Homemade Kimchi

This recipe was adapted from:

NOTE: The fermentation will take a few days and needs frequent burping.
Don't make this if you're about to go on vacation or something.


To start off with, you're going to need:

You'll want about a 16.7 ratio of cabbage to sea salt by weight, so if you have
500 grams of napa cabbage, you'll need about 30 grams of sea salt.

You can find napa cabbage and gochugaru in more than just Asian grocery stores,
but I really recommend buying from Asian markets since they'll be the cheapest.
For example, Koreana Market in Oakland, CA sells a whole head of napa cabbage
for $1 and a 1 pound (!) bag of gochugaru for $7.


Qty Thing
150g (2/3 cup) Water
10g (1 Tbsp) Rice flour - gluten free flour works well too, regular flour can be used in a pinch
6g (1/2 Tbsp) Sugar

Spice paste

Qty Thing
33g (1/3 cup) Gochugaru - Korean chili flakes
20g (1 Tbsp) Fish sauce
20g (1 Tbsp) Minced garlic
30g (1/8 cup) Diced onion
1 (20g) Green onion
3g (1/2 tsp) Grated ginger


For this, you'll need two large mixing bowls

Prepare cabbage

  1. Pull off any junky outer leaves from the cabbage
  2. Cut cabbage lengthwise into quarters
  3. Remove the cores from the bottom of the cabbage
  4. Chop into bite-sized pieces, about 1" sqare
  5. Wash cabbage with cold water, drain, place into large bowl
  6. Add salt - 16.7 cabbage:salt ratio by weight. For example 500g of cabbage
    needs ~30g salt. This salt will help draw out moisture from the cabbage.
  7. Mix well, let sit for 30 minutes
  8. Mix again, let sit for 30 minutes
  9. Mix one last time, let sit for 30 minutes, and go make your slurry and spice
  10. After that last 30 minutes is up, rinse in cold water 3 times to clean the
    salt off
  11. Drain cabbage
  12. From making your paste, it'll be in another large bowl. Add the slurry to
    the spice paste.
  13. Throw the cabbage in the bowl with your spice paste and slurry, and mix by
    hand. It's recommended to wear nitrile gloves for this.
  14. Add kimchi to your mason jar, and proceed to fermentation


  1. Add water and flour to pot, mix well, bring up to a boil
  2. After boiling for 5 minutes, turn heat down to low
  3. Add sugar, cook for a few minutes until translucent
  4. Let cool

Spice Paste

Mix all of the spice paste ingredients well into a large bowl. Make sure the
bowl is large enough to accept all the cabbage you're salting.


Store the jar at room temperature for a few days to a week. After every meal,
check the jar to see if the lid pops when you press it down. If it doesn't pop,
then pressure has built up and you need to loosen the lid far enough to release
pressure (you'll hear a hiss), then tighten it back up.

I recommend keeping the jar in your kitchen sink just in case of an explosion,
but if you're vigilant about burping it, you shouldn't have any troubles.

How long you ferment depends on how you like your kimchi. A few things happen
over time:

I personally like my kimchi with a bit of funk and a soft crunch, which is
usually after about 4 or 5 days. Note that if your place is cold, fermentation
is slower, and likewise it'll speed up if your place is hot. After a couple of
days, give it a taste every day to see how it's going and if it's to your

Once it's fermented to your liking, put the jar into your fridge and enjoy!
It'll slowly keep fermenting in your fridge, so if you don't like funky kimchi
you should eat it up within a week or two.

Some tasty things to make with kimchi: