Crispy and Flaky Scallion Pancakes

Crispy Scallion Masala Pancake

Do you love scallion pancakes? I know we do! There are so many different recipes for this dish, and each chef has their own way of making them. Some people like them crispy, while others prefer them to be soft and chewy. Today I will share a recipe for scallion pancakes that is our family’s favorite. It is easy to make, and consistently produces scallion pancakes that are crispy and flaky outside and soft inside with rich flavors.

Each Chef Has A Different Recipe for Scallion Pancake

Scallion pancake is a traditional dish in China. It is called 葱油饼 in Chinese, meaning scallion oil pancake. It is so traditional that every person must have had it sometime somewhere. It is also very versatile. Back in my home in East China, my mother makes soft and fluffy scallion pancakes with eggs and flour. After I grew up and travelled to other regions, I discovered other types. For example, in Northern China, people prefer thick and chewy scallion pancakes that are make of just flour without eggs.

Here in the US, we could find them from Asian markets. However, our children’s favorite is the Scallion pancakes from Trader Joe’s. With some research and home experiments, I developed my very own recipe that combines the traditional Chinese pancake with flavorful Indian spices. This is not exactly the copycat of the Trader Joe’s scallion pancakes. But they have the same crispy and flaky textures that our family love.

Jump to Recipe

The ingredients and equipment you’ll need

The ingredients are simple. All you need is:

– All purpose flour

– Water

– Salt

– (Optional) cumin powder, gram masala powder, red chili powder (Here is when you could be creative and use combination of your favorite spices. )

– Oil (I prefer to use olive oil)

How to make the dough

A very soft and stretchy dough is key to the success. It is what makes the pancake crispy outside and soft inside. Therefore this recipe asks for more water than a regular dough does. To make the dough, mix flour, water and salt in a bowl using a spatula (instead of your hand) until it forms into a sticky ball. Let it sit for five minutes. Then knead the dough for about five minutes to form a smooth ball.

Be patient when you knead the dough if the dough feels a little sticky. It will become smooth. Cover the dough and let it sit for 30 minutes or longer. The dough will be smooth and pliable, easy for next steps.

How to roll out and shape the pancakes

The dough is very easy to roll out due to its high water content and soft nature. Once you divide the dough to six equal sections and roll them into small balls, pour some oil over and roll the balls so that they are evenly covered in oil. Then you could easily roll out the dough into a very thin sheet without getting it stuck to the board or the rolling pin.

How to mix in the scallions

Chop the scallions fine, and mix them well with spices and oil. Use generous amount of oil here as you will need to cover the whole sheet. Although simple salt and black pepper will make nice traditional scallion pancakes, we like the masala version with a mix of Indian spices.

Evenly spread the scallion-spice-oil mixture over the sheet use a spatula, back of a spoon, or your fingers. Make sure the sheet is covered in oil. From one side of the sheet, roll it up tightly into a tube, as shown in the pictures below next to the step-by-step recipe. Next roll the tube into a round coil and tuck the ends in. Using your palms or rolling pin to flatten the coil. The scallion filling may leak out. Don’t worry. They will taste just as good.

How to fry them up

It is as easy as making breakfast pancakes. Heat up a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. When it is hot, place the pancake in and let it cook until both sides are crispy and golden brown, about two minutes per side. If you see big bubbles forming, press them down with the spatula so that the pancake cooks evenly throughout. Normally you won’t need to add any extra oil as there is plenty in the pancakes. However, it is okay to add drops of oil if the pancakes stick to the pan.

Tips for making perfect scallion pancakes every time

  • Make the dough using lukewarm water. This will keep the dough soft, and the pancakes will not harden even after they cool down.
  • You could be creative with spices. You could replace the scallions and spices with peanut butter and make crispy peanut butter pancakes. I like to replace half of the scallions with cilantro, which adds additional flavors.

Crispy Scallion Masala Pancakes

Traditional Chinese savory pancakes with a twist of Indian spices. Crispy outside and soft inside.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Chinese, Chinese Indian, Indian
Servings 4 people
Calories 225 kcal


  • Mixing bowl
  • Rolling pin
  • Non-stick pan (or Tawa)
  • Pastry Board


To Make Dough

  • 2 cups all purpose flour Make 6-8 pancakes
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup olive oil (or any cooking oil) for covering the dough


  • 1 teaspoon gram masala
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespooon olive oil (or any cooking oil) for making scallion spice filling


  • 1 cup finely chopped green onions about 4-6 stems


Making Dough

  • In a mixing bowl, mix well 2 cups of all purpose flour with 1 teaspoon of salt. Add 1 cup lukewarm water. Mix into a sticky dough using a spatula. Cover and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Knead for 5 minutes. The dough will be smooth and soft. Cover and let it sit for 30 minutes while preparing the scallion spice filling.

Scallion Spice Filling

  • In a small mixing bowl, mix chopped scallions, spices and olive oil.

Making Pancakes

  • Divide the dough into 6-8 equal sections. Roll each section into a small ball. Drip olive oil onto each ball so that they are covered with oil.
  • Rub small amount of oil onto the board. Roll out one ball into a thin sheet (0.1 inch or less). The thinner the sheet, the flakier your pancakes will be, as long as you don't make holes in the sheet.
  • Evenly spread 1 tablespoon of the scallion spice filling to the sheet. Add more scallions and olive oil if needed in order to cover the whole sheet.
  • Roll the sheet tightly from one side into a tube.
  • Roll the tube from one end into a "coil". Tuck the ends in.
  • Flatten the coil using a rolling pin or your palm. It is okay if some scallions leak out.

Fry the Pancakes

  • Heat the pan over medium high heat. Fry the pancake until both sides are golden brown, about two minutes per side. Normally no extra oil is needed as the pancakes already have enough oil. Add oil in drops from edge of the pancake if it sticks to the pan.
  • Serve them warm. They taste delicious and flavorful by themselves. However, feel free to enjoy them with sauces of your choice.
Keyword Scallion pancakes

About the Author Isabel

live in Ann Arbor, MI with my husband and our children and Mango the orange tabby. I love hiking, running, baking, cooking and biking. I set up this blog to share wonderful food our family love.

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