The Best Korean Kimchi Recipe - Veganiac (2024)

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Finally, it’s time for a homemade Korean Kimchi Recipe. My grandma makes the best kimchi and I can vouch for that. This kimchi is the real deal. It is authentic, delicious, and classic. Kimchi is a great side dish for any meal. It also makes some of the most delicious Kimchi creamy dip, Kimchi Fried Rice, Spicy Kimchi Tofu Stew, and Kimchi Pancakes.

This recipe is a treasured one that I will always keep. This Grandma’s Classic Kimchi recipe is one of my most treasured. It was an honor to learn from her and, best of all, it tastes damn good. It is my pleasure to share this traditional Korean Kimchi recipe with all of you!

In this Article

What is Kimchi/Kimchee?

Kimchi, also known as kimchee, is a traditional Korean dish that’s made with fermented and salted Napa cabbage. Marinated and fermented vegetables are used to preserve them during winter. Although Napa cabbage is the most popular vegetable used to make kimchi carrots, radishes and cucumbers are also used.

There are many kimchi recipes, which vary according to the season and region they were made in. It is easy to make vegan kimchi, you just need to keep plant-based ingredients.

Kimchi is readily available and affordable, but I would always advise you to make your own homemade kimchi. Although it can take some time to prepare the vegetables, unlike other fermented foods like bread, beer and kombucha, it is mostly an easy process. Kimchi can be kept in the refrigerator for quite some time, making it a versatile, economical and simple-to-prepare dish.

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How does Kimchi taste?

Kimchi has a very unique taste which makes people love it or hate it, this is mostly due to some people don’t like sourness. Kimchi’s taste is complex and can vary depending on the recipe. Kimchi will have three main flavors: umami, spicy, and sour. The vegetables you use, the fermentation time, and the amount of sugar or salt used will all affect the taste.

Kimchi is a fermented food, so its predominant flavor is usually sour. The bacteria that produces lactic acid during fermentation gives kimchi a spicy, spicy flavor similar to sauerkraut. If garlic is used in kimchi, the flavor intensifies during fermentation. Kimchi can be spicy depending on the amount of pepper used and the type of pepper.

What do I love about kimchi/kimchee?

Besides being one of the healthier food, kimchi has definitely got something addictive regarding its flavor. There are many wonderful flavors. It has three distinctive flavors: garlic, sour, and spicy. Also, kimchi has a certain level of crispiness which adds to the fullness of experience while eating.

Is homemade Kimchi really spicy?

It all depends on what type of kimchee is made and/or bought. You can make your own kimchI, which is less spicy than some.

Why is homemade kimchi more delicious than store-bought?

As I’ve said before, this kimchi recipe will amaze your taste buds. And as you know, most homemade recipes are better than store-bought, in some cases even better than in restaurants.

Some other reasons why is homemade kimchi version better:

  • Homemade kimchi is much cheaper
  • With some tweaks, you can make it your own recipe
  • Share with family and friends
  • It’s fun!

Can American cabbage be used as a substitute?

I wouldn’t advise, it won’t be the exact same. Napa cabbage has different properties, it is more crunchy and overall makes way better kimchi.

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Can I substitute red pepper powder with gochujang?

No, don’t do that! Although gochujang is a red chili paste, you shouldn’t substitute it with red pepper, because the texture is totally different.

For how long should kimchi be fermented?

Kimchi is fermented for at least one day. Usually, Kimchi is fermented from 1-3 days at room temperature or 21 days in the fridge, depending on how sour you want your Kimchi to be.

After opening your kimchi jar, it can stay fresh for up to a week at room temperature, and for up to 6 months refrigerated. While refrigerated your kimchi keeps the fermentation process, but if you don’t like your Kimchi to sour, you can use it for up to 3 months.

If Kimchi becomes too sour, but you don’t want to throw it away, try mixing it into some dishes with a milder flavor, like rice.

Can regular salt be used for Kimchi?

My grandma explained to me that thick sea salt is better than salts like Morton and Diamond kosher salt. It makes cabbage soft and withers and also removes too much moisture.

Look out for coarse sea salt grains.

What if I don’t have red pepper powder for Kimchi?

Okay, I have a small discomfort because everyone wants authentic cultural dishes, but not everyone is willing to pay for the authentic ingredients. 🙂

This red pepper powder cannot be replaced with any other. This powder is the only powder if you want to make kimchi authentic.

It is not the same as cayenne pepper. It is not the same as chili powder. It is not the same as red bell pepper flakes. It is not the same as powdered pepper flakes. It is not the same as Sriracha.

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How to make Kimchi Taste better?

It should be left out for a longer time before it is put in the refrigerator.

Is there a way to make homemade kimchi less sour?

Place it in the refrigerator within 12-24 hours. After this, let it rest for at least one night and then place it back in the refrigerator the next morning.

What type of jar should I use for Kimchi?

I purchased half-gallon wide-mouthed jars. It is very simple to place kimchi into jars with wide mouths.

Homemade Kimchi Recipe

Ok, now that we know everything we need to know on how to make authentic Kimchi recipe it is time. Kimchi/kimchee is a favorite of mine, so I recommend making homemade kimchi. It’s cheaper to make at home than to buy it in the grocery store.

If you like this Authentic Korean Kimchi Recipe, share it with your friends and to your Pinterest board!

