Kimchi: Stinky Yummy Goodness



Kimchi, either you love it or you hate it?  The smell either makes you salivate or nauseous.  Which is if for you?  I adore kimchi!

There are about as many kimchi (kimchee, kim chee, gimchi) recipes out there are there are fermenters.  So what makes something kimchee?  Inclusion of napa cabbage?  Not necessarily.  Daikon radish? Maybe but not really.  Does it have to have ginger and garlic?  Meh, no. There are 187 documented variations of kimchi and I’m sure many more undocumented versions.

I think the only common theme I’ve seen through out kimchi recipes is the inclusion of red pepper powder and that’s about it.  A traditional, made in Korea kimchi seems to usually consist of napa cabbage, onion, maybe daikon radish, pepper powder and fish sauce.  I like to keep things close to traditional so that is how I made mine.  I might start playing with ingredients with my next batch.





  • 1 large head of napa cabbage (about 2 lbs)
  • 1 medium onion (about 8oz)
  • 1 daikon radish (about 1 lb)
  • 3 carrots (about 1lb)
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1" piece of ginger, grated
  • 1-2 tbsp red pepper powder *
  • 1/4 fish sauce (optional)
  • salt (salt without any additives)**
  • 2% brine


  1. Trim ends and roughly chop cabbage. Slice onion thinly and mince green onions. Chop radish into 1/2" pieces.
  2. Weigh vegetables to determine how much salt to use. Check the chart below or use 4.4 gms of salt per pound (round up to the nearest gram). My veggies weighed about 5lbs so I used 22 gms of salt.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cabbage, onion, radishes, red pepper powder and appropriate amount of salt. Let set for about 20 mins to let the brine release.
  4. Pick your jar size. 2 lbs fits snuggly in 1 quart but you need room for expansion. My 5 lbs fit nicely into a 3L jar.
  5. Pack vegetables into the jar a few scoops at a time. Use a kraut pounder, wooden spoon or rolling pin to pack the veggies in tight and release the brine. Fill jar until it is no more than 75% full to leave room for expansion.
  6. You should have at least 1" of brine above the veggies. If you don't have that much, add more 2% brine (19 gms or 4 tsp of fine grain salt per quart of water).
  7. Let set at room temp for 5-7 days. Once bubble activity slows down, let it continue to ferment in the fridge.
  8. Many people like to eat their kimchi right away but I like to let mine ferment for a full 12 weeks.



If you don’t have a kitchen scale, a fine grained salt weighs about 5 gms per tsp.  Use a salt with no additives, ideally a mineral rich sea salt or Himalayan pink salt is best.

  • 1 lb vegetables needs 5 gms salt
  • 2lbs vegetables needs 9 gms salt
  • 3lbs vegetables needs 14 gms salt
  • 4lbs vegetables needs 18 gms salt
  • 5lbs vegetables needs 22 gms salt

*Need red pepper powder?  You can either use cayenne or you can grind up crushed or whole chilies in a coffee grinder.  Don’t use a food processor or your eyes and nose will hate you.  A coffee grinder contains the powder, keeping it from floating in the air.

** This recipe calls for less salt than most kimchi recipes.  If you have a good anaerobic jar, you can use less salt without worry.  If you don’t you’ll want to use more.

Check out my post on Trouble Shooting Sauerkraut.  Much of what happens with sauerkraut is true for kimchi as well.


**This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing from these links helps support Pickle Me Too, allowing me to post and store all of my free recipes. Thank you!**

12 comments to Kimchi: Stinky Yummy Goodness

  • Leslie

    Thank you for the Kimchi recipe looks like a good traditional one. There are sooo many kimchi recipes out there most I have made are to salted so I am excited to try this one in a pickleit jar. My favorite one that i have made so far is by Dr. Ben Kim at He uses half an apple and half a pear blended in a vita mixer in the brine. The end result really is delicious

  • Marie

    You read my mind! I was thinking about making my own kimchi this weekend. Thank you for this useful information. I’m pretty excited!

  • Laurie

    How much fish just says 1/4..1/4 what?
    Thank you 🙂

  • Jules

    Ha ha! As I went to your blog, I was busy eating the end of my first batch of kimchi, while checking on the progress of my second 🙂 I love the stuff, and yes, it smells delicious, and I look forward to trying your recipe. I experimented a bit with my new batch, and included roasted red pepper instead of carrot – seems tasty.

    These are the first foods I’ve fermented, and I have to tell you what a great discovery your blog is. Thank you for putting all of this information together! I really appreciate it, and make a point of clicking on your affiliate links whenever I visit.

    Your “trouble shooting sauerkraut” page that you linked to was very helpful – answered most of my questions. I wonder if you have any advice about starting a large batch of kimchi in a Harsch crock, and then dividing it between a few people for cold storage. How often do you check the crock, or do you just let it ferment until the bubbles slow? And we’d probably be cold storing it in mason jars for now, but I’m thinking of getting some Fidos/Pickl’its – do you recommend getting a few larger Pickl’its, and later transferring to several smaller Fidos, or…? Finally, if I have only half a jar of veg, is it ok to fill it to the shoulder with brine, and go ahead and ferment?

    Thanks so much for all of your help! I’m looking forward to much happy fermenting.

    • Thanks Jules! I’m glad you like my blog.

      Fermenting a large batch in a crock and then transferring to smaller jars is a good way to go if you don’t have a cold spot big enough to store the crock. Yes, I would let it ferment in the large crock until the bubbles slow down which should be about a week.

      I actually recommend getting the smallest Pickl-it jars and a few large fidos. The smaller Pickl-it’s are much cheaper and the shipping is cheaper too. The lids are interchangeable with Fido’s so you can just swap the lids out. You can usually find fidos very cheap at store like TJ Maxx and Ross.

      For a half-filled jar, I read mixed things but I personally think topping it off with brine is fine. Be sure to drink the extra brine! It’s packed full of good stuff.

      • Hi Melanie-
        I just found your site while looking for how to do gluten free sourdough in a Pickl-It jar. (So glad to have found you!) We eat a ton of ferments, that we’ve been purchasing, and I’ve been hemming and hawing about what Pickl-It jars to buy, since I live in Canada, and shipping is going to cost a ton. Could you tell me more about how hard/easy it is to swap out the lids on Fido jars? This is the first time I’ve heard of this option.

  • […] Kimchi – Stinky Yummy Goodness – from Pickle Me Too. Probiotics again . I love kimchi and my husband LOVES spicy food. Must make. […]

  • Jules

    Thanks for your advice, Melanie! It’s been very helpful.

  • Diego

    Hey! Nice recipe! Questions:
    1)How do you keep ur veggies under the brine? Mine are floating…can i use an external cabbage leaf with a weight above as in sauerkraut?
    2)I just have mason jars (Argentina :)) Shall I open the jar daily to release the gas or its better not to seal it.
    Thanks a lot in advance!! Diego

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