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. hi^^ i really love this recipe! i’m making it for a picnic with my friends, so i was planning to make it the night before. but i tried to put it in the fridge once and the next day, the rice was all hard. is there a way to keep the kimbap overnight other than just leaving it in the fridge? im kinda lazy to wake up in the morning to make it>.<

    thank you so much for all your recipes. i got to learn how to cook the food my favourite korean idols like to eat(:

  2. do we use glutinous rice or just normal white rice will do?
    is it neccesary to make the mixing sauce?

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

      yes, use normal white rice (short grain rice). You can skip the mixing sauce if you don’t want.

      • Hi Maangchi

        I like your “KimChi” and “KimBap” video, since the normal rice can use for “KimBap”, I think the rice Chinese used to eat also can right ?

        You replied to others that the best time to make “KimBap” is wake up early to make it. I would like to consult you is that, if I make “KimBap” last night and keep in the container (but not refrigerate it) and bring it the following day to office for my lunch, is it OK ?

        Or after taking it from the container (not refrigerate it) and wrap it with aluminium foil or bamboo sheet (which help to roll the “KimBap”) and then steam it, is it OK ?

        I have made the “KimChi” for my family, quite good taste, will make the “KimBap” on one of the weekend.

        I’m going to view your variety of cooking video soon, and try to make some food from your video.

        Waiting for your reply.

        Thanks & Best Regards !

  3. Hi! I made this today and it was delicious! My 5 and 8 yr, olds said this was the best kimbap…even better than the restaurant. It’s funny because my kids don’t eat tuna. Thanks for inspiring me to make your recipes. You have a great talent/gift! Thanks!

  4. catherine& has 1 comment

    i would like to learn korean food. my hubby is an korean. he always say my cook is suck. it make feel so sad. this is my first time watch your show. i feel is great. i call to my hubby and told him that i want to make him doenjang jjigae, but he say i can’t a good. i just feel so sad.

  5. maangchi,
    why evrytime i roll the kimbap, it will open or worst,the kim will torn apart? T_T

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

    I usually make right amount of the rice with sauce so I never have leftover. Fresh rice mixed with sauce is the best. But you have leftover rice, so reheating it next day sounds good. You can make rice balls and roll them onto the mixture of kim (laver) and sesame seeds powder. Invent your own rice balls! It’s called Joo meok bap (주먹밥)in Korean.

  7. Maangchi,

    What can you do with the extra left over sushi rice after making kimbap? I have about 2 cups of rice that is mixed with sauce. Can I reheat in microwave and use it next day to make some more kimbap ? If not can it be used in any other way.


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

    Thanks for letting me know about your successful Korean cooking!

    yeah, when you cook with your family members, it will be more fun!

  9. Maangchi,

    I make kimbap today. I laid a platter with all the fillings and everyone chose what they wanted. Everyone in my family had fun trying their hands rolling the kimbap. Thank you so much for your video. It was a great help watching the video while rolling. I am proud to say none of them turned into salad !!!


  10. thank you for such a wonderful site! I have just made your tuna kimbap and my husband and I LOVED them. It reminds of us the kimbap we had in Korea. I have made your jjajungmyun(a household fav), vegetable pancakes, and bimbimbap. Your recipes are so delicious and your videos are so great to learn from. Keep up the good work! I look forward to learning more!

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

    hmm, you make me think about why I put some sesame oil on it.
    1 to keep the surface of laver shiny
    2. not to be soggy
    3. sesame oil gives good flavor.

  12. Why did you place sesame oil on the roll at the end? I didn’t quite catch the reason for it. Thank you in advanced.

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

    My answer is here: https://www.maangchi.com/talk/topic/is-day-old-refrigerated-kimbab-rice-still-good

    How about making bibimbap?
    Bibimbap is a very good dish to share with many people and it’s delicious.

    You can prepare all vegetables and keep them in the refrigerator in advance. Be sure to make rice just before serving it. When you serve it, take out all cold vegetables and reheat them using a microwave oven.
    My bibimbap recipe is here:

    Good luck with your successful Korean cooking project! : )

  14. I am a Family & Consumer Sciences teacher and as part of a project that several teachers and myself are doing, I am having a Korean Dinner. It is served before the MASH play. I will be serving about 80 people. I have two questions, if you have time to answer them for me please. Can kimbap be made ahead of time? Do you have any other easy make ahead dishes that would be a good match for our Korean dinner? Thanks so much for the help. I will be finalizing my grocery list and going shopping this weekend, so I really need an answer pretty fast. Thank you and Thank you some more.

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

    yes, of course you must use short grain rice (rice for sushi)that sticks together well when you make kimbap.

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