Chinese comfort food breakfast: scallion pancakes

Society & Culture

A simple, delicious meal using green onions and eggs.

Chinese scallion pancakes
Photo by Lu Zhao

I never skip breakfast. It can be extremely simple, like a boiled egg, but it starts my day.

Before I came to the U.S., my mom taught me how to make egg-and-green-onion pancakes (香葱鸡蛋饼 xiāng cōng jī dàn bǐng). “At least you’ll have something to eat for breakfast,” she said.

Now I can make a variety of breakfast foods, but the quickest, easiest, and most comforting morning meal for me is still the green onion pancakes.

Let me teach you how to do it.

(If you want to get a bit fancier, you can wrap the pancake around some veggies or meat, like a burrito, or mix other ingredients into the batter, like an omelet. But I like to keep it simple.)

The green part of the green onions is often used as decoration, but in this dish, it’s key. As I promised last week, here’s how to regrow green onions:

  • Cut the white ends, leaving roots attached.
  • Place them root-down in a small glass or jar with just enough water to cover the roots.
  • Set on a windowsill; expose to sun.
  • Keep the roots moist and change the water every couple of days.
IMG 20200719 094423 meitu 1 meitu 3
In only three days! (Photo by Lu Zhao)

That’s it! Green shoots will emerge from the top and even grow back to the size they were when you bought them. Then, if you want, you can transfer them to your garden or a pot with soil. Or you can just keep them in water until they finally stop growing.

Feel free to snip the green ends whenever you need them. They’ll keep growing. Now grab your ingredients and let’s get today’s recipe started!


Serves 1 or 2


10 minutes


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

IMG 20200721 102336 meitu 4


1. Create the batter: Mix the eggs well in a bowl.

2. Pour in flour and water. Whisk until eggs and flour are fully combined. The batter should be thin, with no lumps.

3. Add green onion, salt, and black pepper, and mix well.

IMG 20200721 103757 meitu 5

4. Use 1 tablespoon of oil to evenly cover a non-stick pan. Use medium heat. When the pan is hot, pour in half of the batter and immediately swirl the skillet to spread the batter into a thin, round pancake.

5. Cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Flip the pancake and cook the other side for another 1-2 minutes. Adjust the cooking time to get the texture you like.

IMG 20200721 104916 meitu 6

IMG 20200721 105310 meitu 7

6. Repeat to make a second pancake.

7. Serve immediately.