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. 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 12,045 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!

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

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

  3. 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 12,045 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.

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

    hi maangchi is there any alternative for avocado?

  5. 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

  6. I’m allergic to avocado, what’ll be good substitute?

  7. KaeTee Boston joined 3/14 & has 3 comments

    The first time I made kimbap, I discovered that a REALLY SHARP knife is critical. I love it and oddly enough, my 12 year old son loves it too. I’ve made it with canned tuna and avocado and also with imitation crab/fried egg/cucumber/carrot.

  8. answjd26 Powder Springs, GA joined 2/14 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi!! I have a question about the seaweeds. When I purchased seaweeds only for making korean sushis, they were bit dry. I decided to make it then seaweeds turned out to be not to soft to chew. Do I have to roast them first in order to make it?

  9. NatSuarez USA joined 10/13 & has 8 comments

    Dear Maangchi,
    Thanks to you I learned how to make and roll kimbap! I love kimbap it’s sooo delicious!
    Yesterday I made this kimchi kimbap using your recipe. It was awesome awesome! Love the spicy and sweet combination :) I also made japchae to eat it with this. Is it strange combination? :) lol
    Thank you for the recipes! delicious!

  10. maira Karachi,Pakistan joined 11/13 & has 3 comments

    Dear maangchi its my first time using any WordPress I have a question I am from country Pakistan near India unfortunately in my country I cant find seaweed sheets so what else I can use please reply its my first time

  11. MikaG United States joined 6/13 & has 1 comment

    I love the korean tuna in the kimchi sauce that my local Korean market used to sell. They said that the FDA no longer allows it to be sold in the U.S. I’m not sure about any of that except that I can’t find it anywhere any longer. Do you have a recipe on how to make your tuna spicy and yummy like the canned version? Thanks! Mika

  12. avriee Singapore joined 6/13 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi, just wondering for the quantity of 3 cups of cooked rice, how many grams are they? Thank you so much for the confirmation :)

  13. hamtaz North Carolina joined 2/13 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi…
    Thanks to you I now make great kimchi! I love Korean food and have found your website recipes and YouTube videos a tremendous resource. THANK YOU!!! for taking the time to share your great knowledge!
    If you ever plan a trip to North Carolina it would be a great pleasure to meet you.
    Again, thank you,

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      Hi John,
      Thanks a lot for your nice message! Yes I always want to meet my readers no matter where they live. I’d like to see what they look like and I’d like to hear their funny stories about their cooking. See you someday! : )

  14. inspirational food porterville joined 4/13 & has 2 comments

    Hi maangchi!

    I wanted to know if you wet the seaweed plant first before adding all the ingredients??
    Thank you

  15. Neza2214 United States joined 11/12 & has 2 comments

    I live for kimchi fried rice, so when I make the kimchi kimbap can I use bacon or cooked pork belly? Or is it best to eat with just the kimchi?

  16. Angel78Green Chicago joined 9/12 & has 1 comment

    You have the best recipes. Ever since my father passed away. A few years back. It’s been really hard finding places that make korean foods like my dad did. My mother’s not korean so she rarely makes korean food anymore. Thank god I found your site, now I eat Korean food everyday and its just like my dad used to make and more. Thanks sooooo much for these recipes.

  17. daphneseraph Ireland joined 9/12 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi.

    Can I mix sushi rice with the normal long grain rice to get them sticky? I have a lot of long grain rice left and don’t wanna waste it.

    Hope to hear from you soon!

  18. DancesInGarden Canada joined 8/12 & has 2 comments

    I have made this twice now. The first time, I used japanese nori and I did not have the pickled radish (I used home made mild kimchi instead). It was good, but the nori was too chewy. I found korean roasted seasoned laver sheets and used those today. What a difference! The texture is altogether different – much more delicate. I also found pickled radish but it was sweeter than I expected so I used kimchi again. AWESOME. Thank you for the inspiration to try something different! I don’t like sushi, but I LOVE kim bap!

  19. makemequiche DC joined 5/12 & has 12 comments

    This is excellent! The tuna flakes really made it!

  20. raeganlady NJ joined 11/11 & has 3 comments

    I like to mix the tuna with a bit of sirachi and, nice and spicy for me!!

