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If you've ever wondered how to make homemade kimchi or homemade kimchee, my friend's Korean mother taught me how and we made a VIDEO! Head to the blog to watch!
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I FINALLY KNOW HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE KIMCHEE (or homemade kimchi; please read the history of the word ‘kimchee’ and ‘kimchi’ below).

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

I eat so much kimchi/kimchee. 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 kimchee into a variety of dishes.

I put kimchee 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 or homemade kimchee, my friend's Korean mother taught me how and we made a VIDEO! Head to the blog to watch!

What is kimchi/kimchee?

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

What does kimchee like?

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

Is homemade kimchee really spicy?

Depends on what kind of kimchee you make and/or buy. Some can be really spicy but with homemade kimchee 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. Kimchi is made up from the Japanese, but there is history about the spelling that you can explore more here.

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 or homemade kimchee, 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 or homemade kimchee, 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?

Okay, so I’m about to go on a rant here because everyone wants authentic cultural recipes but no one is willing to actually get the authentic ingredients that make the dish authentic.

You cannot substitute this red pepper powder for anything else. It is specific to kimchi.

It is not the same as cayenne pepper. It is not the same as chili powder. It is not the same as red pepper flakes. It is not the same as red pepper flakes pulverized. It is not the same as sriracha.

Another term for this Gochugaru if you cannot find ‘red pepper powder.’

I know for sure they have it on Amazon.

Please, everyone, if you want to make this authentic and for it to turn out as intended, please stop substituting and please stop lumping all Asian condiments as the same. It’s like saying we can make pasta sauce with ketchup because they’re both red and have tomato in it.

How do I get my homemade kimchee 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 or homemade kimchee, 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 kimchee 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 kimchee?

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 or homemade kimchee, my friend's Korean mother taught me how and we made a VIDEO! Head to the blog to watch!

Watch us make homemade kimchee and then make it yourself!

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

4.80 from 127 votes

Homemade Kimchi (Kimchee)

If you love kimchi/kimchee, 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 hours
Fermentation time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 3 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 1 gallon

Ingredients 

For the cabbage:

  • 5 pounds (2268 g) napa cabbage, cut into 1-inch, bite-sized pieces
  • ½ cup (146 g) sea salt
  • 1 cup (236 ml) water

Seasonings for kimchi:

  • ½ medium sweet onion
  • 1 bulb garlic, peeled
  • ¼ cup (59 ml) water
  • ½ cup (118 g) red pepper powder
  • 1 bundle green onions, julienned
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Instructions 

  • 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 ;)

Video

Notes

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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gallon, Calories: 763kcal, Carbohydrates: 146g, Protein: 42g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Sodium: 56844mg, Potassium: 7879mg, Fiber: 60g, Sugar: 47g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

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261 Comments

  1. I measured 1/2 cup of gochugaru red pepper flakes and it weighted 50 grams. I went with with the cup measurement but now I’m wondering if I should have used the gram measurement and added more gochugaru…any help? I did 5 LBS of cabbage

    1. Hi, you were correct in measuring 1/2 cup of gochugaru. The thing about these unit conversions is that it’s not always accurate (see disclaimers) because it doesn’t always know the ingredient so the program guesses. The default measuring that is written is what should be used. Why do you think you should have added more?

  2. I’ve made this recipe four times now and obviously love it. I like how, besides buying the Korean Red Powder, everything else is from my garden. We grow Napa cabbage just for this recipe and use our onions, green onion tops, and garlic. Kimchi is addicting. We enjoy it every day with our eggs and also anytime we have Asian food. The spice is just right, too!

  3. I made it and could not quit eating it i just loved it and teased my kids cause there in another state and cant get any lol

  4. Thanks for the great video. My kimchee has been sitting out overnight. It doesn’t have a lot of ump yet – more like wilted cabbage. Also it’s pretty dry.
    I think I rinsed too much of the salt brine off?? Do you recommend adding a tad of salty brine- maybe 1 tbsp of salt and 1/2 cup water? Or just letting it out another day? The house is around 62 degrees so maybe it needs more time.

    I made a 2nd batch with golden beets. They too taste like slightly wilted raw beets.

    1. I think your house may be a bit chilly for the fermentation process to fully happen. I would give it a few more days as cooler temperatures cause the fermentation to not be as active as a warmer environment would. It’s kind of dry because it hasn’t had time to ‘seep’ the liquid because again, your house is a bit chilly. I’d simply give it more time.

  5. Thank you for the great instructional video. I’ve enjoyed Kimchee since being introduced to it by a Korean friend. She lived in Key West and let her jars ferment in the sun on her back patio.
    I do have two observations. Please take them as constructive and nothing else. Please do not move or rearrange your hair over a food prep area and refrain from licking your fingers and then helping move food into the jars. The latter really lit my squeamish side and is so wrong.

  6. I just made this recipe, not sure how it’s going to taste yet, but I’m excited to try it soon.
    The video was so helpful! And I love that you didn’t rush through the process.
    Thank you ladies!