Youtiao (Chinese Crullers)

Youtiao, Chinese Cruller or Chinese doughnut are two long bread sticks attached together made up of flour deep fried in vegetable oil.

Youtiao, Chinese Cruller or Chinese doughnut are two long bread sticks attached together made up of flour deep fried in vegetable oil, a very popular breakfast dish in China where often served with soybean milk (Dou Jiang). Other common serving suggestions are stuffing it with meat or sliced into smaller pieces then served together with a soup like the Malaysian Bah Kut Teh.

Youtiao dates back to the story of Yue Fei during the Southern Song dynasty. Yue Fei one of China’s most beloved heroes, he was a General during the southern Song dynasty, he was highly known for his intelligence and integrity. A general who is very successful in all of his campaigns including victories against the Jins and once defeated 500,000 strong army with only 800 men.

Yue Fei fought a long campaign against the Jurchens in an effort to recover a large part of Song territory then when he was nearly to attack and retake Kaifeng the corrupt officials advised Emperor Gaozong to recall him back to Hangzhou and initiate a peace process with the Jurchens. What happened is that Qin Hui the prime minister during that period persuaded and instilled fear to Emperor Gaozong advising him that offering a peace treaty with the Jurchens is a better option than fighting them. Qin Hui lobbied that a defeat at Kaifeng might cause the Jurchens to release Emperor Qinzong, threatening his claim to the throne, he then followed the advice and sent the order. Qin Hui together with his wife then thought of a scheme to get rid of Yue Fei by executing him based on false charges.

The people love Yue Fei as their hero so in anger and protest a cook prepared a pair of breadsticks that roughly resembles a shape of a person, he then joined then together and deep fried them, symbolizing the leader and his wife boiled in oil. It was then named as You Zha Gui meaning “deep fried devils” or “deep fried ghosts” and it is where Youtiao originated.

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Youtiao (Chinese Crullers)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 8 reviews
  • Author: Raymund
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 3 mins
  • Total Time: 3 hours 3 mins
  • Cuisine: Chinese


Youtiao, Chinese Cruller or Chinese doughnut are two long bread sticks attached together made up of flour deep fried in vegetable oil.



Yeast Starter

  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp yeast



  1. Combine all yeast starter in a mixing bowl then place in a warm location, leave it for 15 minutes or until it gets foamy.
  2. Sift dough ingredients together except the water into a separate mixing bowl.
  3. Pour the yeast starter together with the water then knead the dough until smooth roughly around 5 minutes.
  4. Place in a dusted bowl then set it aside for 30 minutes. Remove from bowl then lightly knead for 2 more minutes.
  5. Place back in the dusted bowl, cover it tightly with cling wrap then leave it in a warm location for 2 hours.
  6. Turn the dough to the floured board then roll the dough to form a long rectangle (4 in x 24 in x .5 in).
  7. Cut the shaped dough into 1/2 inch strips, then place two strips together one on top of each other. Do it with the remaining dough.
  8. Prepare a wok filled with oil for deep frying, once hot enough get a joined strip, lightly press then stretch to desired length. Gently lower into the hot oil then deep fry until they turn golden brown and puffy. You will notice as it cooks the dough will increase in size tremendously.




23 Responses

  1. We call them cakwe, and eat them with sweet and sour chilli and pineapple bits

  2. They look light, flaky and absolutely wonderful! It’s interesting that something that looks so lovely has such a violent story behind it.

  3. These look delicious! I might have to try and make them 🙂 Where do you find ammonium bicarbonate and alum? Are they regular grocery store items or do you go to a specialty grocer?

  4. Juliana says:

    OMG! This are one of favorites for breakfast…yours look great…light…perfect texture. I would not dare to make it at home but look forward to have it when I go to Taiwan…
    Have a great week Raymund 😀

  5. peachkins says:

    This is interesting! Is the texture the same as our Bicho-Bicho???

  6. Awesome! it’s been a while since I last tasted one. The story behind it is so cool too.

  7. Looks exactly like Spanish churros (or porras, as they call the fat churros some places) sold for breakfast in Spain. Will give them a try, thanks!

  8. I remember seeing this recently, (but) I couldn’t remember if it was here or G+. Let’s assume it was there as I’m yet to leave a comment here.

    Looking delish as always and I must have these (whenever) I enjoy a bowl of juk!

  9. That’s such a sad and touching story – thanks for the history of them, Ray !

  10. Shirley says:

    I love these! But I had never heard the story behind them … thanks for sharing.

  11. Philip says:

    It’s called ‘Yu Char Koay’ in Hokkien… Complements and completes a serve of ‘Bah Kut Teh’ (Pork Rib Soup). I love it that there’s a story to comes with the recipe, an online/digital version of a dinner and a show. Thanks for sharing!

  12. PolaM says:

    Wow! How did you get them so fluffy and open?!?! They look delicious!

  13. Vasun says:

    Hi Raymund, I’ve left a link on my blog post on slow-cooker brown rice fish porridge ( to this post. Hope that’s ok.

  14. jimbo says:

    You don’t put yeast in youtiao and definitely not here because you’ve already included the 3 raising agents.

    • Raymund says:

      This works for me and thats the result on the picture but if you have other recipes that work can you share it here so I can give it a try, lesser ingredients are better. Thanks for your comments.

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