Delicious Japanese Pancake Obanyaki: An Authentic Recipe

Welcome to the world of Japanese pancakes – a unique and delightful twist to the traditional pancake recipe. Obanyaki, also known as imagawayaki or wheel cake, are a popular Japanese breakfast food that is growing in popularity around the world.

What makes Japanese pancakes special is not only their distinctive flavor but also their filling options. The pancake batter is made from flour, water, baking powder, honey and brown sugar, with eggs added for richness. The savory or sweet filling options range from classic red bean paste to custard-filled cakes and even stuffed cabbage!

But what sets these fluffy treats apart is the way they are cooked. Obanyaki are made by pouring the pancake batter into a special cast-iron round pan, filled with your favorite filling option while it cooks on one side, and then flipped over to cook on the other side until golden brown.

If you are looking for a quick translation of “okonomiyaki” – think “okonomi” means “what you like”, while “yaki” stands for “grilled”. And this is exactly why I fell in love with these pancakes! They are simple yet versatile and can be filled with anything you fancy – from savory to sweet.

In this recipe article, I’ll share my go-to recipe for making delectable obanyaki at home that will transport you straight to the streets of Tokyo. So let’s get started!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Japanese Pancake Recipe, Obanyaki
Japanese Pancake Recipe, Obanyaki

Here’s why you’ll fall in love with this Japanese Pancake Recipe, or Obanyaki Recipe as the Japanese call it.

First of all, let’s talk about the taste. Just imagine a fluffy pancake batter made of flour, eggs, and stock flavored with honey and brown sugar. Then imagine that batter poured into a special cast iron round grilled pan to create a stuffed pancake with your choice of filling like custard, red bean paste, or even savory fillings like meat or cabbage. Doesn’t that sound incredibly delicious?

But it’s not just the taste that will win you over – it’s also the cultural significance of this dish. Obanyaki is a popular Japanese street food and can often be found at festivals or food stalls. Eating obanyaki is an experience that will transport you to Japan without ever having to leave your kitchen.

Furthermore, this dish has a rich history dating back to the Edo period in Japan, where it was known as Imagawayaki. It was originally filled with sweet chestnut paste but has evolved over time to include various fillings.

This recipe is versatile and can be adapted to suit your preferences. You can swap out the traditional fillings for something more experimental, like apple cinnamon or chocolate banana. You could even try making different varieties such as Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake) or Wheel cake (Taiwanese dessert).

Overall, you’ll love this recipe because it’s not just a simple pancake recipe – it’s a taste of Japanese culture and history in every bite.

Ingredient List

 Mmm, piping hot Obanyaki fresh off the griddle!
Mmm, piping hot Obanyaki fresh off the griddle!

Ingredients for Japanese Pancake Recipe, Obanyaki Recipe:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp honey or brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Red bean paste or any other filling of your choice (such as custard, chocolate or diced fruit)

The ingredients listed above are all you need to create classic Japanese pancakes, also known as obanyaki. This recipe features a pancake batter made with flour, water, baking powder, honey or brown sugar for sweetness, eggs, and a pinch of salt for balance. The red bean paste is the most common filling used in traditional obanyaki, but you can get creative and use any other filling that you like. Think of diced strawberries and whipped cream or even Nutella and banana slices!

The Recipe How-To

Preparation tips before making Japanese Pancake Recipe

Before I start with the recipe, I want to give you some tips to help make your Japanese pancake recipe a success. First, be sure to have all of your ingredients measured and ready to go before you start cooking. This way, you can focus on the cooking process without worrying about measuring ingredients in between. Second, use a non-stick pan or skillet to avoid sticking of pancakes. Third, cook over low heat and steam the pancakes for best results.

Ingredients you will need:

For this obanyaki recipe or traditional Japanese stuffed pancake, we will need:

  • 1 cup Flour
  • 4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • ¾ cup Water
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • Fillings of your choice (red bean paste, custard cream, chocolate chips)

How To Make Obanyaki Step by Step

  1. First, pour flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl.
  2. After mixing the flour and baking powder together, sift them to avoid clumps.
  3. Mix salt into the dry mixture.
  4. In another bowl mix water with honey and brown sugar until dissolved.
  5. Add lightly beaten eggs into the wet ingredients mixture.
  6. Mix wet and dry mixture in intervals until well combined.
  7. Leave the batter aside for at least 20 minutes, so that it becomes bubbly and smooth.
  8. Grease your obanyaki pan or any non-stickpan lightly with oil so that the pancake pops out easily after cooking.
  9. Pour batter into each mold until it’s barely full or use ice cream scooper for consistent size measurements.
  10. Put fillings of your choice into each mold(spoon in 1 tablespoon of filling then cover with more batter) such as red bean paste, custard cream or chocolate chipper.
  11. Pour approximately half a tablespoon of batter just above the fillings to cover it up completely so it will not escape while being cooked.
  12. Cook one side then flip gently by using chopstick or using fork.To make sure both sides cook evenly while keeping its shape together flip it again once every minute enjoining that slight crunch on both sides til golden brown.
  13. Remove it when golden brown and put it onto a plate lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil.

