Easy Homemade Kimchee Recipe: How to Make Kimchi

This easy Kimchee recipe will teach you to make authentic Kimchi (Kimchee) at home. It’s easy to do with these simple steps!

Side view of jar of kimchee with black background.

What is Kimchee?

Kimchee is a traditional Korean dish of fermented vegetables, the most common of which are napa cabbage and daikon radish.

Kimchee is actually the national food of Korea. And, it should be noted that the proper spelling of kimchi is “kimchee.” In this post, I occasionally refer to it as kimchi, but that is the Japanese spelling for this beloved Korean dish.

In addition to being served as banchan, Korean side dishes presented as part of a meal, it can also be used in a variety of cooked dishes like kimchi fried rice or kimchi quesadillas.

I love topping these Korean (Bulgogi) Beef Tacos with it – they’re amazingly delicious!

The ingredients in kimchee will give you an excuse to check out your local Asian market. I had so much fun tooling around my local store and trying to figure out what everything was.

There are so many fresh and exotic ingredients. I could spend hours just looking around and soaking everything in.

If you don’t have an Asian market near you, I’ve included some links below.

🌟 All of the specialty ingredients can be ordered off of Amazon. 🌟

Ingredients for kim shee on counter.

🛒 What is Kimchi Made Out Of?

  • Napa cabbage
  • Salt + Sugar
  • Scallions 
  • Fresh Ginger & Garlic
  • Korean Red Pepper Powder – Or, kochukaru, is what gives kimchee its spiciness. It can be found in Korean markets in large resealable plastic bags, in different grades of coarseness and spiciness. Choose a grade based on your personal preference.
  • Fish Sauce – This is my favorite brand.
  • Dried Shrimp – Also known as saeujeot, Korean salted shrimp are very small, naturally fermented shrimp that impart authentic flavor to kimchi. They are sold in jars and can be found in the refrigerator case of Korean markets.
Ingredients for kimchi labeled on tray.

📋 How to Make Kimchee

Plan Ahead: Kimchi needs time to ferment, so I would recommend starting a batch about a week before you plan to use it. It will last about a month in the refrigerator.

  • Cut the cabbage in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 2-inch bite-sized pieces, discarding the root end.
  • Place the cabbage in a large bowl, sprinkle with the salt, and toss with your hands until the cabbage is well coated with the salt.
  • Add enough cold water to just cover the cabbage (about 12 cups). Cover and let sit at room temperature at least 12 hours (up to 24 hours).
  • Drain the cabbage and rinse it well with cold water. Gently squeeze out the excess water.
  • Place the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.
  • Add the cabbage and toss with your hands until evenly combined and the cabbage is thoroughly coated with the mixture.
  • Pack the mixture tightly into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid and seal.
  • Let the kimchi ferment for 24 hours (the mixture may bubble).
  • Open the jar to let the gases escape, then reseal and refrigerate at least 48 hours before eating (kimchi is best after fermenting about 1 week).
  • Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

🫙 Equipment Needed

You will need a couple of liter glass jars with tight fitting lids to hold the kimchi while it ferments. It’s preferable to not use plastic, as the odors from the kimchi can be hard to remove after the fermenting process. You can also use a crock like this.

✔️ Optional Add-Ins

  • Daikon Radish – Add about 8-ounces of daikon radish that is cut into matchstick sized pieces.
  • Carrots – You can add in about 8-ounces of shredded carrots.
  • Garlic Cloves – Add in a few minced garlic cloves to your mixture.

ℹ️ FAQ

Can I eat kimchi without fermenting?

Kimchi can be eaten immediately after preparing it, however, it is usually fermented for at least a few days to a few weeks before serving, so that the flavors can develop fully. Store fermented kimchi in the fridge for up to one month. You will know when it is past its prime when it becomes overly sour and the cabbage turns mushy.

How healthy is kimchi?

Kimchi is great for you! It’s packed with probiotics and antioxidants and is also a great source of vitamins A and C.  

