Have you stumbled upon these Sweet Cinnamon Filled Korean Pancakes at your local Trader Joe’s yet? Do you have questions? Keep reading for the full review and our exclusive cart review!
What are Trader Joe’s Sweet Cinnamon filled Korean Pancakes?
I know I probably wasn’t the only one who had questions about this product. Is it a dessert? Is it an appetizer? What’s the best way to prepare it? Hopefully I can answer most of these questions for you!
In Korea, these sweet cinnamon filled pancakes are called Hotteok or Hoeddeok. They’re a traditional snack and street food, making them very popular across Korea.
The dough is made from flour, warm milk, yeast, sugar, salt and some oil. The pancakes are typically filled with cinnamon and brown sugar, with a variation of adding seeds and nuts; (sliced almonds, walnuts, peanuts or sunflower seeds).
The dough is filled with sweet cinnamon filling and flattened out by hand to then fry in hot oil. A pan is then preheated with cooking oil and the little pancakes are gently placed in the pan. They expand quite a bit after being cooked, and get nice and crispy on the outside and gooey in the center. Sounds totally delicious right?
Where In the Store?
Trader Joe’s sells these Sweet Korean Pancakes come frozen, four per package. Here’s a small list of some other delicious frozen items you can find in that aisle as well!
- Steamed Chicken Soup Dumplings
- 5 Cheese Greek Spiral
- Scallion Pancakes
- Mini Chicken Tikka Samosas
- Multigrain Toaster Waffles
How to Serve Trader Joe’s Sweet Cinnamon filled Korean Pancakes
Traditionally these pancakes are served and eaten hot, usually straight from the fryer or hot pan.
I thought the best way to heat these up would be in the air fryer. It’s way less mess than shallow frying and lets say healthier too right? Yeah, lets go with that. The air fryer usually does the trick with small batch items like this, and usually crisps up the outside of whatever it is you’re cooking pretty nicely.
The air fryer did just an OK job reheating the sweet pancake. To get the full experience of this traditional Korean pancake I think it needs to be defrosted, and shallow fried in some hot oil, keeping to tradition. I really think this would give the pancake an overall better texture and flavor.
Just take caution with the hot inside, you don’t want to burn yourself!
A generous scoop of Trader Joe’s Vanilla Ice Cream sandwiched between two of these hot crispy Sweet Korean Pancakes sounds PHENOMENAL. I would totally recommend eating these for breakfast, dessert or a midday snack.
I really enjoyed these little pancakes plain, just all on their own. I can’t wait to try them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Although I really enjoyed these pancakes, there were two disappointments.
The first was the lack of gooey filling in the center was so underwhelming. The ratio was totally off in my opinion, I felt like I was eating mostly dough. The star of the pancake is obviously the filling and hot gooey center, and I almost felt like couldn’t even taste it at all. It was such a let down.
However, the flavor of the dough was really good, again, just not enough of the sweet cinnamon filling. The outer dough layer was crispy and crunchy, and the center dough layer was soft and chewy, which gave it a nice balance of textures.
Have you ever had a toaster strudel or brown sugar pop tart as kid? These pancakes were totally giving me those vibes and bringing me back to a childhood snack. My absolute favorite flavor of pop tart was the brown sugar one growing up. I think that’s why I had such high hopes for these cinnamon filled pancakes.
The second disappointment was that they were too small! I really wished that they were slightly bigger. The whole pancake was gone in about 3 bites, and it left me longing for more! With every bite, I kept saying to myself, maybe this one will have more filling. But sadly, it did not.
Buy It Again?
Even though I did enjoy the one pancake I tried, I don’t know if I’d buy these again. I can’t see wasting precious real estate in my freezer for an item I wasn’t too fond of.
Eating these right directly out of the hot oil, drained and cooled slightly on a paper towel sounds like the way to go. Top it off with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, how can you go wrong?
I think it would be a lot of fun to try and make these from scratch, this way I can add as much of the filling as I want, resulting in a better ratio.
In other words, I think it’s safe to say I’ll be skipping these pancakes next time around. Trader Joe’s very rarely lets me down like this, but hey, who can get it right all of the time? They put forth a valiant effort and have expanded my knowledge on Asian cuisine yet again!
Have you tried these from Trader Joe’s yet? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!