Napa Cabbage Kimchi

배추 김치, BaeChu GimChi

There are many different kinds of kimchi, and Koreans eat kimchi everyday. There are even songs about kimchi such as “I Can’t Live Without Kimchi.” Moms love to have a good kimchi refrigerator. Today I will post the most common kimchi, “napa cabbage kimchi.” Kimchi is a dish of fermented vegetables with various seasonings. It is a traditional dish in Korea.

Yield: 1 Gallon

Short Korean Lesson

  • SutGaRak (숟가락) = Spoon
  • JeotGaRak (젓가락) = Chopsticks

Video Instructions

Main Ingredients

Brine Ingredients

  • 10 Cups Water
  • ½ Cup Coarse Sea Salt (For Salt Water)
  • ⅔ Cup Coarse Sea Salt (For Sprinkling)

Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Water + (3 Tbsp Water and 3 Tbsp Sweet Rice Flour)
  • ¼ Sweet Apple + ¼ Onion
  • 1¼ Cup Red Pepper Powder for Kimchi
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • ¼ to ⅓ Cup Fish Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp Minced Garlic
  • ½ Tbsp Minced Ginger
  • ½ Tbsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds



Remove any bad parts from the napa cabbage.


Divide the napa cabbage into 4 pieces. Some people divide it half, but I prefer 4 pieces, since 4 pieces are easier to put in a jar and cut later.


In a huge bowl, combine 10 cups of water and ½ cup coarse sea salt to make salt water. Stir until the salt is dissolved.


Prepare ⅔ cup coarse sea salt. Divide the salt evenly for 4 pieces of cabbage. Sprinkle the salt inside each leaf. Put more salt on the thicker parts than the thinner parts. This step is important to make kimchi. The right amount of salt and time to marinate the cabbage will change the results of your kimchi.


Dip the cabbage in the salt water. Put some heavy thing (like a big pan full of water) on top of the cabbage to keep them under the brine. That will help the cabbage to get salted better. Leave it for 4 to 5 hours until the cabbage leaves become a little soft.


Rinse the salted cabbage twice in water.


Drain the water, and set it aside for about 2 hours until more of the water drips out: or you can squeeze the water out.


Mix 3 Tbsp of sweet rice flour and 3 Tbsp of water.


In a pan add the mixture and 2 cups of water. Boil it until it makes bubbles on medium. Keep stirring it so that it will not stick to the bottom. It took about 10 minutes for mine.


Cut the radish very thinly into 2-inch lengths.


Cut 5 green onions the same length as the radish.


Cut the garlic chives into 1½-inch Pieces.


Cut 2 hot peppers thinly and slice ¾ of an onion thinly.


Grind ¼ of an onion and ¼ of a sweet apple.


In a big bowl, add the rice flour mixture, 1¼ cup of red pepper powder, and 2 cups of radish. Mix everything together.


Add the rest of the ingredients: chopped onion, hot peppers, garlic chives, green onion, onion & apple mixture, 1 to 2 Tbsp of sugar, ¼ to ⅓ cups of fish sauce, 3 Tbsp of minced garlic, ½ Tbsp of minced ginger, and 2 Tbsp of sesame seeds. Mix all of the ingredients well. Taste it and salt it to your tastes. I added ½ Tbsp of salt.


Spread some of the mixture into each leaf of the cabbage. Make sure all of the surfaces get covered in the sauce.


Wow! At last, it is done! :D


I prefer to use a glass jar to keep kimchi since the kimchi has a strong smell. It is easier to remove the smell from glass jars than from plastic containers, and glass helps to contain the smell. ;) Keep the kimchi at room temperature for about a day, and then put it in the refrigerator. You can eat kimchi before it is fermented, but it tastes best when it is properly fermented. (In about 1 week, depending on your refrigerator’s temperature.) Even old (sour) kimchi can be a delicious dish if you cook it and make: fried kimchi rice, kimchi dumplings, kimchi jeon, Kimchi soup, and etc. Enjoy! :D

Tips for delicious kimchi: *^^*

  • Good ingredients are important, especially the Red Pepper Powder and Napa Cabbage.
  • Getting the right amount of salt for marinating the napa cabbage in the salt water is very important. You don’t want the kimchi to be too salty, but if it doesn’t have enough salt, it becomes sour too quickly, and it produces too much juice later. Use coarse sea salt, not normal salt.
  • Depending on your personal tastes, it is good to add raw oysters or salted shrimp (SaeUJeot) also.


  1. maya san says

    Dear Aeri,

    Thank you very much for your great job!I love your recipes and its presentation!
    What is the sweet rice flour mixture good for in Napa Cabbage Kimchi?

