How To Make Kimchi: Your Easy Step-by-Step Guide

Reading time: 3 min.
How To Make Kimchi: Your Easy Step-by-Step Guide

Did you know that kimchi was invented over 4,000 years ago? 

Today kimchi is probably the most well-known Korean food in the world. Kimchi’s popularity has spread in recent years, and you can now find this healthy fermented cabbage dish added to everything from tacos to salads. Kimchi is extremely versatile and can be used in dishes or as a side.

The great thing about kimchi is that it is easy to make and much cheaper to make at home than buying it in the store!

Kimchi recipes are a dime a dozen across the internet and can vary significantly in complexity. Here we provide you with an easy traditional kimchi recipe to start your kimchi journey!



  • 3 kg of Chinese cabbage/napa cabbage
  • 80 g sea salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 medium daikon radish (white radish)
  • 5 carrots
  • 12 green onions
  • 28 garlic cloves
  • 16 g fresh ginger
  • 120 ml fish sauce
  • 450 g red chili flakes (gochugaru) 


  • 2 large bowls  
  • 1 large wooden spoon
  • 2 large jars


  1. First peel off any outer leaves of the cabbage that may be old or damaged. Then trim the cabbage core if it is sticking out. 
  2. Split the cabbage in half at the bottom close to the core and then pull it gently apart. Do this again to quarter it. Do this to all of the cabbage.
  3. Rinse the cabbage gently with water making sure to wash in between each leaf.
  4. Sprinkle the sea salt in between each leaf of the cabbage rubbing it gently into the leaves and stems.
  5. Let the cabbage rest for 2 hours in one of the large bowls. After the first hour, there should be some salty water at the bottom of the bowl. Spoon this saltwater back on top of the cabbage. 

While the salted cabbage is resting you can prepare the other ingredients.

  1. Mix the water and rice flour in a pot with a wooden spoon (do not use metal). Cook it at medium heat for 12 minutes stirring regularly to prevent the flour from balling up. Add the sugar and cook for 1 minute. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool.
  2. Wash all the vegetables. 
  3. Julienne the carrots and daikon, and roughly chop the green onions. Grate the garlic and ginger. 
  4. Mix all the vegetables, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, rice flour mixture, and red chili flakes in one of the large bowls with a wooden spoon until it is mixed evenly.  This will serve as your kimchi paste. 
  5. After the salted cabbage is done resting for 2 hours briefly rinse it under cold water. 
  6. Pour boiling water into the jars to sterilize them before use.
  7. Rub each cabbage with the kimchi paste in the bowl making sure to get the kimchi paste in between each of the leaves. Once you have fully covered the cabbage gently fold it on itself and place it in one of the glass jars. Close the jar and you are ready to let it ferment!

You can eat the kimchi right away or let it ferment at room temperature in jars.

The kimchi will start to ferment within 1-2 days at room temperature. Once the kimchi has reached your desired level of sourness transfer the jars to the fridge to preserve it and slow down the fermentation.  The longer you leave the kimchi at room temperature the more sour and stronger in taste it will get.

Is it worth making your own kimchi?

Absolutely! Making your own kimchi is not only easy and fun but will also probably save you a lot of money as kimchi imported from Korea can be quite expensive depending on where you live.

How long does kimchi take to ferment?

Kimchi will start to ferment after 1-2 days depending on the room temperature. You will know it is fermenting when you start to see bubbles in the jars. 

Why does kimchi taste so strong?

The strength of the taste of kimchi depends on the amount of time you let it ferment. The longer you let it ferment the stronger in taste it will be. If your kimchi becomes too sour for your taste don’t worry, you can always cook with it either by putting it into a stew or making kimchi pancakes which will reduce the overall strong taste of the kimchi itself.

How long does homemade kimchi last?

At room temperature, kimchi can last roughly 1 week if it is not too hot outside. In the fridge, kimchi can last much longer from 2-10 months. If your kimchi develops white mold anywhere in the jar or on the kimchi itself, it is safest to throw it out.