Tuna pancake

Chamchijeon 참치전

I’m pleased to introduce you to this easy and delicious side dish recipe made with a can of tuna. It doesn’t have to be served hot, so it’s good for a side dish at a picnic or in a Korean lunch box (dosirak). My long time blog reader Reinier from Netherlands came to New York in March. I chose this easy tuna pancake recipe for us to make together.

Reinier told me he would film a tuna pancake video when he went back home as a video response. I was going to upload our video as soon as possible, but instead I posted pajeon and mugwort soup recipes. Good quality soft tender mugwort is available only in the spring so if my readers wanted to forage wild mugwort and wild green onions it was the perfect season.

Meanwhile, Reinier went back to his country and emailed me to say that he was finished his tuna pancake video response and posted as unlisted. All he needed was my posting the video. But then YouTube team let me know I was accepted to YouTube Nextup! They asked me to upload a short video that shows my background, nature of my videos, etc… so I had to film my “Maaangchi is Nextup” video instead of editing the tuna pancake recipe. I knew Reinier was dying for my tuna pancake video to be uploaded! But I couldn’t tell him why it was taking so long because I promised YouTube not to tell anyone about my winning until they announced it.

So today, I’m finally posting this video recipe. Reinier and I are going to upload the recipes almost at the same time! Real time! Why are we trying to post these videos at the same time? Simple answer! It’s for fun fun! lol

Enjoy the recipe and thank you Reinier for your patience! : )

Ingredients (for 2-3 servings)

1 can of tuna (5 oz: 142 grams), onion, garlic, salt, ground black pepper,  sesame oil, egg, flour, and canola oil.


  1. Strain out the liquid from a can of tuna and place it in a bowl.
    *tip: You can use cheesecloth, paper towel, or just squeeze with your hands to get the excess liquid out
  2. Add ¼ cup chopped onion, 1 minced garlic, 1ts salt, ¼ ts ground black pepper, 1 egg, 1 ts sesame oil, and 1 tbs flour to the tuna and mix it well.
  3. Heat up a non-stick pan and spread 1-2 tbs canola oil.
  4. Scoop a spoonful of the tuna mixture with a spoon and place it on the heated pan.
  5. Press slightly and round the edges with the spoon.
  6. Make 6 small size pancakes with the tuna mixture.
  7. When the bottom is cooked golden brown, turn it over and cook until both sides of the pancakes are golden brown. Total cooking time is 3-5 minutes.
  8. Transfer the cooked pancakes to a serving plate and serve with rice.

Here is Reinier’s video response!


Other delicious stuff on maangchi.com:


  1. deCombys My profile page joined 12/15
    Posted December 5th, 2015 at 7:49 pm | # |

    Thanks for the recipe! It was great.

    I did this little modification : I grated the onion and garlic (because I don’t like the texture of onion and garlic bits). It made the dough a little wet but I didn’t want to squeeze out the onion juice because it tastes good. So I put in a little more flour and it was perfect! The texture was crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. Yum!

    Because I’m allergic to wheat, I used a mix of buckwheat, millet and tapioca flours which is my usual “all-purpose” mix. I also cooked in olive oil because I always do. Those two adaptations weren’t very perceptible taste-wise. Also, my tuna was pretty salty to begin with so I only put 1/2 tsp of salt as another reader suggested. It was the right amount.

    It is somewhat similar to a local fish pancake we make here but which has an appreciable amount of pre-cooked grains (like rice or bulgur) instead of a small amount of flour, needs to be cooked longer and is messier to make. Like this pancake, we usually make it with tuna, but I have tried it with canned sardine fillets and it was delicious, so I suppose that this recipe would be great with them too. I might try next time.

    For some reason I got the urge to eat them with mock tartare sauce (mayo with honey and chopped cornichons), but when I finished the sauce I ate them as is and thought it was a waste to use such a strong sauce on them (might be indicated for a sardine version though).

    I will try putting a square of gim on one side while cooking I think. This recipe is so easy and tasty that it makes me want to make infinite variations so I can have it every day XD (Maybe chopped northern shrimp instead of fish?)

  2. fadoua89 My profile page joined 10/15
    Posted October 28th, 2015 at 11:01 am | # |

    it’s delicious i made some changes depend on my taste i added a little of thyme, cheese, mortadella and since i hadn’t sesame oil or sesam seeds i just add a 1/2 cs of butter and it’s really awesome thank you for your recipe. XD

  3. miladyjean My profile page joined 4/11
    Posted August 13th, 2015 at 1:37 am | # |

    These are also great when made with canned salmon for people like myself who hate tuna and adding 1-2 diced serrano peppers if you like things spicy like I do, if you only like things a little spicy use 1-2 de-seeded jalapenos.

  4. Oxide California My profile page joined 2/15
    Posted May 27th, 2015 at 4:20 pm | # |

    I made this recipe, again, today for lunch. But I did it a little different. I made a big pancake that would fit on a toasted sandwich roll. Melted a slice of provolone cheese on top. Combined with mustard, mayo, lettuce and sliced tomato. I call it tuna-pancake-sandwich-with-cheese. It was very good.

    • deCombys My profile page joined 12/15
      Posted December 5th, 2015 at 7:56 pm | # |

      You made it into a kind of burger? What a brilliant idea!

      Maybe it would also fit wonderbully in some pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes and garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Or maybe I’m just getting carried away.

  5. Oxide California My profile page joined 2/15
    Posted April 10th, 2015 at 5:42 pm | # |

    I made this for lunch, today. I did a couple things different — (1) I dialed back the salt to 1/2 tsp because the soy sauce is salty. It was the perfect amount of salt. (2) I combined all of the ingredients, except the tuna, and mix it well. Than I added the tuna and mixed to coat it. The sauce was amazingly easy to make but very flavorful, complimented the tuna pancakes perfectly.