What is the difference between kimchi and kimchee?

While they are both the same dish, kimchee is the traditional way that South Koreans spell it. While, kimchi is the standard Japanese spelling.

What exactly does kimchi taste like?

Kimchi is a bit like a cross between a pickle and sauerkraut. The fermentation process gives kimchi its umami, salty + sour flavors, with a bright acidity. It’s can often be quite spicy as well, depending on the type and how much Korean red pepper powder is used.  

Kimchi in small black side dish bowl.

🍽 Kimchi Pairings

Wondering what to eat with kimchi? Try one of these dishes:

Did you try this quick kimchi recipe?

If you loved this kimchi recipe I would appreciate it so much if you would give it a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

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Overhead shot of kimchee in jar with chopsticks.

Easy Homemade Kimchee Recipe

This easy Kimchee (Kimchi) recipe will teach you to make authentic kimchee at home. It's easy to do with these simple steps!
4.66 from 20 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 16 people

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds napa cabbage
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 12 cups cold water (plus more as needed)
  • 4 medium scallions (ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces (use all parts))
  • 1/3 cup Korean red pepper powder
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh ginger (minced)
  • 7 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons dried shrimp (minced)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar

Instructions

  • Cut the cabbage in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 2-inch pieces, discarding the root end. Place in a large bowl, sprinkle with the salt, and toss with your hands until the cabbage is coated. Add enough cold water to just cover (about 12 cups), making sure the cabbage is submerged. Cover with plastic wrap or a baking sheet and let sit at room temperature at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.
  • Place a colander in the sink, drain the cabbage, and rinse with cold water. Gently squeeze out the excess liquid and transfer to a medium bowl; set aside.
  • Place the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.
  • Add the cabbage and toss with your hands until evenly combined and the cabbage is thoroughly coated with the mixture.
  • Pack the mixture tightly into a clean 2-quart or 2-liter glass jar with a tight fitting lid and seal the jar.
  • Let sit in a cool, dark place for 24 hours (the mixture may bubble). Open the jar to let the gases escape, then reseal and refrigerate at least 48 hours before eating (kimchi is best after fermenting about 1 week). Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Notes

You can refrigerate kimchee for up to 2 months. You’ll know when the kimchi is past its prime when it becomes overly sour and the cabbage becomes mushy. 
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Nutrition

Calories: 7kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 3846mg | Potassium: 42mg | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 3.2mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Watch the kimchi web story here.

This post was originally published in 2015. It was updated in 2023 to add new photos and information. The spicy kimchi recipe remains the same. Enjoy!

PS – Here’s the old images from 2015…

48 thoughts on “Easy Homemade Kimchee Recipe: How to Make Kimchi”

    • Thank you Allie! I was surprised at how easy it is to make kimchi at home. It does take a bit of time, and a few obscure ingredients (the Korean red pepper powder & dried shrimp), but it’s easy to put together. I LOVE it on these Kimchi Tacos and these Carnitas Bowls, or just by itself!

      Reply
    • I just made my new batch of kimchi last night. In a traditional Korean recipe, Korean radishes are used instead of daikon. It is shorter and fatter in shape; it has greater water content with a peppery taste. They are available at Korean grocery stores. It seems there are mom-n-pop k-stores everywhere. But if you live in and around one of the larger cities, check out H-Mart (http://www.hmart.com/) grocery stores. I don’t have one close to me so when I go to Chicago I always make a point of making a stop (tourist destination?) They have a food court and a bakery as well. If you are not in the mood to make your own, you can buy the ready-made store kimchi and they are delicious.

      Kimchi can be enjoyed immediately after it’s been made or after fermenting for a few days. My family enjoys it both ways but my 22 year-old son will only eat it fresh.

      Reply
  1. I love Kimchee and am super excited to try this. Just wondering if you have to release the gas every 24 hours if you’re letting it ferment for a full week or is that a one time thing?

