Hotteok (Korean Sweet Pancakes) is a popular Korean street food made from a simple yeast dough with a sweet syrupy filling made with brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. It makes a tasty snack or dessert, and could even be enjoyed at breakfast!

If you love these Korean sweet pancakes, you might also want to try our Aebleskiver | Danish Pancakes, Liège Waffles, or German Pancakes!

a plate with a pile of korean pancakes on top of paper towels

One of these days I'm going to make it to Korea, where hotteok (pronounced 'ho-tok') is sold from carts on the street. But even though I can't be in Korea for the winter games, I'm happy to enjoy this delicious treat in my own home!

What is Hotteok like?

The chewy hotteok dough is fried in a little oil in a hot pan to make a golden crispy outer shell surrounding a cinnamony, hot, syrupy center laced with chopped walnuts.

Hotteok actually reminds me a lot of what we call Utah scones or Indian fry bread since it's basically a simple yeast dough made from flour, water, yeast and a little sugar, salt, and oil, then divided into individual portions and fried in hot oil until crispy and chewy.

The main difference with these Korean sweet pancakes is that they are filled inside with a sweet filling, typically consisting of brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. I've read that you can find other varieties of hotteok though, filled with things like honey, peanuts, and even chocolate chips, although I'm doubting the authenticity of a chocolate filling in a Korean hotteok.

Brown sugar, cinnamon and chopped walnuts in a white bowl with a spoon to mix them together for a sweet korean pancake filling.

I think these are best eaten hot and fresh, right out of the pan, when the filling is still all melted and syrupy.

I've even frozen hotteok and then reheated them in the oven or a toaster and they are delicious!

the inside of a korean sweet pancake

How to make Korean Sweet Pancakes (Hotteok)

The dough is really simple to make and is traditionally made by hand, although I just used my stand mixer.

After proofing the yeast in some lukewarm water with a little sugar, salt and oil, you will mix in the flour and knead for a few minutes until a smooth dough ball forms.

A ball of yeast dough in a silver bowl ready for it's first rise.

After letting the dough rise for an hour, punching it down, and letting it rise another 20 minutes, the dough gets divided into 8 balls to make 8 individual hotteok.

You will want to make sure you are working on a well floured surface, with extra flour for your hands because the dough is very sticky.

Working with just one ball of dough at a time, you first flatten it out using your hands, then spoon about a tablespoon of the filling into the center of the disc.

A ball of dough for korean sweet pancakes, flattened into a small disc and filled with brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts.

Then pinch the sides up all around the filling, enclosing it and sealing the filling into the center of the dough ball.

Pinching a ball of dough closed around a cinnamon, walnut, brown sugar filling with remaining balls of dough on a floured surface in the background.

Once all of the balls are filled, heat a large pan over medium heat and add a little oil so that it can get hot. It doesn't  need a lot of oil - just a couple of tablespoons is enough to fry the hotteok.

Working in batches of 2 or 3 at a time, place each ball seam side down into the hot pan and let it cook for just 30 seconds or so, until the bottom is just getting lightly golden brown, then flip it over and press down using a large, flat spatula to create a wide circle.

Pressing Korean sweet pancakes flat using the back of a large spatula.

Cook for about a minute on the second side, then flip the pancakes over again and immediately cover with a lid and turn the heat down to low.

Cook the hotteok for 1 more minute until golden brown on the bottom and the brown sugar is melted inside, then remove from the pan and serve hot!

a hand holding a sweet pancakes broken in half to reveal contents

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Hotteok (Korean Sweet Pancakes)

4.93 from 39 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 1 hr 35 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Asian
Servings 8 servings
Hotteok (Korean Sweet Pancakes) is a popular Korean street food made from a simple yeast dough with a sweet syrupy filling made with brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts.  It makes a tasty snack or dessert, and could even be enjoyed at breakfast!

