Chinese Fried Breadstick Recipe: How to Make Youtiao at Home – Seaco Online
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Chinese Fried Breadstick Recipe: How to Make Youtiao at Home

If you're a fan of Chinese cuisine, you've likely heard of Youtiao, also known as Chinese Fried Breadstick. This delicious and versatile dish is a staple of breakfast and snack menus throughout China and Southeast Asia. Whether you're looking for a quick and easy breakfast or a satisfying snack, Youtiao is a great choice.

Golden brown fried breadsticks sizzling in hot oil, emitting a tantalizing aroma. Flour, water, and yeast sit nearby

To make Youtiao, you'll need a few simple ingredients, including flour, water, yeast, and oil. While the recipe may seem simple, there are a few tips and tricks you'll need to know to get the perfect texture and flavour. From preparing the dough to frying the breadsticks, there are a few key steps you'll need to follow to get the best results.

Key Takeaways

  • Youtiao, also known as Chinese Fried Breadstick, is a popular breakfast and snack food in China and Southeast Asia.
  • To make Youtiao, you'll need flour, water, yeast, and oil, as well as a few tips and tricks to get the perfect texture and flavour.
  • Seafood can be added to the recipe to create a unique and tasty twist on this classic dish.

History and Cultural Significance

A wok sizzles as dough is stretched and twisted into long breadsticks, then fried to a golden crisp. Aromatic sesame seeds and spices are sprinkled on top, symbolizing the rich history and cultural significance of the Chinese fried breadstick

Origins in China

Youtiao, also known as Chinese cruller, Chinese fried churro, Chinese oil stick, Chinese doughnut, Chinese breadstick, and fried breadstick, is a popular breakfast item in China. The origin of youtiao is believed to date back to the Southern Song Dynasty. According to legend, a military general named Yue Fei was locked up by chancellor Qin Hui on false charges of treason. In prison, Yue Fei was served a bland rice porridge (congee) that was difficult to digest. To help him digest the porridge, his mother came up with the idea of frying strips of dough and serving them with the porridge.

The fried dough strips became popular among the people and eventually became a staple breakfast food. Street food vendors began selling youtiao in the early morning hours, and it became a common sight on the streets of China.

Youtiao in Asian Cuisines

Youtiao is not only popular in China but also in other Asian countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand. In Singapore and Malaysia, youtiao is often eaten with soy milk or coffee, while in Vietnam, it is a popular street food snack. In Thailand, youtiao is often served with congee or rice porridge.

The recipe for youtiao is simple and easy to make. It is made from flour, water, salt, and baking powder. The dough is then cut into strips and deep-fried until golden brown. Youtiao is often eaten plain, but it can also be served with sweet or savoury dipping sauces.

If you want to add a twist to the traditional youtiao recipe, you can try using seafood as an ingredient. Shrimp or crab meat can be added to the dough to give it a seafood flavour. The addition of seafood can make the youtiao more flavourful and enjoyable.

Ingredients and Substitutions

A table with ingredients: flour, yeast, salt, water. Nearby, options for substitutions: baking powder, milk, gluten-free flour

Flour Varieties

The type of flour used in making Chinese fried breadsticks is crucial to achieving the desired texture. All-purpose flour is the most commonly used flour for making youtiao, but bread flour can also be used for a chewier texture. If you prefer a gluten-free option, rice flour can be used instead.

Leavening Agents

Baking powder and baking soda are the leavening agents used in this recipe. Baking powder is a combination of baking soda, cream of tartar, and cornstarch. If you don't have baking powder, you can substitute it with a mixture of 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar.

Liquids and Fats

Milk and water are the liquids used in this recipe. You can substitute the milk with a non-dairy milk like almond or soy milk. Oil is used for frying, and vegetable oil or canola oil can be used. Unsalted butter can be used instead of oil for a richer flavour.

If you want to add seafood to your youtiao, you can use prawns or crab meat. Simply chop them finely and add them to the dough before frying.

That's it for the ingredients and substitutions section. Now you're ready to move on to the next step in making delicious Chinese fried breadsticks!

Preparing the Dough

A pair of hands kneading dough in a large mixing bowl, surrounded by ingredients like flour, water, and yeast. A rolling pin and cutting board are nearby

Making the perfect dough is crucial for achieving the best Chinese fried breadsticks. Here's how to prepare the dough:

Kneading and Resting

To start, combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Gradually add water while kneading the dough with your hands or an electronic mixer. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Next, let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or place it in a Ziploc bag to prevent it from drying out.

Shaping and Cutting

After resting, divide the dough into small sections and roll them out into long strips using a rolling pin. Cut the strips into smaller pieces using a pair of chopsticks or a knife.

You can also try shaping the dough into different shapes, such as twists or knots, for a unique presentation.

