You Tiao | Chinese Cruller 油条

Updated: May 18, 2020

As soon as McDonald's announce it's donut sticks, my kids went crazy. Or maybe the world? I told my kids that McDonald's just imitate Dunkin' Donuts, cos Dunkin' Donuts have donut fries (that's what it is called) around since 2018 (if I am not wrong). But my kids insisted that McDonald's will taste better.

During this Covid19 lockdown period, McDonald's seems to limit their online delivery services, so I decided to make some "donut sticks". But in a Chinese style. Yes, I am making the famous Chinese street food, You Tiao. I am not a fan of donuts. But I do enjoy some other kinds of fried dough, especially these Chinese crullers in particular. I usually enjoy them by dunking into my morning espresso. But since McDonald's has a chocolate dipping sauce to go along, I decided to serve these fried dough sticks with my Gianduja.

To have that distinct aroma, I am using ammonium bicarbonate. You can find this in any baking aisle in supermarkets. If you can't get your hands on it, you can replace it with more baking soda. One bad thing about these homemade Chinese crullers is that you need to consume them straight outta frying. Even after I plated and snapped some photos, these crullers lost their crispiness. I heard that commercial Chinese crullers contain lots of industrial leavening agents to maintain that crispiness for a long period of time. I am not sure if those are harmful tho.

Lastly, you can dust your You Tiao with some icing sugar and cinnamon powder. I still prefer mine plain tho. My kids said that these taste way better than those street food vendors, especially with that Gianduja as a dipping sauce. In closing, I really hope you will give this recipe a try.


(Make 28 mini You Tiao)

  • Water, 125g

  • Sea Salt, 6g

  • Egg White, 6g

  • Baking Powder, 1g

  • Baking Soda, 3g

  • Ammonium Bicarbonate, 1g

  • Unbleached All Purpose Flour, 200g

  • Canola / Grapeseed / Peanut / Vegetable Oil, For Deep Frying

  • Gianduja, For Serving

  • Icing Sugar, For Dusting

  • Cinnamon Powder, For Dusting


  • Dutch Oven


  1. Please visit my "How To Make Gianduja" page for the recipe.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine water, salt, egg white, baking powder, baking soda and ammonium bicarbonate.

  3. Stir to combine well and dissolve all the leavening agents.

  4. Gradually, add in the flour while still mixing with your other hand or spatula.

  5. Combine the mixture well until it becomes a dough. You can do this by hand or a spatula.

  6. Once it becomes a dough, knead the dough inside the bowl until all the nooks and crannies of flour are kneaded into the dough, about 3 to 5 minutes.

  7. Transfer to a very lightly floured surface, continue kneading for another 3 to 5 minutes.

  8. The dough should be smooth and not sticky. It should pass the "window-pane" test.

  9. The hydration is 62.5%. The ratio of water to dough should be just right. But, if the dough is too dry, add in water, 1 TBSP at a time. If the dough is too sticky, add in flour, 1 TBSP at a time.

  10. Roll the dough into a ball.

  11. Lightly grease the mixing bowl and dough ball with oil.

  12. Cover with a damp lint-free kitchen towel.

  13. Set aside for 1 hour.

  14. Grease working surface lightly with oil.

  15. Roll the dough into a rectangle with about 1/8 inch thickness.

  16. Slice the rectangle into half lengthwise.

  17. Slice into 1 inch thick ribbons.

  18. You should get 28 ribbons.

  19. Stack 1 ribbon onto another ribbon which makes 14 stacked ribbons.

  20. Slice the stacked ribbons into halves.

  21. You should end up with 28 small stacked ribbons.

  22. Cover with the damp lint-free kitchen towel.

  23. Set aside for 15 mins.

  24. Prepare a dutch oven, over medium-high heat with at least 2 inches of oil.

  25. *To check the temperature, insert a wooden chopstick into the oil. If bubbles form around the chopstick, the oil is ready for deep frying.*

  26. *Cover the rest of the dough when working with 1. The will prevent the rest of the dough from drying out.*

  27. Press a chopstick in the center of the stacked ribbon gently lengthwise to create a sort of groove.

  28. Gently pinch both ends and stretch.

  29. Just before dropping into the oil, give the dough another stretch.

  30. *Be very careful as the oil is super hot.*

  31. The dough will puff up immediately.

  32. Once the bottom is golden brown, flip.

  33. Deep fried until both sides are golden brown.

  34. Remove from heat and set aside on a wire cooling rack or a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain off excess oil.

  35. Repeat the process for the remaining dough.

  36. Serve with some Gianduja immediately.

  37. You can dust the You Tiao with some icing sugar and cinnamon powder. I prefer mine plain.

Here's the recipe video:

#youtiao #chinese #frieddough #油条

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