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For the cabbage:

  • 16 Oz Napa cabbage (cut into 1 inch size)
  • ½ cup of sea salt
  • 1 cup of water

Seasonings for kimchi:

  • ½ medium sweet onion
  • ½ tsp of sugar
  • 1 bulb garlic, peeled
  • 4 TBSP cup of water
  • ½ cup red pepper powder
  • 1 bundle of julienned green onions


  • Cut the cabbage into 1-inch size pieces. Mix and Stir the Napa cabbage with the already prepared mixture of sea salt and water using a large bowl, until the sea salt has completely dissolved. Mix the cabbage using your hands. Allow it to stand for around 2 hours.
  • Using a blender, mix the garlic and onion with 1/4 cup of water until you have a smooth paste. Combine the mixture in a large bowl. Add the red pepper powder, green onions, salt and sugar. To make a separate radish-kimchi separate the portion for radish kimchi.
  • When the cabbage is ready, rinse nicely it to get rid of most excess salt. Toss it with the red pepper seasoning mix until the cabbage is well coated.
  • The seasoned kimchi should be placed in a large jar (large-mouthed jar). With your fist, press the cabbage to compress the contents nicely. Continue filling the jar with the seasoned kimchi. If necessary, you can use another jar.
  • Cover the pallet jars with a tight fitting lid and let them rest outside overnight at room temperature. The next day, taste the kimchi. If you like it more sour leave it out for another day or two. When the kimchi is according to your liking, you can place it in the fridge.
  • Kimchi is a fermented food that can be kept in the refrigerator for a very long time. But I wouldn’t say it lasts more than 6 months.

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The Best Korean Kimchi Recipe - Veganiac (2024)


Is vegan kimchi as good as regular kimchi? ›

Yes, there is almost no difference. A study conducted at Brown University showed that because of the fermentation process, both vegan and traditional kimchi probiotics were similar in the end, although both started differently.

Is kimchi vegan in Korean? ›

In fact, it's generally considered one of the most important elements of Korean cuisine and has been around for thousands of years. Unfortunately for those following a vegan diet, kimchi is more often than not flavored with some type of fermented seafood product, such as fish sauce or salted shrimp.

What is a vegan substitute for fish sauce in kimchi? ›

However, if you're vegan, don't be dissuaded from making this marvelous dish at home: Miso paste makes a terrific fish sauce substitute without sacrificing any of its salty, fermented, and umami essentials.

How does vegan kimchi taste? ›

It is supposed to be tangy and spicy. The smell is just an important part of it.

Is vegan kimchi still healthy? ›

Kimchi made without seafood products still has the same probiotic bacteria. Good news, vegans: a new study finds that kimchi made without fish products has the same type of bacteria as more traditionally made kimchi.

What part of kimchi is not vegan? ›

A traditional Korean side dish, kimchi consists mainly of fermented cabbage, radish and other vegetables. But it's normally made using fish sauce, fish paste or other seafood. That takes it off the menu for vegans, who don't eat any products derived from animals.

Does vegan kimchi taste different? ›

This Vegan Kimchi is my interpretation of the most common type of Korean kimchi made of napa cabbage but without the use of rice flour paste! It's spicy, tangy, slightly sweet with lots of umami taste. My vegan kimchi is just as delicious as the authentic Korean kimchi but made 100 % vegan.

Is vegan kimchi still fermented? ›

However, there are vegan ingredients that will also provide umami flavours. It is therefore very easy to make vegan kimchi that is just as tasty (if not tastier) than traditional kimchi. Note: Kimchi is produced by lactic acid fermentation. This fermentation is completely vegan and has nothing to do with milk!

Who is the vegan kimchi queen? ›

Aruna Lee's path to running a fermented food brand is riveting, from her journey as an orphan to Buddhist nun to founder of Volcano Kimchi.

Why is kimchi not vegan? ›

Is it vegan? Traditionally, kimchi is not vegan. This is because it is typically seasoned and fermented in a seafood paste to deepen the flavour. This means that lots of kimchi bought that is made by Korean brands are not vegan-friendly.

Why does my kimchi taste like fish? ›

Why Does Kimchi Taste Fishy? Traditional kimchi is often made with Korean fish sauce and salted fermented shrimp, which is why it has a fishy taste. However, there are also vegetarian and vegan versions of kimchi that do not use fish sauce, which means they don't have that fishy flavor.

What does kimchi do for your body? ›

Along with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, kimchi contains natural probiotic bacteria. If you eat them regularly, the probiotics in fermented foods can be beneficial to your gut microbiome. Studies suggest that eating kimchi on a daily basis could help to improve some digestive problems.

How long does kimchi last? ›

Homemade kimchi must be kept refrigerated and will last for up to 1 month. Store-bought kimchi that remains unopened can be kept at room temperature for 1-3 months. If you have store-bought kimchi that's been opened, it will be good for 3-4 days at room temperature and up to 6 months when refrigerated.

What makes kimchi taste better? ›

The use of bold seasonings like gochugaru and, in some regions, salted seafood, offer additional layers of complexity to the overall taste of the kimchi.

What is the difference with vegan kimchi? ›

Traditional kimchi is not strictly vegan or vegetarian, thanks to the fermented seafood products central to its pickle, briny, umami flavor. Vegan kimchi, which is free of animal byproducts, calls for a fish sauce alternative, like miso paste, soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos.

What's the difference between vegan and non vegan kimchi? ›

Is it vegan? Traditionally, kimchi is not vegan. This is because it is typically seasoned and fermented in a seafood paste to deepen the flavour. This means that lots of kimchi bought that is made by Korean brands are not vegan-friendly.

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