published Sep 14, 2023
Hotteok Recipe

This easy recipe for hot and crispy Korean pancakes, filled with brown sugar and cinnamon, is perfect for fall.

Makes10 (3 1/2-inch) pancakes

Prep30 minutes

Cook25 minutes

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Overhead view of hotteok being pulled apart, showing the gooey inside, with a light blue plate of full hotteok below.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: James Park

There are many flavors that evoke the essence of autumn, from fresh apple cider donuts to pumpkin spice lattes. But nothing quite brings me peak-fall bliss and makes me recall the memories of past seasons quite like the aroma of hotteok, Korean sweet cinnamon pancakes. 

When I briefly lived in South Korea last fall, I ate fresh hotteok every other day. All it took was the sight of a street cart or market stall with a friendly cook behind a sizzling grill table or the intoxicating aroma of cinnamon and fryer oil to incite a craving. 

I urge everyone to try this street food in Korea, but because that’s not entirely possible, I argue that this easy-to-make-at-home recipe for hotteok comes pretty close. On a fall or winter day, one bite of this snack will make the cold weather almost bearable. 

What Is Hotteok?

Hotteok is a pancake made by stuffing balls of yeasted dough with cinnamon and brown sugar, then frying them on a hot pan or griddle while pressing into flat, crispy round pancakes. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: James Park

Filling Variations 

While the combination of brown sugar and cinnamon is synonymous with hotteok, the pancake can be stuffed with a whole medley of fillings both sweet and savory. Here are a few suggestions worth trying. 

  • When I traveled to Busan for a girls’ trip with my mom and aunt, I was introduced to ssiat hotteok, which is a style of hotteok filled with cinnamon sugar and a variety of seeds — including pine nuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds — that the city is famous for. 
  • You can also swap out the dry ingredients for something gooey like mozzarella cheese or your favorite store-bought or homemade jam
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: James Park

Tips for Making the Best Hotteok

  • Don’t be afraid to fry. While most vendors in South Korea will deep-fry or shallow-fry the hotteok they sell, this recipe uses slightly less oil but yields a pancake that’s crisp-tender on the outside and soft on the inside. If you want to get the hotteok more golden-brown and extra-crispy, feel free to add more oil. 
  • Switch up the spice. Cinnamon is typically incorporated into the brown sugar, but you can use apple pie spice or pumpkin spice.
  • Serve ‘em hot. A fresh hotteok is absolutely sublime because the sugar filling is gooey, while the bread is hot and ultra-crispy. Eat on its own or pair with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee. 

Hotteok Recipe

This easy recipe for hot and crispy Korean pancakes, filled with brown sugar and cinnamon, is perfect for fall.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes

Makes 10 (3 1/2-inch) pancakes

Nutritional Info


  • 2 cups

    all-purpose flour or bread flour

  • 2 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    instant dry yeast

  • 3/4 cup

    warm water (about 105ºF)

  • 1 1/2 cups

    packed dark or light brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 3 tablespoons

    neutral oil, such as vegetable, plus more as needed


  1. Place 2 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt into a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

  2. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon instant dry yeast over 3/4 cup warm water and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Pour into the flour mixture and mix with a flexible spatula until a shaggy dough forms. Knead until the dough comes together into a rough ball.

  3. Cover the bowl and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 40 to 50 minutes. Meanwhile, place 1 1/2 cups packed dark or light brown sugar and 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon in a medium bowl and stir to combine.

  4. Knead the dough into a uniform texture. Divide into 10 portions (about 1 2/3 ounces each). Working with 1 portion at a time, roll into a ball. Flatten the dough into a pancake and place 1 teaspoon of the filling into the center. While gently compacting the filling with a finger, stretch the edges of the dough out some more and gather it around the filling. Pinch the edges of the dough together to completely seal the filling in. Shape into a ball again and return to the work surface or place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining portions of dough.

  5. Heat 3 tablespoons neutral oil in a large nonstick frying pan or griddle over low heat until shimmering. Evenly place enough dough balls in the pan so they are at least 3 to 4 inches apart, about 3 in a 12-inch pan. Cook until the hotteok is golden brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip the hotteok with a flat spatula, then press down on each one with the spatula until flattened to about 3 1/2 inches in diameter. Cook until the second side is golden-brown and the center is warmed through, about 3 minutes. Flip back to the first side and cook until the edges of the first side are evenly golden brown, about 1 minute more. Add more oil to the pan as needed if the pan is dry.

Recipe Notes

Storage: These are best served immediately, but leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days in an airtight container. Reheat in the microwave or lightly griddled again before serving.