Korean Tuna Pancake

Korean pancakes with katsu sauce on a reed mat

Korean Tuna Pancake: An Easy, 15 Minute Meal 

You read that right, this Korean Tuna Pancake recipe only takes 15 minutes to make. And even better, you probably have all of the ingredients on hand. I like to keep canned tuna (in water, never oil) in my pantry at all times for quick meals because it’s high in protein and there’s no defrost time. And it doesn’t take long to mince up just ¼ cup of onion. I found it to be only ⅛ of one of my sweet onions.

While they’re called pancakes, these Korean Tuna Pancakes turn out almost like a tuna chicken nugget or a small fritter. When making a batch of 6, they end up about silver dollar sized. At that size, I recommend serving 3 with rice or just eating them all as part of a quick lunch. You could also serve them with some baby carrots or celery sticks for some added veggies.

Korean pancakes with katsu sauce

Let's make Korean Tuna Pancakes


Mix the ingredients

Drain the tuna and mix with the egg, flour, onion, and spices.


Form the pancakes

Portion your mix into six even pancakes.


Fry your Korean Pancakes

Fry each side on medium high heat for 1-2 minutes with a bit of oil. 

Recipe for Korean Tuna Pancakes

Korean pancakes with katsu sauce on a reed mat

Korean Tuna Pancake

Savory Tuna Pancakes!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Lunch
Cuisine Asian
Servings 6 pancakes
Calories 46 kcal


  • 5 oz canned tuna in water
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (or 1 clove minced)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2-1 tsp sesame oil per taste
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp canola oil for frying


  • Drain the tuna well and use your hands or cheesecloth to squeeze out as much moisture as you can.
  • Add all ingredients except the canola oil to a small mixing bowl.
  • Stir well to combine.
  • Optional: On a cutting board or sheet of parchment paper form 6 even pancakes.
  • Heat the canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  • If you did not pre-portion your pancakes, use your hands to form a small patty, about the size of a silver dollar or chicken nugget, and put it into the heated oil. If you pre-portioned, just put your pancakes into the skillet.
  • Cook on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes, or until you can see the bottom browning without moving the pancakes. If you’re not sure, use the back of your spatula to try to lightly push the pancake in the pan. If it moves easily, it’s ready to flip. If it does not move easily, keep cooking for another 30 seconds until it does move easily.
  • Flip the pancakes and cook for 1 more minute on the bottom, or until the bottoms are golden brown.
  • Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
  • Serve alone with a dipping sauce, or with rice and a dipping sauce.


Serving: 1pancakeCalories: 46kcalCarbohydrates: 1.4gProtein: 5.2gFat: 2.1gSaturated Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 324mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 0.3gCalcium: 11mg
Keyword korean, pancake, tuna
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Nutrition Facts
Korean Tuna Pancake
Serving Size
1 pancake
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

How fluid should I make my batter?

If you’ve made regular pancakes before, you know that too much liquid in the batter will lead to either a crepe or, more likely, a mess. This is why the first step of this recipe is to get as much liquid out of the tuna as possible. Tuna canned in water is great on calories, but extra water is the enemy of pancake batter, so get as much out as you can. I drained the can with the lid as normal, and then used my hands to take about a tablespoon of tuna at a time and squeeze it over the sink. I got a lot of water out of the tuna this way.

If you’ve squeezed out as much water as possible, but you’re worried the batter is still too wet, see optional step 4 of the instructions. On a cutting board or parchment paper, form silver dollar sized pancakes and lay them out. If your batter won’t stick together well enough to do this, add more flour, ½ tablespoon at a time, and try again. As long as the batter sticks together well enough to be formed into a patty, it should cook up without issue.

Another tip: Mince your onion as finely as you possibly can. If the onion pieces are too large, they may fall out while cooking, leaving holes in your pancakes. It’s not the end of the world if this happens, but it’s worth avoiding if you can.

Korean tuna pancakes and rice

Perfect Meal Prep Option

While I wrote this Korean Tuna Pancake recipe as a quick and easy lunch, these are also fantastic for meal prep. Scale this recipe based on however many cans of tuna you want to use, and add some extra flour if it seems necessary, then cook as directed. Since the pancakes cook quickly, this will be a big process, but not too long of one.

When meal prepping Korean Tuna Pancakes, be careful when storing them. I recommend storing these in single layers, separated by parchment paper or foil. If freezing, lay out your layers of pancakes on a baking sheet, dividing layers with parchment paper or foil, and cover the whole sheet with foil when done. Then, once the pancakes are frozen, you can transfer them to a zip top bag to reclaim your baking sheet.

From the refrigerator or frozen, reheat the pancakes in a 425F oven for 5-10 minutes, until hot to the touch.

Korean pancakes rice and katsu sauce

How to serve Korean Tuna Pancakes?

I really enjoyed eating these with rice, sliced green onion, and some katsu sauce for dipping. You could also just eat them like you would chicken nuggets. When you think of these as similar to chicken nuggets, that opens up a lot of options for serving.

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