Made with white whole wheat flour (or oats), applesauce and almond milk, these applesauce pancakes are fluffy, extra moist, and filled with a sweet adzuki filling that's perfect for breakfast!
Introducing another one of my Asian breakfast favorites! It's obanyaki, a Japanese stuffed pancake filled with sweet stuffings such as sweetened bean paste, custard, fruit or chocolate filling. It's also popular and sold in Korea under the name obangdduk (오방떡). I've also heard it called wheelcakes in Taiwan!
I have fond memories of buying these from food trucks and street vendors back when I lived in Korea. During the winter months these are crazy popular, so half the fun was waiting in line for these, and waiting for the vendor to hand them to you in a paper bag straight out of the hot pan 🙂
I think it's those good memories that make obanyaki so comforting. I decided to buy an obanyaki pan for myself to make them at home 🙂
While the traditional recipe uses plain white flour, butter, sugar, eggs and milk, I wanted to modify the recipe so that it was slightly higher in fiber, protein and nutrition. Here's what I came up with.
Ingredients used to make Stuffed Applesauce Pancakes (obanyaki)
**I've linked some of these ingredients to amazon.com to give you an idea of what they are, but you should also be able to find them in your local grocery store (usually, the natural & organic food section). They are also affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission as an Amazon Associate if you decide to purchase the items. The price will be the same for you, link or no link 🙂
- Applesauce – preferably unsweetened. Applesauce is usually not added to obanyaki batter, but I added it in my recipe because I wanted to use less oil/butter and add more fiber and nutrition. The pectin that’s naturally found in applesauce helps bind the ingredients together and keep the pancakes moist. I used one 4 oz unsweetened applesauce cups. You can also just use slightly less than ½ cup.
- Flour - you can use either white whole wheat flour, regular whole wheat flour, spelt flour, oat flour or just regular white (all purpose) flour. You can also make your own oat flour by blending old-fashioned (rolled) or quick-cooking oats.
- Eggs – I used regular large eggs. I haven't tried using egg replacements like flax or chia yet, so you might not get the same results if you decide to substitute.
- Salt – Pink Himalayan salt is what I have at home, so it’s what I use, but you can use any kind for this recipe.
- Sugar – You can use any granulated sugar of your choice, but I like using honey powder because it can be used just like sugar and easier to measure out. You can also use coconut, date and maple sugars which are healthier alternatives to white processed sugar, but they’re much darker so keep in mind it could affect the color of baked goods. For the lower carb, lower calorie option, you can use a sugar-free substitute such as monk fruit sweetener or, stevia powder (but you'll have to convert the amount of stevia according to package directions).
- Apple Cider Vinegar – helps to activate baking soda, which is a leavening agent that relies on acidic conditions to produce the rising effect we want to see. You can also use lemon juice if you don't have apple cider vinegar
- Light Olive Oil – Instead of olive oil, you can use coconut oil, or avocado oil here if you'd like.
What to Use for Filling
- Sweetened Red Bean Paste (a.k.a. Koshi An): I eat this stuff by spoonfuls! It's a versatile ingredient that goes inside my sweet rice mochi recipe as well my tofu mochi recipe, but it's also used as fillings inside sweet breads, pancakes, cookies and more. You can find Sweetened Red Bean paste in most Asian grocery stores, and online (Amazon).
- Sweetened White Bean Paste (a.k.a. Shiro An)
- Coffee Sweetened White Bean Paste see recipe here
- Sliced Fruit
More Applesauce Recipes
Equipment Needed to Make Obanyaki Applesauce Pancakes
We have an obanyaki pan we use to make these pancakes. The tall sides allow the pancake batter to cook higher/ thicker so that it can be stuffed.
I haven't tried (yet) but I heard you can still make obanyaki without a obanyaki pan by cooking these pancakes low and slow inside an egg ring or english muffin ring set on a griddle. I'll try sometime and update here 🙂
How to Make
How to Make Obanyaki Applesauce Pancakes
Oil or grease your obanyaki pan with olive oil, coconut oil or butter (spray works, too). Use a ladle to scoop the prepared pancake batter into the obanyaki pan wells. Fill to ½ so that it doesn't overflow when the filling is added.
Add filling of choice.
Ladle more pancake batter on top fo the filling, close the obanyaki pan, flip, and cook on both sides until the pancake has been cooked through.
Use low heat to prevent burning. The batter might overflow a little (like this pic) but you can snip the excess pancakes with scissors before serving.
Recipe Variations and Optional Add Ins for Applesauce Obanyaki:
- Feel free to add some chopped nuts, berries or chocolate chips to keep this recipe interesting.
- Try different fillings! While sweetened bean paste is usually stuffed into obanyaki, you can also fill these pancakes with jam, marmalade, nutella, peanut butter, vanilla pudding, etc.
How to Make this Pancake Recipe Healthier
- Make this applesauce obanyaki pancakes even healthier by adding a tablespoon of nuts, seeds into the batter to add texture and nutrition.
- You can also reduce the sugar by half (this would make this less sweet), or substitute the sugar with a sugar-free substitute.
How to Store these Applesauce Pancakes
- It's best to eat these applesauce pancakes immediately and within a few hours, but you can also store them covered in the fridge for up to 3 days, and frozen up to 4 months. Defrost and microwave when you're ready to eat.
- Cook on low-medium heat to prevent burning and allow the pancakes to cook evenly.