White Kimchi

Baek-kimchi 백김치

Baek-kimchi literally translates as “white kimchi” in English, because it’s not made with hot pepper flakes, which makes it whitish. It’s not spicy at all, but that doesn’t mean it’s bland! As you see in the video, it’s made with precious ingredients like chestnuts, jujubes, pine nuts, and a whole range of vegetables. It has a lot of fresh flavors, is incredibly refreshing, and is beautiful to look at!

This is a vegetarian recipe because unlike some other kimchi recipes I didn’t use fish sauce. But one variation would be to replace the 1 teaspoon of salt with 1 to 2 teaspoons of salted fermented shrimp.


It’s a great kimchi to make for special occasions.
“Oh, check this out, everybody! I made white kimchi!”
They will be impressed!

This is a good recipe for anyone who can’t take spicy food, and also for spicy food lovers who are looking for a change of pace. I usually love freshly made kimchi, but when it comes to baek-kimchi, I always wait until it ferments before I start eating it, which usually takes 1 to 3 days. It becomes a little fizzy, sweet, sour, and nutty – it’s a totally unique taste!

So many of my readers have requested this recipe over years. One of them, Kerry in Minnesota, requested it in 2009 and said:

“Despite being Korean, my stomach can’t handle spicy foods, but I would love to make kimchi. I don’t know if just cutting the amount of hot pepper flakes would make a much milder kimchi, but I would like to try making the white kind, which I hear isn’t spicy at all. Do you have any good white kimchi recipes, Maangchi-ssi?”

She added “ssi” at the end of my name to show me respect, Korean style!

Ok Kerry, here’s the recipe! Thanks for waiting!


  • 1 large napa cabbage (3 pounds’ worth)
  • ⅓ cup, 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ pound Korean radish (or daikon) cut into matchsticks
  • ¼ cup carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • ¾ cup buchu (Asian chives), cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 jujubes, seeded, cut into thin strips
  • 2 fresh chestnuts, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • ½ of red bell pepper (⅓ cup’s worth), cored, seeded, and cut into thin strips
  • 1 medium Korean pear (2 cups’s worth), peeled and cored
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup onion
  • 1 teaspoon ginger



Salt the cabbage:

  1. Cut the cabbage in half, then cut a slit through the core 2 inches above the stem, so the leaves are loosened but still attached.white kimchi
  2. Rinse the halves under running water, or soak them in a basin for a few seconds until all the leaves are wet.
  3. Put the halves in a large basin and sprinkle ⅓ cup of salt evenly between the leaves. Let them sit for  1½ to 2 hours, turning them over every 20 minutes.white kimchi
  4. Rinse the cabbage under cold running water a couple of times to get rid of any dirt or salt. Split each half under the running water, to divide the cabbage into quarters. Cut out the remainder of the core. Drain and set aside.

white kimchi

Make the vegetable fillings:

  1. Combine radish, carrot, jujubes, chives, chestnuts, and red bell pepper in a bowl. Set aside.


Make seasoning mix for brine:

  1. Blend pear, garlic, onion, and ginger in a food processor until creamy. Set aside.baek-kimchi

Make brine:

  1. Mix 4 cups of water and 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of salt in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Stir it well until the salt is thoroughly dissolved.
  2. Put the blended seasoning mix into a cotton pouch, or wrap it a couple times in cheesecloth, and put it into the bowl of brine. Press it down with a spoon so the delicious blended flavors seep through. Squeeze it a bit and stir the brine for a while. Remove the pouch.baek-kimchi

Make kimchi:

  1. Spread the vegetable fillings between each leaf of the cabbage. Fold the stuffed cabbage quarters over and put them into a container, glass jar, or Korean earthenware pot.white kimchi
  2. Pour the brine over the kimchi so it’s submerged.white kimchibaek kimchi
  3. Cover and let sit at room temperature until it starts fermenting, which should be between 1½ to 3 days depending on how warm your room is. A warmer room will ferment faster. Just keep an eye on the kimchi and taste it now and then: when the brine turns sour, it’s fermenting.
  4. Move it to the fridge, which will slow down the fermentation process. It will keep for about 1 month. Serve cold.

baek kimchi



  1. kelestis joined 10/15
    Posted December 21st, 2015 at 7:18 am | # |

    Greetings, Maangchi-ssi!
    Thank you for each and every of your wonderful recipes!

    Therr are a lot of dishes that we can make using spice kimchi, therefore, I would like to know if there are any dishes that we can cook using baek-kimchi?