    Thank you,


  2. Lisa says

    Hi Aeri,

    I am wondering can I cut the cabbage smaller, like bite size pieces, so I don’t have to cut it every time?

    Thank you!

  3. Marco says

    Hi Aeri,

    When you put the cabbage in the jar, do you also top it off with water? I have read some articles that one should always add water so that all cabbage is submerged in water in the jar. What are your ideas on this? :mrgreen:

    • says

      Hi Marco,
      While your kimchi is fermenting, your kimchi jar will get some kimchi juice from your kimchi. Unless, it is kimchi water, you don’t add water to your normal kimchi. Actually, for right fermenting process and taste, it is better if you drain water from the salted napa cabbage (after you salting the napa cabbage in salt water) as much as you can. Hope it helps.

  4. lisa frades says

    Hi Aeri-ssi, I just made this kimchi and it turned out awesomely delicious – it’s not fermented yet and I couldn’t stop eating it. This will be my go to recipe for kimchi! Thank you!!!

  5. Ari says

    I like to ask you some question?? Can i use chilli powder which is baba’s brand?
    It only contain pure dry chilli?? I hope you reply this question. Thank
    You.. :grin:

    • Christine says

      Hi there,
      we only can use Korean chilli powder for kimchi.
      I did tried baba’s & also abadi chilli powder but the taste is so different and weird ^^

      • says

        hi Christine,
        Yes, different hot pepper powder or chili powder has different flavor.. so it can be the best to use Korean hot pepper or at least very close type of hot pepper for kimchi.

    • Blanka says

      Before Korean red pepper powder was avalible in my country, for making kimchi I used sambal (sambal oelek) and than gochujang (red pepper paste) when it became availible in shops. Fortunately this year I finally found Korean chili powder here (happy!happy :mrgreen: ).

  6. Sara says

    Hi Aeri,

    I’d like to try making kimchi, but I’m not allowed to have spicy food (doctor’s orders). How much red pepper powder would I put in to make it very mild, or can I leave out the red pepper powder altogether?


  7. yumi says

    hai aeri
    thanks a lot for sharing your recipe^^
    im made it this afternoon and i cant wait to eat it…but is it okay to open the container before the kimchi fermented?how long does it take to fermented?one week?aahh i really cant wait to eat this kimchi ^^

    • says

      hi yumi,
      You can eat not fermented napa cabbage kimchi.. (fresh kimchi..) and yes. you can eat your kimchi container anytime you want to try.. usually it will take about 2 weeks or more to be fermented.. thanks

  8. says

    Hey, Aeri,

    I just tried your recpie yesterday and so far it looks like I’ve done everything right but, it’s too spicy is there a way to make it less spicy? I mean it really stings my tongue >.<

    • says

      hi Steffi,
      Oh… either you can’t eat too spicy food or your hot pepper powder must be very spicy.. anyway… you can slice some radish and put some pieces between the napa cabbage leaves… that can help a little.. thanks

  9. Lena says

    Dear Aeri,
    Thanks a lot for your site! I’ve spent 7 months in Korea 7 and when I’ve returned back to Russia I wanted to make some Korean food for my family. Your receipts helped me. I’ve already made mini sausage and veggie bokkeum, tofu jeon, garlic chive mandu, fern brake namul, zucchini bokkeum, Korean pickled radish for fried chicken, omelette rice, eggplant namul and of course napa cabbage kimchi, which is very delicious. I’ve found almost all meals I’ve tried in Korea among your posts.
    I’ll be grateful if you could publish how to make fishcake and yellow pickled radish.
    Thank you once more for your clear explanations about cooking such a big number of Korean meals.

  10. septi 셉티 says

    안녕하세요 애리씨 :smile:
    제 이름은 셉티라고 합니다…
    today i made a kimchi just like your direction,, and i guess it’s very success..
    thank you so much for helping me to made homemade kimchi..
    and i enjoy your blog..
    thank you so much aeri..

    septi from Indonesia

  11. Rebecca says

    Hello Aeri!

    First I would like to thank you for your website, it’s great! I felt in love with Korean food back in 2010 when I visited Korea. I’ve already try your bibimpap receipe, and also your pine nuts porridge, they were both awesome!

    Now I want to try your Kimchi receipe, but I was wondering, can I use oyster sauce instead of fish sauce?

    Thank you!

