Kimchi pancake, known as kimchi jeon in Korean, is a must-make for anyone who enjoys Korean cuisine. They are crispy on the outside, filled with flavorful kimchi on the inside, and have an incredibly delicious taste!
Kimchi pancake (kimchi jeon) is one of the most popular Korean dishes, and for good reason. The combination of flavorful kimchi and crispy pancake batter creates an incredibly delicious side dish or snack!
It’s one of my go-to orders when I eat Korean food at a restaurant. However, I also enjoy making it at home whenever I crave a hot and spicy kimchi pancake!
This recipe is perfect for making crispy and delicious kimchi jeon with minimal effort and simple ingredients. So if you’ve ever wondered how to make them at home, be sure to give this recipe a try! 😊
Kimchi Pancake Ingredients
To make the kimchi pancake you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Flour: Regular all-purpose flour works really well to make kimchi pancakes and it’s what many people (including me) use. But if you’ve been to an Asian grocery store, you may have noticed the kimchi pancake batter mixes that are sold by Korean food brands. The main difference between these mixes and regular flour is that they are seasoned and that they often use potato starch to help make the kimchi jeon crispier. I don’t think that it’s necessary to buy them, but you can certainly go for it if you want to. Both options work well with this recipe!
- Kimchi: You can either buy kimchi or make your own to use it for a variety of Korean dishes. If you use homemade kimchi, make sure to use one that has been in the refrigerator for several weeks so that it’s well-fermented.
- Kimchi juice: Kimchi juice is what you’ll find in the kimchi container. Please be sure to use it as it’s really important to make the batter taste delicious!
- Sugar: Sugar helps to balance the acidity of the kimchi. Depending on how sour your kimchi is, adjust the amount of sugar. You don’t need a lot though, a small amount is enough.
- Egg: Eggs are used to bind the dough. Use medium-sized or large eggs.
- Green onion: You’ll need one green onion for extra flavor.
For the dipping sauce you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Soy sauce: Soy sauce is the base for the dipping sauce. You could actually use only soy sauce, but I recommend quickly whisking together a sauce with rice vinegar and honey.
- Rice vinegar: Rice vinegar adds some acidity that goes really well with the hot and spicy pancake.
- Honey: Honey is used as a sweetener to balance the flavor of the dipping sauce.
How to make kimchi pancakes
Prepare the dipping sauce. Whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, and honey in a small bowl and set the sauce aside.
Prepare the kimchi pancake batter base. Place the flour, salt, sugar, egg, kimchi juice, and cold water in a mixing bowl. Then stir until combined.
Fold in your add-ins. Add the chopped kimchi and sliced green onion to the batter and stir until combined.
Pan-fry the kimchi pancake. Preheat some vegetable oil in a pan over medium to medium-high heat. Then add the batter and spread it in the pan. Let the kimchi pancake cook until it has browned and is set around the edges.
Flip the pancake. Now flip the pancake and pan-fry it from the other side until it’s fully cooked. I recommend adding more vegetable oil to the pan and gently lifting the pancake so that the oil can spread.
Serve and enjoy. Cut the kimchi pancake into squares or pizza-style pieces. Serve it with the dip and other side dishes or main dishes of your choice. Enjoy!
Tips & Notes
- The water for the pancake batter should be as cold as possible. This allows the kimchi jeon to become really crispy, so be sure to not use warm water.
- If you have trouble handling one big pancake, make several smaller pancakes. Just divide the dough and make two or four smaller pancakes as they are easier to flip and rarely fall apart. I used an 11-inch/28cm pan to make one big kimchi pancake. Just be sure to not use all of the batter for one small kimchi pancake as it will be too thick.
- Use a plate to flip the pancake. That’s how I used to do it when I was scared of flipping the whole beast. 😂 Slide the pancake onto a plate and then flip it into the pan. 😊
- Pancake batter: A common modification is adding shrimp or ground pork (or both) to the batter. I personally love to add shrimp and would definitely recommend it! Just make sure to cook the pancake thoroughly as the meat or seafood should be cooked through.
- Dipping sauce: You could also modify the dipping sauce to make it suit your taste. Green onion, sesame seeds, and gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes) are common additions.
Frequently Asked Questions
It depends on the kimchi you use. As kimchi is generally spicy, kimchi pancakes are the same. But they aren’t overly hot and I think most people will find them very enjoyable!
You can either enjoy them as a snack with dipping sauce or serve them as part of a full meal. I like to enjoy them as part of a Korean meal with other main or side dishes like tteokbokki, dakgalbi, instant ramen (I love Neoguri, they have the best noodles!), or Korean cucumber salad.
When you use enough oil for the pan and cold water for the batter, your kimchi pancake should turn out crispy. If it still doesn’t turn out the way you want, I recommend adding some potato starch to the batter to help the pancake crisp up nicely.
More simple and delicious Korean recipes
If you love Korean cuisine and want to try other dishes, I recommend trying one of the following recipes. They are either authentic Korean recipes or Korean-style recipes that I created with common Korean ingredients.
Kimchi Pancake (Kimchi Jeon)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- sliced green onion, gochugaru, sesame seeds (optional)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour or kimchi batter mix
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ - 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons kimchi juice
- ½ cup cold water
- 1 cup kimchi well-fermented, chopped into small pieces
- 1 green onion cut into slices
- 2-4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Add all ingredients for the dipping sauce to a small bowl, stir until combined, and set it aside.1 tablespoon soy sauce, ½ tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey
- Add the flour, salt, sugar, egg, kimchi juice, and cold water to a bowl. Stir until combined. Don't overmix the dough.1 cup all-purpose flour or kimchi batter mix, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ - 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 egg, 3 tablespoons kimchi juice, ½ cup cold water
- Gently fold in the kimchi and green onion until well-combined.1 cup kimchi, 1 green onion
- Preheat some vegetable oil in a pan over medium to medium-high heat. The bottom of the pan should be fully covered in oil. Then pour the batter into the pan and cook the pancake until it has browned and is set around the edges.2-4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Flip the pancake and add more oil to the pan. Try to lift the pancake so the oil can spread underneath the pancake. Pan-fry until the second side has browned and the pancake is cooked through.
- Cut the kimchi pancake into squares or pizza-style and serve alongside the dip. Enjoy!
- I used an 11-inch/28cm pan to make the kimchi pancake. Alternatively, use the batter to make 2 or 4 smaller pancakes.