Flaky Scallion Pancakes Recipe

You'll find scallion pancakes in pretty much every Chinese restaurant, and according to Bon Appetit, they are also an incredibly popular street food. Family recipes vary from generation to generation and region to region: They can be thin and crispy or light and puffy. Wellness coach and recipe developer Miriam Hahn was fascinated by this Chinese take-out staple.

"I absolutely love making naan bread," she told us, "and this version in Chinese cooking was intriguing. What makes them so good is the flaky layers with the mix of scallions."

Hahn creates plant-forward recipes that are filled with vibrant veggies. Not only are her dishes beautiful to look at, they're also healthy. Scallion pancakes are often fried in oil or even schmaltz (rendered chicken fat), but Hahn has cut the oil down to a mere ½ cup of healthy avocado oil. At first glance at this recipe's directions, you might be intimidated. "There are quite a few steps," Hahn admitted, "but they are simple to make and worth the extra time."

Gather the ingredients for flaky scallion pancakes

You might be tempted to substitute a couple of ingredients in Hahn's recipe — avocado oil and Sichuan peppercorns — but you'll be missing out on flavor and health benefits. According to Farmer's Almanac, avocado oil is one of the best oils to cook with because it has a high smoke point and doesn't turn rancid as quickly as other oils you might normally use. Plus, it's really tasty.

Sichuan peppercorns are not actually related to the pepper you may have in your spice rack (per The Woks of Life). They are the husks of the berries of the prickly-ash tree and are famous for adding a citrusy, slightly tongue-numbing heat to Chinese recipes. Because of their popularity, they're available at many supermarkets and online. Sichuan peppercorns will add an authentic flavor to the scallion pancakes that regular black peppercorns won't.

Make the dough and refrigerate it overnight

You'll need to make the dough for the scallion pancakes the day before you plan to cook them since it needs to be refrigerated overnight. Add four cups of all-purpose flour and half a teaspoon of salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk them together so they're well-combined. Make a well in the center of the flour, and pour a cup of boiling water into the well. Using a wooden spoon, partially blend the flour and water together.

Next, pour in two-thirds of a cup of room-temperature water, and mix together with the wooden spoon. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Transfer the dough from the bowl to a floured working surface, and knead the dough for two to three minutes until it's smooth. Brush the dough with some avocado oil. Line a clean mixing bowl with plastic wrap, and put the dough inside. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, then wrap it up in the plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Grind Sichuan peppercorns and prepare the scallion mixture

The next day, if your Sichuan peppercorns are whole, you'll need to grind them first. Put enough of the peppercorns in a spice grinder so you'll end up with a teaspoon and a half. Transfer the ground peppercorns to a bowl, and add a cup of thinly sliced scallions, half a cup of flour, and one teaspoon of salt. Heat half a cup of avocado oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, pour it into the bowl. Mix everything together so it forms a thin paste.

Roll out the dough and spread on the scallion mixture

Take the dough out of the refrigerator, and on a lightly floured work surface, cut the dough into six equal-size pieces. Taking one piece at a time, roll the dough out to a rectangle between 10 to 12 inches in length with a rolling pin. It's okay if there are holes in the dough because you'll be rolling up the rectangle in a minute to form layers, and it won't affect the finished pancake. Using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread one spoonful of the scallion-paste mixture over the surface of the rolled-out rectangle.

Roll the dough into a log, then coil it into a spiral

Starting from the end closest to you, roll the rectangle into a long log, jellyroll-style. This method creates the flaky layers that make this classic treat so good. Stretch the roll to at least 15 inches long. Now, coil the roll into a spiral so that it resembles a cinnamon bun. Set this piece aside and repeat this step with the other five pieces of dough. If any of the scallions burst through the dough, don't worry. The dough will puff up around them when you cook the pancake.

Fry each scallion pancake and serve

When you've rolled and coiled each piece of dough, use your rolling pin to flatten them into a circle that's about a quarter of an inch thick. Lightly coat a nonstick pan (that has a lid) with avocado oil, and over medium heat, cook one pancake at a time for three to five minutes per side with the pan covered. When you've finished all six pancakes, serve them right away.

They can be an appetizer served with any type of dipping sauce, like soy or hoisin, or they can be served as a side dish with any meal. The scallion pancakes can be piled with chicken salad or lentil salad. Or you can take a leaf out of Hahn's book and make a mock tuna salad with chickpeas. Be warned though, her scallion pancakes are irresistible. "These are honestly so delicious," Hahn told us, "it's hard to stop eating them!"

Flaky Scallion Pancakes Recipe
4.9 from 35 ratings
You'll find scallion pancakes in pretty much every Chinese restaurant, and they are also an incredibly popular street food. Now, you can make them at home.
Prep Time
Cook Time
flaky scallion pancakes
Total time: 1 hour
  • 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ⅔ cup room temperature water
  • ½ cup avocado oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns, ground
  • 1 cup scallions, thinly sliced
  1. Combine 4 cups of flour and ½ teaspoon of salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center, and add in the boiling water. Mix until partially blended. Then add in ⅔ cup of room-temperature water. The dough will be soft and slightly sticky.
  2. Remove the dough from the bowl, and place it on a floured surface. Knead for 2 to 3 minutes until smooth.
  3. Brush the ball of dough with some oil, and transfer it into a bowl that's covered with plastic wrap. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Wrap the dough in the plastic wrap, and refrigerate it overnight.
  4. The next day, if your Sichuan peppercorns are whole, grind 1 ½ teaspoons in a spice grinder.
  5. Add 1 cup of thinly sliced scallions, ½ cup of flour, 1 ½ teaspoons of ground peppercorns, and 1 teaspoon of salt to a mixing bowl. Heat ½ cup of avocado oil in a saucepan on medium heat. When the oil is hot, pour it into the bowl.
  6. Take the dough out of the refrigerator, and cut it into 6 equal portions. Taking one piece at a time, roll the dough out into a very thin rectangle about 10 to 12 inches. (It's okay if there are holes.)
  7. Layer a spoonful of the scallion mixture over the dough surface. Starting from the end closest to you, roll the dough into a long log.
  8. Stretch out the rolled log to at least 15 inches. Coil the log so it looks like a cinnamon bun.
  9. Roll out each coiled piece of dough into a ¼-inch thick circle.
  10. Place each circle in a nonstick pan coated with oil. Heat the pan on medium heat, cover the pan, and cook the pancakes for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Serve the pancakes while they're still hot.
Calories per Serving 509
Total Fat 19.1 g
Saturated Fat 2.3 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 73.1 g
Dietary Fiber 3.1 g
Total Sugars 0.6 g
Sodium 453.4 mg
Protein 10.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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