How to make homemade Korean kimchi

Kathleen Blumenthal
I love to cook and expand the boundaries of cooking
Korean kimchi

Kimchi is a popular dish that can be found in every meal in South Korea. It is a word for everything pickled. When you hear “kimchi”, it probably means fermented, flavorful napa cabbage, as it is the most classic vegetable. It’s quite affordable, too. For a variety, people use cucumbers, summer radish, etc. Kimchi is very easy to make at home and you can use it for other dishes.

If you’re new to fermented foods, you can be surprised by its unusual taste and strong smell. Once you try it, however, you might become addicted. And this is great because kimchi is full of healthy nutrients. It is rich in vitamin A, C, thiamine, calcium, fiber, and iron, not to mention lactic acid bacteria that’s good for our bodies. It’s easy to pre-made kimchi to fit your spiciness preference and personal taste. It can sit in a fridge for months.

How to make homemade Korean kimchi

Kimchi refers to a traditional Korean dish of fermented vegetables. Napa cabbage is the most popular options, even though some prefer daikon radish. It can be eaten as a part of a meal or used in hundreds of cooked dishes.

Course Lunch & dinner
Cuisine Korean
Prep Time 35 minutes
to ferment 6 hours
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 34 kcal


  • 1 napa cabbage, shredded and cored
  • 2 grated carrots
  • 6 chopped green onions
  • 1 grated daikon radish
  • 10 grated red radishes
  • 3 tbsp grated ginger
  • 5 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp chili flakes
  • 1.5 tbsp chili powder


  1. Start by cutting the vegetables. Place them all in a big bowl. Add chili powder and flakes, and salt. It's recommended to use the largest bowl, as you're going to give your veggies a nice massage.

  2. Massage everything for a couple of minutes, let it sit on a kitchen table. Vegetables will release water.

  3. Go back to massage for 10 more minutes. Vegetables should become soft. A bit of water from the veggies should be in the bowl.

  4. Divide the mixture between glass jars.

  5. Pres your kimchi down. You should see small air bubbles. It's done right when you can see red water on the top.

  6. Seal the jars and put them in any safe and warm place. Let it sit for 6 hours. Ideally, you should give it a week. If you see the foam on top, you need to remove it. Taste the vegetables with a clean spoon and decide whether you want it to ferment longer. The more you wait, the stronger the taste will be.

  7. When it's ready, store the jars in your fridge. Kimchi can sit for 3 months when sealed.

Recipe Notes

It's really important to ferment kimchi in a glass jar, not plastic ones. The brine and vegetables are salted, so you should avoid metal, too. Ceramic crock can be used instead of glass jars.

Don't use any products with preservatives, such as iodized salt, for your kimchi. Iodine has antimicrobial properties, it won't let your kimchi to start the fermentation process.

Air shouldn't touch your kimchi. Everything should be submerged under liquid, or mold will develop. After the veggies have soaked the water, they will decrease in size. It's helpful to put a plate under the kimchi jar because the brine can flow over.

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