  21. Niemamiejsca Poznań, Poland joined 2/12 & has 6 comments

    I just made a two bars of this Kimbap. It’s SO delicious! I can’t cut it well, so i ate this like a bar.

  22. She-Ryn Malaysia joined 12/11 & has 10 comments

    May I know what can make the rice didn’t stick together?cos when i tried to slice it,all the rice seems to fall apart :(

  23. ZatyAziz Malaysia joined 10/11 & has 2 comments

    Can I use other than “kim”??
    it’s hard to find here…
    what can i use to wrape it???

  24. mrigell N/a joined 9/11 & has 1 comment

    Just made kimbap for the first time! My non-Korean roommate and boyfriend were really impressed. Thanks for the recipe!

  25. baldwian Tacoma, WA joined 5/11 & has 1 comment

    Oh my goodness Maangchi! These totally remind me of the Onigiri that I ate as a child in Japan except my mom never tried tuna. YUM! I could not believe how spectacular these were.

  26. kitty-kat United States joined 8/11 & has 1 comment

    Living in Hawaii I would eat whole sheets of “Kim”! Now I know there’s a greater purpose to them than snacking! Can’t wait to make this, kimchi version style :)

  27. ceegee012 none joined 7/11 & has 1 comment

    @Jane–I don’t think there is any difference, but you can prepare the rice different. If Japanese sushi takes sugar and vingar in their rice, ususally Korean gimpa doesn’t have to have sugar or needs for vingar. This version is different from how my mom makes it. I would advise anyone to stay away from Korean market sushi. The market over here puts fish cake in their gimpa and it’s gross. I had to pluck them out, and will never buy gimpa from them. I only bought it because I didn’t feel like making gimpa because it can be a long procees the way I make it lol. Whoever taught these auhjumas how to cook needs to give them better guidences. They need to improve their Kimchi and Kkak Do Gi (Radish Kimchi) better too.

    You can add raw fish. Some gimpa are made with bulgogi, galbi without the bones lol, hot dogs, spam. You can add spinach (misspelled), carrots, eggs with green onions, dashi (little bit mix with the eggs), little bit of japanese vingar, black pepper etc.) and make it like a egg pancake and cut it to make strips. You can make thin carrot sticks and fry it with black pepper and salt (I omit salt out of my food because salt not good for you).

    Roll the way you want Korean or Japanese style. If you want the gim (seaweed)showing out or inside, it doesn’t matter the taste will still remain the same. =]

  28. lingpanda01 Fairfax, VA joined 5/11 & has 1 comment

    Just to double-check – all the ingredients should be cold, right? You have to wait for both the rice and the tuna to cool down before putting the kimbap together and rolling it?

  29. chai Philippines joined 2/11 & has 3 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    This was another recipe of yours that I made. It was really great! Loved it. I am looking forward to checking out the other fillings to make the kimbap but so far this tuna one is a winner with my family.

    I also featured this in my blog at:




  30. Neny Lily Lao Philippines joined 5/11 & has 12 comments

    Kimbap is the best preparation I used to make especially when we have picnics. Since avocado is a seasonal fruit, I use ripe mangoes as they are always available whole year round. My recipe only include crabs. So, for next time I would like to try with tuna as well. How about that? I got another recipe from you. Thanks a lot. Really you are a great help Maangchi. Your column is something that I have been spending the whole day, making notes and copying your recipes for my file.

  31. I absolutely love this recipe! My friends birthday is coming up, and I was thinking about making this for her! Thanks Maangchi! :D

  32. oksipak California joined 1/11 & has 72 comments

    2/1/11 Tuesday: Made Kimchi Kimbap (because I have plenty of Kimchi left)today. It sure is delicious Maangchi, thanks to your recipes.

  33. will this recipe still taste good without the crab meat?

  34. ravi Queens, NY joined 9/10 & has 10 comments

    The tip about wiping the knife with a wet paper towel really works. I was a little worried when I started cutting it and it fell apart. Then I checked your blog and saw the tip, and it worked well. I use a sharp knife and I cut very slowly in a saw-like fashion. Cleanly-cut kimbap awaits… Thanks again for the recipe, Maangchi!

  35. hanul Germany joined 1/11 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi, what kind of vinegar are you using?
    I really love your recipes!!!! I am sooooooo glad I found your website!!! You’re so sweet! :)

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