Easy-to-make kimchi

Mak-kimchi 막김치

Hi everybody,

I’m introducing “mak-kimchi” to you today! It’s made with napa cabbage (baechu in Korean), pre-cut into bite size pieces, so you can serve it without cutting. This way of making kimchi is really time saving compared to making whole cabbage kimchi. But the taste is exactly the same as whole cabbage kimchi because the ingredients are the same! So I am translating “mak-kimchi” into “easy kimchi.” I hope this recipe makes your life easier! : )

Since I posted my whole cabbage kimchi recipe in June 2007, so many people have surprised me with their kimchi related stories and questions. A lot of my readers make their own kimchi on a regular basis and they email me the photos of their delicious kimchi! Some people modify the recipe to their taste and some people add more ingredients to invent their own kimchi!

For example, Julie made vegan kimchi. She skipped fish sauce and used a little soy sauce and salt instead. Smart! Isn’t it? Some people like Reinier, James, Sylvia, Clyde, Sara make kimchi on a regular basis. They say, “oh, my kimchi runs out, I will make it this weekend.” If any of you reading this might want to be included the list of people who make kimchi on a regular basis, please email me. I will include your names here. : )

I’m surprised to see all these mouth-watering looking kimchi photos!

But as you know, the kimchi recipe was not using exact measurements. You remember? I said, “use 2 medium napa cabbage and 2 radishes.” The size of cabbage is actually huge by American standards! ; ) And the amount of kimchi paste you need to make is for both cabbage kimchi and radish kimchi. Some people only want to make only cabbage kimchi. They sometimes ask me, “Maangchi, can you tell me how much salt do I have to use for only 1 napa cabbage?”
How can I know?

I didn’t measure when I filmed the first video recipe years ago. : ) Anyway, whenever I was asked the similar questions, I felt kind of bad and a little bit guilty and I always thought I should post a more accurate kimchi recipe.

Here you go! : )

So this recipe will be for a total beginner. Just follow the recipe step by step. This recipe is mine that I have been using for my kimchi for decades and popular among even my Korean friends.

If you want to use whole cabbage kimchi, you can check my whole cabbage kimchi recipe and this easy kimchi recipe, then you will figure out what to do. Only difference is how to handle cabbage: cutting , salting, and how to put or mix the kimchi paste with the cabbage!

Did you see how many questions and answers were made for my whole cabbage kimchi?  So far  831 comments!  These questions are the most frequently asked, so I’m letting you know this.


Q: Maangchi, do I have to make porridge to make kimchi? If I don’t want to use porridge, what shall I do?
A: No, you don’t have to. Some people don’t use porridge, but I always make porridge to make good kimchi paste. Porridge helps hot pepper flakes, fish sauce, garlic, ginger and all spices mix together. Otherwise, the kimchi paste will be too thick to put it between cabbage leaves easily. So you can use sweet pear juice instead of making porridge if you want. I sometimes use pear to make kimchi paste, too.

Q: Why do you give a shower to the cabbage before salting? : )
A: If you sprinkle salt on cabbage directly without pre-soaking in water, the salting process will take too long: this is “osmotic pressure.”

Q: Maangchi, kimchi never goes bad? How come there is some white stuff on the top of my kimchi?
A: If you keep your kimchi properly, it won’t go bad months and months. Don’t forget to press down the top of kimchi in the container with a spoon whenever you take some. It will prevent your kimchi from being exposed to air. If you see the top of your kimchi already has white stuff (mold), remove the top layer of the kimchi and you still can eat the rest of the kimchi.

Q: Maangchi, you used squid this time! Last time your kimchi was made with raw oysters! My other Korean friends never use oysters or squid.
A: Kimchi recipes vary from region to region, so some ingredients will be different. You can follow a few different recipes and choose the best recipe that suits your taste.

Q: I’m interested in adding raw oysters or squid in my Kimchi, but afraid that it might go bad so that I may have a stomachache.
A: You should use very fresh oysters or fresh frozen product, then it will ferment along with your kimchi.

