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Authentic Thai Roti Dessert Recipe

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Authentic Thai roti dessert recipe makes sweet and salty pan-fried snacks. In Thailand, these crispy pancakes are drizzled with sweetened condensed milk and often served with filling options. Today we’re heading back to the basics of this popular street food with a simple, traditional method of preparation.

Thai roti dessert squares generously topped with sweetened condensed milk on a banana leaf.

After making this, try some of my other Southern Thai cuisine recipes, with classic Hat Yai fried chicken, easy khua kling, and spicy kaeng som.

What is Thai roti dessert

I often refer to pan-fried roti as Thai pancakes, because to me, they totally look like pancakes! The basic form of this Thai dessert is simply a thin, pan-fried flatbread which is yummy and crispy, served with a topping of sweetened condensed milk.


This popular dessert/snack is immensely popular in Southeast Asian cuisine, with many variations of fillings that can be found today. Filling options like egg, jam, banana (roti gluay), chocolate, meat, coconut, are all common options at street food markets in Thailand, where these crunchy and crispy treats are loved by both tourists and locals.

Thai girl about to take a bite of a piece of Thai roti, holding a clay dish with the dessert squares on a banana leaf, drizzled with coconut milk.
Close-up of Thai pan-fried bread squares topped with sweetened condensed milk.

In this recipe, we’ll be making the authentic old-school/traditional version without fillings. Starting with a no-filling flatbread is a great way of getting to know the techniques for working with the homemade dough.

This Thai street dessert consists out of a dough, which is a simple mix of flour, eggs, water, oil, and a bit of salt. Mixing the dough thoroughly is key!

After mixing the dough, it’s left to rest, after which it is shaped into balls. Next comes the secret weapon in this recipe – coating each dough ball with a layer of melted butter.

Dough balls on a flat working surface.

After they’re buttered up, we’re letting them rest one more time. Then, we’re turning them into thin sheets of crispy goodness by rolling them out thinly. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, I did this together with my little niece and we had a blast! The goal is to have fun, and they’ll taste amazing either way.

The next step is cooking them, which you want to do in a non-stick pan or a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Try to achieve a nice golden-brown color on both sides. It only takes a minute or so on each side.

After cooking, drizzle with sweetened condensed milk for the best flavor.

Southern Thailand

Southern Thailand is the place to be for spectacular pan-fried breads, where Thai roti dessert is widely consumed, and where they’re expertly prepared by skilled vendors in street food stalls. The dough of these golden fried delights are thrown, flipped, and stretched right in front of your eyes, a true art to see. (Don’t worry, we’re not going to try that at home!) The vendors serve this crispy snack at all times of the day. You can begin your day with a fried pancake breakfast, enjoy it as a snack, dessert, or end your day with a well deserved late-night treat.

Close-up of golden-brown fried Thai flatbread dessert squares with condensed milk on top.

In my quest for searching all about this pan-fried snack, I’ve learned that it didn’t come to exist in Thailand. It’s actually adapted from the authentic recipe from India, where it’s a staple food, often served with curries. Indians began migrating to Southeast Asia, and they brought their culinary traditions, including roti.

The local people of Southeast Thailand embraced this dish and gave it a sweet spin, served as a dessert or snack.

Recipe tips

  • Follow the exact rest-time instructions to make sure your dough comes out perfect. Also, thoroughly kneed your dough until it’s elastic.
  • Apply a generous amount of melted butter to your dough balls for the best results flavor wise, and use a good brand of butter if you can.
  • Roll the dough as thinly as possible for an extra crispy Thai dessert.
  • Be patient and fry one by one.
  • Don’t flip your Thai flatbread too often, this can break its structure.
  • And lastly, have fun while making this recipe! It’s a great activity to do with your kids.

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Overhead view of water, all-purpose flour, melted butter, salt, egg, oil, and flowers displayed on a banana leaf.
  • All-purpose flour – All-purpose flour is great for its neutral flavor.
  • Salt – The dough of this Thai dessert is known to have a subtle hint of salty flavor, which balances out the sweetness of the condensed milk.
  • Oil – I recommend using a neutral flavored oil such as vegetable oil or sunflower oil. They have a high smoke point, so they’re perfect for frying. For a healthier option, you can use avocado oil, which also has a high smoke point.
  • Egg – Egg binds the ingredients together and ensures a golden color.
  • Lukewarm water – When mixing the dough, add water gradually.
  • Butter – Use a high quality butter and apply generously.
  • Condensed milk – Used as a sweet topping.

Short recipe video

Step-by-step instructions

Pour flour into a large mixing bowl. Create a hole in the center and add egg, salt, and oil.Top-down view of flour and egg in a mixing bowl.

Start kneading the dough with your hands while gradually adding the water. Knead until you get a smooth dough, bouncing back slightly when poked.One image is showing water being added to the dough while kneading it, the other is displaying kneaded dough in a mixing bowl.

