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ATK Kids

Make Pajeon Your New Go-To Snack

Learn to make pajeon. You probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry.

I like potato chips as much as the next person, but sometimes when I’m craving a savory snack I want something more substantial—and fit for company. At times like that, pajeon is the perfect option. 

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Jeon are savory, crispy Korean pancakes that can be made with a wide array of ingredients. Pajeon (“pa” means “scallions” in Korean) is one of the most popular varieties, featuring a crispy, browned exterior and a soft, chewy interior that’s packed with oniony scallions.

In Korea, pajeon is a particularly popular snack on rainy days: Some say that the sputter and sizzle of the pajeon batter cooking in oil sounds like the rhythmic tapping of rainfall. (For more on that, check out Cook’s Illustrated Managing Editor Elizabeth Bomze’s article exploring the popularity of pajeon.)

We adapted former Cook's Illustrated test cook Andrew Janjigian’s pajeon recipe for the latest cookbook from ATK Kids, The Complete Cookbook for Teen Chefs. It’s a great snack for teens to make after school: delicious, simple, and practically meant for sharing with friends. Plus, it’s mostly made with pantry ingredients that are likely already around the house, meaning no last-minute grocery store runs.

One key ingredient that makes these scallion pancakes extra-crispy is potato starch. If you don’t already have it, you can find it in Asian markets and some supermarkets. Otherwise, you can use cornstarch, though your end result will be softer and less crisp.

You won’t want to skip out on the dipping sauce either. It’s sweet, salty, and subtly spicy thanks to gochugaru, a type of Korean chile flake. Make sure you use the coarse variety of gochugaru; if you can’t find it, substituting a smaller amount of red pepper flakes will work, too.

Scallions are what make this jeon a pajeon, but feel free to experiment with subbing in other fresh veggies. Try chopped baby greens like kale, arugula, or spinach; sliced mushrooms or chopped kimchi also work great. 

Check out the full recipe on the ATK Kids site, or watch our teen recipe testers make pajeon in the YouTube video below.