Q: Ok, Maangchi, can you tell me how to make the salty squid for kimchi?
A: Choose about 300 grams (2/3 pound) of very fresh squid. Then:

  1. Remove the guts and backbone and rinse it.
  2. Add 3 tbs salt and mix it with a spoon.
  3. Put it in a container or glass jar and keep it in the refrigerator for a week.
  4. Rinse the squid thoroughly until not slippery and drain it (you can skin it if you want).
  5. Dry the squid with paper towel or cotton and chop it up.
  6. Add it to your kimchi paste!

I answer many other frequently asked questions about kinchi-making in this video:


Baechu (napa cabbage 10 pounds), salt, sweet rice flour, sugar, water, garlic, ginger, onion, fish sauce, squid, hot pepper flakes, leek, green onions, carrot, radish.


  1. Trim the discolored outer leaves of 10 pounds of napa cabbage.
  2. Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters and remove the cores. Chop it up into bite size pieces.
  3. Soak the pieces of cabbage in cold water and put the soaked cabbage into a large basin. Sprinkle salt.
    *tip: 1 cup of salt will be used for 10 pounds of napa cabbage
  4. Every 30 minutes, turn the cabbage over to salt evenly (total salting time will be 1½ hours).
  5. 1½ hours later, rinse the cabbage in cold water 3 times to clean it thoroughly.
  6. Drain the cabbage and set aside.

Make porridge:

  1. Put 3 cups of water and ½ cup sweet rice flour (chapssal garu) in a pot and mix it well and bring to a boil. Keep stirring until the porridge makes bubbles (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add ¼ cup sugar. Stir and cook for a few more mintues until it’s translucent.
  3. Cool it down.

Make kimchi paste:

  1. Place the cold porridge into a large bowl. Now you will add all your ingredients one by one.
  2. Add 1 cup of fish sauce, 2.5 cups of hot pepper flakes (depending on your taste), 1 cup of crushed garlic, 1-2 tbs of minced ginger, 1 cup amount of minced onion.
    *tip: much easier to use a food processor.
  3. Wash and drain the salty squid. Chop it up and add it to the kimchi paste.
    *tip: how to prepare salty squid is posted on the FAQ above!
  4. Add 10 diagonally-sliced green onions, 2 cups amount of chopped leek, 2 cups of julienned Korean radish, and ¼ cup of julienned carrot.
  5. Mix all ingredients well and your kimchi paste is done.

Action! Mix the cabbage with the kimchi paste!

  1. Put the kimchi paste in a large basin and add all the cabbage. Mix it by hand.
    *tip: If your basin is not large enough to mix all the ingredients at once, do it bit by bit.
  2. Put the kimchi into an air-tight sealed plastic container or glass jar.
    You can eat it fresh right after making or wait until it’s fermented.

I usually put all my kimchi in the fridge except for a little bit in a small container. I like fresh kimchi, so this way the kimchi in the fridge ferments slowly and stays fresh, while the smaller container ferments faster and gets sour. I use this sour kimchi for making things like kimchi jjigae where sour kimchi is better. Then, when the small container is empty, I fill it up again with kimchi from the big container. It takes a little management, but experiment and you’ll get the hang of it!

How do you know it’s fermented or not?
One or 2 days after, open the lid of the Kimchi container. You may see some bubbles with lots of liquids, or maybe sour smells. That means it’s already being fermented.



  1. AdamB usa My profile page joined 12/14
    Posted April 29th, 2016 at 4:40 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi.
    I am still enjoying making your mak kimchi! Today I went to the Korean market to purchase supplies and since it’s Friday, the Korean ladies were there selling their pre-made kimchi and I just had to buy some to eat in the car. It was sooo good!

    I used three very large heads of napa, one large radish, an apple, and all the rest. I left it salting for two hours, then mixed it up and put it in the same size plastic box that you used in your 2010 video. (I usually use about 5 quart-sized Mason jars, but all were in use today.) I was surprised that the cabbage reduced to only fill that large box a little more than half way! Next time, four heads of napa in my cart! These three weighed about 10 pounds. Even though I’ve been doing this for some years now, the shrinkage always surprises me. This picture isn’t exactly artistic, but I want to prove to you that I do make kimchi!

    Imagine all the people who think of you fondly when eating their own home-made kimchi! As always, thank you for your wonderful videos, recipes, and instruction so freely offered. I still love your cookbook and it owns an honored place on my shelf.

