Korean Sweet Pancakes (Hotteok)

My hotteok recipe is finally here! Hotteok is a VERY popular Korean street food. It’s a golden fried “pancake” filled with a gooey brown sugar syrup and sometimes nuts or seeds. 

My mom made hotteok at home quite often when I was a kid. I’m pretty sure it is her favorite sweet snack, because she made it A LOT. I remember going to church and telling all the kids that MY umma made the best hotteok and that one day I was gonna learn how to make them too! 

What is hotteok?

Hotteok is a fried yeasted dough with a brown sugar filling and sometimes nuts/seeds. It is known for being incredibly light & crisp while also being pleasantly chewy like mochi.

The filling is a mix brown sugar, cinnamon, and sometimes nuts and/or seeds. My favorite kind of hotteok is the one with sunflower seeds! The street vendors sometimes serve the hotteok in a cup, cut the pancake in half, and add more nuts/seeds inside if you want. 

Ingredients: 

  • Dough

  • Filling

    • Brown sugar

    • Cinnamon

    • Sunflower seeds

  • Oil for frying

I highly recommend using the sweet rice flour for this recipe. It is a key ingredient. However, if you cannot find it, you can just use a total of 2 cups of all purpose flour. 

Sweet rice flour is available in most American supermarkets, either in the Asian aisle or the baking aisle. Look for a rectangular white box that says “Mochiko” on it. 

If you’ve exhausted all your options on finding sweet rice flour, you can also order it from Amazon here.

I recommend this at the last resort because it is expensive in my opinion. 

FYI, sweet rice flour and glutinous rice flour are the same thing!

Tips for making the BEST hotteok:

  • Shallow fry the hotteok! Most street vendors shallow or deep fry their hotteok and it will get you the best results. You want the dough to be lightly crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. No need to cover the pan to melt the sugar on the inside- just make sure you have enough oil to shallow fry.

  • Use sweet rice flour- if you don’t have any sweet rice flour, you can just use all purpose flour but I highly recommend getting some sweet rice flour. It will give add a mochi-like texture to the dough which is what we want!

  • Weigh the dough- if you have a scale, I recommend weighing the dough balls once you have separated them to make sure they are even. 

  • Enjoy right away- once fried, these can be saved to eat later but they are best when freshly made. Over time, the dough will soak up the brown sugar and it won’t be as good in my opinion. My husband, however, prefers them this way for some reason.

  • Tilt the fry pan-  when frying the hotteok, tilt the pan to one side so that the oil pools and you can fry the edges of the hotteok. This will give you a crispier edge and help to melt the sugar. 

Variations:

In the last decade or two, street vendors have gotten very creative with food and started creating all kinds of variations of just about everything. Hotteok is a great example- the original hotteok is a pancake filled with brown sugar and sometimes nuts/seeds. But now you can find plenty of street vendors that make different types of hotteok. Here is a small list of the most common kinds:

    • Cheese

    • Japchae

    • Veggies

    • Red bean

    • Kimchi

You can also add to the original hotteok any toppings you like, and one of my favorite ways to have hotteok is to add a scoop of ice cream, fold the pancake in half and eat as a hotteok ice cream sandwich! Seriously so good. 

You can purchase the silicone pastry mat I used from Amazon here .

Korean Sweet Pancakes- 호떡 (Hotteok)

5 from 18 votes
Servings 8 pancakes

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sweet rice flour aka glutinous rice flour

Filling

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds

Oil for frying

    Instructions
     

    • Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and sunflower seeds together (or whatever nuts/seeds you choose) and set aside.
    • Activate the yeast by combining with warm water & sugar. Let it sit for a few minutes.
    • Add the sea salt & oil, mix, then add the ap flour and sweet rice flour. The dough should stick to your fingers. Cover and let it ferment for 1 hour.
      *Note: If you don't have sweet rice flour, you can just omit it and use 2 cups total of all purpose flour.
    • After 1 hour, the dough will rise and double in size.
      *If your dough isn't rising, your yeast could be dead or the temperature is too cold.
    • Knead the dough to release the air, then cover again for another 30 minutes. This time the dough should stick less to your fingers than the first time.
    • After 30 minutes, the dough should will rise a little again.
    • Sprinkle a little flour on the surface then knead the dough once more and form a ball.
    • As evenly as possible, cut the dough into 8 pieces.
    • Flatten out the dough to about 5 inches in diameter.
    • Put some of the filling in the middle. Anywhere between 1-2 tablespoons depending on your taste.
    • Gather the edges of the dough together, pinching to seal.
    • In a nonstick pan on medium low heat, add enough oil to shallow fry the pancakes. Place them seam side down and fry until golden.
    • Flip the balls over, then flatten with a solid spatula.
    • Continue frying until both sides are golden brown.
    • Remove from heat and let it cool for a couple minutes before serving
    • Eat as is or you can cut them in half and add more seeds/nuts!

