shanghai version also calls for a flour and oil mixture to create multiple layers. But oil is enough for quick home-cooking scallion pancakes.
- 2 cups unshifted all-purpose flour (nearly 300g)
- ¾ cup water , around 180ml (½ cup hot boiling water + ⅓ cup cold water) + 10ml for adjusting
- vegetables cooking oil - oil for the dough, brushing and pan-frying
- 2 cups chopped scallion (use green part only)
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. Chinese five-spice powder (for garnishing, this is optional)
Make the dough
Mix salt with all-purpose flour. Prepare a large mixing bowl. Dig a small hole in the center and then pour the hot water in. Mix for a while and then stir in the room-temperature water and cooking oil too. Grasp everything to form a ball, cover, and rest for 10 minutes. You don't need to knead the dough until very smooth at this stage because it may be hard to achieve. Just cover and let the flour and water combine.
After resting, then knead until very smooth (around 3-5 minutes ). Then divide the dough into 4 pieces. Shape each portion into a smooth round dough. Cover the rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
Assemble the scallion pancake
Take one small ball out, and roll it out to a rectangle around 10cm wide and 8cm high. Brush some oil in the center part and then sprinkle Chinese five spice powder if using. Spread chopped scallion in. Fold up the rectangle into a cylinder. Repeat to finish all four cylinders.
Take one out, slightly lengthening the cylinder with two hands, and then roll from one end to the other to form a snail shape. Suck the end into the dough.
Repeat to finish all four. Remember to cover to avoid drying out.
Then roll out the pancake into a large round circle. Be gentle and use your hand as most as possible. To get a perfectly round pancake for beginners, get yourself a small pan (18 to 20cm in diameter) and push with your fingers to spread the dough over the pan.
Pan-frying scallion pancakes
Brush some cooking oil on a pan and then place the scallion pancakes.
Use middle fire to pan-fry until the surface becomes brown around 2-3 minutes. And turn over to fry for another 1 to 2 minutes. Use a spatula to twirl the circle from time and time especially the central part to ensure the circle is evenly fried.
You can serve the pancake directly or with a hot dipping sauce.
How to store scallion pancakes
Although I can finish my scallion pancakes every time, there are some tips for you if you really have leftovers.
It's important to let the pancakes cool down completely before storing them. For best results, place the pancakes in an air-tight container or bag, it can be kept for 2 or 3 days. You can reheat the cooked scallion pancakes with a microwave or a pan on the stove. However, the reheated scallion pancake will be much chewier because of the decrease in water content. But it will be super crispy too.
How to freeze scallion pancakes
You may find frozen scallion pancakes at the Asian market. We can freeze our homemade scallion pancakes too. One of the reasons why I love to serve scallion pancakes is that they can be made ahead.
If you want to save the pancakes and serve them later, separate each of the pancakes with a plastic wrapper or oil paper. Overlay and then place in an air-tight container. Directly pan-fry the pancake without defrosting. Then you will get a scallion pancake with a nice texture too.
What to serve with Scallion Pancakes
Scallion pancakes can be matched with savory soups, stir fry, and porridge. Following are some of my best serving options: lotus root soup, Winer melon soup, hot and sour soup, plain rice porridge, tomato egg drop soup, Seaweed egg drop soup, or basic Chinese congee and soy milk.
Other Chinese pancakes to try
If you love this pancake, you can also check the following Chinese pancakes
- Zucchini Pancakes Chinese Style
- Chinese Meat Pie (Xian Bing)
- Easy Scallion Pancakes, From Batter Directly
- Spiced Multi-layer Chinese Pancake
- Peking Duck Pancake
- Steamed Duck Pancake
The scallion pancake itself is quite delicious but it can be even better with a dipping sauce. That's the reason why I add a dipping sauce in this recipe. It is a hot Asian style dipping sauce.
Chinese Scallion Pancakes
- 2 cup unshifted all purpose flour , around 300g
- ½ cup hot boiling water
- ¼ cup room temperature water
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. vegetable cooking oil
Assemble and Pan-frying
- 4~6 tbsp. cooking oil , 2 for brushing, other for pan-frying
- 2 cup chopped scallion , use green part only
- 1 tbsp. Chinese five spice powder , optional
- 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
- ½ tbsp. sesame oil
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. chili oil
- chopped green onion and coriander
Make the dough
- Mix salt with all purpose flour.
