How long does kimchi last? (+11 steps to make)

In this article, we will answer the question “How long does kimchi last?”, and how to identify spoiled kimchi?

How long does kimchi last?

Once the jar is opened, kimchi will stay good for only a week. Kept in the refrigerator at or below 4℃, kimchi will keep its freshness for about 3-6 months. During this storage period, kimchi will continue to ferment as a result of which it will taste sourer as time passes. 

After three months, it becomes quite tangy that you may want to throw it. If the kimchi tastes too sour, add to stew or fried rice to balance the acidity. Kimchi typically takes 3-4 days to ferment when kept at room temperature. The time dilates to 2-3 weeks if left in the fridge for fermentation. Read on if you want to know everything about the storage and making of kimchi.

How to tell if the kimchi has gone bad?

Fresh kimchi will taste pleasantly acidic due to the activity of the lactic acid bacteria. However, if the kimchi smells or tastes sourer than it should, it is an indication of spoilage. It might even develop an alcoholic taste.

Bad kimchi will develop patches or specks of mold growth on the surface. The foamy patches can be green, blue, or black colored. If you are unsure about the safety of kimchi, it is better to throw it in the bin. 

What happens if I eat spoiled kimchi?

Eating spoiled kimchi containing mycotoxins will lead to food poisoning which is reflected in nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. People with an already compromised immune system will face severe health risks. If the kimchi was made with seafood like oysters or fermented fish e.g Jeotgal, the consequences may be severe.

Eating spoiled pickled kimchi containing seafood will lead to Botulism, paralytic shellfish poisoning, or anisakiasis infection. These conditions can lead to lung infection, intestinal blockage, and bleeding.

Therefore, it is important to take precautionary measures while making kimchi at home. When buying it from the market, check the expiry dates and always buy from a trusted seller.

Seasoned kimchi must be packed in a sterile jar or container. This is a very critical point where the hazard must be prevented. If the container is contaminated, E. coli, Salmonella, and other pathogens will grow to unacceptable levels. When ingested, they lead to food poisoning.

Other FAQs about Kimchi which you may be interested in.

Does kimchi go bad?

Can kimchi go bad?

How to make kimchi?


  • 1 medium head napa cabbage(2 lb)
  • 1/4 cup iodine-free sea salt or kosher salt( anti-caking agents and iodine present in salt inhibit fermentation)
  • Water, preferably distilled or filtered (chlorinated water will inhibit fermentation)
  • 1 tbsp grated garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
  • 1 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce or salted shrimp paste, or 3 tbsp water
  • 1-5 tbsp Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  • 8 ounces Korean radish or daikon radish, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 4 medium-sized scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces


Prepare the cabbage 

Make a lengthwise cut through the cabbage starting from the stem to make quarters. Remove the cores from each quarter. Make a lengthwise cut through each quarter to make it into 2-inch wide strip.

Salt the cabbage

In a bowl full of water, dip the cut cabbage strips and add salt. Massage the cabbage using your hands to soften the crispy flesh. When done, cover the bowl with a jar and use a heavy jar to weigh it down. Let the cabbage stay like this for 1-2 hours.

Rinse and drain the cabbage

Thoroughly wash and rinse the salted and softened cabbage under cold running water. Do this exercise at least thrice. Then leave the cabbage to drain preferably in a colander.

Prepare the spice paste

In a bowl, add ginger, garlic, sugar, fish sauce, shrimp paste, or water and make it into a paste. Now add gochugaru. Use 1Tbsp for mild and 5tbsp if you like it spicy.

Mix the cabbage and the spice paste

In a bowl, add the drained cabbage, scallions, and radish. Now toss it with the spice paste you made. Thoroughly massage the paste into the vegetables to coat them all over. Use your hands but do not forget to wear gloves to avoid stings.

Add the kimchi into the jar

Pack the kimchi into the brine using a 1-quart jar. Leave 1-inch headspace on top.


Ferment for 1-5days at room temperature. Check the kimchi daily. This allows the gases to escape. When required acidity is achieved, transfer it to the fridge.


In this article, we answered the question “How long does kimchi last?”, and how to identify spoiled kimchi?