  2. Diendi Indonesia joined 2/17
    Posted February 16th, 2017 at 6:43 am | # |

    Hello, Maangchi! Thank you so much for posting such wonderful recipes for people all over the world to try. Including me!

    I made baek-kimchi yesterday. Before I let it ferment, I tasted the broth. It was too salty! But then I believe in your recipe and tried to ferment it for 24 hours. I can eat it fine (the saltiness still there, but decreased by moderate amount), but it lacks of sweetness! It just taste sour and salty!

    I used one big pear, I measured it a little over 2 cups. Before I added it in my chopper, I tasted it first–it was sweet enough.

    So my question is: What should I put to my 24+ hours fermented kimchi to make it sweeter? If you suggest sugar or pear, can you tell me a rough measurement for each? If it’s sugar, should I dissolve it in the water first (or make a simple syrup with it)?

    Thanks again and I’m looking forward to your reply!
    xoxo, Diendi

    (I’ve sent this to your email too, just to make sure you’ll read my message. Sorry in advance for spamming your inbox! I’m really desperate to retrieve my kimchi!!!)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted February 16th, 2017 at 11:03 am | # |

      Hi Diendi,
      You can make your kimchi sweeter very easily anytime by adding sugar.
      Mix 1/4 cup of the kimchi brine with 1 tablespoon white sugar well, then add to the kimchi. You will have to press and turn over your kimchi a little bit to make it sweet evenly. If you want to add more sugar, you can.
      Regarding saltiness, I think you should keep your kimchi a little salty because bland kimchi will get soggy easily.
      Yes, I read your email but now I’m working on my new video that I will launch today. Please understand if I don’t get back to you quickly.
      Good luck with your baek-kimchi project! : )

  3. soko2usa Minnesota joined 4/09
    Posted December 18th, 2013 at 12:41 am | # |

    Thank you so much! Baek kimchi is so gorgeous! I will have to make this soon. My stomach’s gotten better about spicy food, but this looks like just my taste.

    Thank you for your videos!


    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 18th, 2013 at 10:09 am | # |

      Hi Kerri, I’m glad you like the recipe! “My stomach’s gotten better about spicy food..” lol

  4. Gertrude Montreal joined 9/14
    Posted July 27th, 2017 at 7:39 pm | # |

    Hello Maangchi! I was wondering if it’s possible to make this without the pear? I am fructose intolerant so nichi is our for me, so would apple. Can I just make it without the fruit? Would that work? Or is the sugar in the pear a big part of the fermentation?

  5. gochugoose Minneapolis, MN joined 4/16
    Posted April 27th, 2016 at 5:34 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi! Your tongbaechu-kimchi is so good and so gorgeous in a big glass jar on my kitchen table (it’s winter so we can’t have flowers). I want to finally try your baek-kimchi and was wondering what do do with the pine nuts? They’re in the recipe list but not the instructions anywhere I can see.

  6. daemonicblackcat Chicago,IL joined 4/16
    Posted April 20th, 2016 at 8:38 pm | # |

    Hi, I was wondering if I could cut this up like mak-kimchi. It makes brining so much easier!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted April 24th, 2016 at 9:02 pm | # |

      Yes, that’s a good idea.

  7. beckaivans joined 10/15
    Posted November 25th, 2015 at 11:17 pm | # |

    Can I substitute regular menjool dates or dried apples for the jujubes?

  8. neithj joined 8/15
    Posted August 24th, 2015 at 10:00 am | # |

    Thank you so much for all of your recipes! We bought your cookbook for Father’s Day for my husband (he’s Korean-American, I’m of mixed European descent) and this weekend I worked on a feast for his birthday as well as the birth of my sister’s new baby and meeting the baby’s father (from Laos, he loved the milder Korean food we fed him at the hospital). My father has trouble digesting spicy food, so I searched for more mild kimchi recipes and he loved it! Along with these 6 homemade kimchis we served your Sigeumchi-namul & Jangjolim along with other homemade dishes like beef jangolim, cucumber salad, mung bean sprout salad, fusion cocktails (Soju Mojito and Maekgeolli Rose of Sharon), etc along with marinated beef, spicy pork, and chicken, mixed green leaves, kim, storebought cabbage kimchi and salted crab kimchi, black beans, stir fried peanuts, pears, gochujang, dumplings, and homemade dip :) I need to get my hands on a Gujeolpan dish, but in the meantime I used my mother’s old Chinese lazy susan to serve up the kimchis!