- Stir in the hot water first. Mix for a while and then stir in the room-temperature water and cooking oil too. Grasp everything to form a ball, cover, and rest for 10 minutes. You don't need to knead the dough until very smooth at this stage because it may be hard to achieve. Just cover and let the flour and water combine.
- After resting, then knead until very smooth (around 3-5 minutes ). Then divide the dough into 4 pieces. Shape each portion into a smooth round dough. Cover the rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
Assemble the pancake
- Take one small ball out, and roll it out to a rectangle around 10cm wide and 8cm high. Brush some oil in the center part and then sprinkle Chinese five spice powder if using. Spread the chopped scallion in. Fold up the rectangle into a cylinder. Repeat to finish all four cylinders.
- Take one out, slightly lengthening the cylinder with two hands, and then roll from one end to the other to form a snail shape. Suck the end into the dough.
- Repeat to finish all four. Remember to cover to avoid drying out.
- Then roll out the pancake into a large round circle. Be gentle and use your hand as most as possible. To get a perfect round pancake for beginners, get yourself a small pan (18 to 20cm in diameter) and push with your fingers to spread the dough over the pan.
- Pour around 2 tablespoon of oil in a pan and then place one pancake in.
- Use middle fire to pan-fry until the surface becomes brown around 2-3 minutes. And turn over to fry for another 1 to 2 minutes. Use a spatula to twirl the circle from time and time especially the central part to ensure the circle is evenly fried. You can serve it as a whole or cut it into small pieces.
- Mix all the seasonings for the dipping sauce. Serve along with the pancakes.
- For a softer texture, add slightly more water.
- If you need to add the amount, during the process of making the circle, do cover the rest of dough with a wet cloth so that the dough will not be too dry.
By the way, we also have a simplified scallion pancake recipe made from batter directly. It only needs 5 minutes of preparation, remember to check that version too.
Super easy to make and really tasty.
Perfect! Super delicious and easy to make, all loved it
Your scallion pancake looks lovely as it has encouraged me to attempt to make some myself. I do however have a question about the tablespoon of Chinese 5 spice powder you call for as 5 spice can be so overpowering. I use it a lot but have never used much more than 1 1/2 tsp at the most because it's so strong in taste.
Have you ever made your scallion pancake with half the amount of 5 spice or am I overthinking this?!!
If you don't love the flavor of Chinese five spice, you can simply skip it. Only with the scallion flavor, delicious too!
I’m looking forward to making this! I have a garden full of scallions 🙂 Perhaps you could update the prep time as there is at least 30 mins of resting time in there..
Thanks for your suggestion. I was thinking the prep time not including the resting time.
Alice W. Wais
This is fabulous, can’t wait to try
Thanks Alice!! Enjoy!
hi can you make the dough day before?
Yes, you can make the dough in the previous day! Assemble the scallion completely just before rolling out.
Thanks for this recipe! I tried it out tonight and I rolled out the pancake using a rolling pin and the scallions bursted out..... should I not have used the rolling pin but used my palm and fingers to flatten and pushed the pancake out?
If you using a rolling pin, should be very gently. Using palm will be much easier to handle, you can slightly wet your palm before the action. Happy cooking!
Hello, I have a question. When is the first mixing of the dough? Do you stir after the hot water? Or do you let it sit and stir after the cold water?
Also, if I make the dough in advance, say 4 hours, at what point do I stop and let it rest until it’s tike to cook? Do I make the snails and then rest it until dinner? Can I make them in advance and put them in the fridge? Or leave them out?
Once pouring the water, you should stir to let it mix with the flour. Then wait for a while (until cooled) and knead the dough. If you want to make them in advance, I recommend finishing all the steps to the snail shape, covered and rest. If you make larger batches, you can frozen them in air-tight bag.
Sooooo ... after going to T&T to replenish my ever exhausting supply of Congyoubing, my middle son suggested making them ourselves. I made one batch.
My older son then went to the garden and returned with two gargantuan handfuls of scallions.
Last night my littlest son and I made Congyoubing.
Our freezer smells like scallions and 5-spice.
Thank you, Mark for your wonderful feedback!!!! It is so good to have scallions in the garden.
This is my first time making successful scallion pancakes! The hot and cold water really helped. It required a lot of waiting around but it was worth it. They were so light and crisp.
Thanks Luna for your lovely feedback. Happy cooking!