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

    4.94 from 29 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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  • Lenie geli says:

    Woww, amazing I did try and follow your recipes and procedures.. Thank you so much!!!

  • Tammy says:

    Going to try and attempt making this. Can I use McCormick’s Korean Style Red Pepper Flakes vs. having to order the 1 lb. bag which your site directs you to on Amazon and the package lists Gochugaru and you said not to use Gochuagaru? I have no idea what that is or the difference between the two really. McCormick’s label states the same thing. If I’m only making about 2 lbs worth, how much of the red pepper do you suggest using?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I said you cannot use gochujang. Gochujang and gochugaru are completely different, including the spelling. i’m not familiar with mccormick’s korean style red pepper flakes and i am not sure what the ratio would be as i haven’t tried it myself and would hate to suggest something and have it be a fail :(

  • Chiemi says:

    Thank you very much, Julie, for making and posting this amazing video!! And thank you very much, Chinok, for sharing your precious knowledge and your wonderful family legacy with all of us!! I went to the Greenmarket and H Mart earlier today to buy the necessary ingredients and made my first kimchee tonight!! It came out great! It looks super spicy, but it isn’t; it is a bit salty, a bit spicy, a tiny bit sweet and really delicious!! From here on, I’ll be making my own kimchee. :) Thank you very much again, Julie and Chinok!!

  • Marie says:

    I’m obsessed with Kimchi and super lucky about it, so I was stoked when I came across this recipe. I had to Amazon the red chili pepper powder and it came in about 5 days which was awesome! Everything else was super easy to find and making it was very easy and not time consuming at all. I love the garlicky onion flavor of it and how spicy it is a lot spicier than store-bought kimchi. I also like that it doesn’t have that soda bubble ting to it that store bought him she could have as well. From now on I will be making all my own kimchi it not only tastes the best It’s also way cheaper too! Thank you so much for posting the video and the recipe everyone needs to try this!

  • Joseph Rosso says:

    I make my own kimchie too but in a different way. I do like the way you make it in your video and going to make it. I eat Kimchie every day.
    I love Korean food.

  • Yasemin says:

    Hi thanks for the vidoe I really appreciate it. I just want to clarify the rinsing part, when you rinse you wash with water and you get rid of all the salt after you do not add any salt, second thing I did not understand the fermentation period. As far as I know it takes couple of weeks to ferment vegetables but you say you can start eating the next day? If you can please clarify this two points I would appreciate it. Thanks

    • Julie Wampler says:

      yes, you rinse to get rid of the salt and two, yes, you can start eating it the next day.

  • Lynette says:

    Hi Julie, I had watched how to make kimchee some months ago and today I did it accordingly and added some other ingredients as the video suggested I could do. I have to say that after watching your video I certainly would love to make this recipe. It is much simpler and just can’t wait! I found kimchee already made at Publix for $7.99 I think but, I was so excited that I didn’t care how much it was! I wanted to taste the real thing! It was delicious!! will have to wait to make the next batch. I will have to get the right ingredients which are very important. I enjoyed the video and cant wait to taste this recipe.

  • Claire says:

    Amazing! I have always bought my kimchi, this is my first time making it. So easy and tastes perfect! I never knew how easy it was to make. Thank you so much for sharing this with everyone !

  • Rodney Osburn says:

    No anchovies ???

  • Tanya says:

    Hi! Thank you for this! I just tried this yesterday and still waiting for my kimchi to fully ferment. I think i added too much garlic and chilli powder though but should be fine! One question, after it ferments and desired sourness was achieved, is it still possible to add more cabbage to the fermented one? Just want to check if i can still neutralize the taste. Haha.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I’m not sure, I haven’t added more to the fermented but I think if you were to do that, you should mix it all around again to ensure it’s coated.

  • Denise Rothfield says:

    I’m a bit confused because usually with fermented vegetables, you put them into the jar WITH the brine. In this case it looks like I rinse the salt water off the cabbage and THEN put it into the jar? Can you confirm? How can the veggies ferment in the jar if there’s no brine?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Not all fermented vegetables are made the same and with the same process. What you are seeing in the video and in the recipe is correct.