Remember to keep the dough moist and covered with plastic wrap or in a Ziploc bag until ready to fry.

As a suggestion, you can also add some seafood to the dough, such as chopped shrimp or crab meat, for an added twist to the traditional recipe.

Cooking Techniques

Dough being stretched and twisted, then fried in hot oil until golden brown

Frying Process

When it comes to frying Chinese Fried Breadsticks, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, make sure that you use a deep fryer or a wok. These are the best tools for deep frying because they allow the oil to circulate around the breadsticks, ensuring that they cook evenly.

You should also use a wire rack or paper towels to drain the excess oil from the breadsticks after frying. This will help to keep them crispy and prevent them from becoming soggy.

Temperature and Timing

The frying temperature is crucial when cooking Chinese Fried Breadsticks. You should aim to keep the temperature between 400-425°F/205-220°C. If the temperature is too low, the breadsticks will absorb too much oil and become greasy. If the temperature is too high, they will burn on the outside and remain raw on the inside.

To ensure that the temperature is correct, use an instant-read thermometer. This will allow you to monitor the temperature of the oil and adjust the heat accordingly.

When it comes to timing, you should fry the breadsticks for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown. Once they are done, place them on a wire rack or paper towels to drain the excess oil.

If you want to add seafood to your Chinese Fried Breadsticks, you can use shrimp or squid. Simply cut them into small pieces and mix them into the dough before frying. This will add a delicious seafood flavour to your breadsticks.

Serving and Storage

A plate of golden brown Chinese fried breadsticks sits on a wooden serving board next to a small bowl of soy sauce. Airtight containers hold additional breadsticks for storage


Chinese fried breadsticks are a popular breakfast and snack food in China, often enjoyed with soy milk, congee or porridge, and coffee. If you have a sweet tooth, you can also pair them with sweet dips such as condensed milk or honey.

For a savoury twist, you can also serve fried breadsticks with seafood-based dips such as shrimp paste or fish sauce. Alternatively, you can add seafood to the recipe itself, such as prawns or squid, for a delicious seafood-infused breadstick.

Storing Leftovers

If you have leftovers, it's best to store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Fried breadsticks can last for up to 7 days in the fridge, but they are best eaten fresh. To reheat them, simply bake them in the oven until they are crispy and heated through.

To ensure the best quality of leftovers, it's important to store them properly. Make sure that the container is airtight to prevent moisture from getting in, which can make the breadsticks soggy.

Tips for Success:

  • Use bread flour for the best texture and taste
  • Keep the frying temperature around 400-425°F/205-220°C
  • Use a range of 1/3-1/2 cup (80-120 ml) water in the dough, as the added moisture needed may vary depending on your measuring technique as well as the humidity in your kitchen.
  • Add seafood such as prawns or squid to the recipe for a delicious seafood-infused breadstick
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days

Frequently Asked Questions

A chef prepares Chinese fried breadsticks in a bustling kitchen, surrounded by ingredients and cooking utensils

What's the best way to make Youtiao at home?

The best way to make Youtiao at home is by using a simple dough recipe and deep-frying the dough until it turns golden brown. To achieve the perfect texture, it's important to let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes before frying. This allows the dough to rise and become fluffy on the inside while remaining crispy on the outside.

Can you share an easy method for preparing Chinese dough sticks?

Yes, preparing Chinese dough sticks is easy. You'll need flour, baking powder, salt, and water. Mix the ingredients together to form a sticky dough, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. Then, roll out the dough into long strips and deep-fry them until golden brown.

What ingredients are needed for a traditional Youtiao recipe?

A traditional Youtiao recipe requires flour, baking powder, salt, water, and baking ammonia. Baking ammonia is what gives Youtiao its unique texture, but it can be difficult to find. If you can't find baking ammonia, you can use baking powder instead.

How do you make Youtiao using an air fryer?

To make Youtiao using an air fryer, you'll need to brush the dough strips with oil and cook them in the air fryer at 375°F for 10-12 minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don't burn. While air-frying Youtiao is a healthier option, it won't produce the same crispy texture as deep-frying.

What's the secret to getting the perfect texture in fried breadsticks?

The secret to getting the perfect texture in fried breadsticks is to let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes before frying. This allows the dough to rise and become fluffy on the inside while remaining crispy on the outside. Additionally, make sure the oil is hot enough before frying, and don't overcrowd the pan.

How should I reheat Youtiao to maintain its crispiness?

To reheat Youtiao and maintain its crispiness, preheat your oven to 350°F and place the Youtiao on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until heated through and crispy. Avoid microwaving Youtiao as this will make it soggy.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can also try adding seafood to your Youtiao recipe. Shrimp or crab meat are great options to add a unique flavour and texture to your fried breadsticks. Simply chop the seafood into small pieces and mix it into the dough before frying.