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, kosher 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 kosher salt, ¼ ts ground black pepper, 1 egg, 1 ts toasted 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!


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  1. Chae Rin South Korea joined 7/19 & has 2 comments

    Wow Maangchi thank you for this! I always eat tuna to help with migraines! Omega-3 is great for them! This was a fun way to help with them thank you!

  2. Madhu1010 USA joined 11/19 & has 3 comments

    I made this today but with an Indian twist! I added three garlic cloves instead of 1, added 1 tsp of ginger, 2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp garam masala. Everything else is the same. This tasted sooo good! Inspired me to buy more tuna cans and try more variations! Thanks, Maangchi <3

    See full size image

  3. MUCOUS SE GEORGIA joined 4/18 & has 3 comments

    Fantastic. Easy to prep/cook, ready in minutes. Served 2(three each) with slices of roma tomato on lettuce leaves. Loved it!

  4. Quick, easy, fairly inexpensive, high in protein, and most of all, delicious!!! What more could you want? A great addition to a meal or lunch box. These are one of my favorite post workout snacks as well.

  5. korea4me South Korea joined 10/09 & has 55 comments

    What a glorious and delicious pancake! Simple to make and very satisfying. Happy 2017 xxxxx

    • davidj Fargo, North Dakota joined 4/23 & has 1 comment

      Is ts a teaspoon? I found this too salty. I just want to know the recipe called for 1 teaspoon of salt before reducing it. I keep on verifying. I could be stupid and can’t read.

      • korea4me South Korea joined 10/09 & has 55 comments

        The recipe calls for kosher salt and this is something I have never seen for sale in the UK. I tend to use sea salt and that works fine. However, recipes can be modified and adapted. If you find it too salty then just don’t add it. ^_^

      • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 551 comments

        Please adjust the amount of salt to your liking. 1/2 teaspoon will be good and serve as a side dish for rice.
        In the past, we used a lot of salt to season side dishes, but nowadays we’re more conscious of our salt intake. As this is one of my oldest recipes, I plan to update it soon to reflect current dietary preferences.

  6. anita tan Indonesia joined 11/16 & has 1 comment

    Hi, Maangchi..
    i would like to say that you are awesome in cooking..thumbs up..but i wanna ask can i used fresh tuna fillet rather the tuna can? if so, is that any different for the measurement of the salt maybe? thanks before..

  7. Jerome Denmark joined 9/14 & has 2 comments

    These are so delicious! In Denmark we have something similar to this. It is made from ground pork and it’s called frikadeller (roughly translated into English, it would be meatballs), but the tuna is a great substitute for pork and a good and easy way to eat some fish during the week. I also added chili pepper and it was so delicious!

  8. afrah America joined 3/16 & has 1 comment

    Mmm, delicious, great recipe for a student living alone like me who does not have too much time/equipment to cook. Make sure you check if your tuna already has salt in it and if it does, reduce or omit the salt.
    I did not have onion on me so I substituted leek/green onion. I also added 1 chopped red chili for extra flavor and a little color. It tasted very good and was super easy with little dishwashing. Everything went into one bowl and I washed it while the tuna was frying.
    I am eager to try this next time maybe with some diced cucumber and cherry tomatoes.
    I bought sesame oil finally so I could do these recipes. One of the best decisions of my life :)

  9. deCombys joined 12/15 & has 3 comments

    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?)

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Oxide California joined 2/15 & has 47 comments

    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.

  13. Oxide California joined 2/15 & has 47 comments

    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.

  14. imlykaspain saudi arabia joined 7/14 & has 2 comments

    I always cooked this especially for our breakfast meal.

  15. CCStallings Goose Creek, SC joined 3/14 & has 1 comment

    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!

  16. paiyong Singapore joined 3/14 & has 1 comment

    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.

  17. Inafuko Brazil joined 2/13 & has 2 comments

    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 ^__^

  18. JanM Puerto Rico joined 2/13 & has 1 comment

    Hello Maangchi, greetings from Puerto Rico.

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

  19. sreyes6 California joined 12/12 & has 2 comments

    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.

  20. Julnyes Brooklyn joined 10/12 & has 6 comments

    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 :)

  21. Bekkah Alberta joined 10/12 & has 1 comment

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

  22. Sali joined 6/12 & has 12 comments

    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!

  23. khimmy South Korea joined 7/12 & has 1 comment

    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 :)

  24. janicedale Australia joined 2/12 & has 16 comments

    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?

  25. QueenEmilie Norway joined 5/12 & has 1 comment

    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

  26. Simone West Hartford joined 4/12 & has 1 comment

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

  27. pastelcolors Phillipines joined 5/12 & has 1 comment

    can i substitute the sesame oil from olive oil?

  28. fluffycakes The Netherlands joined 4/12 & has 3 comments

    I made this yesterday. My family loved it! Whilst I was putting the pancakes in the pan though, it kind of fell apart. I wasn’t able to make pretty round shapes. Perhaps I should practise more! It still tasted fantastic, don’t worry! I also made a few spicy pancakes with chili paste and chili oil. Spicy, spicy! Thank you so much for the lovely dinner.
    I also have a non-food related question: usually you always mention the music you use in your videos, and this time you haven’t. It would make me very happy to know who sings the song at the beginning of this video. It sounds familiar to me! :)

  29. seohyun000 Philippines joined 2/12 & has 1 comment

    Is it ok if I will replace sesame oil and canola oil??

    Thank You! ^_^

  30. DebC California joined 11/11 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi!
    I love this simple recipe! It was my first time making this but I ran out of onion so I substituted it with canned corn. The finish product was tasty, however, I felt like the consistency is not quite as thick as yours and mine do not shape a nice form like yours… :<
    how cam I make it better so all ingredients "stick" together??

  31. ktek SF Bay Area joined 11/11 & has 1 comment

    Tonight at 9:15 my husband was hungry. Earlier I watched your video and Reinier’s video as well and thought – let’s give chamchijeon a try! I had all the ingredients on hand and by 9:45 we were enjoying this delicious appetizer. I doubled the recipe, my daughter had 2, I had 3 and my husband finished the plate. Now I have to worry about his mercury levels. But what a way to go!

  32. edrea Vancouver, Canada joined 11/10 & has 2 comments

    maangchi unnie…
    this is my second time following your recipe =D
    This one is so easy and so good for a student with little time to cook like me..


    kamsahamnida unnie! =)

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