    Clockwise from botton: White Radish Kimchi – Yul Mu Kimchi The Korean Kitchen Cookbook; Radish Leaf Kimchi – Yoel Mu Mul Kimchi The Korean Kitchen Cookbook; Young Summer Radish Water Kimchi – 열무 물김치 – Yeolmu mulkimchi https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/yeolmu-mulkimchi ; Spicy Stuffed Cucumber Kimchi – 오이소박이 김치 – Oisobagi kimchi The Korean Kitchen Cookbook; Perilla Leaf Kimchi – 깻잎김치 – Kkaenip-kimchi https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/kkaennip-kimchi ; Center: White Kimchi – 백김치 – Baek-kimchi https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/baek-kimchi

    See full size image

    • neithj joined 8/15
      Posted August 24th, 2015 at 10:01 am | # |

      I almost forgot, I have a fish allergy, but not shellfish… so when I make my own kimchi I skip the fish paste and substitute with diced up baby shrimp from the jars near the kimchi at our HMart

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted August 24th, 2015 at 2:32 pm | # |

      This is such a beautiful photo filled with kimchi and side dishes! Thank you for sharing the photo!

  9. Cutemom Indonesia joined 3/13
    Posted May 19th, 2015 at 12:01 pm | # |

    Maangchi ssi,

    How much salt you put on the filling veggies? I saw you mentioned it in the video but nowhere on the recipe.



  10. Na Lam joined 4/15
    Posted April 22nd, 2015 at 8:32 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi-ssi!
    I have been following you since this new year. It has been a great adventure to learn to cook from you! Your recipe and video are easy and fun to follow!

    Regarding White-Kimchi, can I just add hot pepper flake to make vegetarian kimchi?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted April 23rd, 2015 at 10:52 am | # |

      That’s a good question but baek kimchi uses some brine and lots of shredded vegetables. It may cause the kimchi go soggy easily. Follow the kimchi recipe but skip fish sauce or any seafood and use soy sauce and salt.

  11. mbh2mt2d joined 4/15
    Posted April 14th, 2015 at 8:25 pm | # |

    Can I use wild chives instead of Buchu? Very hard for me to find it around where I live.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted April 16th, 2015 at 7:27 am | # |

      yes, you can use wild chives, too.

  12. weavrmom California joined 12/11
    Posted January 27th, 2015 at 10:23 pm | # |

    This recipe is so delicious, Maangchi! Baek kimchi is a perfect side dish for spicy dishes, and for people in my family who can’t eat spicy food. I like it all by itself, too! Yum!

  13. Lynnjamin New York joined 11/14
    Posted December 10th, 2014 at 10:27 am | # |

    This recipe is so good! I made it for the first time and it is beautiful, fragrant, sweet, sparkly. If this kimchi was a person, I would describe her as pure and innocent. Thank you again so much for the delightful recipe!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 10th, 2014 at 11:02 am | # |

      It tastes sparkly?
      It sounds like your baek-kimchi was well made!
      “..pure and innocent!” lol, thank you for your funny expression!

  14. Mw NY joined 9/14
    Posted September 28th, 2014 at 11:54 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi- Thank you for the recipe. I just made this tonight, Can’t wait to try it in two days. One question, at what age do babies in Korea start eating kimchi. I would love to introduce kimchi to my 13 month old. Thanks!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 10th, 2014 at 11:11 am | # |

      Babies can eat kimchi when they are ready to chew something. You know what I mean. : ) Does your baby have enough teeth to chew something? aww, so cute~ ; ) If so, rinse the spicy kimchi in water to remove spiciness, and chop it into small pieces. Then feed your baby with rice.

  15. Caroline02 Singapore joined 12/12
    Posted June 20th, 2014 at 7:03 am | # |

    Hello Maangchi,

    I have watched this documentary on Kimchi, and saw that this family who was making baek kimchi(?) using broth from pumpkins, pears, dates and etc. (at 28:26 in the video), was wondering if you have any recipes for baek kimchi using broths of somewhat like that in the video?
    the youtube link is, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAki8xXPtmg .

    Hope to hear from you soon, thank you.

  16. Vinthundar Horseyville joined 4/14
    Posted April 22nd, 2014 at 9:41 pm | # |

    I bought some of this already made at a Korean store – was disappointed, because it was not spicy. But I let it go for a while, and the subtle flavor grew on me, as in I am now seriously addicted.

    I used your recipe, and the baek kimchi was wonderful. I am somewhat ashamed to say I loved it so much I ate the whole first batch myself and did not share.

    I am going to start a new batch tomorrow, and PLAN to share.

