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Tuna Pancakes (Chamchijeon)

Try these super easy Korean tuna pancakes at home! It is a popular Korean side dish, which can be made with readily available ingredients from your pantry and fridge. This side dish is also popular for kids and adults alike! 

Tuna pancakes served on a plate

What are Tuna Pancakes

The Korean name for tuna pancakes is chamchijeon (참치전). Though they are different to a typical Korean pancake as there isn’t much ‘batter’ so to speak, but it holds well without falling apart.

Typically, it is made with canned tuna, eggs, finely diced vegetables, a bit of flour, fine sea salt and black pepper. But in today’s recipe, I added a dollop of mayonnaise to moisten the tuna. If you are not fond of mayonnaise you can certainly skip it but it does add value. 

Korean tuna pancakes rely on egg as a gluing agent. You can even visually spot the yellow egg color in the pancakes.

Unlike typical tuna cakes or tuna patties, you don’t pre-shape the batter before you cook it. You actually shape it as you cook it by using a spoon to gently place the scoop of tuna veggie mixture. You will have to gently tap to flatten while it’s cooking.

Chopsticks holding a tuna pancake

As with many Korean traditional pancakes, tuna pancakes are also best served with pancake dipping sauce. It’s really good! One of my readers recently told me that this pancake dipping sauce really tones down the fishy taste of the pancakes and bring out more savory pleasure.

So I hope you give this a try soon! 

P.S. If you like using canned tuna, you should also check my gochujang mayo tuna patty recipe as well. This recipe was developed as a spin off from today’s tuna pancake recipe, but its taste and texture is quite different. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!

INGREDIENTS FOR TUNA PANCAKES (YIELDS 9 to 10 SMALL PANCAKES)

MAIN

  • 185g/6.5 ounces canned tuna, well-drained
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 30g/1 ounce green onions, finely chopped
  • 45g/1.6 ounces onion, finely diced
  • 20g/0.7 ounces red bell peppers or cayenne chili, seed removed & finely diced
  • 20g/0.7 ounces green bell peppers or cayenne chili, seed removed & finely diced
  • (optional) 1 Tbsp mayonnaise (I used Hellmann’s brand)
  • 2 tsp all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • A few sprinkles of ground black pepper
  • Some cooking oil (I used rice bran oil)

DIPPING SAUCE

  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce, regular
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar

* 1 Tbsp = 15 ml

** If you want to get more creative with the dipping sauce, be sure to check my Korean pancake sauce recipe.

HOW TO MAKE KOREAN TUNA PANCAKES

1. Make the dipping sauce by whisking all the dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside. Combine all the prepared main ingredients (excluding the oil) in a mixing bowl and mix them well.

Collage image of tuna pancake mixture in a bowl

2. Preheat a skillet over medium low heat and once heated add some cooking oil across the pan. Scoop out the tuna mixture with a spoon (heaped), and gently place it onto the pan (each spoonful mixture makes one pancake). Cook for 2-3 mins. Flip them over and cook another 2-3 mins, or until golden brown.

Pan frying tuna pancakes

You can also tell it is ready when no egg liquid seeps out when you gently press the mixture down with a spatula.

Remove from the pan when both sides of the pancake are cooked. Repeat this until all the remaining mixture is used up. You may need to add more cooking oil between the batches.

3. Serve with the dipping sauce. Also with cooked rice and other Korean side dishes. 

Tuna pancakes served with soy dipping sauce

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Tuna pancakes served on a plate

Tuna Pancakes (Chamchijeon)

Korean tuna pancake recipe
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side dishes
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: chamchijeon, tuna pancakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 10 pancakes
Calories: 69kcal
Author: Sue | My Korean Kitchen

Ingredients

MAIN

  • 185 g canned tuna , well-drained
  • 2 large eggs , beaten
  • 30 g green onions (1 ounce), finely chopped
  • 45 g onion (1.6 ounces), finely diced
  • 20 g red bell peppers or chili (0.7 ounces), seed removed & finely diced
  • 20 g green bell peppers or chili (0.7 ounces), seed removed & finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise , optional (I used Hellmann’s brand)
  • 2 tsp all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • A few sprinkles ground black pepper
  • Some cooking oil , I used rice bran oil

