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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Then pinch the sides up all around the filling, enclosing it and sealing the filling into the center of the dough ball.
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.
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!
More Korean Recipes You Might Enjoy!
- Korean Beef Tacos (Bulgogi)
- Oven Baked Korean BBQ Chicken Wings
- Korean Pancakes with Scallions (Pajeon or Pa Jun)
- Slow Cooker Korean Beef Short Ribs (Kalbi)
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Hotteok (Korean Sweet Pancakes)
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 4 Tablespoons chopped walnuts
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 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!
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!
- Argentina - Authentic Chimichurri Sauce over Pork Chops
- Greece - Mediterranean 7 layer dip
- Mexico - Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa
- Sweden - Swedish Beet and Apple Salad
Reader questions and reviews
Those pancakes sound delicious, they are like English muffins with a delicious filling. I will definitely try these for pancake Tuesday
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!
These sound so good! Totally pinning to make later!
I love all of your step by step directions...you make it look so easy.
Oooo new food, I have never heard of these and they sound wonderful, definitely gotta give them a try.
I have never had Korean food before, but this looks like a great place to start. I do love pancakes!
I love that these are filled! I need some for breakfast!
I froze the leftovers and my husband has been taking them to work for breakfast in the mornings!
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!!
I'm so glad you made these for your South Korea report! Glad they turned out well for you!
Can the prepared dough with filling be prepared in advance? Fridges or frozen? Thank you.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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!
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!
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 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.
What type of flour do you use?
Haha:) Silly me didn’t even see the all-purpose written there
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.
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!
I absolutely love this recipie!! thank you so much for posting <3
It all looks so good. I'm going to try and make the hottieok.Ill let you know how it comes out
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?
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.
This is a tried and truly foolproof recipe. Easy to make and grandson just wants more and more! You can top these with a quick banana foster made with the leftover filling. I made the filling as is but with praline pecans.
This recipe is great! Can you bake them instead of pan frying? If so, what temperature and how long?
I'll be honest, I have never baked them in the oven and have only seen them pan fried. Baking in the oven might give it a little bit different finish than pan frying which gives them that crisp outer edge and only takes about two minutes. Plus, when you fry them you are supposed to press them flat to give them the traditional shape. But if you want to try the oven I would do 350 F and bake for 8-10 minutes. Keep your eye on them to make sure they don't burn. Another method you could try is air frying? If you have an air fryer try cooking at 300 for 8-10 minutes.
These hoetteok were so easy to make. The recipe was great to follow although it was messy and we got flour everywhere.
The recipe involved mixing up the dough and making the sugary parcels. It was easy and fun to do with someone else. For those, like me, who don't like nuts, here's an easy solution: make it without!
Just a word of advice: add a bit more flour than the recipe said. We did that and it was fine. I would suggest these hoetteok and would go as far as to say I will be swapping my regular go-to recipe from Sally's Baking to these.