How to Make Homemade Kimchi (Kimchee)

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    If you've ever wondered how to make homemade kimchi, my friend's Korean mother taught me how and we made a VIDEO! Head to the blog to watch!


    My friend’s Korean mother came over to my house and taught me how to make homemade kimchi and I am forever grateful.

    I eat so much kimchi. I buy bags of them at the Asian mart and they aren’t cheap. One bag is about $13 and it only lasts me about a week.

    I also love incorporating kimchi into a variety of dishes.

    I put kimchi in fried rice (I have a kimchi fried rice in my cookbook), on top of scrambled eggs, on top of burgers, on top of bulgogi, and so much more.

    If you've ever wondered how to make homemade kimchi, my friend's Korean mother taught me how and we made a VIDEO! Head to the blog to watch!

    What is kimchi?

    Kimchi or kimchee is a staple traditional Korean side dish made of fermented and salted Napa cabbage and radish.

    What does it taste like?

    It has a multitude of flavors. The prominent flavors are garlicky, sour, and spicy.

    Is it really spicy?

    Depends on what kind of kimchi you make and/or buy. Some can be really spicy but with homemade kimchi you can tailor it to your spice level.

    Why is it spelled kimchi and kimchee?

    Kimchee is the traditional way that South Koreans spell it. Apparently ‘kimchi’ was made up from Japanese and it’s some kind of word-war.

    Why is homemade kimchi better than store-bought?

    1. So much cheaper (cost-effective)
    2. You can make it your own
    3. You can share with friends and family
    4. It’s fun!

    If you've ever wondered how to make homemade kimchi, my friend's Korean mother taught me how and we made a VIDEO! Head to the blog to watch!

    Can you use American cabbage?

    No, it won’t be the same.

    Can I use gochujang instead of the red pepper powder?

    No, no, no.

    Can I use regular salt?

    In the video, Chunok told me that you should try to get coarse sea salt and not salt like Morton’s or Diamond kosher salt because it makes the cabbage too soft and wilted and pulls out too much moisture so you’ll have a lot more liquid.

    So definitely look for coarse sea salt granules.

    If you've ever wondered how to make homemade kimchi, my friend's Korean mother taught me how and we made a VIDEO! Head to the blog to watch!

    What if I can’t find the red pepper powder?

    I know for sure they have it on Amazon.

    How do I get my homemade kimchi more sour tasting like what I’m used to?

    Leave it out longer before you put it in the fridge.

    If you've ever wondered how to make homemade kimchi, my friend's Korean mother taught me how and we made a VIDEO! Head to the blog to watch!

    How do I get my homemade kimchi less sour? It’s too pungent for me.

    Put it in the fridge earlier. Leave it overnight after you’ve made it and then put it in the fridge in the morning.

    What if I don’t have a blender?

    You can use a food processor.

    What types of jars did you use for your homemade kimchi?

    I bought wide mouth half gallon jars. The wide mouth jars make stuffing the kimchi into the jars a lot easier.

    If you've ever wondered how to make homemade kimchi, my friend's Korean mother taught me how and we made a VIDEO! Head to the blog to watch!

    Watch us make homemade kimchi and then make it yourself!

    Thank you so much Chun Ok for showing me and everyone how to make homemade kimchi! This will be a forever treasured gift.

    If you've ever wondered how to make homemade kimchi, my friend's Korean mother taught me how and we made a VIDEO! Head to the blog to watch! #homemadekimchi #kimchi #kimchee #fermented #fermentedcabbage #koreanfood #kimchirecipe

    4.89 from 17 votes

    Homemade Kimchi (Kimchee)

    If you love kimchi, then you will want to make this homemade kimchi because it's so much more cost-effective to make at home than to get at the store!
    Prep Time: 2 hrs
    Fermentation time: 1 d
    Total Time: 1 d 3 hrs 40 mins
    Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
    Cuisine: Korean
    Servings (adjustable, but please note that results, timing, and cookware may vary when adjusting servings): 1 gallon
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    For the cabbage:

    • 5 pounds napa cabbage, cut into 1-inch, bite-sized pieces
    • 1/2 cup sea salt
    • 1 cup water

    Seasonings for kimchi:

    • 1/2 medium sweet onion
    • 1 bulb garlic, peeled
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1/2 cup red pepper powder
    • 1 bundle green onions, julienned


    • Place cabbage in a very large bowl. Mix together sea salt and water and stir until sea salt has dissolved. Pour over cabbage and mix together with your hands. Let sit for 1.5-2 hours.
    • In the meantime, blend together onion and garlic with 1/4 cup water to create a puree. Pour into a medium bowl then mix together with red pepper powder and green onions. If you are making a separate radish kimchi, save a bit of this mixture for the radish kimchi.
    • Once the cabbage has significantly wilted, rinse cabbage to get most of the salt water off. Place back into the very large bowl then toss the cabbage with the red pepper seasoning mixture until well-coated.
    • Place seasoned kimchi into a large mason jar and using your fist, punch down the cabbage to compress it all in the jar. Keep stuffing the jar until it's completely full and use another jar, if needed.
    • Tightly close the lid on the mason jar(s) and leave out at room temperature overnight. Taste the kimchi the next day and if you prefer to have it more sour, leave out for another day or more. If you think it tastes fine after it has sat out overnight the first night, place in the fridge.
    • Kimchi can last for a very long time in the fridge because it's a fermented dish. I would say probably no more than one year though, but that's just me haha ;)



    The recipe we made in the video is for roughly half of what the recipe above is for. The recipe above is for 5 pounds of Napa cabbage and is the recipe that Chun Ok uses every time she makes kimchi.
    For the radish kimchi, you use the same seasonings and do the same steps (salting, rinsing, coating in seasonings). You can also choose to put the radish with the Napa cabbage together but Chun Ok likes to do it separately.

    If you've ever wondered how to make homemade kimchi, my friend's Korean mother taught me how and we made a VIDEO! Head to the blog to watch! #homemadekimchi #kimchi #kimchee #fermented #fermentedcabbage #koreanfood #kimchirecipe

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  • Sharon Rausch says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your helpful information. It’s very unique post

  • Jennifer says:

    Hi Julie, loved the video…Your friends mom was wonderful :-) I know there is a specific type of radish to use? What is it called?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Thanks! She is a natural. She called it ‘korean radish’ – I suppose you could just go to the store and show them a photo? It would honestly also work with american radish!

    • Tammy says:

      You can use Daikon radish which is usually long and white or a traditional Korean radish which is usually larger, fatter and more oblong shaped with some light green on the top half. Every Korean grocery has these in abundance. If your shopping at a regular grocery store then you’ll probably only find daikon radish. ☺️

  • Kristin says:

    I have so many red pepper powders. What’s the difference between the one you posted and other red pepper powders?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I believe it’s specifically because it’s made with Korean chilies. What kind of red pepper powders do you have? Like what are the types of peppers?

      • Kristin says:

        Chipotle, California (Anaheim)…mostly this continent. We have a pretty diverse community and so many Asian markets in our town that I’m sure I can find Korean chilies. Thanks and looking forward to it!

        • Julie Wampler says:

          Ah okay, you can hopefully find a small bag!

  • Ryan says:

    Fantastic recipe! Simple, quick, and gluten free! Much of the kimchi in local asian markets and grocery store have wheat in them, and this doesn’t!

    Will this recipe work for cucumbers?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Yes! It will

  • Rebekah says:

    How much Daikon radish would I add to it if I wanted it mixed it in with the cabbage? And do I need to cut back on the amount of cabbage if I am adding radish?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I would say you could add one or two heads of daikon radish and yes, i’d cut back a little on the cabbage.