DIPPING SAUCE

  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce , regular
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar

Instructions

  • Make the dipping sauce by whisking all the dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside. Combine all the prepared main ingredients (excluding the oil) in a mixing bowl and mix them well.
  • Preheat a skillet over medium low heat and once heated add some cooking oil across the pan. Scoop out the tuna mixture with a spoon (heaped), and gently place it onto the pan (each spoonful mixture makes one pancake). Cook for 2-3 mins. Flip them over and cook another 2-3 mins, or until golden brown.
    You can also tell it is ready when no egg liquid seeps out when you gently press the mixture down with a spatula.
    Remove from the pan when both sides of the pancake are cooked. Repeat this until all the remaining mixture is used up. You may need to add more cooking oil between the batches.
  • Serve with the dipping sauce. Also with cooked rice and other Korean side dishes.

Notes

* 1 Tbsp = 15 ml
** If you want to get more creative with the dipping sauce, be sure to check my Korean pancake sauce recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 69kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 246mg | Potassium: 73mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 162IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Rate this recipe with a comment below and tag me on Instagram @MyKoreanKitchen.

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Written by: Sue

Last Updated: May 25, 2020
Sue and My Korean Kitchen Profile

Welcome to my Korean kitchen! I’m so happy that you're here. I am Sue, the creator behind My Korean Kitchen (since 2006). I love good food and simplifying recipes. Here you will find my best and family approved recipes. Thanks for stopping by!

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18 thoughts on “Tuna Pancakes (Chamchijeon)”

  1. My kids love this tuna pancake , me too. I never thought it will come out good from tuna. Now i can make this recipe a regular meal for school lunches. Thank you for your recipes.

    Reply
  2. These were great! Mine weren’t as pretty as your’s of course. But my partner and I really enjoyed them. We’ll be eating them often. Thanks.

    Reply
  3. Hi Sue. I really enjoy your posts and your website. Thanks for sharing. Korean food is awesome. I would go so far as to say the Korean people are awesome as well. Korean BBQ with banchan is one of our favorite meals to cook at home. A question: wouldn’t the tuna pancake be easy to make in the food processor, given that everything is supposed to be finely chopped? I may give it a try today and let you know…

    Thanks BZ

    Reply
    • Good thinking! I haven’t thought of that. I guess thinking of washing the food processor afterwards was more bothering to me. LOL. Let us know how it all goes in your food processor! I do like to have a bit of texture in the pancakes, so I wouldn’t overly process it. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Yes, all of my attempts at making pancakes have been quite unsuccessful. Apparently I’ve been missing the flour. Thank you so much for a great recipe! Great work!

    Reply
  5. I came across your website yesterday whilst researching Gochujang (I’m trying to learn about Korean food) and tried out the Bibim Guksu as I had all the ingredients in the cupboard. We loved it! I’ve tried to find alternative ways to serve Soba noodles without Japanese dashi so I could serve it to Vegetarian friends but they never tasted nice – the Bibim Guksu was delicious!

    Bolstered by the success of this recipe I made the tuna pancakes later that same evening (which are incredibly easy). On their own with a little hot sauce they are very good, but with the dipping sauce they are fantastic.

    So for lunch today we had Kimchi Bokkumbap, stir fried Gochujang with minced and marinaded Quorn (a meat substitute) and more of the Chamchijeon – because they were so very good the last time. Again – everything was easy to prepare and tasted fantastic. Thank you so much for posting your easy to follow recipes. Korean food has always seemed intimidating for me but your blog is easing me in gently and successfully. We feel so good after our meal right now – like we’ve just got out of a very hot bath! I’m looking forward to trying more.

    Reply
  6. All my attempts at pancakes so far have been disastrous, I will try your recipe to see if I have any luck this time!

    I just wanted to check whay kind of flour you use, is it rice flour or white wheat flour?

    Reply

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