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Hotteok (Korean Stuffed Pancakes)

Caroline Choe

Chef notes

Your first bite of hotteok is definitely one you don't forget. It's gained much popularity around the world as a beloved street food in Korea. Though they are widely available these days in the supermarket's frozen section to warm up at home, there is truly nothing like fresh hotteok right off the grill. A hot, stuffed pancake filled with gooey cinnamon, sugar and nuts, served piping hot? What's not to love?

Since there are many delicious variations on hotteok, I also decided to experiment with a recipe for an event years ago, making use of the big bushel of fall apples I'd picked and replacing the traditional walnuts with pecans. It kept with the tradition of sweet, seasonal autumn flavors but with an exciting twist.

Technique tip: If the apples are a little slippery while trying to secure them inside the dough, add a small spoonful of cinnamon sugar or cinnamon-mixed cornstarch on top and then try to pinch it shut. Most importantly, don't forget to lightly oil your hands before handling the dough, because it will absolutely be sticky.

Swap option: I used only all-purpose flour for this recipe, but if you'd like to attempt the more traditional route for your dough, a ratio of 1 cup of sweet rice flour with 1½ cups of all-purpose should also work well.


  • 1 teaspoons honey
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons instant dry active yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for frying
Regular Filling
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Apple-Pecan Filling
  • 1 small apple, diced into approximately 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, for frying


For the dough:


In a measuring cup, stir together the honey with 1 cup of warm water. Add in yeast (do not stir!) and let it sit for about 10 minutes, allowing the yeast to bubble. If you find that your yeast is not bubbling up, it is most likely inactive and should be discarded.


In a mixing bowl (one large enough for dough to rise by double!), combine the flour, salt, sugar, oil and yeast water. Mix with hands or a rubber spatula until no dry flour remains (don't over-mix; just make sure everything is combined).


Once your dough is combined into a loose ball, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.


After an hour, take your rubber spatula and pull the risen dough away from the edges of the bowl, folding the edges over the top to form a ball. Cover the bowl again with the plastic wrap and allow it to rise for another 15 minutes.

For the regular filling:

In a small bowl, mix together the brown and white sugars, cinnamon, chopped walnuts and salt with a fork. Set aside.

For the apple-pecan filling:

In a second small bowl, mix together the chopped apples, cornstarch, brown and white sugars, cinnamon, chopped pecans and salt with a fork. Set aside.

To assemble:


Once the dough has finished rising, pull it back from the edges of the bowl again with a rubber spatula, and fold the edges again over the top again and create a ball once more.


Then, after lightly greasing your hands with oil, divide the ball in the bowl into eight small balls of dough (i.e. divide the ball in half, then split the 2 halves and split the 4 balls to get 8 formed balls of dough). If you find the dough to be too sticky at times, lightly oil your hands more before handling.


Picking up one of the small dough balls in an oiled hand, flatten it against your palm until it's about 2 inches wide. Spoon about 1 to 1½ tablespoons of your filling into the center of your dough circle and carefully pinch the edges together to secure the filling inside a ball. Continue filling and securing other dough balls. Wash your hands and prepare to fry them!


In a large, nonstick skillet, add vegetable oil and set the pan over medium heat.


Once the oil is hot, carefully place one of the filled dough balls into the pan and carefully flatten it with the back of an oiled spatula (if you need assistance pressing, you can take a wooden spoon and use it to help you press the upper side of the spatula).


Allow the hotteok to cook for about a minute, then carefully flip it over to cook on the other side for another minute. Cook until both sides are golden-brown. Remove from the heat and set on a plate to cool.


Continue frying hotteok in the pan, adding more oil to heat as needed. Make sure not to crowd the pan if you're able to cook more than one at a time. Serve hot.