  • Mike Mozley says:

    I mistakenly bought Bok Choy for my Kimchi.
    I made the recipe anyway. Have you had any feedback concerning making the recipe with Bok Choy vs. Napa Cabb?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      i haven’t had any feedback with bok choy. it should probably still work!

    • Susan says:

      How did your bok choy kimchi come out. I am making some now because I have an over abundance of it in my garden that I don’t want to waste. I thought it would work well.

  • Pj says:

    What about the ginger and baby shrimp

    • Julie Wampler says:

      that is not in her version

  • Lorna says:

    I made this kimchi today. By leaving it out 2 days she says it will taste sour. What does she mean by the sour taste? Does it make it taste less spicy? Sour like pickles?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      It doesn’t make it less spicy. Not sour like pickles but sour like fermented.

  • Jen says:

    Hello! Thanks for the recipe and video. I bought fine sea salt instead of the course one… will this work? Do I need to put less salt?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      yes, probably!

  • Susan says:

    I’m making this recipe and I have a 4ft square of big Bok Choy In the garden. I’m going to use this instead of Napa cabbage. I know it will taste different but don’t want this to go bad. Hope that it is ok.

  • David Y says:

    Fun and easy recipes

  • John Carrita says:

    No fish sauce or shrimp paste?
    Just wondering

    • Julie Wampler says:


  • Stephanie says:

    Great recipe! Although I have a question, if you are dissolving the salt into water to brine the cabbage, why would the size of the salt granules matter? I imagine you would need less of the fine grain since it is more compact, but once’s it’s dissolved it is all the same. Right?

  • Grace Lee says:

    It’s the first time I’ve tried to make kimchi and can’t believe I’ve lived so long and only eaten kimchi made by friends, restaurants etc. This was absolutely divine. Love the simplicity which is actually the mark of a true master! Thank you so much for posting this

  • Melissa says:

    Hi I’m new to your site! I’m loving it!! Please cook with her more Korean dishes! I’m making this tomorrow!!very fun to watch!!

  • Eva says:

    How will this taste without garlic since I have to avoid garlic in my diet? Can I replace it with wasabi instead and how much ?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      garlic is definitely an essential part of this recipe! i don’t think wasabi will work. sorry!

  • Tim says:

    I lived in S. Korea for 9 years, and thos is the 1st kimchee that I have eaten that has onion!!! I understand kimchi recipes are handed down with the family, but all kimchee has always had a Daikon radish?!?! I showed my sister-n-law’s mother this recipe; who moved to the United States when she was 25, and she said this way Americanized!!! I want authentic Kimchee from S. Korea, not not American Kimchee!! 😡😡😡

    • Julie Wampler says:

      sorry you’re so upset by this, not sure what to tell ya.

  • Alex says:

    Haven’t made it yet, looking for ingredients but I can only find a Korean red pepper paste rather than powder, how much paste would be equal to the powder?


    • Julie Wampler says:

      i’m not sure as i haven’t tried it with that and don’t know the proportions

  • Tony says:

    Found your site this morning , got inspired and my son and I made a giant batch

  • Linda says:

    I recently made my second batch of kimchi using your recipe. The first batch I made was awesome! This second batch came out bitter even though I used the same recipe. Do you have any idea why this would happen?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      it’s probably the cabbage; some just tend to be more bitter than others..i’m not quite sure though. that was from a quick google search, but in my experience, i haven’t had the bitter taste so i’m not sure how to totally get rid of it

      • Linda says:

        Thanks, Julie. I think you are right, the cabbage did look a bit “older”!

