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Hopper Recipe

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You could be a pro and making this hopper recipe in no time!

I was first introduced to this hopper recipe when I was in Sri Lanka in 2016 and I was immediately hooked on them. With this authentic hopper recipe, you will be able to make amazing hoppers at home which taste just like those you find in Sri Lanka.

On my most recent trip to Sri Lanka, I made hoppers almost daily and even got to have a go making them at Nuga Gama restaurant in the Cinnamon Grand Hotel. My hopper recipe has changed very little over the years so I have updated this page with more recent photos that you should have a look at below. 

The photos will help you get this hopper recipe just right!

Homemade hoppers using this hopper recipe.

What are hoppers?

Sri Lankan hoppers, also known as appam or aappa, are a popular and traditional Sri Lankan dish made from fermented rice flour and coconut milk batter. They are a type of bowl-shaped pancake with a crispy edge and a soft, spongy center.

To make this hopper recipe as written, you will need a hopper pan but don’t let that stop you!

You can use a small wok or even a frying pan to make this hopper recipe. Your hoppers will look different to the bowl shaped pancakes found in Sri Lanka but the flavour will be the same and that’s the most important thing.

How do you cook hoppers?

To make Sri Lankan hoppers, a special hopper pan or appachatti is used. This pan is round and bowl-shaped, with a small depth in the center and a slightly raised edge. You pour the prepared batter into the pan and swirled around to coat the bottom and form the characteristic bowl shape. The pan is then covered with a lid to allow the batter to cook through from both the bottom and the top.

Are there different types of hoppers?

Yes and I will be adding recipes for those too very shortly. Hoppers can be a savoury meal served with chutneys and they can also be sweet.

The savoury hoppers are often mixed with other spices to give them different colours such as beetroot for red hoppers and turmeric for yellow hoppers. 

Watch this space! Those recipes will be on my blog very soon along with a few sweet dessert hopper recipes.

What if you don’t have a hopper pan?

Hopper pans are difficult to come by outside of Sri Lanka where almost every family has a few. Try to get one on ebay if you can or at a specialty Sri Lankan grocer.

Don’t let this special pan stop you from making this hopper recipe though! You can use a small wok or even a frying pan. Your hoppers won’t look like they do in Sri Lanka but they will still taste amazing.

Sri Lankan hoppers can be made in various forms:

1. Plain Hoppers: These are the basic hoppers made from the rice flour and coconut milk batter as in the recipe card below. They have a subtle coconut flavour and are typically served with accompaniments such as sambal (spicy chili paste), coconut sambol, or a curry.

2. Egg Hoppers: In this variation, a whole egg is cracked into the center of the hopper batter before it sets. The egg cooks along with the hopper, adding richness and flavor. Egg hoppers are a popular breakfast dish in Sri Lanka. See the notes in the recipe card below if you want to give egg hoppers a go.

3. String Hoppers: These are made from a different type of batter consisting of rice flour and water, without coconut milk. The batter is extruded through a special press to form thin strands, which are then steamed to create delicate, noodle-like strands. String hoppers are often served with curry and coconut sambol. 

Can you store Sri Lankan hoppers in the fridge?

Sri Lankan hoppers are best enjoyed fresh, soon after they are cooked, as they are at their peak texture and flavor. However, if you have leftovers or need to store them for later use, here are some guidelines:

  1. Refrigeration: You can store leftover Sri Lankan hoppers in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days. Place them in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out and absorbing other odors in the refrigerator.
  2. Freezing: Sri Lankan hoppers can also be frozen for longer-term storage. If you plan to freeze them, it’s best to do so soon after they are cooked and cooled down. Place the hoppers in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze them until they are firm. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container, separating the layers with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Frozen hoppers can be stored in the freezer for up to 1-2 months.
  3. Reheating: When you’re ready to eat the stored hoppers, you can reheat them by steaming or microwaving. If frozen, allow them to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. To steam, place the hoppers in a steamer basket or steaming tray and steam them for a few minutes until they are heated through. Alternatively, you can microwave them for 30-60 seconds until warm.

It’s worth noting that while stored hoppers may not have the same texture as freshly cooked ones, they can still be enjoyable, especially when reheated properly and served with your favorite accompaniments. However, for the best experience, it’s recommended to consume Sri Lankan hoppers fresh whenever possible.

Can you freeze hopper batter?

Again, I do not recommend doing this. Coconut milk does not freeze well so it is best to make up some batter whenever you want delicious hoppers.

Step by step photographs

Not pictured is the process of proving the yeast water mixture which is easy and explained in the recipe card below.


