Tuna Gimbap

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Here’s another gimbap (김밥) recipe! This time, it’s tuna gimbap made with canned tuna (chamchi, 참치, in Korean). In the past, I’ve posted classic gimbap, myulchu gimbap, and mini gimbap.

The tuna filling is typically made similar to tuna salad with mayonnaise and other ingredients. I added a bit of dijon mustard, lemon juice, and diced celery. You can also add a bit of diced onion if you want. Since it’s going inside the rice, you don’t want to make the tuna too watery. Hold back from using the amount of mayonnaise and other wet ingredients from your favorite tuna salad recipe. 

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You can also add other typical gimbap ingredients such as egg, eomuk (fish cake), pickled radish, carrot, and/or spinach. In this recipe, I used romaine lettuce, perilla leaves (kkaennip), cucumbers, crab sticks, and pickled radish. The lettuce and perilla leaves wrap the tuna and other ingredients inside the roll, separating the wet ingredients from the rice. They also give a nice look when the roll is cut. I like the perilla scent in this gimbap, but if you can’t find it, simply use more lettuce.

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All the tableware shown in the final photos of this post are sponsored by Huue Craft, an online store dedicated to the finest Korean pottery tableware. They ship worldwide to over 25 countries. Visit their store at the Huue Craft online store.

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Tuna Gimbap

4.43 from 7 votes
Servings: 5
Print Recipe


For the rice

  • 2 cups standard measuring cup not the cup that comes with a rice cooker uncooked short grain rice
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • salt to taste about 1/2 teaspoon

For the tuna

  • 2 cans 5 to 6 ounces tuna, drained well
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • salt start with ¼ teaspoon and pepper to taste

For the other ingredients

  • 10 romaine lettuce leaves only use green leafy part
  • 10 perilla leaves
  • 3 kirby cucumbers cut into thick sticks or julienned (do not used seedy part)
  • 5 strips pre-cut pickled radish 단무지
  • 10 3- inch pieces imitation crab meat crab sticks
  • 5 sheets gim


  • Cook the rice using a little less water than usual. (Fresh cooked rice is best for gimbap.)
  • Drain the tuna well in a strainer. Press with a spoon to force more liquid to drain.
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  • Mix well with the celery, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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  • Prepare the other ingredients. Make sure the vegetables are dry. Pat the crab sticks and pickled radish with a paper towel to remove excess water.
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  • When all the other ingredients are ready, remove the rice from the rice cooker. While the rice is still hot, add the sesame oil and salt. Mix well by lightly folding with a rice paddle or large spoon until evenly seasoned. The rice will cool down during this process and be ready to be used.
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  • Put a sheet of gim, shiny side down with the longer side toward you, on a cutting board or a bamboo mat if available. Spread about 3/4 of rice evenly over the gim using a rice paddle or preferably your fingers.
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  • Lay two lettuce leaves and two perilla leaves on top of the rice, close to you, and then the tuna and other prepared ingredients.
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  • Lift the entire bottom edge with both hands, and roll over the filling away from you, bringing it to the other end of rice and tucking in the filling with your fingers. Put firm pressure over the roll with the help of the bamboo mat, if using, to close everything in tightly. Then, continue to roll again, putting pressure evenly over the roll using both hands.
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  • Rub or brush the roll with a little bit of sesame oil for extra flavor and a shiny look. Apply a little bit of sesame oil to a sharp knife. This will keep rice from sticking to the knife. Repeat as necessary after each cut. Wipe the knife with a damp towel if the rice still sticks. Cut the roll into 1/2-inch bite sizes.
Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!

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  1. Rinshinomori says

    Hi Hyosun – as an avid cook and fellow Asian (Japanese), I had to comment on your gimbap appearance. The amount of rice is in great proportion and is perfectly rolled with filling in the center instead of off-center like some i have seen. I just started looking at your blog but I can see the passion you have for Korean cooking. I am certainly trying some of your recipes.

  2. Hi!
    My name is Milene, and I’m from Brazil. I want to try making tuna kimbap at home, but I can’t find perilla leaves where I live. What can I use to replace it?
    Your website is amazing! Thanks for sharing you recipes, and helping us to be able to try korean food even in places where it’s hard to find it.

  3. Enith Chan says

    Hi, my name is Enith Chan I am and live in Costa Rica where I teaches chinese cooking, I love your korean cooking, do you teaches cooking?ong time ago, I been in Korea a long time ago, its a beatufil country.

    Best regards,