Tuna gimbap

Chamchi-gimbap 참치김밥

Hello everybody!

I’m excited to share my recipe for tuna gimbap (chamchi-gimbap: 참치김밥) with you today. The flaky, salty, and sweet tuna tastes delightful and goes well with rice and the other fillings: avocado, yellow pickled radish, and crab sticks. The various tastes and textures make for a lot of variety in one bite!

I’ve been making tuna gimbap this way for a long time. All my friends and family loved this gimbap so it was one of the first recipes I posted to YouTube in 2007. Since then I’ve refined the recipe a bit and I remade the video in HD to share with you all.

Enjoy the recipe and if you like gimbap check out some of my other gimbap recipes, too!how to make tuna kimbap


Makes 4 rolls (Serves 2 to 4)

For rice:

For tuna filling:

  • 1 (5-ounce) can of tuna, preferably oil-packed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or sugar), optional

For gimbap:


Prepare the rice:

  1. Put the freshly made steamy rice into a large bowl. Add salt and vinegar and gently fold it in with a rice scoop or a wooden spoon.
  2. Set aside and let the rice cool down.

Prepare the tuna:

  1. Heat a small pan over medium high heat. Add the tuna, garlic, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, soy sauce, and ground black pepper.
  2. Stir the mixture for about 2 minutes with a wooden spoon until the tuna turns a little flaky. Remove from the heat.
  3. Stir in the honey (or sugar) if you use. Set aside.chamchi gimbap

Prepare the artificial crab sticks:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Swirl the skillet around so the oil evenly coats it.
  2. Add the crab sticks, white side down. Cook for about 1 minute until the bottoms turn soft and light brown.
  3. Turn them over with a spatula and cook for another 30 seconds.
  4. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large platter.

Prepare the danmuji (yellow pickled radish) and avocado:

  1. Put the 4 strips of danmuji on the platter, next to the crab sticks.
  2. Cut the avocado in half lengthwise and remove the seed. Slice it lengthwise while it’s still in its shell.
  3. Scoop the slices out with a large spoon and transfer them to the platter. Squeeze the lemon over the avocado to prevent it from going brown.Kimbap making

Roll the gimbap:

  1. Divide the rice into 4 portions. Place a sheet of gim on a gimbal (a bamboo mat for making gimbap), with the shiny side down. Evenly spread 1 portion of rice over the gim, leaving a 1-inch margin uncovered along the top edge.chamchi kimbap
  2. Divide the tuna mixture into 4 portions. Spread one portion across the middle of the rice, in a strip lengthwise. Add a strip of danmuji, some avocado, and a crab stick.
  3. Use both hands to pick up the bottom edge of the mat. Use it to roll the gim up and over the fillings so the rice surrounds them.tuna kimbap
  4. Squeeze the mat gently and then continue rolling the gim in the mat, squeezing the mat regularly to get a tight roll.
  5. Unroll the mat and remove the roll from the mat. Set the roll aside, with the seam down.
  6. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 3 more rolls.
  7. Gently brush the rest of the 2 teaspoons sesame oil over the rolls by hand or with a basting brush.
  8. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over top.Kimbap
  9. Cut each roll into ⅓ to ½-inch slices with a sharp knife. For easier slicing, wipe your knife with a wet paper towel (or kitchen cloth) as you go.kimbap


Arrange the slices on a plate or pack in a lunchbox. The gimbap will keep for several hours at room temperature.

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  1. TheTravelingFoodie San Francisco, CA joined 1/22 & has 3 comments

    Maangchi! Another winner of yours! I made some with tuna and some with bulgogi beef inside! Sooooo delicious!!

    See full size image

  2. Anastasya07 Indonesia joined 11/21 & has 1 comment

    Hello Maangchi, I followed you for a long time and have a bit problem with kimbap.. I don’t know why, but my kimbap is soggy after roll and hard to cut… Do you have any idea what I do wrong?

  3. ilovepastry Toronto, Canada joined 5/20 & has 18 comments

    Thanks Maangchi. The sauce for the seasoned tuna flakes had quite a peppery kick to it. ;)

    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

      Wow, you made this with my old old recipe! I used to make this all the time. Congratulations! I’ll make tuna gimbap soon because I’m inspired by you! : )

      • ilovepastry Toronto, Canada joined 5/20 & has 18 comments

        Haha! Yes, I’ve been a longtime fan of yours, but didn’t have much time to try out all your wonderful recipes. With the pandemic, I’ve had more free time to cook and bake. :)
        Thank you so much for sharing your vast knowledge of Korean cuisine with us all!

  4. marissaplichauco Mariveles Bataan Philippines joined 10/18 & has 3 comments

    Hi Maangchi,
    Thank you, I loved your nutritious gimbap.

  5. twolonew USA joined 2/12 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi,
    I know will be making some gimbaps for a party next weekend. I have a few questions; What size of canned tuna is used in this recipe? Should I get the Korean canned tuna instead of American ones? How do I keep gimbaps fresh in a cooler? Thank you for taking your time to share your awesome recipes with us! -KT

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

      You can use any canned tuna for this recipe. “I will be making some gimbaps for a party next weekend.” You will have to wake up early in the morning to make gimbap on the party day and don’t keep it in a cooler. That’s what I’m doing. Rice will go hard at cool temperature.

  6. Jhoy_melendrez14 philippines joined 10/17 & has 10 comments

    hi maangchi is there any alternative for avocado?

  7. bbbtae Middle east joined 12/16 & has 4 comments

    Hi Maangchi!! I wonder if it is possible to replace pickled radish with anything else since I can’t find it where I live. Have a nice day

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