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Korean Potato Pancake Recipe (Gamja Jeon)

by Emily
An overhead photograph of Korean potato pancakes on a gray plate. The plate sits on a cream table cloth.

 This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for details at the bottom of this page. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases on this Korean potato pancake recipe article. I hope you enjoy learning about how to make gamja jeon, otherwise known as Korean potato pancakes, gamjajeon, or gamja-jeon!

What Is Gamja Jeon (Aka Korean Potato Pancakes)

‘Gamja jeon’ (감자전), otherwise known as potato pancakes in English, is a variety of Korean pancake known as ‘jeon’ (전).

To make this pancake, you pan-fry finely grated potato in vegetable oil until golden brown and crispy on the outside. Typically, you serve these pancakes with a soy-based dipping sauce and ‘makgeolli’ (​​막걸리), a traditional rice-based alcohol. 

In South Korea, people eat ‘jeon’ (전) on rainy days. When pan-frying all the different varieties of pancakes in oil, it makes a crackling noise similar to the sound of rain. For that reason, when it is rainy outside, you will notice the jeon restaurants fill up with people in South Korea. It is a fun little cultural tradition everyone enjoys while listening to the rain and drinking makgeolli. 

A closeup side shot of Korean gamja jeon on a plate. The round potato fritters have green hot peppers in the center.

Historians believe potatoes were introduced to the Korean peninsula either through the China-North Korean border at Tumen in 1824 or by the German missionary Karl Gützlaff a few years later in 1832. Once these tubers were introduced to Korea, they were cultivated in the mountain ranges of Gangwon Province, hence why gamja jeon became a specialty of that region. 

While Korean potato pancakes traditionally only used potato, salt, and oil, people have developed their own family recipes. Some of such recipes include onions, carrots, mushrooms, hot peppers, scallions, and more. Further, some people only use potato starch while others add flour to their recipes. 

I hope you enjoy learning how to make this Korean potato pancake recipe! Some of my other jeon recipes include:

Korean Potato Pancake Ingredient List:

Below, I list the ingredients used to make this delicious Korean potato pancake recipe. I also linked any informative articles on my site connected to these ingredients:

Gamja Jeon Ingredients:

Note: You can learn how to make Korean pancake dipping sauce via my recipe! Korean pancake sauce can be used for any and all jeon recipes! 

Korean potato pancake on a plate. The round potato fritters have green hot peppers in the center.

Korean Potato Pancake Recipe Tips & Tricks: 

Here, I list some helpful tips & tricks to help you make this easy Korean potato pancake recipe. If you have any questions, leave a comment below or email me at [email protected]! I hope these tips make cooking this gamja jeon recipe easier! 

  • Before cooking with your potatoes, wash them with cold water to remove any potential dirt and germs.
  • When using thick-skinned potatoes, such as russets, peel the skin. For thinner skinned potatoes you can skip this step. 
  • Blend your potatoes finely using a food processor or blender.
  • Then using a fine mesh sieve let the potatoes sit over a bowl for at least five minutes. The liquid of the potatoes will collect in the bowl allowing you to have a crispier potato pancake. 
  • While you let the potatoes sit in the fine mesh sieve, blend your onion in the blender. 
  • Combine your onion and potato mixture in another bowl. Then, pour out the water from the bowl used to drain the blended potatoes. Some residue of potato starch should remain at the bottom of the bowl. Add that to your potato and onion mixture. If no residue remains, add 1 or 2 tsp of potato starch to your mixture instead. 
  • If your potato pancakes are still not crispy enough for you, add a bit of extra potato starch to the potato batter. The extra starch helps make the pan-fried exterior extra crispy. 
  • While you can make large pancakes, I prefer smaller ones when making gamja jeon.

Korean Potato Pancake Recipe Frequently Asked Questions: 

Now that we learned some tips & tricks for making this Korean potato pancake recipe, I want to answer some questions you may have as well! If I do not answer your question, feel free to leave a comment in the section below or email me at [email protected]

Does This Recipe Contain Major Allergens? (Gluten, Soy, Etc.)

Before listing all of the major allergens, I want to state that all of my recipes are naturally gluten-free. On this blog, I only use and recommend gluten-free ingredients and brands. That being said, I list gluten as a potential allergen when necessary– this is because many Korean ingredients (such as soy sauce, gochujang, and doenjang) contain gluten unless you specifically buy gluten-free versions. Not only is this true for gluten, but it is true for other major allergens as well. As such, I always list allergy substitutions in the next section of my post. 