    The brand of tuna I used is Wild Planet. It is available at Costco. It is just tuna, no water and no oil added. While in the can about 1 tsp of liquid comes out of the tuna. Just pour it off and the tuna is ready to be made into pancakes.

    Oh, is that your natural hair color? No? But it looks just so natural on you.

  6. imlykaspain saudi arabia My profile page joined 7/14
    Posted July 23rd, 2014 at 6:13 am | # |

    I always cooked this especially for our breakfast meal.

  7. CCStallings Goose Creek, SC My profile page joined 3/14
    Posted April 7th, 2014 at 5:26 pm | # |

    Made this for dinner for my husband and I. My husband is a terribly picky eater and the moment he heard the name and was told that it was made with canned tuna he was immediately reluctant to try it. However, once I made it and he tried a bite of it, he actually loved it! Wonderful recipe. I think next time I’ll try making bigger ones and try putting them on burger buns!

  8. paiyong Singapore My profile page joined 3/14
    Posted March 24th, 2014 at 9:00 am | # |

    I tried your recipe since I love tuna and was curious to try recipes that use it. It was good and similar to our potato pancake which are usually eaten with our chicken noodle soup (soto ayam). I did add things to suit my palate such as chopped green chillies and 1 teaspoon of coriander.

  9. Inafuko Brazil My profile page joined 2/13
    Posted February 28th, 2013 at 6:50 pm | # |

    Dear Maangchi, the recipe is great! I loved! But, I have a doubt… is it really 1 ts of salt? It got a little bit salty >.<

    thank you ^__^

    • giraffesneigh CA, USA My profile page joined 6/13
      Posted June 22nd, 2013 at 7:37 pm | # |

      Maybe it was the tuna you used. Maybe try buying tuna with half the regular amount or no salt added. (:

  10. JanM Puerto Rico My profile page joined 2/13
    Posted February 12th, 2013 at 8:32 pm | # |

    Hello Maangchi, greetings from Puerto Rico.

    I was wondering if its possible to subtitute the canned tuna for canned chicken.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted February 14th, 2013 at 9:20 am | # |

      canned chicken? why not? : ) It will turn out good! Chop up the chicken and combine with all the ingredients that the recipe calls for and pan fry.

  11. sreyes6 California My profile page joined 12/12
    Posted December 29th, 2012 at 3:42 pm | # |

    OMG! I’ve actually made this exact same dish a few times before. I didn’t know it was a Korean recipe. My family loves them and I serve them with a sweet chili sauce.

  12. Julnyes Brooklyn My profile page joined 10/12
    Posted October 22nd, 2012 at 5:24 pm | # |

    Made these last night and they came out quite tasty. I used half as much salt since I find tuna pretty salty to begin with and I was thrilled with the result. I look forward to trying more of your recipes :)

  13. Bekkah Alberta My profile page joined 10/12
    Posted October 13th, 2012 at 6:00 pm | # |

    OMG!! I have the exact same shirt as you!! Lol.

  14. Sali My profile page joined 6/12
    Posted September 29th, 2012 at 3:46 pm | # |

    I made these with my brother, we had a lot of fun while cooking them. Easy and delicious! We made a simple “poor student” version without garlic and sesame oil, and left out the extra salt because canned tuna already has a lot of flavor. Also, we made a discovery… to make delicious tuna burgers, put these pancakes between slices of toasted bread. :D So versatile, and easy! Thank you Maangchi!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted February 14th, 2013 at 9:22 am | # |

      “I made these with my brother, we had a lot of fun while cooking them.” Cooking together and sharing the food together is really fun, yeah? : )

  15. khimmy South Korea My profile page joined 7/12
    Posted July 18th, 2012 at 6:57 am | # |

    This really easy easy and yet very delicious food :)
    I watched your video almost everyday. I’m not a good cooker but I loved to cook and invent sometimes :]) It was kinda fun en I enjoy :D
    I made this today’s dinner, I just finished cooking when he arrived from work.
    I did’t taste it, his the one who taste it first. And guest what ___???
    awesome! he really really LOVES IT! I’m so happy.. Before I make kimchi jjigae, kongnamul muchim and dried anchovy.. HE REALLY LIKE IT :]) I’m really happy because it was my first time to cook korean food. I’m a filipina almost 3mos. now here in korea, and married to a very good korean man :)
    he is good in making and designing cake he had two licenses and many certificate and have his own bakery shop. He graduated in Baking.. But, his employed at the government :D hihihi .. thanks maangchi for inspiring us :) God Bless! mwuaapz
    I take pictures and post it to my new tumblr account :)

  16. janicedale Australia My profile page joined 2/12
    Posted May 23rd, 2012 at 3:14 am | # |

    I like your Tuna Pancake , it looks terrific and very tasteful. It is perfect in everyday lives. I am going to prepare this for my family. It is very easy and I am sure my friends and my family would like it too. What do you think would be the perfect sauce for this?

  17. QueenEmilie Norway My profile page joined 5/12
    Posted May 21st, 2012 at 6:41 am | # |

    I have made these tons of times!! I absolutely loved them :)
    I also blogged about them here: http://curiousgazelle.tumblr.com/post/23473958260/tuna-pancakes-original-recipe-from-maangchi-i

  18. Simone West Hartford My profile page joined 4/12
    Posted May 8th, 2012 at 8:48 pm | # |

    This is great. I love tuna, it’s so delicious! I have to try this recipe. Thanks, Reinier!

  19. pastelcolors Phillipines My profile page joined 5/12
    Posted May 3rd, 2012 at 10:56 pm | # |

    can i substitute the sesame oil from olive oil?

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