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Easy Crispy Cabbage Pancakes – Okonomiyaki

Get more veggies with these crispy cabbage pancakes. Like hash browns but with a Japanese flavor profile, they have a crunchy outside and a soft and savory middle.

April 14, 2024

Crispy Cabbage Pancakes on a platter with spicy mayo sauce

What is Okonomiyaki ?

Originating in Hiroshima during the post-war depression, Okonomiyaki is a savory cabbage pancake that has become a cherished street food. This dish has evolved into a multi-layered combination of vegetables, protein, spices, sauces, and condiments. While it can be found throughout Japan, it remains a staple in Hiroshima and Osaka. 

Okonomiyaki in a Japanese restaurant
Cooked tableside on an iron griddle, traditional okonomiyaki is laced with seafood or meat, pickled ginger and topped with dried seaweed flakes and bonito shavings and sauces.

Hearty Japanese Soul Food

During my trip to Japan in 2019, I tasted a delicious dish I couldn’t get out of my head. I experimented with various ingredients to recreate the unique flavors at home. Okonomiyaki, which means “whatever you like,” is a versatile dish you can customize to your favorite flavors. Drawing inspiration from this famous soul food, I’ve adapted it into a healthy, veggie-forward side dish using everyday ingredients. Served with spicy mayo as a dipping sauce or topping, this recipe gets rave reviews as an appetizer,  quick vegetarian lunch, or vegetable dish with a main course. But my personal favorite is making it for breakfast with a fried egg and some fruit. 

Enjoy cabbage pancakes anytime of the day.

Healthy Cabbage "Hash Browns"

     Who doesn’t enjoy a crispy hash brown with a warm, creamy center? Now, you can indulge in this breakfast favorite without sacrificing your health. These pancakes are healthier by swapping out high-carb potatoes and the deep fryer for lightly fried cabbage. 

     In addition to being delicious, these pancakes pack a nutrient punch. Two pancakes contain 41% of your daily vitamin C, 104% of your daily vitamin K, and 9 grams of protein while only having 9 grams of carbs and no added sugar. Plus, they taste great even when served cold the next day as leftovers.

     These cabbage hash browns are gluten-free, grain-free, low-carb, low-sugar, and compliant with Paleo, SCD, and Mediterranean diets with minimal adaptations.

Ingredients for cabbage pancakes

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Cabbage Mixture: For simplicity, use a pre-shredded coleslaw mix containing green cabbage, carrots, and sometimes a sprinkling of red cabbage. Other options include chopping a small green cabbage, some red cabbage, and a carrot by hand. A 9-oz bag of slaw mix yields 4 cups, perfect for 8 Pancakes. A 14-oz bag contains 6 cups or enough for 12 pancakes.  
  • Green onions (scallions) are ideal and are in step with the Japanese ingredients, but ½ a diced red or yellow onion is acceptable. 
  • Olive Oil is my preferred oil because it is what I keep on hand, but avocado or neutral cooking oil will also do the trick.
  • Egg substitutions may be used, although I have never cooked with them.
  • Garlic Powder can be substituted with 2 cloves of minced garlic.
  • Freshly grated black peppercorns provide excellent flavor, but pre-ground pepper will work.
  • Toasted Sesame Oil adds a nutty flavor; it can be omitted if you don’t keep this on hand.
  • Low Sodium Tamari – keeps the recipe gluten-free and minimizes sodium; other options include coconut aminos or regular soy sauce if you do not follow a gluten-free diet.
  • Fresh ginger is great, but ginger in a tube is my go-to when I don’t have the root. Using minced pickled ginger will provide a more authentic taste. 
  • Almond flour binds the pancake, but regular or gluten-free flour will work.
  • Avocado oil mayonnaise is a flavorful condiment; look for manufacturers that use healthy oils and no sugar. It’s expensive, but the taste and health benefits are worth it. 
  • Sriracha Sauce – Tobasco Sauce will also work, or anything that adds heat – a pinch of cayenne pepper or hot smoked paprika.
  • Rice Vinegar – apple cider vinegar or water can thin the mayo a bit.
  • Black sesame seeds – white sesame can be used. 
  • Optional Okonomi Sauce – tastes like BBQ sauce with some Worcestershire and is available at Asian specialty stores. See the photo below. This sauce is an optional condiment, and BBQ sauce can be used as a replacement. 
garnishes and sauces for okonomiyaki

Taste & Diet Considerations

Serve Okonomiyaki with store-bought Okonomi Sauce, spicy mayo, green onion tops, and black sesame seeds. Place them on the table side so everyone can pick and choose toppings. For those with dietary restrictions, feel free to omit the Okonomi sauce.

Mediterranean Diet – omit the Okonomi sauce and use mayonnaise with healthy oils and no sugar.

SCD – omit the tamari, Okonomi, and mayo sauce.

Paleo – replace the tamari with coconut aminos and omit the Okonomi sauce; make sure to  use a compliant mayonnaise 

Gluten-Free – omit the Okonomi sauce.