Transfer the dough to a bowl and cover with a damp towel for 1 hour.One image showing dough in a large mixing bowl, and the other image shows the bowl covered with a damp towel.

Using both hands, pull and stretch the dough multiple times.Two hands stretching roti dough.

Divide the dough into pieces, each weighing 2.5-2.8 oz. Shape them into balls by pulling the dough downward a few times.Two hands shaping a small amount of dough into a ball.

Apply a generous amount of melted butter to each. Transfer each ball to a mixing bowl and cover with a damp towel for 30 minutes.Buttered dough balls on a flat working surface.

After resting, flatten the dough balls as thinly as possible, using your hands. For an extra thin layer, ‘throw’ them onto a flat work surface, which stretches the dough even further. Alternatively, use a dough roller.3 Images showing how to stretch roti dough on a flat working surface.

Pick up one edge of the stretched dough and slowly let it come into your other hand.One image shows hand lifting a dough roll, while the other shows the dough being shaped on a hand.

Stretch out each dough one more time. For a crispy dessert, stretch out very thin. For a softer result, keep your dough a bit thicker.Two hands shaping dough into flat pancakes.

Fry each roti with 1 tablespoon of oil, and add a small amount of the remaining melted butter.Overhead view of large wok pan with oil being added to it.

Fry each side until golden-brown and crisp. Serve immediately and top with sweetened condensed milk/granulated sugar.One image showing dough going into a pan, the other image is showing a pan-fried  roti.

How to serve

To serve as a dessert or snack, cut your pancake into small squares (if you want) and drizzle it with sweetened condensed milk. Additionally, you can sprinkle on white sugar for extra sweetness, or top it with fruits for a healthy twist.

Feel free to serve with a side of nutella, your choice of jam, a scoop of ice cream, or anything you see fit. The options are endless!

How to store

After your dessert has cooled down to room temperature, place it in an airtight container and store in your refrigerator for up to 5 days.

To reheat, you can use a non-stick pan and reheat until warm and crisp.

The dough can be stored in your refrigerator for up to 2–3 days. Place in a bowl and cover. Make sure to let it come to room temperature before using it.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ’s)

What is Thai roti?

Thai roti is a popular pan-fried dessert and snack in Thailand which is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It’s made of flour which is crispy fried in oil, and drizzled with sweetened condensed milk. The dessert has many variations, including fillings with banana, nutella, jam, cheese, and more.

Can I make this in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the dough ahead of time. You can store it in your refrigerator, covered, for up to 2–3 days. When you’re ready to serve, you can roll out the dough and fry it. You can even cook the rotis in advance and reheat them to get them crispy again.

More Thai street food you’ll love

  • Kanom jeeb – Thai-style dim sum with a filling of minced pork and vegetables.
  • Tod mun pla – Classic food with fish, red curry paste, and fresh herbs and spices.
  • Thai shrimp rolls – A healthy snack recipe with shrimp, crunchy veggies, and a homemade peanut sauce.
  • Thai grilled bananas – Perfectly grilled banana slices with an addictive sweet and sticky sauce.
  • Authentic chicken pad Thai – Perfectly cooked noodles tossed in homemade pad Thai sauce.

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Authentic Thai Roti Dessert Recipe

Thai roti dessert squares generously topped with sweetened condensed milk on a banana leaf.
A complete recipe with step-by-step instructions for homemade Thai roti dessert.
Praew
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Cuisine Thai
Course Dessert
Serving Size 15

Ingredients

  • 17.5 ounces all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons oil
  • 1 egg
  • 6.75 fluid ounces water
  • 0.9 ounces butter
  • condensed milk to taste

Instructions

  • Pour flour into a large mixing bowl. Create a hole in the center and add egg, salt, and oil.
  • Start kneading the dough with your hands while gradually adding the water. Knead until you get a smooth dough, bouncing back slightly when poked.
  • Transfer the dough to a bowl and cover with a damp towel for 1 hour.
  • Using both hands, pull and stretch the dough multiple times.
  • Divide the dough into pieces, each weighing 2.5-2.8 oz. Shape them into balls by pulling the dough downward a few times.
  • Apply a generous amount of melted butter to each. Transfer each ball to a mixing bowl and cover with a damp towel for 30 minutes.
  • After resting, flatten the dough balls as thinly as possible, using your hands. For an extra thin layer, ‘throw’ them onto a flat work surface, which stretches the dough even further. Alternatively, use a dough roller.
  • Pick up one edge of the stretched dough and slowly let it come into your other hand.
  • Stretch out each dough one more time. For a crispy dessert, stretch out very thin. For a softer result, keep your dough a bit thicker.
  • Fry each roti with 1 tablespoon of oil, and add a small amount of the remaining melted butter.
  • Fry each side until golden-brown and crisp. Serve immediately and top with sweetened condensed milk/granulated sugar.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Thoroughly kneed the dough until it's elastic, and roll as thinly as possible.
  • Fry each roti separately.
  • Don't flip your roti too often, this can break its structure.

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