Making hoppers

While the yeast is proving, sift the rice flour into a large mixing bowl and add just enough of the coconut milk to make a wet dough.

The batter for the hoppers.

Whisk all the batter ingredients until there are no lump and it is creamy smooth. It is best to let the batter ferment over night but this is not essential to cook them.

Hopper pans heating up over a medium-high heat.

Heat a lightly greased hopper pan over a medium-high heat.

Adding a small ladleful of the batter to the pan.

Add a small ladleful of the batter to the hot pan.

Swirling the batter around in the pan

Swirl the batter around in the pan to coat the sides completely with a thin layer of the batter.

Batter lined hopper pan.

The pan should look like this with a thin layer of batter all over the sides and a thicker layer of batter at the bottom.

Cooking the hopper in a pan with the lid on.

Cover the pan and place it back on the heat for about 4 minutes.

The hopper after cooking for 4 minutes.

After about 4 minutes, lift the lid and your hopper will look like this. Uncover and keep cooking to brown the hopper some.

A stack of hoppers using this hopper recipe.

Stack the hoppers as you finish cooking them and enjoy with a good Sri Lankan chutney.

If you like this Sri Lankan hopper recipe, you might like to try some of these other Sri Lankan favourites.

Spicy Sri Lankan Fried Cashews
Sri Lankan Fried Calamari
Isso Vade
Sri Lankan Prawn Curry
Beef Curry Sri Lankan Style
Green Bean Curry
Butternut Squash Curry
Prawn Curry with Moringa Leaves
Sri Lankan 3 Meat Curry
Eggplant Curry
Sri Lankan Black Pork Curry
Sri Lankan Chicken Curry
Crab Curry
Black Pepper Chicken Curry
Sri Lankan Fish Curry

Have you tried this Sri Lankan hopper recipe? 

If yes, please give it a star rating in the recipe card below and leave a comment. I love receiving your feedback and I’m sure other readers of my blog do too. Thank you.

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Yield: 10

Hopper Recipe

A stack of hoppers using this hopper recipe.


  • 1 tsp dry active yeast
  • 70ml (1/4 cup) warm water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 270g (2 cups) white or brown rice flour
  • 400ml (1 ½ cups) good quality coconut milk
  • 125ml ( ½ cup) coconut water or water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar


  1. Pour the warm water into a bowl. It should be hand hot so not boiling but about bath water temperature. Stir in the dry active yeast and sugar and then cover with a towel to retain the heat of the water and place in a warm location for about 15 to 20 minutes. The yeast will wake up and become bubbly.
  2. While the yeast is proving, sift the rice flour into a large mixing bowl and add just enough of the coconut milk to make a soft dough. Cover and let it rise in a warm location for about 4 hours.
  3. After four hours, add the remaining coconut milk and knead it into the dough. Then start adding the coconut water or water slowly. You may not need it all. You just want to have a thick and creamy batter similar to full fat cream. Whisk until there are no lumps in the batter. Your batter is now ready to use but you can make it even better by letting the batter ferment.
  4. To do so, cover the batter tightly and place it in a warm place. I usually place it in my oven with just the pilot light turned on. Leave it to ferment for 24 hours for a stronger, more authentic flavour. Whisk again and set aside.
  5. To cook the hoppers, lightly grease a hopper pan. You just want a film of oil so that the hopper doesn’t stick and greasing the pan is not necessary if you are using a non-stick hopper pan.
  6. Place the pan over a medium-high heat and when hot, add a small ladle full of the batter and swirl it around in the pan. You are aiming for a thin film of batter all over the sides of the pan and more batter at the bottom. This will give you both a fluffy and crispy hopper just like those you find in Sri Lanka.
  7. Cover the pan and cook for about 4 minutes. The sides will turn crispy brown and the bottom of the hopper will be nice and fluffy.
  8. If you are not using a non-stick hopper pan, hit the sides of the pan a few times with the handle of a knife and then use the same knife to ease the hopper out of the pan.
  9. Transfer your cooked hopper to a plate and continue until all the batter is used up or until you have enough to serve. Any leftover batter can be stored in the fridge for at least three days and it can also be frozen for up to six months.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 109Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 124mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 2g

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Making hoppers

I learned to make hoppers over a wood fired stove using a traditional hopper pan.


Sunday 20th of November 2016

What happened to the chicken drumsticks recipe? I clicked on that and got adverts and a hopper recipe

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 29th of November 2016

Hi Tom

Sorry about that. It was a mistake on my part. The drumstick recipe is right here.

Cheers, Dan

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