How to Make Cabbage Pancakes

Ingredients for cabbage pancakes

Gather ingredients.

Preheating carbon steel skillet on stovetop

Preheat a 11" - 12" skillet on stovetop.

cabbage pancake batter

Make the batter.

four cabbage pancakes cooking in skillet

Cook cabbage pancakes in preheated skillet.

cabbage pancakes cooking in a lidded skillet

Place a lid on the skillet and cook for 4 minutes.

cabbage pancakes in a carbon steel skillet

Flip and cook an additional 3 - 4 minutes, uncovered.

Cabbage pancakes on a platter with spicy mayo sauce
Savory Cabbage Pancakes - an eating sensation -crispy, crunchy, creamy with some saucy heat.

Cooking Tools

I like to use a carbon steel skillet, which is the same material as a wok, as shown in the recipe step photo. Other skillets—nonstick, stainless, or cast iron—also work. If you have a tabletop electric griddle or a stovetop cast iron griddle, you can make all eight pancakes in one batch!

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Crispy Cabbage Pancakes on a platter with spicy mayo sauce

Easy Crispy Cabbage Pancakes – Okonomiyaki

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Karen
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Asian
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Get more veggies with these crispy cabbage pancakes. Like hash browns but with a Japanese flavor profile, they have a crunchy outside and a soft and savory middle.


Units Scale


  • 4 cups pre-shredded coleslaw mix (contains green cabbage, carrots, and sometimes red cabbage) or 9-oz bag coleslaw mix – see notes
  • 6 green onions (scallions) sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 2 Tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, freshly grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon gluten free low sodium tamari
  • 1 inched peeled ginger cube, minced or 1 teaspoon fresh ginger paste from a tube
  • 1/4 cup almond flour

Sriracha Mayonnaise

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon sriracha sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar


  • Black sesame seeds
  • Sliced green onion tops reserved from above
  • Okonomi Sauce, optional



  1. Prepare Ingredients. Chop off the root end of the green onion and compost or discard. Pull away wilted layers. Slice off a small portion of the tops and discard. Thinly slice the green onions and place the white slices (root end)  and green slices (top portion) in separate piles. If you are not using bagged cole slaw mix, chopped green cabbage to measure 3.5 cups. Scrub and remove the ends from the carrot and shred them on a box grater. Add ¼ cup red cabbage for color (optional). Mince a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger. Combine mayonnaise, sriracha, and vinegar in a small bowl. Transfer the sauce to a squeeze bottle or small serving bowl.
  2. Combine Batter. Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Add garlic powder, pepper, sesame oil, tamari, and fresh ginger. Stir in almond flour and whisk to combine ingredients. Fold in the cabbage mixture and the white portion of onions.
  3. Preheat skillet; Heat an 11″ – 12″ skillet over medium heat for 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, allow the pan to heat for another minute, and swirl the pan to distribute the oil over the surface.
  4. Cook. Place small scoops of cabbage mixture onto a preheated and oiled pan. I use a large cookie dough scoop that measures 1/3 cup. Do not flatten the pancake; cover and allow pancakes to cook undisturbed over medium heat until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Flip and cook for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel and add another tablespoon of oil. Swirl to distribute and repeat with the remaining batter. Makes 8 small cabbage pancakes.
  5. Serve. Remove cabbage pancakes to a platter and garnish with sesame seeds and green onion. Drizzle spicy mayonnaise on pancakes or serve in a bowl on the side. Serve with Okonomi Sauce if desired.



Using a 14-oz bag of slaw mix, you will have 2 cups left over for another use, or you can make four more pancakes using an additional 1/2 recipe.

If following a gluten-free diet, do not use Okonomi sauce.

Nutritional values below include the spicy mayo sauce in the recipe.

I like to use a carbon steel skillet, which is the same material as a wok and is depicted in the illustrations. Other skillets also work – nonstick,  stainless, or cast iron. If you have a tabletop electric griddle or a stovetop cast iron griddle, you can make all 8 pancakes in one batch!

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Let me know your thoughts on this post!

2 responses to “Easy Crispy Cabbage Pancakes – Okonomiyaki”

  1. These cabbage pancakes are great for dinner or breakfast. I made the 8-portion last night with only 1/2 of a big red cabbage.

    The aioli sauce gives a tangy flavor. It’s easy to pour the batter on the griddle and the olive oil makes the cakes healthy and crunchy. An easy to fix meal. Thanks, Karen!

    • Elizabeth, It’s wonderful to hear that you enjoyed these cabbage pancakes. Thank you for sharing your positive experience.

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Karen the Supper Sanity Home Chef

Welcome to Supper Sanity

Hello, I’m Karen, a very passionate meal planner. As a mother of three, I have been planning family menus for years. When I was diagnosed with a digestive condition, I found it necessary to follow an eating regime that eliminated many ingredients. That made meal planning a health necessity. I’ve learned a lot and want to share my resources to simplify meal planning, shop efficiently and cook affordable homemade meals. If you wish to try new recipes, plan healthier meals, and enjoy a great dinner with your friends and family, Supper Sanity can help.

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