    See full size image

  2. JayJayJay My profile page joined 10/15
    Posted April 14th, 2016 at 4:46 pm | # |

    Here’s a newly made batch of easy kimchi. It’s gonna make my whole apartment stink, but I believe it will be tasty. I’m just gonna let it ferment for few days and then it’s time for tasting. Yummy!

  3. Meiyi Malaysia My profile page joined 4/16
    Posted April 13th, 2016 at 11:32 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi! I’ve made the second batch of kimchi. I have let it ferment for 2days at room temperature. Now the kimchi taste very very sour. What should I do now?

  4. Meiyi Malaysia My profile page joined 4/16
    Posted April 4th, 2016 at 7:12 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi! I’ve just made my own kimchi for the first time. Can’t wait to try :) At the same time, I can’t stop my hands from reaching the container. While I’m letting it ferment at room temperature, am I suppose to leave it alone? Can I open the cover or taste it during this process?

    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted April 4th, 2016 at 10:31 pm | # |

      You can open the container anytime you want. It looks good! Congratulations!

    • Meiyi Malaysia My profile page joined 4/16
      Posted April 5th, 2016 at 10:49 am | # |

      Thanks Maangchi :)
      It’s been at room temperature for 30hours and I think it ferments well as it turns sour already. Do u think It’s time for me to put it in the fridge? My country temperature varies from 27 to 34 celcious. Oh dear!! My kimchi is not salty enough Hahaha

      • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
        Posted April 15th, 2016 at 5:39 pm | # |

        You can add salt any time if it turned out bland. Once your kimchi turns sour, you should transfer it to the fridge. Or keep it in the fridge right after making your kimchi.

  5. Kate5700 NJ USA My profile page joined 3/16
    Posted March 27th, 2016 at 4:13 pm | # |

    Wonderful! Your videos are very informative. I had a hard time understanding many other videos. My first batch came out great. Although I have only tried supermarket Jared Kimchie. Just finished second batch and it’s even better. Thank you!
    I am make it just for myself. Do you have a cut down recipe? Or can the extra Kimchie paste be saved? Much thanks!

  6. Pua Xun Johor, Malaysia My profile page joined 3/16
    Posted March 22nd, 2016 at 7:49 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!

    i had recently tried out your kimchi recipe, and it turned out great! thank you for giving such wonderful recipes!
    my question is that you mentioned about adding salted squid in your kimchi recipe, which i did, but my parents aren’t very fond about raw squid being add into kimchi haha. so, if i didn’t add the salted squid, will it affect the taste of the kimchi? thank you :)

    i love your site so much! learned a lot! gamsahamnida! and fighting!

  7. Fany My profile page joined 12/15
    Posted March 19th, 2016 at 6:33 am | # |

    Can I use soy sauce instead of fish sauce? Will the amount needed be the same? Can I also put in there apples?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted March 19th, 2016 at 11:10 am | # |

      Yes, use soy sauce and salt. You can always do some experiments and modify the recipe to your taste.

  8. shuan1311 Singapore My profile page joined 3/16
    Posted March 3rd, 2016 at 6:54 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi, i would like to ask if I were to use all-purpose flour instead of sweet rice flour, do I still have to add sugar when doing the porridge?

  9. indogirl indonesia My profile page joined 2/16
    Posted February 25th, 2016 at 10:40 pm | # |

    hi maangchi..
    i think i didn’t soak the cabbage in the salted water long enough, and now after 5 days the cabbage still taste ‘raw’, while the turnips and carrots are ok. what can i do now? thank you so much….

  10. knitkitsune United States My profile page joined 6/14
    Posted February 14th, 2016 at 6:30 pm | # |

    Just finished my 3rd batch of kimchi! I always leave the small container on the counter for a couple days and but the big one in the fridge. It is so delicious! I had just enough sour kimchi left for kimchi jigae and bindaettok, two of our favorite new dishes! The anchovy stock makes the jigae so yummy! Thank you for all your wonderful recipes!

    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted February 20th, 2016 at 3:55 pm | # |

      Thank you for sharing your amazing looking kimchi photo and the story! Your comment will help those who visit my website for the first time. Yes, as long as you make your own kimchi, you could make tons of different kinds of delicious Korean dishes. Happy cooking!

