Kimchijeon (Kimchi Pancake)

This crispy flavor-packed kimchi pancakes are super easy to make with a few basic ingredients as long as you have some kimchi.   

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Kimchijeon, or kimchi jeon (김치전), is a type of Korean savory pancake that’s made with kimchi. It’s also called kimchi buchimgae (김치부침개). Enjoy these deliciously crispy kimchi pancakes as a snack, appetizer, or a light meal!

If you have nicely fermented kimchi and some flour, you can make this popular snack in no time. The flavor-packed sour kimchi does a wonder when it’s fried in a simple batter. Everything else is nice to have, but not absolutely necessary.

Kimchi for pancakes

I’ve said many times on this blog that ripe, well-fermented kimchi is always the best to cook with. No exception for this kimchi pancake recipe! Napa cabbage kimchi is standard for kimchi pancakes, but you can also use radish kimchi (kkakdugi or chonggak kimchi). 

Simply use vegan kimchi for vegan kimchi pancakes. 

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Kimchi pancake batter

All-purpose flour is all you need! You can add some sweet rice powder or corn/potato starch, if available, to give it a little bit of crispy, slightly chewy texture. Of course, buchim garu (Korean pancake premix) is always good for any savory pancakes. 

The addition of some juice/liquid from the kimchi is the key. It gives the pancake batter its distinct flavor and a nice orange hue. 

For a slightly spicier kimchi pancake, I like to add a spoonful of gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste) to the batter. Gochujang is especially good if your kimchi doesn’t have much liquid because it adds extra umami. Gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes) works too if you just want a spicy kick. 

If you use gochujang and/or kimchi liquid, the pancakes will be very well seasoned so you don’t really need a dipping sauce. That will also be the case if you used buchim garu, which is seasoned. But, a dipping sauce recipe is provided here in the recipe below.  

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Variations

Minced or thinly sliced pork is commonly added to kimchijeon. No surprise there because kimchi and pork are a winning combo in Korean cooking.

I sometimes add some squid strips. The chewy squid lends a nice textural contrast to the crunchy kimchi. Canned tuna is also a great addition to kimchi pancakes. Squeeze out the liquid from tuna, if using. 

You can make 2 to 3 large pancakes with this kimchi pancake recipe, or 5 to 6 small ones instead. The smaller the pancakes are, the easier it is to flip. 

Tips for making kimchi pancakes: 

  1. Use juice/liquid from kimchi if at all possible. 
  2. Use icy cold water.
  3. The batter should be thin enough to flow easily from a spoon. 
  4. Spread the batter thin when pan frying. 
  5. Use a generous amount of oil.
  6. Increase the heat a little to crisp up the pancakes at the end of pan-frying. 

More Korean savory pancakes recipes

Haemul Pajeon (Scallion seafood pancakes)
Nokdujeon (savory mung bean pancakes)
Gamjajeon (potato pancakes)
Hobak buchim (zucchini pancakes)
Buchujeon (garlic chives pancakes)

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If you tried this kimchijeon recipe, please rate the recipe and let me know how it turned out for you in the comment section below.  Stay in touch by following me on YouTubePinterestTwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

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Kimchijeon (kimchi pancakes)

4.24 from 25 votes
Appetizer, Snack
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 3
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup thinly sliced fully-fermented kimchi
  • 1 to 2 scallions Two if thin and small
  • 1/4 medium onion
  • 3 ounces minced pork, canned tuna (without the liquid), or squid cut into small strips - optional
  • cooking oil with high smoke point for pan frying

Batter

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour or buchimgaru (Korean pancake premix) or Swap 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour with sweet rice flour or corn/potato starch (See note)
  • 1/4 cup juice/liquid from kimchi Use more water if unavailable
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean chili pepper paste) - optional Or 1 to 2 teaspoons gochugaru
  • 1 lightly beaten egg - optional
  • 1 cup icy cold water Use more water if juice/liquid from kimchi is unavailable and not using an egg

Optional Dipping Sauce (Combine all the ingredients)

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • pinch of black pepper

Instructions

  • Thinly slice the kimchi, about 1/2-inch thick. Cut the scallions into about 2-inch pieces. If the white part is thick, cut in half lengthwise. Thinly slice the onion.
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  • In a large bowl, combine the flour (or pancake mix) with the liquid from kimchi, the optional gochujang and egg, and water. Start with dissolving the gochujang with water, and mix everything together. Do not over mix.
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  • Add a little more water if the batter is too thick. The batter should flow easily from a spoon.
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  • Stir in the kimchi, scallions, onion and the optional protein of your choice.
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  • Heat one tablespoon of oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Ladle the mixture into the pan, and spread it evenly into a thin round shape. Cook until the edges turn light golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn it over, and add more oil to the sides of the pan. Gently swirl the pan to distribute the oil under the pancakes. Press the pancake down with a spatula. Cook until the other side is nicely browned and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes.
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  • Repeat the process until there is no remaining batter. Serve hot with a dipping sauce, if desired.

Notes

You can swap  for a crispier, chewier texture.
Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!

This kimchi pancake recipe was originally posted in February 2010. I’ve updated it here with new photos, more information and minor changes to the recipe.