Substitutions & Variations:

One great thing about this obanyaki pancake is that there are many different fillings you can add inside like red bean paste (anko), custard cream, chocolate chips or even diced vegetables to get more creative.

Serving & Pairing:

Traditionally served as snack food during festivals or as breakfast street food in Japan but can also be served as a light dessert course after a meal.


Substitutions and Variations

 Sweet, fluffy, and oh so irresistible!
Sweet, fluffy, and oh so irresistible!

If you’re feeling adventurous or want to put your own spin on this classic recipe, there are plenty of substitutions and variations that you can try.

For a savory twist, you can fill the Obanyaki with ingredients like diced cabbage, pork belly, or shrimp. You can also top it off with your favorite condiments, such as mayonnaise, sriracha sauce, or soy sauce. This will give your Obanyaki a different texture and flavor profile that is perfect for a quick meal or snack.

If you have a sweet tooth, try filling your Obanyaki with custard or chocolate instead of red bean paste. These options will give the pancake an entirely different taste and turn it into a delectable dessert.

Additionally, you can experiment with the type of flour you use for your batter. Instead of using regular flour, try using rice flour or buckwheat flour to make a gluten-free version of the pancake. You can also add in other flavors like vanilla extract or matcha powder to give your Obanyaki an added kick.

Finally, if you don’t have access to an Obanyaki pan, you can still make this delicious pancake using a regular non-stick frying pan. While it may not be as round and fluffy as the traditional Japanese pancake, it will still taste just as delicious!

Overall, don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different ingredients and variations until you find the perfect blend that suits your taste buds.

Serving and Pairing

 These Japanese pancakes are like a warm hug for your taste buds.
These Japanese pancakes are like a warm hug for your taste buds.

Once your Japanese pancakes are ready, it’s time to think about how you’ll be serving and pairing them for the ultimate culinary experience. The beauty of obanyaki is that they can be enjoyed in a variety of ways depending on your mood and preference.

For breakfast or brunch, pair your sweet obanyaki with a cup of green tea or coffee. The mochi-like texture of the pancake will provide you with a satisfying and energizing start to your day.

As a dessert, try stuffing your obanyaki with a variety of fillings such as custard, chocolate, or fruit compote. The possibilities are endless when it comes to flavor combinations, but nothing beats the classic combo of red bean paste and honey.

If you’re hosting a party or gathering, consider serving obanyaki as finger food. Cut them into bite-sized pieces so your guests can sample different flavors without feeling too full.

In Japan, obanyaki is often sold from street vendors and imagawayaki stands alongside other popular Japanese treats like taiyaki and kibi dango. Take inspiration from Japanese street food culture and try serving your obanyaki with savory fillings like cabbage and bacon, or even okonomiyaki-style toppings like mayo, bonito flakes, and Worcestershire sauce.

No matter how you choose to serve or pair your obanyaki, one thing is certain: these stuffed pancakes are bound to be a crowd-pleaser.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 You won't be able to resist taking a big bite out of these sweet treats.
You won’t be able to resist taking a big bite out of these sweet treats.

As with most pancake recipes, the Japanese pancake recipe can be made ahead of time and stored for later use. However, because of the filling(s) inside obanyaki pancakes, they may not store as well once cooked. For best results, it’s recommended to consume them within a few hours of making them.

If you do have leftovers or want to save some for later, though, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. To reheat, place them in a toaster oven or oven set to 350°F (180°C) for about 5-7 minutes or until heated through.

Alternatively, you can also freeze the obanyaki for longer storage. Simply wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap then place in a freezer bag or container. They should last in the freezer for about 2-3 months. To reheat from frozen, remove plastic wrap and either microwave on high for 30-60 seconds or bake in the oven at 350°F (180°C) for about 10 minutes or until heated through.

It’s important to note that while reheating can restore some of its texture and flavor, obanyaki may not taste as good as when eaten freshly prepared. Therefore, it is recommended to cook only what is needed and enjoy them while they’re still fresh off the grill!

Tips for Perfect Results

 These pancakes are the perfect snack to satisfy your sweet tooth.
These pancakes are the perfect snack to satisfy your sweet tooth.

As an experienced culinary explorer, I’ve learned a few helpful tips to ensure the best results for this Japanese Pancake recipe. Follow these tips for wonderful, fluffy obanyaki Japanese pancakes.

Firstly, ensure your batter is the right consistency. The batter should be thick enough to hold its shape on the grill but thin enough to spread slightly once poured into the obanyaki pan. If the batter feels too thick, add a teaspoon of water at a time until it feels right.

