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Homemade Kimchi

Kimchi Me Crazy... Paleo and GAPS Kimchi Recipe from Allergy Free Alaska

My best friend is half Korean. When I was 8 or 9 years old I remember sitting at her kitchen table while her mom served us lunch. I was mortified when I discovered there was seaweed in my won ton soup. My friend recognized the look of horror on my face and said, “Eat it. It’s good!” I ate it, but it took a few times for me to really develop a taste for it.

Same goes for homemade kimchi… it took me a while to develop a taste for it, enjoy it, and to want to eat it.

My brother bought some homemade kimchi from a local Asian store, and it was phenomenal. I couldn’t stop eating it. It was a perfect balance of spicy, sweet, tangy, salty, and then you have the back note flavors of ginger and garlic. I loved it so much I had to figure out how to make it myself, just a bit healthier than some of the other recipes I’ve come across (that contain cane sugar and plenty of sweet rice flour).

Kimchi Me Crazy - Paleo GAPS friendly Kimchi Recipe

My best friend recently returned from a trip to Korea and sent me some authentic Korean red pepper. You know you’re a crazy foodie when something as simple as fresh ground red pepper makes your day (but it came all the way from Korea!).  🙂

I’ve made at least several batches of this kimchi, and people keep stealing it, so that’s a good sign. This stuff is addictive. Pretty soon your friends are going to steal your kimchi!

There are many ways to eat kimchi. Some people enjoy eating it by itself and others with rice and meat. I’ve even heard of people making sandwiches using kimchi as the filling. Bottom line is there is no right or wrong way to eat kimchi. Discover what you like best and enjoy it that way. 🙂


This is my cabbage after I layered it with the sea salt in my mixing bowl:

The salt eventually broke down the cabbage and drew out the moisture. Now you are ready to add the rest of your ingredients and pack the kimchi into glass jars!

Paleo and GAPS Friendly Kimchi Recipe from Allergy Free Alaska

Homemade Kimchi

Homemade Kimchi

A spicy and salty mix of cabbage, carrots, green onion, garlic and ginger. This Homemade Kimchi is super tasty and addicting!


  • 2 heads of medium-sized Napa cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 6 – 8 tablespoons coarse ground Korean red pepper
  • 1 3/4 tablespoons gluten-free fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 -3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 bunches of scallions, cut into 1.5-inch pieces
  • 3 to 4 large carrots, peeled and shredded


  1. Cut each cabbage in half lengthwise, and then roughly chop each half into 2-inch pieces. Discard the stem.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, layer the chopped cabbage with the sea salt. Allow the cabbage to sit with the sea salt for about an hour; stirring occasionally using your hands to squeeze and bruise the cabbage. This will help draw out the moisture from the cabbage (do not discard this liquid).
  3. Sprinkle in the Korean red pepper, fish sauce, fresh grated ginger, and minced garlic. Mix well.
  4. Stir in the scallions and shredded carrots.
  5. Divide the kimchi into two sterilized 4-quart glass jars. Using the back of a spoon, pack the kimchi into the jars, leaving about 2-inches of room at the top of each jar (you can use a 3rd jar if you need to). Make sure your kimchi has just enough liquid to be submerged. If the kimchi is not submerged, add just enough filtered water to cover it.
  6. Screw lids loosely on the jars and place the jars in a shallow baking dish (in case they overflow while fermenting). Place in a cool dark area and allow the kimchi to ferment for 2 to 5 days. As the kimchi ferments, it will produce air bubbles and more moisture; the kimchi will separate from the liquid. Take the back of a spoon and push the kimchi down, all the way to the bottom of the jar. This will "burp" the air bubbles and mix the kimchi back into the liquid it has separated from. Try to keep the jars as clean as possible; use a clean cloth to wipe the jars if necessary. As the kimchi ferments, it will develop a tang, this is perfectly normal. It will also smell strong, like tangy/yeasty garlic and ginger, but should never smell rancid at any time. If for some reason yours smells rancid, throw it out. While I've never had a ferment go rancid, I've heard of it happening occasionally to other people; normally this happens because the jars were never properly sterilized.
  7. At the end of the fermentation, store the kimchi in the refrigerator. Consume within 3-5 months.


Paleo Kimchi Recipe from Allergy Free Alaska

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Saturday 18th of April 2020

Thanks Megan. It's taken a while to get back here. The recipe you've directed me to is spot on. Just what I was looking for. I haven't had Water Kimchi since I left NYC. I can't wait to make it. And thanks for directing me to a great Korean recipe site. Korean is my favorite food to eat and there are no restaurants in my neck of the woods. So your help gave me a double bonus!!


Sunday 19th of April 2020

Oh yay! :)


Wednesday 21st of March 2018

Hi, I love Kimchi and yours looks wonderful. In NYC I used to eat at a Korean restaurant that served what they called "Water Kimchi". It was a gentler, milder, pickling of different types of vegetables, not unlike the daikon and carrot (sweet pickle) often found in buffets today, but water kimchi veggies were a savory pickle. Any idea on how to recreate those?


Tuesday 27th of March 2018

Hi Julie, I've never heard of water kimchi before! I had to google it. Seems like it's kimchi (jarred) with water added? Maybe give this recipe a try?


Monday 17th of July 2017

This looks like such a great recipe! Do you have any recommendations for finding high quality korean pepper for making kimchi? I don't want to skimp out on the ingredients if I do decide to make this at home.


Tuesday 1st of August 2017

Hi Billy, sorry for the delayed response. I buy my Korean red pepper from our local Asian store. The brand is Wang Korea and it's very good! If the Asian store near you doesn't carry that specific brand, I would ask one of the workers what they would recommend.


Wednesday 7th of June 2017

Why do you keep the liquid? My mother and grandmother never kept the liquid the cabbage soaked in.


Tuesday 20th of June 2017

When you ferment, the veggies (or whatever you're fermenting) must be completely submerged, otherwise mold can grow on the top. This definitely isn't an authentic way to make true Korean kimchi... ;)


Saturday 14th of January 2017

Hi Megan I am eager to try your kimchi recipe ,it sounds great. In the comments their is mention of honey but I can't see it listed in the ingredients. Is this only required in lieu of palm sugar? Thanks and greetings from Australia


Saturday 14th of January 2017

Hi Lesley, This is an older recipe of mine. When I first published it, I wasn't aware of coconut sugar being available. When I finally started using coconut sugar, I realized it was a better option in this recipe than the honey, so I updated the recipe. ;)