  11. Shvester Ny My profile page joined 2/16
    Posted February 1st, 2016 at 2:50 pm | # |

    Hi! I’m making kimchi and I soaked the cabbage in salty water instead of dry salting. How do I proceed from here? Is it the same salting time?

  12. Rizza Philippines My profile page joined 1/16
    Posted January 22nd, 2016 at 5:24 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi!

    I finally had the courage of trying your Kimchi recipe :) However, I am not really sure, since this is my first time..when I made the kimchi paste, it’s too salty. I think it’s because of the fish sauce :( Should it be the normal taste? Will the saltiness change after it ferments?

    You’re response would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted January 27th, 2016 at 10:31 am | # |

      Yeah, kimchi paste should be salty. If your kimchi is not salty enough, the cabbage will go soggy easily. How do you like your kimchi now? When it ferments, it tastes less salty.

  13. wildgreens My profile page joined 1/16
    Posted January 3rd, 2016 at 4:34 pm | # |

    Thank you so much for sharing your kimchi recipe. Made a batch the other day and it came out wonderfully (did 2/3 with cabbage and the other 1/3 with baby bok choy).

    See full size image

  14. AceBite My profile page joined 12/15
    Posted January 2nd, 2016 at 8:47 pm | # |

    I made my first kimchi :D I bought too much carrots and radish and made too much kimchi porridge so I decided to make radish and carrot kimchi

    Does it look like it has too much paste?

    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted January 4th, 2016 at 10:55 am | # |

      wow, I love your juicy kimchi! When it ferments, it will be very tasty.

      • AceBite My profile page joined 12/15
        Posted January 5th, 2016 at 7:49 am | # |

        Thank you, Maangchi ^^
        It’s been almost three days since I made this and it smells amazing. The cabbages taste a bit bitter but the carrots and radishes taste really nice, especially if eaten with meat.

        Thank you for the recipe :D

  15. Olismom My profile page joined 12/15
    Posted December 12th, 2015 at 6:36 pm | # |

    Ms Maangchi, I need help. I made kimchi the first time today and until I finished, I forgot to wash and rinse the salted cabbage again before mixing them with the paste. So now they are very salty. Is there any way to save these cabbage (save me, actually)? Or I completely screw up :(

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted December 13th, 2015 at 7:25 am | # |

      The kimchi will be not only salty but not clean.

      But if I were you, I wouldn’t throw it away. When the kimchi ferments, take out some, wash and rinse it in cold water. Strain it and eat it. It will taste good enough. If you make kimchi stew, wash it before using and add more hot pepper flakes and pepper paste.

      • Olismom My profile page joined 12/15
        Posted December 13th, 2015 at 11:28 pm | # |

        Thank you so much for replying! I will try wash it like you suggested. It is fermenting right now. I think I will make another batch next weekend, this one can be considered trial.
        It is not clear to me why the kimchi is not clean (like you said). I washed the cabbage a few times, and then did the salting process, but after that I forgot to wash and drain it and went straight to mixing it with the paste. Thus it was only clean cabbage and salt, why is it not clean?

        • Freygunnr Florida My profile page joined 1/16
          Posted January 25th, 2016 at 3:15 pm | # |

          Hi Olismom, I’ve over-salted my fermented foods a couple of times. As long as the cabbage was clean here are my remedies:
          1. Add more of the main veggie to your ferment to dilute the effect. In this case cabbage. The unsalted cabbage will pick up and continue the ferment begun by your original cabbage.
          2. If not too terribly salty (ferment and taste) eat with unsalted rice or noodles. Since these are blander they will dilute the saltiness.
          3. Use as a soup or stew base. Dilute with other veggies, liquids, rice, meats or tofu. Maangchi has delicious recipes for these, just skip the soy, fish sauce or other salty ingredients.

          Good luck!

        • Anon US My profile page joined 4/16
          Posted April 9th, 2016 at 4:45 pm | # |

          She thought it wasn’t clean because she thought you followed her method exactly. She salted the cabbage first then washed/rinsed them 3 times, but you washed your cabbage first then salted, which is opposite from what she did.

