White Kimchi

Baek-kimchi 백김치

Baek-kimchi literally translates as “white kimchi” in English, because it’s not made with Korean hot pepper flakes (gochugaru), 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, 2 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher 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 kosher 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


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

  2. neithj joined 8/15 & has 3 comments

    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

  3. Cutemom Indonesia joined 3/13 & has 82 comments

    Maangchi ssi,

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



  4. Na Lam joined 4/15 & has 1 comment

    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 & has 12,049 comments

      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.

  5. mbh2mt2d joined 4/15 & has 3 comments

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

  6. weavrmom California joined 12/11 & has 3 comments

    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!

  7. Lynnjamin New York joined 11/14 & has 31 comments

    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!

  8. Mw NY joined 9/14 & has 4 comments

    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 & has 12,049 comments

      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.

  9. Caroline02 Singapore joined 12/12 & has 1 comment

    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.

  10. Vinthundar Horseyville joined 4/14 & has 5 comments

    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!

  11. CraftyMouse Earth joined 1/14 & has 1 comment

    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! :-)

  12. Rodhatte Copenhagen-Denmark joined 12/13 & has 6 comments

    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 & has 12,049 comments

      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!

  13. Zulumom Concord, CA joined 9/13 & has 35 comments

    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 & has 12,049 comments

      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 & has 35 comments

        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 & has 35 comments

        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!

  14. Krynauw Otto Pretoria, South Africa joined 9/13 & has 54 comments

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

  15. soko2usa Minnesota joined 4/09 & has 55 comments

    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!


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