Easy Kimchi Recipe | Authentic and Delicious - Korean Bapsang (2024)

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Good, authentic homemade kimchi is much easier than you think. Cut up the cabbage, salt, rinse, and mix with the seasoning! That’s what this easy kimchi recipe is about.

The Korean word “mak” means “carelessly” or “roughly” (generally used as an adverb). The name mak kimchi (막김치) suggests this is carelessly (or roughly) made kimchi. Of course, we make all kimchi types with care, but the name comes from the shortcut method used to make this version as compared to traditional kimchi (aka pogi kimchi).

How to make easy kimchi at home

Pogi kimchi (포기 김치) is made by quartering the napa cabbage heads, salting for many hours, and carefully stuffing each leaf of the quartered cabbage. To serve, each cabbage quarter is cut into bite-sized pieces.

For this mak kimchi, you roughly chop the cabbage up into small pieces before salting and then toss it together with gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes) and other seasoning ingredients. This method takes less salting and fermentation time.

There’s no argument that pogi kimchi has a deeper flavor and better texture because of how it’s prepared and fermented. For something simpler and quicker, Korean cooks turn to this mak kimchi, especially outside kimjang (annual kimchi making in fall) season. Trust me, it’s still very good!

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Tips and Variations on this easy kimchi recipe:

  • When I make this easy kimchi recipe, I almost always add some mu (Korean radish) just like my mother and mother-in-law used to. Not only does kimchi taste more refreshing with some radish, but it’s like having two different kimchi types in one dish.
  • You can dress it up by adding other ingredients like Korean pear, apple, oysters, garlic chives, sweet rice paste, rice paste, etc.
  • If you like lighter tasting kimchi, simply reduce the amounts of gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes), salted shrimp, fish sauce, and/or garlic.
  • If you don’t have saeujeot (salted shrimp), just add more fish sauce (and salt if needed) to achieve the desired salt level.
  • Leave the kimchi out at room temperature for a day or two, depending on room temperature and how quickly you want your kimchi to ferment. Then, refrigerate. Kimchi should be fermented slowly at low temperature.
  • Always press it down after removing some from the jar or container to remove air pockets. Less exposure to air is better for kimchi.

How long can I keep homemade kimchi in the fridge?

Your homemade kimchi will continue to age in your refrigerator, and this type of kimchi will be good for up to two months or even longer, depending on the salt level and how it’s kept.

Watch how to make it (1 napa cabbage):

More kimchi recipes

15 Kimchi Recipes

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Mak Kimchi (Easy Kimchi)

4.41 from 109 votes

Side Dish

Prep Time: 30 minutes minutes

Resting time: 3 hours hours

Total Time: 30 minutes minutes

Print Recipe


  • 2 medium size napa cabbages (about 4 pounds each) about 8 pounds
  • 1-1/4 cups coarse sea salt less if using finer salt
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 small Korean radish (mu) - about 1.5 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 5 - 7 scallions roughly chopped


  • 1 cup gochugaru Korean red chili pepper flakes
  • cup saeujeot salted shrimp, finely minced
  • 4 tablespoons myulchiaekjeot fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sugar - optional


  • large bowls preferably at least 7 - 8 quarts
  • large colanders
  • kitchen gloves
  • airtight containers or jar(s) - about 1.5 gallons total


  • Cut the cabbage heads into quarters and remove the core from each quarter. Cut each quarter crosswise into bite sizes (about 1.5-inches).

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  • Place the cabbage pieces in a large bowl(s). In a smaller bowl, dissolve 1-1/4 cups of salt in 6 cups of water. Pour over the cabbage. Toss well to wet the cabbage pieces evenly with the salt water. Let stand until the white parts are bendable, about 2 hours, turning the cabbage pieces over occasionally.

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  • Cut the radish into bite sizes (about 1.5-inch square, about 1/4-inch thick). Sprinkle with a tablespoon of salt. Toss well. Let it sit for about 30 minutes. Drain. Do not wash.

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  • Mix the chili pepper flakes with the remaining seasoning ingredients along with 1 cup of water.

  • Rinse the salted cabbage three times and drain to remove excess water.

    Easy Kimchi Recipe | Authentic and Delicious - Korean Bapsang (9)

  • In a large bowl, add the radish, scallions and seasoning to the salted cabbage. Using a kitchen glove, mix everything well by hand until the cabbage pieces are well coated with the seasoning mix. Place the kimchi in an airtight container(s) or a jar(s).

  • Rinse the bowl with 1/2 cup of water by swirling around, and pour over the kimchi. Press it down to remove air pockets.

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  • Leave the kimchi out at room temperature for a day to two depending on how quickly you want your kimchi to ferment. Then, refrigerate.


You can dress this kimchi up by adding other ingredients like Korean pear, apple, oysters, garlic chives, Korean sweet rice or regular rice paste, etc.

If you like lighter tastingkimchi, simply reduce the amounts ofred chili pepper flakes, salted shrimp, fish sauce, and/or garlic. If you don't have salted shrimp,just add more fish sauce (and salt if needed) to achieve the desired salt level.

