You Tiao [Chinese Donut]

You Tiao is a savory Chinese donut that consists of two dough strips being conjoined and deep-fried. This recipe is vegan-friendly and uses a few basic ingredients that are probably already available in your pantry.

This Chinese donut is popular in many Asian countries, and so it has many different names. In my home country, Indonesia, people call it cakwe or yau char kwai. It has different local names in other Southeast Asian countries and this simply proves how tasty this donut is.

You tiao

If you have never eaten You Tiao before, it is essentially a crispy donut with a little chewy texture but soft and airy on the inside. Typically, people dip and eat it with rice congee, soy milk, or coffee (my personal favorite).

The one difficult process I found was when we have to stretch the dough strips without pinching the two ends too much. On my next attempt, I will try to pull the dough not as long. The more gentle pull will help in getting an even puff throughout the stick.

Another Chinese recipe for your discovery: Egg Tart

You Tiao

You Tiao [Chinese Donut]
5 from 1 vote
Course Breakfast, Snack


  • 260 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 10 g (2 tsp) baking powder
  • 1.25 g (¼ tsp) baking soda
  • 3 g (½ tsp) salt
  • 8 g (2 tsp) granulated white sugar
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) flavorless vegetable oil/cooking oil
  • 150 ml (½ cup + 2 tbsp) water


  • Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then make a well in the center.
  • Add oil and water into the center. Using a wooden spoon or chopstick, stir everything to combine thoroughly.
  • Once the liquid is absorbed, start kneading with your hand for about 1 minute. The dough will be a little dry, but it should form a ball.
  • Leave the dough in the bowl and cover it with a plastic wrap or damp cloth. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  • Knead the dough for another 5 minutes. Then coat the ball of dough with cooking oil so it does not dry out. Cover again and let sit at room temperature for 4 hours or in the fridge overnight.
  • If you stored it overnight, leave it out on the counter for 1-2 hours until it gets to room temperature. Then transfer it onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Flour your hands and the dough if it feels sticky. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Then roll each to a long log.
  • With a rolling pin, flatten each log into a rectangle of about ¼-inch thick.
  • With a knife or bench scraper, cut them into ¾-inch wide strips.
  • Preheat enough cooking oil in a pot or deep skillet to 400°F or 200°C.
  • Place one identical dough strip over another. Lightly flour them if sticky. Then use a wooden skewer or thin chopstick to press down the middle lengthwise. With one good press, it should be to make an indentation on both sides of the dough.
  • When the oil is ready, gently pull the two ends of each piece to stretch it to about 4 times its original length. Place in the oil and start turning it around with tongs or a chopstick after 3 seconds. This constant turning will allow the dough to puff easily and evenly. Fry until it is golden brown.
  • Repeat with the rest and remember to cover any uncooked dough with a damp cloth or plastic wrap so it does not dry out.