          It’s probably better to follow Maangchi’s method to salt first then wash/rinse so that you don’t have to wash/rinse twice and you won’t forget to rinse out the salt because you’ll know that you need to wash the cabbage clean first.

  16. LucyLocket My profile page joined 11/15
    Posted November 14th, 2015 at 10:17 am | # |

    I don’t have fish sauce can I use home-made anchovy paste made with salted anchoveis please?
    I don’t have radish so can I use apples (of which I have about 60 trees………..)

    Can I use beetroot in the kimchi?

    The cabbages, carrots, onions, ginger, scallions and garlic are home-grown by me………….

    Do I need to exclude the air from the container with a airlock when you say use an airtight container – I don’t have one of those………..
    Sorry, lots of questions for a 1st-timer………..!!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted November 14th, 2015 at 12:26 pm | # |

      You can make homemade anchovy paste? I’d like to know the recipe!
      Replace some ingredients with the ones available and do some experiment to make the best kimchi.
      You can use any container with a lid. Press the top of the kimchi down with your hands or spoon to protect your kimchi from being exposed to too much air.

      • LucyLocket My profile page joined 11/15
        Posted November 14th, 2015 at 3:52 pm | # |

        I just mash down the salt anchovies taken from a jar (in Oil – use the oil for other things) and use that. I made the kimchi and used 1/2 an apple in the paste – it tastes delicious raw – but I’ve only tried a little as I am wary after a very bad re-action to fermented water kefir a while back!!!

        Just waiting for the dishwasher to finish cleaning my large sweet jar so the kimchi is just waiting in the fridge in a bowl. I have jars within jars to hold the kimchi under the brine, cleaning in the dishwasher…………………..

    • Pluto Malaysia My profile page joined 1/15
      Posted November 19th, 2015 at 6:54 am | # |

      I’m very curious about your recipe. Do u really use apple to replace radish? Did u add beetroot too? Can u please tell me the outcome. I would love to try out your recipe. Today I’m experimenting making Kim chi with pineapple.

  17. PhillipOtto My profile page joined 10/15
    Posted October 23rd, 2015 at 2:40 am | # |

    I made this recipie about a year ago without the squid. It is sealed in a ball jar and hasn’t been opened. The top is flexing out and the cabbage is discolored. Is this still useable Or will I kill myself if I eat it. I loved it fresh and passed it around to people that love it. I’d hate to throw it out? I was thinking of making some Kimchi bokkeumbap with it.
    I love this site. Thank you for your effort.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted October 23rd, 2015 at 10:28 am | # |

      Yes, remove the top layer of the discolored kimchi and you still can eat the rest of the kimchi. Good luck with making delicious kimchibokkeumbap!

  18. mzkia My profile page joined 8/15
    Posted August 16th, 2015 at 12:13 am | # |

    annyonghasseo maangchi, im a big fan >.< i have question, if i want to make small amount kimchi, like just one small size nappa cabbage, how many onion,garlic,and hot pepper flake i should use? kamsahamninda (i guess it means thank you but am i write it wrong?)

  19. tiggerization My profile page joined 5/10
    Posted August 12th, 2015 at 3:45 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    I have been successfully making Kimchi (mostly from Napa cabbage) which I have left for ages to become nice and sour! But after one day or so, the Kimchi was nice, but not yet really sour though! I have had Kimchi in Korean restaurants that seemed to be self made, really fresh and still crunchy, but yet sour and tangy! How do they achieve that? Especially for cucumber Kimchi, as my cucumbers get soggy very quickly once they’re salted!
    Can you give me some hints?

  20. jojothehero My profile page joined 7/15
    Posted July 22nd, 2015 at 10:16 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!

    I recently just tried your easy made kimchi recipe. And Im lovin how easy and fuss free this recipe is!
    My kimchi turns out a lil bit salty, maybe I put a too much fish sauce and the color is not as red vibrant as normal kimchi, cause I can’t find Korean hot pepper flakes. :(
    Anyway, just wanna ask you, why is my kimchi gravy turns out to be sticky after one day of letting it sit outside on room temperature?
    Does it means it turns bad?

    After this batch, I will try to make a new batch next week. This is my first time making kimchi. And I really really love your blog!!
    Thank you Maangchi :D

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