    Thank you, Maangchi-ssi!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted April 23rd, 2014 at 12:06 pm | # |

      “I loved it so much I ate the whole first batch myself and did not share..” haha, you don’t have to share your food all the time. Cheers!

  17. CraftyMouse Earth joined 1/14
    Posted January 22nd, 2014 at 12:54 pm | # |

    I am so happy that I found this recipe! Within the past two years I have developed a very sensitive digestive system, including a gluten intolerance, and find it difficult to eat many of the dishes I grew up making. However, I have discovered that many asian recipes (Korean ones in particular) are simply divine, don’t contain any wheat, and don’t bother my stomach! The exception to that has been spicy dishes like kimchi, which was a shame because kimchi is so good for the digestive system. Well, now I can make my kimchi and eat it, too! I’m so very happy that you posted this recipe, Maangchi~ In 2-3 days I should finally be able to enjoy some kimchi! :-)

  18. Rodhatte Copenhagen-Denmark joined 12/13
    Posted December 19th, 2013 at 6:01 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi.
    I just bought a bag of jujubes today. They are pitted and REALLY dry (and they taste very bland…), do you think they will work? -I guess the brine will re-hydrate them, but I doubt they will bring much flavor to the dish. -Would it be better to substitute them with brown dates? -Also, I couldn’t get chestnuts, do you think blanched almonds will be OK?

    I’m bringing the ingredients to make this for my mother during the holiday. -When she visited me this spring she smelled my “easy kimchi”, and thought it smelled so good, but she couldn’t have any, because she has a disease that forbids her to eat things with chili. -With this recipe, she can at least try kimchi, even if it’s not the same kind ;)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 19th, 2013 at 6:22 pm | # |

      yes, use the jujubes. “They are pitted and REALLY dry ” Be careful when you cut them with a knife. I would use scissors to slice them thinly.
      “do you think blanched almonds will be OK?” No, If you really want to add something that similar to chestnuts, use a little bit of sweet potato (korean sweet potato is better) because they have similar texture. You are such a great daugther! Your mother will be so proud of you when she sees you’re making this kimchi!

  19. Zulumom Concord, CA joined 9/13
    Posted December 18th, 2013 at 4:48 am | # |

    Perfect treat for the winter!!! This is my dad’s favorite kimchi and my mom used to always make a batch whenever we did our kimjang in the winter. I would love to make this so my husband (not a spicy food eater) can enjoy all the health benefits kimchi offers. This is the best probiotic food which boosts our immune system to fight all the sickness during the cold months!!! Thank you for the inspiration, Maangchi!! xoxo. Btw, my sick dog, Zulu, is recovering from his kidney disease very well now. I make seaweed soup using your recipe (minus the fish sauce or any other salt for low sodium requirement for kidneys) to help him recover from his chronic kidney disease, and he is doing so well. Seaweed is great for his sickness, and I eat it (I just add fish sauce in my bowl of soup) especially today (my birthday) with my family. Thank you again!!!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 18th, 2013 at 10:19 am | # |

      What a touching story about your Zulu! I hope Zulu gets better soon and totally overcome his kidney disease. Does Zulu enjoy the soup even though it’s totally bland?
      “I just add fish sauce in my bowl of soup” yum!

      • Zulumom Concord, CA joined 9/13
        Posted December 23rd, 2013 at 5:12 am | # |

        Hi Maangchi,
        Yes, Zulu enjoys his seaweed soup even when it doesn’t have much salt in it. I think he just loves the seaweed flavor, and the meat broth with garlic adds good flavor. He eats the soup with cooked rice or oatmeal. Tomorrow I’m going to make Sogogi Mooguk for him (and for us with fish sauce). His blood test shows so much improvement in his kidneys and I think it’s from all the healthy Korean foods he eats now. He gained all the weight back to his normal size…really awesome since he lost so much weight while sick. Thanks for commenting about him!! Even my mom sends emails to Zulu everyday.

      • Zulumom Concord, CA joined 9/13
        Posted December 29th, 2013 at 4:09 am | # |

        Yes, Zulu eats everything I make for him even though it’s not salty at all. His usual Korean foods are: Miyuk guk, Sogogi Muguk, Tteokuk and Galbi tang. I add rice cakes, rice noodles or plain cooked rice. Tonight I made Buggoguk and he ate it so well. I’ll post his picture enjoying Korean food soon!

  20. Krynauw Otto Pretoria, South Africa joined 9/13
    Posted December 18th, 2013 at 1:01 am | # |

    Maangchi, thank you so much! I have been hoping you could post a recipe for baekkimchi.
    Thanks so much,


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