Lacto-Fermented Kimchi

Kimchi is a delicious fermented food. Full of great probiotics, it helps with digestion and overall health. Though Kimchi isn’t as simple as making sauerkraut, it’s totally worth the extra work to get such wonderful flavor.
Kimchi is Korean Sauerkraut. It has a great bite, and depending on how hot the chili peppers are, it can be pretty spicy. My absolute favorite way to eat it is mixed with chicken and peanut sauce, either in a wrap or as a stirfry.
Traditionally, it is made with napa cabbage, but in central Montana, that is not always easy for me to find, so I’ve used regular green cabbage and find it works just as well.

Lacto-Fermented Kimchi
1 cabbage
1 bunch of green onions
3 carrots
1 bunch radishes
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons dried chili peppers or 3 fresh chili peppers
4 teaspoons sea salt
I use a skinny glass to compress
the veggies as much as possible.

1 teaspoon whey per mason jar (optional, if not using whey, double the salt)

4 pint jars with lids
Thinly slice cabbage and green onions. Grate carrots, radishes, ginger and garlic. Dice peppers, if you are using fresh.
Combine everything, except the whey, stirring and mashing. Allow to rest for an hour, this lets out more the juices, which is helpful.
Evenly pack 4 pint jars. Add 1 teaspoon why per jar. I use a skinny glass to compress the veggies as much as possible.
Add a little water, if needed, so that the veggies are covered with liquid.

Set at room temperature for 3 days and then transfer to the refrigerator.

And the kimchi is ready to eat!
Add a little water, if needed,
so that the veggies are covered with liquid.
If left unopened, kimchi should last a couple months, once open, use within 2 weeks.
As with any ferment, if there is mold or unpleasant smell, discard. (I’ve never had my kimchi mold.)
Makes 4 pint jars full
Set at room temperature for 3 days and then transfer to the refrigerator.
And the kimchi is ready to eat!
This post is part of Well Fed Wednesday.

About Rachel Jones

Hi there! I’m Rachel Jones, and I founded Nourishing Minimalism in 2012 at the beginning of my minimalist journey. If you're looking for encouragement in your journey, I created a FREE Facebook Group - feel free to join me there: Nourishing Minimalism Facebook Group and I share videos each week on YouTube


  1. Anonymous on 05/18/2013 at 1:14 pm

    Can you please put a Pinterest ‘Pin it’ button on your recipes. Pretty please!

    • Rachel on 05/21/2013 at 4:27 pm

      Ok, I did! I have to manually add it, so I don’t always remember. 🙂

      • P H on 03/15/2015 at 8:15 pm

        This is not kimchi. hahah

  2. David on 05/18/2013 at 3:22 pm

    I am glad you posted this as I have been planning to do some kimchi but didn’t realize that you could use regular green cabbage. I have my own garden and planted Chinese cabbage ( simalar to napa ) so I could make kimchi but it didn’t head, just went to seed. I guess I will have to grow it in the fall instead. I even saw some plants at the seed store that was also putting up seed stalks. I am into healthy but doing it as simply as possible. Lacto fermenting works for me, I even ferment my orange juice. Keep up the good work.

  3. Anonymous on 10/17/2013 at 8:23 pm

    This may seem like a silly question but do I put the lids on when it is sitting at room temp for 3 days?

    • Rachel on 10/17/2013 at 9:14 pm

      Yes, keep the lids on and closed while fermenting. If unopened, they last longer. Once you open it, use it within 2 weeks.

  4. Unknown on 01/31/2014 at 12:01 am

    I do not like all the other veggies in my kimchi, if I used more cabbage would it ferment the same as you are saying, or are the carrots/radishes needed for the juice/fermentation in your recipe?

    • Rachel on 01/31/2014 at 2:17 am

      Yes, it would still ferment. You may want to look up different sauerkraut recipes and see how they do it. You may not need the whey.

  5. Liz Fieweger on 02/12/2016 at 6:37 pm

    I just found your recipe and am excited to try it! I only have 2 pint jars – could I use 2 2-pint jars instead of 4 1-pint jars? If so, would I need to adjust the timing?

    • Rachel on 02/23/2016 at 6:19 pm

      That should work fine- and it would be the same amount of time. 🙂

      • Liz on 04/19/2016 at 10:24 am

        HI Rachel,
        I just came back to the site and saw you posted a reply – thank you! And you were correct – it worked great, and I am about to get going making several jars (smaller sized this time) today. I found this homemade version SO much better in every way than those you can purchase at stores like Whole Foods. My favorite way to eat is on a wheat tortilla, with hummus and greens, the perfect lunch – yum!

  6. Jeff Fitchett on 05/29/2017 at 2:10 pm

    I made this recipe four days ago and I’m really impressed with the results!

    • Rachel on 05/31/2017 at 2:36 pm

      Great! Thanks for letting me know Jeff!

  7. Steph on 08/13/2018 at 11:50 pm

    Thanks for this. It has become a staple in our house. I add it to fried egg sandwiches instead of the chutney I used to use, and we often have it as a side dish.

  8. Danny Williams on 11/06/2018 at 6:37 pm

    Good stuff! First time I ever made Kim-chi and Whey. Thanks so much for your guidance. Next time I’ll use a fermentation lid. It about blew the lids of. But what flavor and only after 3 days. I took some chicken broth with a sliced red onion, sliced an ear of corn in it and added a smoked turkey sausage and simmered it about 6 hours in a crock pot and it was a big hit. Love it. Thanks again!

  9. Annaliesa on 09/14/2019 at 10:37 pm

    What is the whey talked about?

    • Rachel Jones on 09/17/2019 at 3:48 am

      Whey is the liquid on yogurt. This was made using whey from homemade yogurt. You can google how to make whey. 🙂

  10. Steve on 02/28/2020 at 5:55 am

    Glad stumble accross this thread !!
    I am just getting into second gear with lacto fermenting
    As a brewer of many yrs, I’ve been adding yeast as well depending on how much of a kick I want to add
    Yeast/lacto vegetable juice is just awesome !!!
    I am stoked to try this kimchi recipe, it’s one of the few I’ve seen using regular old North American ingredients !!!!! LoL
    Bon apetite

  11. Nuri on 07/18/2020 at 12:31 pm

    Hi, I’m worried the jars will explode in 3 days… are you sure about this? sorry if it’s a stupid question.

    • Rachel Jones on 07/22/2020 at 7:56 pm

      If you’re concerned- just unscrew the lid once each day, it won’t hurt it. I’ve only had that happen when fermenting things with lots of sugar because sugars ferment faster.

  12. Kelley on 02/20/2021 at 5:22 am

    What is the exact salt amount needed if not using whey?

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