    Reply
  2. I love kimchi..But in country the in my country(Nigeria) the ingredient are not available…..I wish I can visit Korean again…..

    Reply
  3. Do you use all 1/2 cups of salt to brine the cabbage or do you save some for the pepper paste? I have now successfully failed at two attempts and I have read at least 30 different, yet similar versions of the recipe. Is the fish sauce supposed to be sufficient salt once the fermentation is complete?
    You have great pictures and the recipe is well written. Please clarify. Thanks.

    Reply
  4. 4 stars
    I would just add 1 technique that you aren’t really doing right.
    In Korea you don’t toss the cabbage with the paste. You open the leaves and rub the paste on it. Its not a big deal but that’s how its traditionaly made..
    Also you might want to put a small warning. You might to tell people to wear rubber or food prep gl9ves. Some people will have a reaction to the paste and it will make their hands feel like they are burning

    Reply
      • 4 stars
        Andrew- you rub the paste into the leaves if you are making whole kimchi with quartered heads of cabbage. since this recipe is “mak” kimchi or “already cut” kimchi, tossing the cabbage with the paste is the only way to make sure all the cabbage gets coated evenly.

        Reply
  5. 5 stars
    I love the idea of making homemade kimchi. This looks so delicious! I usually buy it from the store but if I can make it en masse it would be alot cheaper and I’d feel better about knowing what I was eating! Thank you for sharing your recipe, I definitely want to give this a try at home next time I ferment anything!

    Reply
    • Hi Bel – I think that you can definitely make this without the minced shrimp. It shouldn’t make a huge difference, but you may want to add a bit of extra salt at the end…

      Reply
      • 5 stars
        Hi Luis,
        I used to suffer from GERD, too. I found my best cure in raw fermented foods like kimchi (without too much spice at first!). Raw fermented foods are very healing to the gut. I especially enjoy a few forkfuls on my morning eggs.
        Hope this helps! 😀

        Reply
  6. Hey I’m super excited to try this recipe but one question. After everything is placed in the jars you said seal it, does that mean pressure seal it? Wasn’t sure as it also states to open it after 24 hrs.
    Thanks

    Reply
  7. I made this true to the recipe, after a week I tasted it. It was abit dry, I thought it would be wetter. It was good, but shouldn’t it be moister? Should I do anything to it? Will it keep just as well?

    Reply
  8. Hi, thanks for the recipe. Just wondering – when it says ferment up to one week does that mean out of the fridge? Or put it in the fridge after 24 hours but then don’t eat it for one week? Thanks for your help!

    Reply
  9. 4 stars
    Thanks for the recipe!
    I just finished making this.
    I brined the cabbage for about 18 hours and rinsed it in batches. After adding the paste and tasting it, I found it to taste a bit too salty for me 🙁
    I added extra radish hoping to cancel this out.
    Is the kimchi prior to fermentation supposed to taste like this?

    Reply
  10. I have been reading kimchi recipes but have not attempted it yet. Your recipe looks great, and I must say that reading the Q&A have been very helpful. You have been very generous answering questions. The process of Kimchi is new to most Westerners so thank you for answering questions.

    Reply
  11. 5 stars
    I followed your recipe to a T or rather a K for kimchi. I think it’s the best kimchi I’ve tasted. Certainly better than any store bought I’ve had. Crisp, tangy and delicious. I’m on my second batch which this time I’m storing in my new e-jen 1.7 quart container. On my second batch I food processed the garlic, onion, daikon and ginger together so that it’d distribute more evenly. My ginger pieces were too big in the first batch. Thanks again. I’m having fun making and eating this healthy probiotic dish!

    Reply
  12. 5 stars
    Worked out great!!!! The market I have been buying kimchi has not had on many occasions! Decided with this Coronavirus have time to do myself!!! Hot dang!!! No more wasting my money on theirs!!!! Mine way better and fresher!!!
    Thanks!!!

    Reply

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