A Heaping TBSP of Life

~ presenting a slightly currated collection of all things edible ~

Kimchi Pancake (kimchijeon)

Lately I’ve been getting the urge more and more to try NEW dishes. Foods that I quite honestly have been scared to make for a very long time. More Vietnamese and Korean and Indian food, perfect french baguettes, deep dish pizza. I’ve started using several new ingredients (red bean paste and lemon grass are my two favorites currently) and I’m loving the learning curve!

Kimchi pancakes have long been on my list of things to try, but I’ve always been intimidated by their complex flavor and chewy-yet-crunchy texture. Also their pronunciation (I don’t even try anymore). The other day though I checked the expiration date on my kimchi and decided I should probably do something with it!!! I tend to buy kimchi in bulk, and then treat it like it lasts forever…and while it does last awhile, forever is a bit of an overstatement.

My got-to with kimchi is a bowl of rice and veggies and tofu covered in sriracha and a dollop of pickled cabbage. Delicious, but I’ve done it a billion times. This was the perfect opportunity to get out of that comfort zone and start trying something new. So I decided to give kimchi pajeon a try.

First off, I was amazed that there are only a few ingredients, the depth of flavor comes almost 100 percent from the kimchi itself, I just upped it a tad with some scallions and thai peppers. (I’ve also made this with 1/4 of shredded leek instead of the scallions. Also delicious!)

I highly recommend using cast iron for this, as it gives a nice crunchy crust and good browning, but if you don’t have it, a non-stick skillet should work good too.

From start to finish I had my ingredients prepped and my pancake sliced and ready to go in less then 20 minutes. While the pancake cooked I tossed together a simple stir fry with leftover veggies, tofu and premade sauce, and dinner was ready just like that! It’s so easy to throw together, and so hands off that this delicious little appetizer could quickly become a weeknight staple, especially if you have some kimchi to use up!

Kimchi Pancake (kimchijeon)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Korean
Servings: 1 Pancake
  • 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 2/3 cup Potato Startch
  • pinch Salt
  • 1 Green Onion, sliced thin
  • 1 Red Chili (i like thai), sliced thin
  • 2/3 cup Napa Cabbage Kimchi, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 1 Tbsp Canola Oil
  1. Whisk together the flour, starch and salt.  Stir in the onion and chili.

  2. Stir in the kimchi until well incorporated.  Start adding water (you can also use kimchi juice if you have enough).  You want to add enough water that you have a good batter that’s not too thick, but not soupy either.  I normally find between 2/3 cup and 3/4 is just right.

  3. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.  Pour in the kimchi batter and use a spatula to spread it to the edges of the pan in an even layer.

  4. Let the pancake cook for 4 – 6 minutes on one side, or until starting to brown.  Flip it over and finish cooking the other side until browned.  Remove from heat and serve with your favorite dipping sauce!

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