How to make easy Kimchi at home for beginners

I’d like to share with you an easy kimchi recipe for beginners. Making Kimchi is not hard but, if it’s your first time then I have a few pointers to avoid the common issues beginners face. It seems pretty straightforward but there are a few issues that you might run into the first time you’ll make it. So in this post I aim to help you master the art of making good kimchi at home. I go through the recipe as well as some of the most common issues beginners encounter and how to fix them.

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The main ingredient in this type of kimchi is Napa cabbage which you might also find labeled as Chinese cabbage this is followed by the supporting cast of Daikon Radish, carrots, scallions, ginger, pears and garlic.

making Easy Kimchi Recipe for Beginners

Now, like any movie worth its salt this cast needs a superstar in a supporting role to carry the whole lineup and that role is filled in by Korean chilli flakes, called Gochugaru.
It’s the only ingredient on here that can’t be replaced by anything else as it’s the main source of flavor and gives good kimchi it’s distinct taste.

Easy Kimchi Recipe for Beginners, tips for success:

1. The top of my kimchi has turned gray or brown, what now?

As the fermentation process kicks in there are a lot of interesting things happening in the jar.
One is that water gets drawn out of the vegetables and the second is the buildup of gas. The liquid created acts as a barrier for unwanted bacteria when it’s at the top of the jar as there are no vegetables exposed to air.

But, because of the buildup of gas the liquid can get stuck at the bottom of the jar with no way to travel to the top. So keep an eye on the kimchi during the fermentation period and use the handle of a spatula to create a path for the liquid to flow to the top.

Now, If you already have a layer of brown oxidized kimchi on top all you have to do is scoop it out and discard it. If the layers bellow have a normal saturated red color then it’s fine as long as you make sure to keep them submerged in liquid
Do not just add plain water to make enough liquid to cover the top – this will dilute the pickling paste which can mess up the fermentation.

2. My Kimchi is too salty

The reason that this can happen is because too much salt was added or the cabbage wasn’t rinsed well enough. It also depends on when you are tasting it because, as kimchi ferments, the saltiness goes down.

So 1st thing you can do is to let it ferment for a few more days. But if you feel that it has fermented enough then the best way to fix it is my adding more radishes as they are great at absorbing salt
or you can scrap it and make a new batch.

3. There are black spots on my Kimchi

Try to scrape some off, if it doesn’t work and it looks like they are part of the cabbage fiber then you’ve got nothing to worry about.
These are a cosmetic defect of the Napa cabbage called pepper spots, you might not have noticed them when you bought the cabbage but it’s perfectly safe to eat and they don’t effect the taste.

4. I made too much kimchi, what am I suppose to do with it now?

Well, this is not such a common issue for beginners and if you managed to do that then I’d call that a win, not a fail. Maybe it’s actually due to this easy kimchi recipe for beginners? You could either gift it to your friends or hoard it in the fridge as it builds more flavor. But, most importantly, once you have good kimchi you can use it to cook some super delicious dishes.

Here are some of my favorite recipes that I have on the website:
Kimchi Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Savory oatmeal with Kimchi and Spam
Healthy low-calorie Kimchi fried rice

Easy Kimchi Recipe for Beginners

Master making good kimchi at home – the easy way!
Servings 3 liters (100 oz)
Prep Time 30 minutes
Fermentation time 7 days
Total Time 7 days 25 minutes


The Veggies

  • 1 head of Napa Cabbage (1kg / 2lb)
  • 70 grams pickling salt
  • 1 bundle of scallions (6-8 sprigs)
  • 400g (2 medium) carrots
  • half of a large daikon radish

Pickling paste

  • 40 grams ginger peeled
  • 250g 2 large sweet pears Asian or Barlett
  • 6 cloves of garlic peeled
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 80 grams gochugaru don't sub with other type of chili


The Vegetable Base

  • Start by cutting the cabbage length-wise in half, remove the stem at the bottom and cut each half again in two and then rough chop them into big pieces.
    Place all of them into a big bowl or pot and then sprinkle in 70 grams of salt
    Now add cold water, just enough to cover the cabbage and let it sit for at least 2 hours in this brine.
  • Cut the scallions into matchstick sized segments or about 5cm long, julienne the carrots into similarly long segments as the onions
    next take half of a large daikon radish peel off it’s exterior and then cut it into batons as long as the carrots but about double in girth something similar to French fries

Pickling paste

  • Peel the ginger, the pears and the garlic. Remove the stems off the pears and cut them along with the ginger in smaller pieces.
  • Add them in a blender along with the garlic and the fish sauce and blend them into a smooth paste
  • Take out the paste and mix it with the gochutgaru. let it bloom in the paste until ready to mix

Prepping for fermentation

  • Drain the water from the cabbage and wash it in the sink well – no salt should be left on it. Drain it and mix it in along with the other vegetables.
  • Add the pickling paste to the vegetables and mix it all well using your hands – I recommend wearing gloves.
  • Add the kimchi mix into jars, this should yield around 3 liters or 100 oz, split it into as many jars as you'd like but make sure they will fit into your fridge.
  • as you add it into jars try to leave as little air as possible inside by using a long wooden spoon or the tail end of a spatula to pack it in.
  • once filled, loosely add the cap on top, don’t tighten it as there will be a build up of gas and let it ferment on the counter for 4-7 days
Calories: 70kcal
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: cabbage, fermented, spicy

Goes well with

Healthy Low Calorie KIMCHI Fried Rice
A healthier, low calorie alternative for kimchi fried rice without any downgrade in flavor
Check out this recipe
Bacon & Feta Cheese Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes
how to elevate it's flavor with an assortment of supporting ingredients combined together to create a delicious stuffing. Oh did I mention that there's also a quick tip on making cheesy chips to top this goodness with? Yeah, it's there.
Check out this recipe

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to hear how it turned out! Leave a comment below, or tag me with @solozaurcooking on Instagram and hashtag it #solozaurcookin.

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Cooked & written with ❤️ by Alex Pricop.