Can you eat kimchi by itself?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Can you eat kimchi by itself?” with an in-depth analysis of kimchi, the health benefits of eating kimchi, and how to make kimchi at home. 

Can you eat kimchi by itself?

Yes, you can eat kimchi by itself. Kimchi is a versatile dish that can be eaten raw or cooked with almost any other thing.

The health benefits of kimchi 

Rich in nutrients 

Kimchi is full of nutrients with a low amount of calories.

A one-cup serving of kimchi provides:

  • Calories: 23
  • Carbohydrates: 4 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Fat: less than 1 g
  • Fibre: 2 g
  • Sodium: 747 mg
  • Vitamin B6: 19 per cent of the daily value (DV)
  • Vitamin C: 22 per cent of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 55 per cent of the DV
  • Folate: 20 per cent of the DV
  • Iron: 21 per cent of the DV
  • Niacin: 10 per cent of the DV
  • Riboflavin: 24 per cent of the DV

Vitamin K is essential for many body functions, for instance, metabolism and blood clotting, while riboflavin helps produce energy, and also plays its role in cellular growth.

Provides probiotics

A Lacto-fermentation process occurs in kimchi that makes it unique, for instance, it gives it a long shelf life and an improved taste and aroma.

In Lacto-fermentation, the Lactobacillus bacteria break down sugars into lactic acid, which provides kimchi with its unique sour taste.

When used as a supplement, it offers many benefits, for instance treating diseases such as hay fever and diarrhoea.

The process of fermentation also enables other beneficial bacteria to survive and propagate. These include probiotics, which are live microorganisms that give many benefits when used in excessive quantities.

Probiotics are linked to the prevention and treatment of several conditions, including:

  • certain types of cancer
  • the common cold
  • constipation 
  • gastrointestinal health heart health 
  • mental health 
  • skin conditions 

May slow ageing

Chronic inflammation is not only linked to various diseases but also hastens the ageing process. Surprisingly, kimchi increases cell life by slowing the ageing process.

Prevent yeast infections

Healthy bacteria and probiotics present in kimchi may help prevent yeast infections.

Vaginal yeast infections are caused by the rapid growth of Candida fungus in the vagina, which is normally harmless. More than 1.4 million people in the US are diagnosed with this condition every year.

As Candida may be developing resistance to antibiotics, many researchers are looking for natural medicines. Kimchi has been found to have antimicrobial activity against Candida.

May support heart health

Kimchi has also been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It has been found that 15 to 210 g of kimchi every day, reduces blood sugar, total cholesterol, and bad cholesterol levels to a great extent, all of which are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.

Other benefits of kimchi 

  • The Lactobacillus bacteria in kimchi helps to boost immunity.
  • Probiotics present in kimchi may decrease inflammation.
  • Fresh and fermented kimchi, both have low amounts of calories which may help in weight loss.

Can you make kimchi at home?

Yes, you can make kimchi at home. It is very simple if you adhere to the following steps:

Select ingredients of your preference. You can add cabbage and other fresh vegetables such as carrot, radish, and onion, along with ginger, garlic, sugar, salt, rice flour, chilli oil, chilli powder or pepper flakes, fish sauce, and fermented shrimp.

Chop and rinse the fresh vegetables along with the ginger and garlic.

Spread salt among the layers of cabbage leaves and allow it to sit for 2 to 3 hours. 

Turn the cabbage every thirty minutes to uniformly distribute the salt. 

Use a ratio of half-cup of salt to every 2.7 kilograms of cabbage.

To remove the excess salt, wash the cabbage with water and drain it in a strainer.

Mix the rice flour, sugar, ginger, garlic, chilli oil, pepper flakes, fish sauce, and fermented shrimp into a paste, adding water if required. 

You can adjust the quantity of these ingredients based on how you want your kimchi to taste.

Toss the fresh vegetables, along with the cabbage, into the paste till all of the vegetables are thoroughly coated.

Store the mixture into a wide container or jar, and make sure to seal it correctly.

Let the kimchi ferment for almost three days at room temperature or up to three weeks at 39 degrees Fahrenheit.

You will know that it is ready to eat once it starts to smell and taste sour, or when small bubbles begin to move through the jar.

After fermentation, you can refrigerate your kimchi for up to one year. It will resume fermenting but at a slower rate due to the cold temperature.

Side effects of kimchi

Besides many health benefits, kimchi has been associated with some side effects.

The most significant safety concern with kimchi is the microorganisms; E. coli and norovirus that lead to food poisoning. That means people with a weakened immune system should avoid eating kimchi.

How to know if kimchi has spoiled?

The characteristics like bubbling, swelling, a sour flavour, and a softening of the cabbage are absolutely normal for kimchi. But, if you notice a bad smell or any signs of mould growth, such as a white film on top of the food, it indicates that the kimchi has gone bad and should be discarded.


In this brief guide, we have answered the query, “Can you eat kimchi by itself?” with an in-depth analysis of kimchi, the health benefits of eating kimchi, and how to make kimchi at home. 


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.