Kimchi is a popular Korean side dish made from fermented vegetables that is both healthy and flavorful. This homemade kimchi recipe in this article uses napa cabbage as the main vegetable and includes other ingredients like carrots, garlic, ginger, and Korean red pepper powder to make a spicy, tangy, and crunchy fermented side dish.

1. How To Make Kimchi


  • 1 large napa cabbage (about 3 pounds)
  • 1⁄4 cup kosher salt
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 3 carrots, julienned
  • 1⁄2 small daikon radish, julienned (optional)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons Korean red pepper powder (gochugaru)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar


  • Cutting board & knife
  • Large bowl
  • Jar or fermentation container
  • Smaller bowl & spoon for brine
  • Cheesecloth & rubber band (optional)
  • Canning funnel (optional)


Step 1: Prepare the Napa Cabbage

  • Discard any wilted outer leaves from the napa cabbage. Rinse the head under running water. Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters and remove the hard inner core from each quarter.
  • Slice each quarter crosswise into 1-2 inch wide strips. Place the cabbage strips into a large bowl.

Step 2: Make the Brine

  • In a smaller bowl, stir together the salt with the cold water until fully dissolved. This salty brine will help draw out moisture from the cabbage as part of the fermentation process.
  • Pour the brine over the cabbage until all of the strips are fully submerged. Let soak for 2 hours at room temperature.

Step 3: Prepare the Aromatics

While the cabbage brines, prepare your other ingredients. Chop the green onions into 1 inch pieces. Julienne the carrots into matchsticks. Peel and mince the garlic. Grate the ginger.

Step 4: Assemble & Pack the Kimchi

  • After 2 hours, drain the cabbage but do not rinse. Transfer the soaked strips back into the large bowl. Add in the prepared green onions, carrots, radish, garlic, and ginger.
  • Sprinkle the Korean red pepper powder and sugar evenly over the vegetables. Using clean hands, toss thoroughly until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Pack the kimchi mixture into a 1 quart jar or fermentation container, pressing down on the mixture until the brine rises up to cover the vegetables. Leave at least 1 inch of space at the top.
  • If the brine doesn’t cover the kimchi, dissolve 1 teaspoon salt in 1 cup of water and pour into the container to submerge everything.

Step 5: Ferment

  • Cover the kimchi container loosely with the lid, cheesecloth secured with a rubber band, or a canning funnel to allow air flow. This prevents too much pressure from building up.
  • Let the kimchi ferment at cool room temperature for 5-7 days. Taste occasionally and let ferment longer if you prefer a more sour flavor.
  • Once it reaches the desired taste, transfer the kimchi container to the refrigerator. The cold slows down fermentation but still allows flavors to continue developing.

Enjoy! The kimchi is now ready eat! Its flavor will continue to mature and improve in the fridge over several months. Try the spicy, tangy kimchi as a side dish, topping for rice bowls, or ingredient in recipes. This authentic homemade kimchi brings Korean tradition to your own kitchen.

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Julia Jane is a home cook inspired by her mother's cooking. With the desire to share my cooking experiences with everyone, she created this website

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