Homemade kimchi in a mason jar with white background

How to Make Kimchi

Are you a kimchi lover who's wondered how to make kimchi at home? Here's how to make your own easy, fermented kimchi with this authentic Korean recipe (without the fish sauce!)
Course Appetizers, Dips, Sauces, and Salsas, Side Dishes
Cuisine Korean
Keyword easy kimchi, how to make kimchi, kimchi, vegan kimchi
Diet Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low Carb, Raw, Vegan, Vegetarian
Time 60 minutes or more
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Fermentation Time 2 days
Total Time 2 days 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4 cups
Calories 23kcal
Author Sarah Bond


  • 1 large head napa cabbage 3 to 5 lbs, 1.3 to 2.2 kg
  • ¼ cup non-iodized salt 60 g
  • ¼ to ½ cup gochugaru Korean pepper flakes, depending on your spice tolerance, 30 to 60 g
  • 7 to 10 cloves garlic
  • 3 to 4 inches ginger 7½ to 10 cm
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp water 45 to 60 mL
  • Optional: 3 Tbsp miso paste
  • 2 carrots cut into strips, or 8 oz daikon radish
  • 4 green onions cut into 1-inch pieces


  • Sterilize: Wash your hands well before every time you touch the ingredients. Wash all supplies with hot water.
  • Brine: Rinse the cabbage well, then cut it into quarters, lengthwise. Place in a large bowl and cover completely with salt, working the salt between all the leaves. Let sit for about 2 hours, massaging and turning the cabbage every 30 minutes, until cabbage has wilted down. When finished, drain and rinse the cabbage very well (until a torn-off piece no longer tastes overly salty). Squeeze out excess water.
  • Flavor: While cabbage is in the brine, add the gochugaru, garlic, ginger, sugar, and water* to a clean food processor. If desired, add miso paste as well (for umami taste). Blitz until smooth.
  • Mix: Cut the bottom stem from the cabbage so the leaves are loose. Optionally chop into bite-sized pieces. Combine the well-rinsed cabbage, pepper paste, carrot (or daikon radish), and green onions in a large bowl, mixing well with clean hands (you may choose to use gloves here to prevent your hands from smelling).
  • Ferment: Pack the mixture into clean glass jar(s), pressing down so that it’s submerged by the juices and there are as few air pockets as possible. Leave at least an inch of free space at the top of the jar, then seal shut with a lid. Set the sealed jar on a plate or bowl (to catch possible spills), and place somewhere room temperature and out of direct sunlight, letting it ferment for 2 to 5 days.
  • Upkeep and storage: Check on the kimchi everyday, pushing the cabbage down with clean fingers or a spoon to release gasses and prevent leaks. It's done when the taste is slightly sour and cabbage is a bit soft (depends on your taste - longer fermentation will result in a more sour, less crunchy kimchi). When finished, store in the fridge to stop the fermentation process.


  • *For traditional kimchi, sub 2 Tbsp of the water for fish sauce.
  • Kimchi that has been made in a sterile environment can be stored in the fridge for several weeks or months!


Serving: 1cup (depends on fermentation length) | Calories: 23kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 624mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 9mg