This recipe does not contain 9 of the 9 major allergens. It does not contain: 

  • Peanuts
  • Sesame
  • Fish
  • Crustacean Shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Milk (Dairy)
  • Tree Nuts
  • Wheat (Gluten)
  • Soybeans

This recipe does contain 0 of the 9 major allergens. Note that the dipping sauce for this recipe does use soy sauce and vinegar. Learn about substitutes for these ingredients via my recipe article for ‘choganjang’(초간장), aka Korean dipping sauce for jeon. 

A closeup side shot of Korean gamja jeon on a plate. The round potato fritters have green hot peppers in the center. It sits on a cream table cloth.

Is This Recipe Vegetarian or Vegan?

Excitingly, this recipe is naturally vegetarian and vegan! 

Where Do I Buy the Ingredients?

You can buy most ingredients listed (such as potatoes, onion, and salt) for this recipe at your local well-stocked grocery store. 

Unfortunately, Korean green peppers can be difficult to find in most Western-style stores. Instead, look for these ingredients at a Korean or Asian grocery store (such as H-Mart or a family-run business). 

If you cannot find Korean peppers, you can omit them from this recipe or replace them with another type of hot pepper available in your area. 

Where to Buy Korean Ingredients Online? 

Nowadays, there are many online options to choose from to order Korean food online. These websites are not limited to but include:

  • Amazon
  • H-mart
  • Hanpoom
  • Wooltari 

How Do I Store Leftovers?

To store your leftovers, place your Korean potato pancakes in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator. 

I recommend reheating the jeon on the stovetop, in the oven, or in an air fryer. If you microwave jeon, they become mushy rather than crispy.  

An overhead photo of Korean potato pancakes on a plate. The half of the round gamja jeon have green hot peppers in the center.

I Hope You Enjoyed Learning How to Make This Korean Potato Pancake (Gamja Jeon) Recipe!!

In the end, I hope you enjoyed learning how to make this delicious Korean potato pancake recipe! If so, let me know in the comment section!

If you would like to read more about cooking, you can find further recipes on this blog. I listed some of my favorite Carving A Journey recipes below! For reference, many recipes are influenced by my family’s blended Korean and Southern heritage.

Further Carving A Journey Recipes:

If you have any questions or comments, you can also email me at [email protected]. And, finally, I would love to hear from you through our social media as well! You can follow me at @carvingajourney on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. I also started a vlog YouTube channel with my husband! Or, if you would like more articles like these, you can subscribe to the blog by joining the mailing list. Let me know if you try making this Korean potato pancake recipe (gamja jeon)! Thank you so much for stopping by!

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Korean Potato Pancake (Gamja Jeon)

5.0 from 2 votes
Recipe by Emily Course: Side DishCuisine: KoreanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 Medium Potatoes, such as Russet

  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion

  • 1 Korean Green Pepper, thinly sliced and seeded

  • 1/2 TSP Salt

  • Vegetable Oil, for Pan-Frying

  • Optional: Potato Starch, 1-2 TSP

Directions

  • Before cooking with your potatoes, wash them with cold water to remove any potential dirt and germs. Then, peel the potatoes if using a variety with thick skin (such as russet potatoes).
  • Fully blend your potatoes in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  • Then using a fine mesh sieve and/or cheesecloth let the potatoes sit over a bowl for at least five minutes. The liquid of the potatoes will collect in the bowl allowing you to have a crispier potato pancake. 
  • While you let the potatoes sit in the fine mesh sieve, blend your onion in the blender. 
  • Mix the pureed potato and onion in a bowl. Then, add the salt.
  • Empty the water from the bowl used when straining the pureed potatoes. At the bottom, there should remain some extra potato starch. Add that potato starch to your onion and potato mixture. This helps your jeon get crispier! If there isn’t any residue left at the bottom of your water bowl, add some potato 1-2 tsp of potato starch instead!
  • Heat the pan on high heat and add some oil.
  • Once the pan is heated, scoop out small amounts of the potato mixture and place it on the pan. Then, spread out the mixture with the back of your spoon. Reduce the heat to medium-high.
  • Once one side of the pancake is about 70-80% cooked, garnish with the Korean green pepper. If you do not have a Korean pepper, you can replace it with other types of peppers or omit it entirely.
  • When one side of the pancake is golden brown, turn it over. Lightly press the pancake with a spatula to flatten it further.
  • Once each side is cooked, serve warm with some Korean pancake sauce. You can also serve these at room temperature if you are making multiple banchan (Korean side dishes). These are often served at room temperature in Korean households.* Serve with this Korean pancake dipping sauce (cho ganjang).

Notes

  • *This recipe makes 4 servings of potato jeon. That being said, these 4 servings are not enough for 4 people to eat this solely as a meal. This Korean side dish is also often served with other types of jeon, rice, stew, and more. People do not typically eat one type of jeon for an entire meal.

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