Secondly, avoid overfilling the pancakes with fillings like cabbage or red bean paste. Though it can be tempting to load up on tasty fillings, too much will weigh down the pancake and prevent it from cooking evenly.

Thirdly, when adding the filling, make sure it is the same temperature as the batter. For example, if the filling is cold and straight from the fridge, let it sit out for a bit until it reaches room temperature. This step will help ensure that the pancake cooks evenly.

Fourthly, don’t flip your pancakes too early! Wait until you see bubbles appearing on the surface before flipping them over. This will give them time to set and cook thoroughly before being turned over.

Lastly, make sure to clean and oil your obanyaki pan in between batches to prevent sticking and burning. Use a paper towel or a soft cloth during cleaning.

With these tips, you’ll achieve perfect obanyaki Japanese pancakes every time.


Now, let’s move on to my favorite section: answering frequently asked questions (FAQs). It’s important to clarify any doubts before you start cooking, so you can have a smooth experience making your Japanese Pancake Recipe, aka Obanyaki. Here are the most common inquiries that people have about this recipe, and their answers!

What’s the difference between Obanyaki and Imagawayaki?

The nomenclature of these snacks varies depending on which region of Japan you find yourself in. In the Kanto region (Tokyo area), the treats are called Imagawayaki while in the Kansai region (Osaka and Kyoto area) they are referred to as Obanyaki. This has been a longstanding tradition in Japan.

What is Japanese pancake made of?

In the world of Japanese cuisine, the term “okonomiyaki” refers to a savory pancake made with a basic batter consisting of flour, eggs, and stock flavored with dashi. This batter is then loaded with shredded cabbage and a variety of delectable ingredients such as pork, shrimp, and corn. The name “okonomiyaki” comes from the phrase “okonomi” or “as you like it,” and “yaki,” meaning “grilled.”

What is Japanese pancake called?

In this recipe article, we will explore how to make Okonomiyaki, a savory Japanese pancake.

What is different about Japanese pancakes?

When whipping up these pancakes, you’ll want to gather standard pancake ingredients like flour and eggs, but this recipe also calls for a unique ingredient: pureed mountain potato. This secret ingredient not only adds a light and crispy texture to the pancake dough, but it also gives it an added element of flavor. After mixing up the dough, you’ll add shredded cabbage and other tantalizing ingredients before spreading it onto the teppan.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Japanese Obanyaki pancake recipe is a must-try for anyone looking to expand their breakfast or dessert options. The combination of fluffy pancake batter and sweet or savory fillings make this dish truly irresistible. With simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, this recipe is perfect for any skill level in the kitchen.

The versatile nature of Obanyaki makes it a popular street food in Japan, and with this recipe, you can now enjoy it from the comfort of your own home. Whether you opt for classic red bean paste, custard filling, or get creative with other options like fillings made with fruits or even cheeses, there’s no wrong way to prepare this delicious treat.

So, gear up your inner culinary explorer, and don’t hesitate to experiment with different flavors and combinations. Trust me, the result will be outrageously satisfying! Happy cooking!

Japanese Pancake Recipe, Obanyaki

Japanese Pancake Recipe, Obanyaki Recipe

Have you ever had those fish shaped treats filled with red bean paste from Japantown? or round freshly made (I have no idea what they are called, best way to describe would be "pancakes") stuffed with redbean paste or custard cream from the streets of Taiwan? (I think they are very similar) Anyway, I found this special 4 round mold-pan from Japan town a few weeks ago, and ofcourse it's all in Japanese. My mom translated the ingredients in this recipe and I'm posting here to convert to the measurements I'm more familiar with... teaspoons and cups instead of grams!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Japanese
Calories 821.9 kcal


  • 320 g eggs, lightly beaten
  • 280 g brown sugar
  • 40 g honey
  • 4 g baking powder
  • 250 g water (I would also try milk or soymilk)
  • 450 g flour
  • red bean paste (azuki, or other sweet filling)


  • Mix all ingredients except the filling.
  • Grease and heat pan. (Spray with oil or butter up before heating pan).
  • Pour in batter, cook until bottom is golden brown but the top is still tender.
  • Use 2 spoons and spoon a little filling on top of 2 of the pancakes.
  • Turn the other 2 (no filling) pancakes on to the filled ones and let cook for a minute or so and press down a little.
  • Cook until the batter is set.
  • Use a small metal spatula, loosen the edges of the pancake and release it from the pan. (You may have to do this to release the top pancakes).

Your Own Notes


Serving: 224gCalories: 821.9kcalCarbohydrates: 163.1gProtein: 21.7gFat: 9.1gSaturated Fat: 2.6gCholesterol: 338.4mgSodium: 222.1mgFiber: 3.1gSugar: 76.5g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Asian, Beans, Easy, Low Cholesterol, Low Protein, Very Low Carbs
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recommended Recipes Just For You