These leek pancakes are a twist on Chinese scallion pancakes. Made in a similar way — with a spiraled dough that you flatten then fry in a skillet — they’re flaky and delicious and just perfect for soaking up their soy dipping sauce. I love serving them as an appetizer or side to a Chinese-inspired entree.
Have you ever ordered scallion pancakes at a Chinese restaurant? Maybe you have even made them at home following the recipe in my cookbook! Either way — and whether you are familiar with this delicious food or not — I encourage you to give these leek pancakes a try!
This recipe uses leeks in place of green onions but still has that signature flaky dough that makes scallion pancakes so delicious! The leeks provide a milder flavor than raw scallions, which I personally prefer. I cook the leeks first, too, with some garlic and a little toasted sesame oil.
When it’s all said and done, the finished pancakes are then paired with a soy dipping sauce that’s flavored with rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, honey, and garlic. YUM.
Making leek pancakes does require a little bit of effort and time, but trust me, it’s easier than you think. Plus, once you taste them, you’ll be so glad you put in the effort. I promise!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Leeks: The star ingredient! You can of course substitute scallions (green onions).
- Garlic: You will need fresh garlic to cook with the leeks and for the dipping sauce.
- Toasted sesame oil: I like to cook the leeks in a combo of sesame and olive oils for some additional flavor. I also added sesame oil to the dipping sauce. I use the toasted sesame oil from Trader Joe’s.
- Extra virgin olive oil: For cooking the leeks and the pancakes.
- All-purpose flour: This is the other main ingredient of leek pancakes. I have not tried making the recipe with other flours, but I suspect that 1-to-1 all-purpose gluten-free flour would work.
- Just boiling water: Heat water until there are little bubbles on the sides of the pan but turn off the heat before it has a rolling boil.
- Salt and garlic powder: For seasoning the dough.
- Reduced sodium soy sauce: This is the base of the dipping sauce. I prefer reduced or low sodium soy sauce, but you can use regular soy sauce or substitute tamari or coconut aminos.
- Rice vinegar: You can substitute lime juice, apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar if needed.
- Honey: If you need the dipping sauce to be vegan, substitute maple syrup for the honey.
The full recipe card, with ingredient amounts and step-by-step instructions for leek pancakes, is at the bottom of the post.
Prepare the dough. Combine the flour, just boiling water, salt, and garlic powder. Mix until it comes together, adding splashes of just boiling water as needed if it’s not coming together.
Knead the dough for a few minutes until it’s no longer sticky but not overly moist. Shape the dough into a ball, cover the bowl, and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
In the meantime, prep the leeks. See my tutorial on How to Cut Leeks for more information on cutting and cleaning them.
Cook the leeks and garlic in some toasted sesame oil.
Cut the dough into 4 pieces.
On a floured surface, roll each piece of dough into an 8-inch circle.
Brush each circle with a little oil. Spoon ¼ of the cooked leeks onto each circle.
Roll the dough circle into a log.
Then, roll the log into a spiral. Take one end of the log and roll it towards the center to create the shape of a snail’s shell.
Flatten the dough with your palm and roll into an 8-inch circle.
Cook each pancake in olive oil for a couple of minutes on each side.
Whisk together the ingredients for the dipping sauce. Cut the pancakes into triangles, serve with the sauce, and enjoy!
Storage and Reheating
Keep leftover leek pancakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The sauce can be stored separately in another container in the fridge. Reheat in a skillet for a couple of minutes on each side until warmed through.
You can also freeze these pancakes, cooked or uncooked. If you want to freeze them uncooked, follow the directions up until the cooking part. Stack the pancakes on top of each other, with sheets of parchment or wax paper in between them. To freeze cooked pancakes, follow the same directions for stacking after they have been cooked and cooled.
Place the pancakes in a freezer bag, seal tightly, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Cook or reheat straight from frozen for a few minutes on each side in a skillet with olive oil.
Try serving leek pancakes on the side of beef and broccoli, cashew chicken, or a vegetarian option like my Baby Portobello Mushroom Stir Fry or Bok Choy Stir Fry with Mango. They also taste delicious with salmon and Roasted Sesame Asparagus.
More Leek Recipes
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For the pancakes
- Heat water in a saucepan until there are small bubbles on the sides, but turn off the heat before it gets to a rolling boil. This is the "just boiling" water. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and garlic powder. Add the just boiling water. Mix with a rubber spatula until the dough comes together. If it's not coming together, add a few splashes of just boiling water as needed.
- Knead the dough for about 2 minutes until it's no longer sticky but not overly moist. You may find that you need to add a little more flour if it's too sticky or moist, or you may need to add a few splashes of water if it's too dry. Shape the dough into a ball, cover the bowl, and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare the leeks. Warm a teaspoon each of toasted sesame and olive oil in an 8-inch skillet. Use a cast-iron skillet if you have one, since it's great for cooking the pancakes. Add the leeks and cook for 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat. Then, add the garlic, and cook for a couple more minutes until the garlic is fragrant and the leeks are tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
- When the dough has finished resting, divide it into 4 pieces.
- On a floured surface, roll each piece of dough into an 8-inch circle. Brush each circle with a tiny bit of olive oil, then spoon ¼ of the cooked leek mixture onto each circle and spread it out. Roll each circle up into a log. Then, take one side of the log and roll it towards the center to form a spiral snail's shell shape.
- Flatten the spiral with your palm. Roll the dough slightly back out into an 8-inch circle. Repeat with all of the pancakes.
- Wipe out the skillet that you used to cook the leeks. Warm the last couple of teaspoons of olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Place a pancake in the skillet. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side until slightly browned. Remove the cooked pancake from the skillet and set aside. Repeat with the remaining pancakes. If you are using a cast iron skillet, you may need to reduce the heat to medium-low after cooking the first pancake to prevent burning the others, since it will get very hot over time.
- While the pancakes cook, prepare the sauce. Whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, honey, and garlic.
- When the pancakes are finished cooking, slice them into triangles. Serve with the dipping sauce, and enjoy!
- Leave a rating or review by tapping the stars on this recipe card (above) or in the comments section (at the end of the post)!
- Scallions can of course be substituted for leeks.
- Store leftover pancakes and sauce in separate containers in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in a skillet.
- You can freeze leek pancakes cooked or uncooked. To freeze uncooked, follow all of the instructions up until the cooking part. Stack the pancakes on top of each other with parchment paper in between them. Place in a bag, seal, and store in the freezer for 3 months. You can follow these same stacking and packaging instructions for cooked pancakes. Cook or reheat the pancakes straight from frozen in a skillet with some olive oil for a few minutes on each side. Prepare the dipping sauce fresh for serving.
Enjoy this fun recipe! – Lizzie