    • says

      hi Rebecca,
      Nice to meet you. Thanks for your comment.
      About your question.. well.. oyster sauce is totally different from fish sauce.. so I don’t want to recommend you use it for kimchi. Thanks

  12. Brian says

    Hi Aeri,
    Thanks for the recipe. I made this kimchi about 9 days ago, but the kimchi doesn’t taste sour at all. It might be because I put a bit too much salt. What should I do? Will it turn sour if I wait for it to ferment longer? Should I still keep it in the refrigerator or in room temperature? THANK YOU!

  13. Donna says

    Hi Aeri,

    First of all, let me say that your blog is absolutely fantastic. You make korean dishes easy to cook. Thanks so much. Regards to your napa kimchi, can I blend the ginger, garlic together with the onion and apple?

    • says

      hi Donna,
      You can do that. just sometimes if the garlic and ginger ground too fine, it can give too strong flavor to it at the end.. (become even a little bitter).. so ground apple and onion first then.. when it’s half done, add the garlic and ginger and finish grinding them. thanks

    • says

      hi Lani,
      It can be your napa cabbage..since it’s not fermented yet, just wait and will be better once it’s fermented right. :) Enjoy your kimchi.

  14. Myha says

    Hi Aeri :)

    I made baechu kimchi for the first time last month using your recipe and it was very good! I only used half of a 4 lb cabbage though, thinking that it would be too much to eat alone if nobody else liked it.

    It was gone in 2 weeks! I’m thinking about making another batch soon, but I have a question for you.

    When I made the kimchi and let it stand on the counter to ferment for a day, the jar was filled up with juices. However, after putting it at the bottom of the refrigerator, half of the juices disappeared! I think the rice flour mixture coagulated… Do you have any inputs on that?

    I found that I liked the kimchi on the bottom half better because it was soaked in the juices. The other half of the jar was pretty dry because the juices didn’t reach it. Hope you can help. If not, oh well! It’s still good anyway :)

    • says

      hi Myha,
      The juices you got at the beginning is more like water than real kimchi broth. so it’s normal it reduces the amount of the juice..and it get real thick kimchi broth. :) You can sometimes turn over the kimchi so the top one can get kimchi broth like the bottom on.. or if you put the kimchi more flat container instead of deep narrow jar type.. the kimchi can get the broth more evenly. hope it helps. thanks :)

      • Myha says

        Thanks for tip! I just made a second batch of kimchi 4 days ago and am waiting for it to ferment more before I eat it. But I will try turning the kimchi over so that the top and bottom will both be covered in kimchi broth occasionally :D

    • says

      hi Yeny,
      Kimchi is a fermented you can keep it for several months..but if you don’t like too sour kimchi.. you will want to eat in a month of two.. thanks :)

  15. yunaito says

    Hi Aeri

    First i would like to thank you for all your receipes your videos are really detailed and easy to understand they have been really helpful to me when i started to make korean food so thank you ! ^_^
    Now i would like to try to make my own kimchi but i have some questions i hope you can answer them .
    I don’t have sweet rice flour can i use something else ?
    I couldn’t find garlic chives is it ok if i don’t use this ?
    and is it necessary to put hot Peppers ?
    Thanks again and i hope you can answer me soon i can’t wait to try to make my own kimchi :grin:

  16. Daphne says

    Hi Aeri~

    I tried making kimchi yesterday and I know you said that I should leave it for a week or so but I was too curious how it would taste so I already tasted some today and it was really good! thank you so much for the recipe! ^^ I’ve lived in korea for about 9 months but now since I’ve moved back to my home country I started to really miss the Korean food! In the future I will try more of your recipes so that it would make me remember the good times I had in Korea~
    Thank you!

  17. Netka says

    Hi Aeri, I’d like to make your kimchi, but unfortunetly I don’t have any garlic chives. Can I replace them in any way? Like using more garlic cloves or green onions?
    By the way, your site is great! :)

  18. Ahn says

    Hi Aeri,

    I don’t remember my South Korean mother, born 1928, ever using fish sauce to make kimchi. Was kimchi made with oysters or salted shrimp (SaeUJeot) before fish sauce was used? I do remember her adding SaeUJeot and I don’t like raw oysters in kimche. I miss her kimchi very much and wondered if it can be made using salted shrimp, and if so, how much?

    Most of the kimchi I see in the US is made using anchovy sauce(fish sauce). There are so many different brands I am lost at what to choose.

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    • says

      hi Ahn,
      It is common to use both fish sauce and salted shrimp for kimchi.. Just my husband doesn’t eat shrimp (other seafood).. so I didn’t use. You can use salted shrimp too.. by reducing the fish sauce a little and add some of the ground salted shrimp…just adjust the saltness. “HaSeonJung fish sauce” is a good brand I use for mine. thanks

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