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Hotteok (Sweet Korean Pancakes)

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Hotteok (Sweet Korean Pancakes) is a popular Korean winter street food. It is soft and chewy outside with sweet gooey brown sugar and nut filling. Eat it when still hot and fresh right out of the pan so that the filling is still melted.

pancake with brown sugar and nut filling

If you are an avid fan of Korean dramas and variety shows like me, you must know about this popular Korean street food, hotteok. It looks and feels like a pancake, but it sorts like a flattened doughnut. The dough is made with yeast which makes hotteok soft and chewy, then stuffed with filling, pan-fried with oil, and flattened until it looks like a flat pancake. It is basically the Korean adaptation of ordinary pancakes.

I have been wanting to make this for a long time ago. Therefore, I am so excited to finally check my to-do-list. There are a lot of filling variations you can choose from, but I will stick to the traditional one this time. I use a mixture of brown sugar, chopped nuts, and cinnamon powder for the filling. 

The brown sugar filling tastes so good. You should try eating it when still fresh from the pan because the brown sugar is fully melted when still warm and gives a gooey texture inside the chewy dough. You can also try making hotteok at home with a few basic ingredients to taste how good it is. After realizing how good these are, I start making my second batch with the cheese version. You can get the recipe at Cheese Hotteok

About Hotteok

Hotteok (호떡) is a type of Korean stuffed pancake. It is about the size of the palm of your hand and they are served piping hot. It is one of the most popular Korean street food and extremely popular during winter. When the weather starts to get cold, this yummy handheld snack is popular for people of all ages because it is hot enough to warm you up.

The traditional version is chewy, but you can find crispy variations in food stalls throughout different neighborhoods in South Korea. The pancake dough is made from the mixture of flour, water or milk, salt, sugar, and yeast. The dough is allowed to rise, filled with filling, placed on a greased griddle, and pressed flat into a large circle with a special tool as it cooks.

Traditional hotteok is filled with nuts, cinnamon, and brown sugar. In recent times, the filling has evolved. It can be sweet or savory filling. In fact, it can be stuffed with just about anything such as red bean, cheese, vegetables, bulgogi, kimchi, japchae, etc. Many street food vendors now deep-fried their hotteok, but I prefer pan-frying to use less oil.

stuffing brown sugar cinnamon nuts filling inside dough

Tips for Making Hotteok

This delicious hotteok is very easy to make, but let me tell you some tips and tricks for making hotteok at home.

1. Substitute some all-purpose flour with glutinous rice flour

In this recipe, I use all-purpose flour for the dough. It produces a soft and chewy texture which is a nice contrast to the gooey brown sugar interior. If you want crispier and chewier hotteok, you can try mixing some of the all-purpose flour with glutinous rice flour. The problem is the dough made with a lot of glutinous rice flour is going to be super sticky. So, I recommend substituting just a little amount of all-purpose flour with glutinous rice flour to prevent that.

2. Sprinkle flour generously to prevent the dough from sticking

As you can see from the video, the dough is gonna be super wet and sticky. Generously sprinkle the flour on the surface of the dough to prevent it from sticking during the shaping. Try not to incorporate too much flour into the dough to prevent the dough from being too dry.

hotteok dough

3. Use a large spatula to flatten the dough

Traditional hotteok is usually flattened with a special tool with a circle-shaped stainless steel spatula with a wooden handle. But you can actually press hotteok with any flat heatproof tool you can find. In this case, I used a large spatula that works as well as a hotteok presser.

press hotteok

4. Put the sealed part down first during frying

Always put the sealed part of the dough at the bottom during frying. This makes sure to fully glue the sealed part and prevent the filling from leaking out. Cook the bottom for 25-30 seconds. Then, flip the dough, press it immediately until flat, continue cooking until hotteok is golden brown.

5. Hotteok is best eaten hot

I think this recipe is best eaten when still fresh right from the pan when the brown sugar filling is still melted and syrupy. The moment you take a bite into this pancake, the hot brown sugar syrup will ooze into your mouth. Yummy! Take extra caution to let it cool down a bit as the sugar filling can be really hot and scald your mouth.

hotteok sweet korean pancake
hotteok sweet korean pancake
hotteok sweet korean pancake

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hotteok sweet korean pancake
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Hotteok (Sweet Korean Pancakes)

Hotteok (Sweet Korean Pancakes) is a popular Korean winter street food. It is soft and chewy outside with sweet gooey brown sugar and nut filling. Eat it when still hot and fresh right out of the pan so that the filling is still melted.
Author: Jaja Bakes
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Korean
Servings: 8
Tap or hover to scale!
Prep Time1 hour 40 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time1 hour 55 minutes



  • 1 cup (240 ml) warm water
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 cups (250 gr) all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping the dough
  • Oil, for frying


  • 1/2 cup (100 gr) brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp finely chopped nuts
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder


Pancake Dough

  • In a large bowl, combine together water, sugar, salt, oil, and instant yeast. Add the sifted flour into the mixture and mix with a wooden spatula until well combined.
  • Cover the bowl and rest the dough for 1 hour at warm temperature or until doubled.
  • Mix the dough with a wooden spatula until the gas is released. Cover the bowl and rest the dough again for 20 minutes at warm temperature.


  • While waiting for the dough to rise, combine together the brown sugar, chopped nuts, and cinnamon powder in a medium bowl until well combined. Set aside.


  • Spread flour onto a working surface. Put the dough on the working surface, sprinkle with more flour, and knead to release the gas. Cut the dough into 8.
  • Flatten and spread the dough. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of brown sugar filling onto it. Gather the edges and seal the dough. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  • Preheat a non-stick frying pan on medium heat and add a thin layer of vegetable oil.
  • Once the oil is heated, place one dough onto the frying pan, the sealed part down. Cook for 25-30 seconds or until the bottom is light golden brown. Flip and press the dough with a spatula or hotteok hand presser until flat and thin. Cook until the bottom is golden brown for about 1 minute. Flip the dough again and cook for about 1 more minute to let the brown sugar filling fully melted.
  • Transfer the cooked hotteok to the paper-lined plate to remove the excess oil. Serve hot.



Serving: 1hotteok | Calories: 296kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 303mg | Potassium: 120mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 0.02mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg
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