  • Pham says:

    I will be making this tomorrow, can i use himalayan pink salt course? That the only salt we have here at home. 🤗🤗🤗 thanks

    • Julie Wampler says:

      hmm i don’t think it’ll turn out with that salt

      • Pham says:

        🧐🧐🧐 okay then, i will run to the market tomorrow morning to get another salt 😵 so excited for this 🤪🤪🤪🤪 thanks for the recipe 😗

      • Pham says:

        I made this the other day and we are enjoying it now 🤗 but its a bit salty though,i used natural course sea salt. I just rinsed it twice after letting it sit for 1.5hrs. Maybe i should have rinse it more. But it still taste good!! Omg! 🤗🤗🤗

  • Wendy says:

    Oh my gosh!!! Chun OK is sooooo adorable!!! Loved the recipe!! Here at home it was difficult to find the Korean radish, so I just used regular ole’ american radish and it was just as delish!!

  • Fred Williams says:

    Thank you and Chun Ok. It looks awesome.

  • Mary Starcher says:

    So I made this for my husband who is a Kimchee fanatic. I thought it would last for awhile. Boy was I wrong. Kimchee sandwiches with nothing else. Sitting his man cave at night eating it from a bowl. Thank you so much for posting this recipe.

  • Alaina says:

    I am so happy I came across your blog and this recipe. I am making it tomorrow after I head to an Asian market for the essentials. This might be a dumb question, but does it ferment on its own over time or will it only ferment on the counter top at room temp. I’ve seen other recipes suggest keeping it on the counter for days at a time.

  • cheryl says:

    I’ve made this twice so far and it’s so easy and very delicious, thank you! I’ll be making this again as soon as it runs out!

  • cathy arrieta says:

    that was wonderful video. I tried and followed all instructions and got it well
    ery delcious. Hoever I got it a little bit hot so I added some honey to reduce the chili spice hotness. Thanks for sharing.

  • Michelle says:

    I have question: I made the Kimchi (my first time ever) and I only let the cabbage brine for half hour. It started getting really wilted so I opted to rinse and start jarring. Is that bad? I am not sure if it’s dangerous to only brine 30 mins? I’d love to hear feedback. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe/experience.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I don’t think it’s bad nor dangerous

  • Vivienne says:

    Hi Julie!

    I made this a couple of days ago and when I first tasted it I was worried I didn’t use enough salt as I didn’t quite have enough. I decided to just let it sit for a couple of days and add salt later if needed and when I tried it today it was delicious!

    I used the small baby version of the Napa cabbage because the larger ones were not very fresh at my supermarket and it was a little bitter at first but now the bitterness has subsided and the flavour has intensified. I won’t be adding any more salt, and will leave it to ferment another day before another taste test to decide if I will refrigerate it then.

    Thank you (and also Chun Ok) so much for this recipe, it was my first time making kimchi and it was so simple and I’m pretty happy with the result so far.

  • coyne masuda says:

    I love simple kimchee , I made it today. Reason is I don’t like fish sauce or shrimp taste . I lhought I needed them to get probiotics. Thank you for sharing this video.

    • coyne masuda says:

      I finally made this simple kimchi and It was great, My son who is so picky loved it. I have been trying to make kimchi from many sites and from Korean people. Non of my kimchi I made , my family did not like the taste. They alway buy from costco.
      Thank you for giving me the key to this door on simple Kimchi.
      I finally for filled my 7 yr. goal . It is very simple and like sour kraut it has probiotics
      just follow the video, It is the foundation to great kimchi

  • Tracy L Sigler says:

    Hi! You have a contagious smile!! Thank you for sharing; I will make it tomorrow.

  • Brian Anderson says:

    I made this kimchi this week. I followed the recipe exactly except I added a couple of tablespoons of fish sauce – I couldn’t help myself – and I left it on the counter for 2 and 1/2 days. It’s fantastic! Only a few days later and it’s half gone. (Okay, we have a kimchi-loving daughter staying with us during the shelter-in-place order.) I’ll have to make more soon. Great recipe. Thanks for the video and step- by-step instructions. So easy and so good!

  • Syble says:

    Will try Homemade Kimchi(Kimchee), will try to get your cookbook also , Thanks,Syble

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