    *This post contains affiliate links to products that I actually use & recommend. I am not sponsored by these brands, but I do make a small commission from qualifying purchases made through these links.

    This Post Has 20 Comments

    1. L

      5 stars
      Thank you for sharing this recipe.
      I fell in love with this!
      I am a type two diabetic, so obviously I have to consume in moderation.
      So many different ways to fill it.
      DELICIOUS!!

      1. My EnergyHi

        5 stars
        This is yummy and you make it so much easier with the pics and tips . Do you think I could try a gluten free subbing ap flour for Cassava?

    2. Cinthya Méndez (@cimendez93)

      5 stars
      I have to limit myself to only making half the recipe because honestly I will make and eat these all in one sitting – they are just that good! Super tasty and really easy to follow!

    3. Allison

      5 stars
      We were craving hotteok so much when we came back from our trip to Korea in April. The ones in Busan were good but surprisingly the ones we had in Namdaemun were our favorite. This recipe gave us a taste of the motherland and was easy to follow. Definitely beats what you can buy prepackaged in the store. Thank you, Stella! ♡

    4. Avante Gabriel

      5 stars
      1st I had these frozen in the box from H mart, then it popped up on my Pinterest and then you popped up on my Instagram. I love this recipe, it’s better than the box. me and my daughter make these and we love them, it’s out thing.

    5. abet

      5 stars
      Love this recipe, very easy to follow! One of my favorite Korean snacks. Tastier than the frozen/prepackaged hotteok we’ve bought from the store.

    6. Boyscme

      5 stars
      My favorite snack- chewy and perfectly sweet. Recipe is the best that I do not have to buy the prepackaged mixes anymore.

    7. Jenny

      5 stars
      I made this recipe bc it reminds me of my dad. He was so excited to make this for my and my sisters when I was in high school. I then had to make some for my fiancé. It’s an absolute crowd pleaser

    8. Kim

      5 stars
      I think these are my new favorite snack/breakfast ever! They’re so chewy and sweet (but not too sweet). And the pics were a huge help. Thanks for sharing!

    9. Rafael Ebron

      5 stars
      I’m tempted to buy that hotteok press but I guess you don’t really need one.

    10. Clong

      5 stars
      This came out so delicious! I had some pistachio with me and had them coarsely ground to mix as filling. Thank you!

    11. Elle

      5 stars
      I almost left this 4 stars because I could not for the life of me get the dough to work. It was crazy sticky and eventually I had to break out my kitchen aid to knead it for quite a while. I reread the recipe but I couldn’t find anything I missed. Finally got the dough to work and DAMN. These were killer ?. Thanks so much for sharing these, will be making them again and have loved everything else Iv made from you!

    12. Susan

      5 stars
      Just made these this weekend and they were delicious!

    13. G.O.

      5 stars
      Easy and delicious recipe! As if a coyota and mochi had a delicious nutty baby!! Can’t wait to make this for my Mexican family.
      Thank you!

    14. Anonymous

      5 stars
      Absolutely delicious! So easy to make!

    15. Tania

      This is so yummy!! Great recipe & easy to follow. I did not have the rice flour so used 2 cups of regular flour and they tasted amazing.

      1. stellanspice

        I’m so glad you liked them Tania! Thank you for making them. If you ever have a chance to get some sweet rice flour in the future, I hope you’ll try them again!

    16. Anonymous

      5 stars
      I used provolone and smoked sausage. Turned out amazing!

    17. Jina

      5 stars
      So easy and delicious! What a great recipe. 🙂 Will be making it regularly instead of buying the pre-made box stuff!

    18. mp

      5 stars
      Super easy following the recipe! Am looking forward to adding a little more cinnamon to the filling just bc I’d love it to be a little more sweeter! Also if you’re wanting them to be on the flat side, do press on them while you’re frying them after youve flipped! Loved this recipe:)

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    Hi, I'm Stella!

    I come from a multicultural background, and cooking has been one of the best ways for me to stay connected to my heritage. My recipes are tried and tested, many of them passed down through family. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do!

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