Korean Honey Cookies - Yakgwa

Korean Honey Cookies - Yakgwa Recipe

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Vickie Parks


Yakgwa (or sometimes spelled Yak-kwa) is a traditional sweet cookie from Korea. Instead of cutting the dough into diagonal-edged rectangles as covered in the recipe instructions below, some families prefer to roll the dough into a large circle and then use 1-inch cookie cutters to make round cookie shapes with decorative scalloped or flower-like edges. The title translates to 'medicinal confection' (as yak means medicine and gwa means confection), because earlier generations valued honey for its medicinal qualities, and many honey-based dishes were named 'yak'.


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about 60 cookies
1 Hr
15 Min
Deep Fry


  • 3 cups
    vegetable oil (for deep-frying)

  • 3 cups
    all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup
    sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup
  • 1/4 cup
    rice wine or sake
  • 1/4 cup

  • 1 cup
  • 1/2 cup
    rice syrup (substitute honey if you can't find rice syrup or rice malt syrup)
  • 1/2 cup
  • 1 small
    piece gresh ginger, sliced thinly (or you can use 1 to 2 tsp ground ginger)

  • 2 Tbsp
    sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup
    pine nuts, finely chopped

How to Make Korean Honey Cookies - Yakgwa


  1. Add flour and sesame oil to a medium-size mixing bowl, and mix together with your hands. Rub the flour between your hands and fingers until well combined.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the honey, rice wine (or sake) and water together. Add the flour mixture to the honey mixture, and knead gently with your hands until a dough forms. It should be the consistency and texture of a pie crust. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and set aside for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, roll dough on a lightly floured a flat surface into a square about 1/2-inch thick. Cut dough into 1-inch strips. Then with a knife, cut strips to make 1-inch rectangles with diagonal edges (sort of diamond-shaped). Or if preferred, use 1-inch cookie cutters with scalloped edges to cut flower-shaped circles. Using the tip of a fork, pierce holes into center of the tops of each cookie.
    Place rice syrup, honey and ginger in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, and them immediately remove from heat. Transfer syrup to a baking dish large enough to hold all the cookies at once, and set aside.
  5. Heat oil in a saucepan to 300°F.
  6. Working in small batches, place cookies in oil, and let deep-fry about 4 to 5 minutes or until puffy and all cookies are floating on the top, gently turning occasionally for even frying.
  7. Remove cookies from oil, and place in Gingered-Honey Syrup for a few minutes (to allow syrup to be absorbed), turning at least once to allow even coating.
  8. Using a slotted spoon, remove cookies from syrup and place on strip of parchment paper. Sprinkle a pinch of sesame seeds and pine nuts on top of each cookie.

Printable Recipe Card

About Korean Honey Cookies - Yakgwa

Course/Dish: Cookies
Main Ingredient: Flour
Regional Style: Korean
Dietary Needs: Low Sodium Low Carb
Hashtag: #low cholesterol

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