How to Make Kimchi at Home

Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made of fermented vegetables, usually cabbage, and a blend of spices. It's a popular side dish that can add a tangy and spicy flavor to any meal. Making kimchi at home is not only easy, but it's also a great way to ensure that you're getting fresh and healthy ingredients. In this article, we'll guide you through the steps to make your own kimchi at home.

Ingredients You Need

Before we start, let's gather all the necessary ingredients:

  • 1 head of Napa cabbage
  • 1/2 cup of sea salt
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon of grated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup of Korean chili flakes (gochugaru)
  • 4-5 scallions, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1: Prep the Cabbage

Cut the cabbage into quarters and remove the core. Slice each quarter into bite-sized pieces. Place the cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle the sea salt over it. Massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Add enough water to cover the cabbage and place a plate on top to weigh it down. Let it sit for 1-2 hours.

Step 2: Rinse and Drain the Cabbage

After 1-2 hours, rinse the cabbage under cold water and drain it well. Squeeze out any excess water.

Step 3: Make the Kimchi Paste

In a separate bowl, mix together the garlic, ginger, sugar, fish sauce, and Korean chili flakes until it forms a paste.

Step 4: Mix the Cabbage with the Kimchi Paste

Add the scallions, carrot, and onion to the cabbage and mix well. Add the kimchi paste and mix until all the vegetables are coated.

Step 5: Ferment the Kimchi

Transfer the kimchi to a jar or container with a tight-fitting lid. Press down on the kimchi to remove any air pockets. Leave the kimchi at room temperature for 1-2 days to ferment. Check the kimchi daily and press down on it to release any gas. Taste the kimchi after 2 days to see if it's to your liking. If not, let it ferment for another day or two.

Pros and Cons of Making Kimchi at Home


  • You can control the ingredients and the level of spiciness.
  • You can make a large batch and store it for later use.
  • It's a great way to use up leftover vegetables.


  • It takes time and effort to make.
  • You need a good amount of space to store the kimchi while it ferments.
  • It can have a strong odor while fermenting.


Q: How long does homemade kimchi last?

A: Homemade kimchi can last for several months if stored properly in the fridge. The longer it's stored, the more sour it becomes.

Q: Can I use regular chili flakes instead of Korean chili flakes?

A: Korean chili flakes (gochugaru) have a unique flavor and are essential in making authentic kimchi. However, you can substitute with regular chili flakes if you can't find Korean chili flakes.

Q: Can I use a different type of cabbage?

A: Napa cabbage is the traditional cabbage used in kimchi, but you can use other types of cabbage or even other vegetables like radish.

Q: Can I make kimchi without fish sauce?

A: Yes, you can omit the fish sauce or use a vegan fish sauce substitute.


Making kimchi at home is a fun and rewarding experience. With just a few simple ingredients and some patience, you can create a delicious and healthy side dish that can be enjoyed with any meal. Whether you're a fan of spicy food or not, kimchi is definitely worth a try!