  • Jane says:

    amazing ! awesome! Chun Ok is fantastic. Can’t wait to try this!

  • Tammy says:

    I made the Kimchi and find it a tad too kicky for my taste and trying to tweak it so it’s less kicky so I only used 1/4 of the amount of the red pepper and still l find it too kicky. Is is the amount of onions making it kicky and maybe I need to reduce that amount as well. The store bought ones seem to be more mellow, sour which I like and trying to achieve that sourness with this recipe as well with just a hint of kick. Then noticed bubbling and popping sounds when I opened the jar. Is that normal and okay? Thoughts on how to make it less kicky? TIA

  • Sara says:

    Can I use Cayenne powder or New Mexico chili powder? I don’t have access to any Korean spices and I cannot take alot of heat/spice in my food.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      cayenne powder and chili powder would give you way more heat than the korean red pepper powder, but moreso no, those aren’t the correct types to use in this recipe.

  • Morgan says:

    Hello! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I am so excited to try it! My partner loves kimchi but is usually wary of the storebought kind because he is allergic to shellfish. I have a quick question- in this recipe it says to screw the lid on tightly. Is there any risk or this exploding? I read in a different blog that was something to worry about, but it might have been a different recipe. Thanks for your help!!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I didn’t have any explosion; I heard a ‘hiss’ when opening but definitely not explosive by any means.

  • Danielle Vigil says:

    Best recipe ever. Left mine on the counter for three days, perfect!

  • faith says:

    Best Kimchee recipe
    So easy, not complicated…Great taste!
    This is going to be my go to “kimchee” recipe!

  • Rachel Baker says:

    Thank you for sharing your recipe and your Chun Ok for showing how to make it as well. The video makes it look so easy and i can’t wait to try and make it myself. I see you can purchase the red pepper powder on amazon. I am wondering if you can share the link on where to purchase the coarse sea salt as well. I don’t have access to a T&T market and haven’t seen it in our local grocery stores. Thanks in advance

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I’m not sure I can find the link for the coarse sea salt online b/c I typically buy it at the asian store :(

  • Diane Wilson says:

    I have made this recipe. I could not find the powdered Korean red pepper. I used Mexican chili powder. I made a gallon.
    I searched more for the Korean Kimchi sauce. I do not like it. It has too much salt. I know the powder is the way ( for me) to go.
    This is a great recipe
    thank you

  • Anna Fernandez says:

    I’ve used mc McCormick red pepper powder and it’s too spicy. So sad of the outcome

  • Alta Dillon says:

    Hi I want to make this but I don’t want it spicy. What can I use so it’s mild and not hot?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      they should sell mild red pepper; i’m not positive though

  • Josh Hittle says:

    I have made different kimchi recipes. I must say this one is the easiest and truly my favorite. I do add a splash of sesame oil as well as a 1/2 teaspoon of oyster sauce. It really is delicious. I let the jars sit out at room temp for 3 full days then refrigerate for 5 minimum before eating. It’s definitely more sour, which is what I like. Thank you for your post.

    • Josh Hittle says:

      Also to all about the different pepper. It will definitely not come out correct with different crushed peppers. Be careful. I went to a local Asian market in Orlando and got the crushed red pepper she had in the video for $9.00. It’s smaller but will last for many jars to come.

  • Jay_oryana says:

    Thanks for sharing this super simple recipe.
    I always wanna make my own kimchi but somehow every time I look gor the recipe it’s always complicated and the ingredients are not available in my living place. So now since I found the ingredients and this amazing blog I will start to make it. I’m gonna share it on IG when it’s ready

  • Ajay Kuruvila says:

    Thank you for this recipe. I made it and it was absolutely fantastic. I used a smaller quantity of the chili powder so it’s not as vibrant. But the flavour is just spot on. Will add more chili powder the next time.

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