A Year To Learn Korean Cooking: Kimchijeon

Today let’s learn about cooking kimchijeon 김치전. Let’s take a mouthwatering journey as we explore the savory delights of Kimchijeon – the irresistible Korean Kimchi Pancake.

About the South of Seoul ‘A Year to Learn Korean Cooking’ Series

If you are familiar with the series, skip ahead to learn more about kimchijeon 김치전. 

Many of us live in South Korea for only a year. Time flies past faster than we can imagine. At South of Seoul, we decided to create a simple series that will offer 2-4 dishes to learn each month so that when you leave South Korea you have a slew of new dishes you feel comfortable making anywhere.

This series is a collaboration with Kimchi Rednecks. In 2020, they created the first blog in this series Online Resources for Learning to Cook Korean Food. These two love to have adventures in the kitchen and share the results with their community. Be sure to follow KimchiRednecks on YouTube for other great videos about living life in South Korea.

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About Kimchijeon 김치전

Kimchijeon 김치전 is also referred to as kimchi buchimgae 김치부침개. This traditional Korean pancake, infused with the bold flavors of kimchi, is crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and bursting with tangy kimchi goodness. Also, many versions of kimchijeon exist that include other vegetables or meats. Often served as a banchan (side dish) or snack, Koreans like to enjoy kimchijeon and makgeolli on rainy days or as a comfort food.

Cultural Significance

This savory kimchi pancake is culturally significant in Korea. It represents a blend of tradition, resourcefulness, and community. Also, kimchijeon celebrates the rich flavors of kimchi while embodying the values of Korean culture. Not only is this a popular street food and bar food, but it is also a common dish enjoyed at home. Since most Korean homes have kimchi available, this delicious pancake can be made very quickly with just a few ingredients. Therefore, its accessibility and versatility make it a staple in Korean cuisine.

ingredients for kimchijeon


The primary ingredient in kimchijeon is, of course, kimchi. Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made from fermented vegetables, primarily cabbage and radishes, mixed with a blend of seasonings, including garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and salt. When you are cooking with kimchi, you want to use an aged kimchi, referred to as mugeunji 묵은지. Fermented kimchi is best when cooking because it has had time to develop deep flavors. Whereas fresh kimchi is great as a banchan and should be eaten right away.

To make kimchijeon, the kimchi is typically chopped or thinly sliced. Then, the kimchi gets mixed with a batter. There are commercial pancake frying mixes (buchim garu 부침가루) available or you can choose to make your own batter. Additional ingredients such as green onions, garlic, and various seasonings are often added to enhance flavor. Also, you can add seafood, beef or pork to the mixture if you want some extra flavor.


Our First Experience with Kimchijeon 김치전

Neither Chuck or I can remember our first experience having kimchijeon. Although, we know that we have had it a few times while out with friends, neither of us can pinpoint the exact time. However, we both love all types of jeon and knew that we wanted to make this dish at home. Prior to our first time cooking kimchijeon (in our video), we did some research to find ways of making it. One thing I enjoy doing prior to cooking a dish is reviewing several videos and recipes for tips and tricks on how to make the best version of it. Therefore, I spent some time reviewing options and finally decided on our version.

Hurdles in Cooking Kimchijeon 김치전

Making kimchijeon can present a few challenges even though it is not a complicated dish. Here are some common hurdles you might encounter when making kimchijeon:

  • Kimchi Choice: The type of kimchi you use can greatly affect the flavor and spiciness of the pancake. Using an aged kimchi is key. However, you will want to choose a kimchi that meets your flavor preferences as well. Find the right balance that suits your taste.
  • Batter Consistency: Having the right consistency in your batter is crucial. Too thick, and the pancake might not cook evenly; too thin, and it may not hold together well. The batter should be thin and flow easily off of a spoon.
  • Cooking Temperatures: Maintaining the right cooking temperature is important to ensure the pancake cooks evenly and achieves the desired crispiness without burning. If you cook it too quickly, the outside will be done but the insides maybe mushy.
  • Proper Amount of Oil: Determining the right amount of oil in the pan is crucial. Too little can result in sticking, while too much can make the pancake greasy.
  • Uniform Thickness: The goal is uniform thickness. When you spread the batter, make sure that the entire pancake is the same thickness otherwise it will cook uneven.

Despite these challenges, making kimchijeon can be a rewarding culinary experience. With practice, attention to detail, and a willingness to learn from any mistakes, you can overcome these hurdles and create a delicious dish that celebrates the flavors of kimchi.

Tips For A Tasty Kimchi Pancake

After our research, we found a few tips for making your kimchijeon more tasty. Try one or all of these tips for a flavorful kimchi pancake!

  • Kimchi Brine in the Batter: Using kimchi juice in your batter will give your jeon a beautiful color but also add to the flavor of the pancake.
  • Flour & Starch for Your Batter: When you make your homemade batter, you can swap out some of your flour for either potato/corn starch or sweet rice flour to help your pancake be a bit more crispy.
  • Spice Levels: If your kimchi is not spicy enough and you want a hit of flavor, add a little gochujang or gochugaru to your batter.
  • A Drizzle of Sesame Oil: Add a drizzle of sesame oil to your batter for a little extra flavor and umami.
  • Cooking Temperatures: For a more crispy pancake, increase your heat a little towards the end of cooking. Make sure to watch as you cook, so that you do not overcook or burn your pancake.
  • Make a Dipping Sauce: You can make a simple dipping sauce for your kimchijeon with the following ingredients: 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of water, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of gochugaru or black pepper. Mix ingredients together and serve.

We hope you find much success in your adventures making kimchijeon. Experiment with it and make it your own. One of the best things about cooking is learning more about what works together and what doesn’t. We enjoy playing with our foods and making dishes that incorporate the foods we love. Above all, have fun in the kitchen.

Three Kimchijeon Videos to Watch

Are you ready to tackle the challenge of making kimchijeon at home? Here are three videos to inspire you to make your own! We like to include three perspectives on any dish that we present 1) a Korean chef making the dish in Korea, 2) a Korean chef making the dish in a foreign country (provides options for substitutions), and 3) foreign residents making the dish while living in South Korea. These three perspectives provide a broader look at cooking the dish so that you can understand how to adopt it into your lifestyle.

Korean Making Kimchijeon

Korean American Making Kimchijeon

Americans in Korea Making Kimchijeon

Let Us Know How It Turned Out

When you make kimchijeon 김치전 at home, be sure to leave a comment on this blog or our video. We would love to hear how your dish turned out. We love to hear about your adventures and experiences cooking these dishes at home!

Follow KimchiRednecks

If you are looking for other dishes (Korean or otherwise) or reviews of local restaurants, be sure to check out the KimchiRednecks channel. We also share a little behind the scenes in or our social media accounts on Facebook or Instagram.

Join Pyeongtaek Food & Fun

If you live in the Pyeongtaek area, share your Korean cooking experiences with us in the Pyeongtaek Food & Fun Facebook group. 

Pyeongtaek Food and Fun Facebook Group

Try More Recipies In Our Year To Learn Korean Cooking Series

We have many more Korean recipes that will make your life in Korea more delicious.