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions
 

  • In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the lukewarm water, sugar, yeast, oil and salt.  Let the yeast proof for about 5 minutes until it starts to get foamy.
  • Add the flour to the yeast mixture and knead with the mixer until smooth.  This could also be done by hand or just using a rubber spatula, but I just thought it was easier to let the dough hook do the work.  
  • Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and allow it to rise for 1 hour at room temperature until the dough has doubled in size.  Coat your hand lightly in cooking spray and punch down the dough to remove gas bubbles, then cover again and let the dough rise another 20 minutes.
  • During the last rise, mix together the filling ingredients in a small bowl.
  • When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured surface and coat your hands with flour (it's a very sticky dough to work with).  Divide into 8 equal-sized pieces and shape into balls.  
  • Working with one dough ball at a time, flatten it out and mound about a tablespoon of the filling in the center.  Then pinch the edges of the disc together up around the filling, enclosing it completely in the center of the ball of dough as seen in the pictures.  Repeat with the remaining balls of dougha and filling.  You may need to re-flour your hands between dough balls if the dough starts sticking too much.
  • Heat a large pan over medium heat.  When hot, add a little oil (about 2 tablespoons) to the pan and let that heat up as well.  When the oil is hot, place a dough ball in it, with the sealed area down and cook until lightly golden brown on the bottom (just about 30 seconds), then flip.  Using a large, flat spatula, press down on the hotteok to flatten it into a wide disc and cook until the bottom is golden brown.
  • Flip the hotteok one last time and reduce the heat to low.  Cover the pan with a lid and cook for another minute or so, just until the bottom is completely golden brown and the filling inside is melted and syrupy.
  • You can cook more than one hotteok at a time if your pan is large enough.  Just make sure to leave enough space between each dough ball so that it can be pressed flat into a disc.  I can do three at a time in my largest cast-iron pan.
  • Serve hot! 

Notes

Hotteok freezes well and can be reheated in the oven.  I've even popped it in the toaster.  Adapted from Maangchi by way of Messy Witchen.

Nutrition

Calories: 235kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 153mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 16g
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

Be sure to check out all of the other incredible foods representing many different countries that have been shared by my foodie friends who are also participating in our Food Blogger Winter Games!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Those pancakes sound delicious, they are like English muffins with a delicious filling. I will definitely try these for pancake Tuesday

    1. 5 stars
      This is my favorite Hotteok recipe!! My only recommendations are to start with 1/2 or 3/4 of water and slowly add more to hydrate the flour- 1 cup makes it just a little too sticky to work with, for me. I also love to sprinkle sesame seeds on the buns before I out them on the hot pan!

  2. 5 stars
    I cooked these for my report on South Korea, it took a little more flour than the recipe called for but I just added that in after the yeast rose. It turned out great! I think I under cooked them a bit but I get it next time because this is definitely something I want to make again, u r so awesome!!

    1. I have made these all the way through cooking and then frozen with great results, but I have never tried making the dough and filling, but then freezing without cooking first. I think it would work, but can't say for certain.

  3. When you've made these in advance, frozen them after cooking - do you let them thaw out before popping them in the oven? What temp and how long do you heat them up for?

    1. I actually pop them in the toaster like a pastry strudel, lol. You don't need to let them thaw before popping in the oven though and I would guess they would be hot within 10 minutes.

  4. 5 stars
    Ahhhhhhh!
    I was craving this last week and decided to search for the recipe and yours was the first one that came up. Thank you SO MUCH! It’s wonderful! Doing the happy dance as I bit into one, hot off my pan. Ahhhh!

    1. Love the happy dance! These are so good, aren't they? Thanks for reminding me that I haven't made these in too long! I'm going to have to do these again this weekend for my family!

  5. 5 stars
    I'm lucky enough to live next to an Asian supermarket in LA (Little Tokyo area). There's a Korean lady who sells these pancakes from a tiny street food cart. It's absolutely delicious! 🙂

    She makes it with cheese filling as well. It's a killer, so delicious!

  6. 5 stars
    Hello,
    I just wanted to compliment on how perfect this recipe was. This adaption has so far been the best batch I've made and also the most delicious hotteok (this is coming from a Korean growing up on these 🙂
    Definitely making this again tomorrow!!

    Thank you!
    Chai

    1. Thank you SO much for your kind comment! I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe! I always try my best to be authentic and do my research.

  7. Hi there, thanks for the recipe! Intried it and my dough wasn't cooked enough. I wonder why. It's already all so brownish when i served it.

  8. Hi, my kids and I absolutely LOVED this Korean pancake. I followed it to the t, including the time specified. The monsoons are just starting here in South India, and this was perfect for an indulgent breakfast. Thank you so much for posting this recipe!

  9. If I make for a party, how long will the filling stay syrup like inside? 
    Will it re-crystallize after a certain time, sitting at room temperature? 
    Can I use 4 tbsp sesame seeds instead of nuts? 

    1. The filling will set up again after just a few hours. But I have frozen and reheated these and they are still delicious, even if the filling isn't as syrupy. And yes, you could use sesame seeds instead.