Homemade Kimchi

April 4, 2014(updated on August 30, 2021)

half gallon of kimchi - Food in Jars

I’ve been talking a lot about fancy salts and how to use them in preserving this week. On Tuesday, I shared a recipe for a quick, spicy cucumber pickle (which I’ve been eating non-stop on salads for the last couple days. It’s intensely garlicky and I love it). Today, we’re using some of that gorgeous salt in a batch of kimchi.

shredded kimchi veg - Food in Jars

I came relatively late to the world of kimchi. I’d eat it when at a Korean restaurant, but it wasn’t really something I started seeking out until a couple years ago. At first, I satisfied my kimchi craving by buying packets of the stuff from the Trader Joe’s refrigerator case, but soon found myself going through two or three a week. It was time to start making it myself.

salt and crushed peppers - Food in Jars

I will be the first to say that my technique isn’t the most authentic on the planet. I don’t use rice flour (because I’m lazy and don’t want to add another thing to my pantry) and I pretty much toss whatever vegetables in that I have (there are red radishes in this batch because I had some and wanted to use them up).

I also pack my shredded and seasoned veg into a half gallon jar and let it do its fermenty thing, without airlocks or any kind of weight. I just press it down with a clean hand once a day and keep an eye out for any sort of surface funk.

spiced kimchi veg - Food in Jars

This batch is a combination of shredded napa cabbage, grated carrot and daikon radish, shaved red radish bits, the tops of spring onions, ginger, garlic, grey sea salt, and gochugaru (that’s the Korean red chili powder and this is the only special ingredient I keep around specifically for kimchi making. It’s just not the same without it). Essentially, I combine all the ingredients, knead them together with with clean hands, pack the whole mess into a jar, and let it sit for a while.

tossed kimchi veg - Food in Jars

For those of you who aren’t regular kimchi eaters, let’s talk about to use this spicy, tangy fermented pickle. I scoop a couple forkfuls onto nearly every salad I make. It’s good stirred into soups (carrot or lentil are particularly good vehicles). And it’s miraculous gently warmed and eaten with scrambled eggs (Alana taught me that trick).

How do you eat your kimchi?

PS – For a more authentic recipe, along with everything you want to know about the world of fermenting, I highly suggest you visit my friend Amanda’s blog, Phickle. She’s incredibly knowledgeable and her site is a fantastic resource.

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Homemade Kimchi


  • 1 head napa cabbage cored and sliced
  • 1 medium daikon radish grated
  • 1 large carrot grated
  • 8-10 red radishes grated or julienned
  • 5-6 green onions chopped
  • 4-5 garlic cloves pressed
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grey sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon gochugaru Korean red chili powder


  • Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and combine well using your hands. Really squeeze and knead it, until the salt starts to dissolve and the vegetables begin to release some liquid.
  • Pack the vegetables into a large jar, really pressing them down well.
  • Loosely cap the jar (I use one of the white storage caps from Ball) and place the jar on a small plate or saucer (to catch any leaks).
  • Let the jar sit at room temperature for three or four days, until the kimchi tastes good to you.
  • When you like the flavor, pop the jar into the fridge and enjoy!

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26 thoughts on "Homemade Kimchi"

  • Kimchi Spaghetti! It’s so good. Brown 2 slices of bacon in a skillet. Remove from pan and crumble. Add to the pan about 1/2 cup of kimchi and a clove or two of sliced garlic. Let the garlic and kimchi brown a bit and add in 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce and the bacon crumbles. Simmer for a minute to blend flavors and then toss with pasta.

    1. readily available at H mart on 69th. street upper darby…many options, i choose the most expensive one as it was stillunder $10 and will last you a long time.

  • over brown rice with sliced avocado. if there’s leftover kimchee ‘juice’ when i’m done eating the solids i throw it into stirfry or soup.

  • I’ve been meaning to try out a batch of kimchi roughly forever! We even have the gochugaru in the cupboard and everything. Must actually go get the veg and put this together!

  • Tasty looking version of kimchi! Ditto on the grilled cheese and fried rice, also as a topping in ramen soup or cold soba noodles, in scrambled or deviled eggs, and as a fritter!

  • I would like to make this (and your recipe for small batch sauerkraut as well) but I live in a small apartment and I’m worried about the smell that fermented products may give off. Any advice? Thanks

    1. store kimchi in a metal bowl with a tight fitting top – available at Asian groceries – it is the plastic that lets off the odor.

  • I love your recipe, I haven’t used ginger before, I definitely am going to try it next time! We like to put our homemade kimchi into spring rolls and tacos, quesadillas and our favorite, in slow cooked pork dishes in our slow cooker.

  • I get my kimchi from an oriental market wher they make it with or without garlic. I like it without the garlic an I put it on any sandwich I make. It adds a nice spicy tang and crunch.

  • I made this tonight and I’m looking forward to having It over our hack of Korean rice bowls with shredded pork. Now we just have to wait for it to ferment.

  • Interesting side comment: my daughter-in-law is Korean and does not ferment her kimchi – eats it almost immediately – her children were raised on it from birth and crave it. the younger Korean women seem to prefer unfermented kimchi, but the older generation want it older. Most families have a kimchi refrigerator separate from the regular one, as the odor does permeate the frig. Look to Asian societies such as APPC in Tacoma WA for lessons on making all sorts of kimchi. The radish is one traditional sort so you were right to include them.

  • This is THE BEST kimchee I’ve ever had! I’ve eaten it in my salad and it was amazing! I’ll be making this again very soon!

  • I made my first kimchi today and didn’t use radish…I added a small drained jar of pimento peppers..I was tasting it before I even put into jars…soon good…I’m going to leave it sitting out a couple of days then put in fridge…I have acid reflux and indigestion…so decided it was time to try to stop taking a med that I was on for 3 weeks…I was having aching joints and felt like stomach was tied in knots…I don’t take meds usually but I was belching continually and the reflux was horrible…anyway I didn’t put a lot of red pepper flakes…sure hope this works for me because I love it! Next I’m fermenting cabbage .

  • Since Napa cabbage comes in different sizes, some quite small and others very large, can you please give me an idea of how many cups or ounces of chopped cabbage to use?