You can eat this kimchi any time, but it will taste better after fermenting a week or two in the fridge.

Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!

You may also like:

  • 15 Easy Kimchi Recipes
  • Chonggak Kimchi (Ponytail Radish Kimchi)
  • Kimchi Kongnamul Guk (Soybean Sprout Soup)
  • Traditional Kimchi

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Easy Kimchi Recipe | Authentic and Delicious - Korean Bapsang (2024)


What is the difference between pogi kimchi and mak kimchi? ›

Pogi is when you take the whole quarters of brined cabbage and then stuff the individual leaves. This is harder and more time consuming to make. Mak kimchi is when you cut the cabbage into smaller pieces first then mix together with all the different ingredients.

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 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.

What is the ingredients of Korean kimchi? ›

What is the number 1 Korean kimchi? ›


Jongga, Koreans' favorite Kimchi brand of all time, has been elevating the legacy and culture of Kimchi since 1987.

What are the three types of kimchi? ›

There are over 180 recognized varieties of kimchi. The most common kimchi variations are: Baechu-kimchi (배추김치) spicy napa cabbage kimchi, made from whole cabbage leaves. Baechu-geotjeori (배추겉절이) unfermented napa cabbage kimchi.

What are the mistakes with making kimchi? ›

12 Mistakes You Must Avoid When Making Kimchi
  • Using store-bought kimchi paste. ...
  • Buying low-quality ingredients for your kimchi paste. ...
  • Forgetting to taste your kimchi paste. ...
  • Settling for low-quality produce. ...
  • Not brining your produce. ...
  • Over-salting your produce. ...
  • Cutting your produce the wrong size. ...
  • Not using enough kimchi paste.
Jan 27, 2024

Why do I feel better after eating kimchi? ›

The bacteria in kimchi are linked to improved immune function and lower levels of inflammation triggered by diseases. The vitamin C found in kimchi can also help boost your immune health.

Should kimchi be soft or crunchy? ›

As kimchi is made with cabbage, the texture should be crunchy, with a tangy, spicy, sour flavour.

Does kimchi clean your bowels? ›

Kimchi can be an excellent alternative to taking laxatives. It has a high fibre content, which helps keep the digestive system in good condition. Many studies have shown that fibre can control constipation, diarrhoea, and other digestive problems.

Does kimchi help with belly fat? ›

Eating more radish kimchi (kkakdugi) was associated with less abdominal obesity in both men and women. However, people who ate five or more serves of any type of kimchi weighed more, had a larger waist sizes and were more likely to be obese.

What happens if you eat kimchi daily? ›

“Because of its role in your gut microbiome, kimchi may promote better gut and heart health,” said Cassetty. “Kimchi is also being studied for its potential role in supporting brain health and preserving memory. Your enteric nervous system is located in the gut, so what's good for the gut is also good for your brain.

Should I rinse kimchi before eating? ›

Rinse it. For the benefit of the many over the tastes of the few, it's quite common in certain facilities to fully rinse mature kimchi and the serve accordingly, ensuring a mild flavor profile for all.

Do you use vinegar in kimchi? ›

Whisk together the chilli paste, vinegar, sugar, crushed garlic, grated ginger and fish sauce. Rinse the cabbage thoroughly under the cold tap and drain well, squeezing out excess water. Place in a clean glass or china bowl with the carrots, radishes, spring onion and chives.

What is pogi kimchi? ›

Aside from barbecue, kimchi is probably the dish most synonymous with Korean cuisine. This fiery red, funky, fermented cabbage is on the table every meal – breakfast, lunch and dinner, 365 days a year.

What is the difference between poki and mak kimchi? ›

Mak kimchi has a little sugar and ginger in the brine, which mellows its flavor somewhat. * Whole Spicy Cabbage Kimchi (Poki Kimchi) : More elegant than the mak kimchi, this is a whole cabbage layered in the same manner as the cabbage water kimchi described above, and it's served the same way too--but it's spicier.

What is the best type of kimchi? ›

Baechu (Napa Cabbage) Kimchi

Everyone has their favorite stage of baechu kimchi fermentation; it can be eaten fresh and is juicy and delicious when newly made, but, as it ages, it becomes more sour and better fermented.

What are the five types of kimchi? ›

10 Different Types of Kimchi
  • Baek Kimchi (백김치) — White Kimchi. ...
  • Kkakdugi (깍두기) — Radish Kimchi. ...
  • Chonggak Kimchi (총각김치) — Ponytail Kimchi. ...
  • Oi Sobagi (오이소박이) — Cucumber Kimchi. ...
  • Pa Kimchi (파김치) — Green Onion Kimchi. ...
  • Nabak Kimchi (나박김치) — Water Kimchi. ...
  • Gat Kimchi (갓김치) — Mustard Leaf Kimchi. ...
  • Geotjeori (겉절이) — Fresh Kimchi.
Feb 23, 2023


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