Recipe Review

These Sweet Korean Pancakes Are a Crispy, Chewy Delight

published Feb 1, 2022
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Hotteok – south korean pancakes with sweet filling, traditional street food
Credit: Getty Images/ mariya_rosemary

Korean sweet pancakes, or hotteok, are a popular Korean street food characterized by a yeasted dough with a gooey brown sugar filling. The dough itself, which is fried, has a light and crispy texture on the outside and a chewy, mochi-like texture on the inside thanks to the addition of sweet rice flour. If, like me, you haven’t had the pleasure of trying hotteok, you can make it at home.

Stella Navarro-Kim, the home cook behind Stella ‘n Spice, posted a reel demonstrating how to make hotteok on her Instagram. The post is a step-by-step tutorial of how to make the pancakes, complete with captions.

At the beginning of the video, Navarro-Kim notes that this is one of her most requested recipes. First, she combines warm water, sugar, and active dry yeast, then adds sea salt, oil, all-purpose flour, and sweet rice flour. She lets the dough ferment for an hour, during which the dough doubles in size. She punches down the dough to release the air, kneads it, then lets it rest for an additional 30 minutes. During this time, she mixes together brown sugar, cinnamon, and sunflower seeds for the filling.

When the dough is ready, Navarro-Kim lightly flours her work surface (to keep the dough from sticking) and shapes the dough into a smooth ball before dividing it into eight pieces of approximately the same size using a bench scraper. Each piece of dough is flattened into a circle (about 5 inches in diameter) before spooning in some of the filling and sealing it in by gathering the edges and pinching. “Don’t worry too much about making it perfect,” Navarro-Kim says. 

The hotteok are pan-fried — seam side down — in a nonstick pan filled with a generous amount of oil on medium-low heat until golden brown. The pancakes are then flipped and flattened using a spatula until both sides are golden brown. Once cooked, Navarro-Kim rests the hotteok on a cooling rack for a few minutes before enjoying. “Right away you can see how crispy and chewy they look,” she says. “These are really, really good.”

In the recipe post on her blog, Navarro-Kim notes that you can eat these pancakes as-is or cut them in half and add more seeds and nuts. She also explained that these days, hotteok is filled with all kinds of things, like cheese, red bean, curry, and even ice cream. So, if a sweet brown sugar filling doesn’t sound appealing to you, you can fill this fried pancake with whatever you like. And if you’re looking for another Korean pancake recipe to try, we recommend these bacon and kimchi pancakes.