How to know if kimchi is spoiled? (3 easy ways)

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How to know if kimchi is spoiled”, discuss the different methods of identifying spoiled kimchi and the potential side effects of eating spoiled kimchi.

How to know if kimchi is spoiled? 

Kimchi already tastes and smells sour but if you feel that the kimchi has become so much sour that it is becoming inedible then this means that the kimchi is spoiled. If you see any kind of spotting over kimchi or see any mold growth over it then this also means that the kimchi is spoiled.

Kimchi is indeed a classic Korean side dish comprising salty and pickled veggies like napa cabbage and radish, prepared with a broad variety of ingredients like chili powder, green onions, garlic, ginger, & salty shrimp, among others. It may also be found in a number of soups.

Tons of different kinds of kimchi are being created with various vegetables like that of the major components. Originally, kimchi was kept in huge clay fermenting jars, which were frequently buried to avoid frost in the cold and kept cold enough just to delay the fermenting phase in the summertime. 

The containers are indeed maintained on dedicated balconies outside. Homemade kimchi refrigerators are becoming more popular in recent years.

Few steps to determine whether the kimchi has gone bad or not are discussed below:


If mold appears on the surface of the kimchi, it is not safe to eat. These should be discarded as soon as possible. Always check your food for mold before eating it, whether or not it has mold.


Smelling rotten kimchi is another way to identify it. Smelling kimchi to see whether it’s rotting is a common method of detecting whether or not it’s spoiled. Bad kimchi has a foul odor and a strong smell. 

As a result, any kimchi that has a foul odor should be discarded. Although, kimchi already smells sour. However, if you feel a more sour smell than usual, then this means that the kimchi is spoiled. 


Let’s assume you took a mouthful of kimchi and immediately realize something just isn’t right. Then, follow your instincts and throw the rest of the kimchi out the window. If you’re unclear whether the kimchi is safe to consume after examining all the above signs, the easiest way to find out is to try it.


If you notice that perhaps the primary color of your kimchi is changing, it is most likely because it is beginning to rot. Several microorganisms damage the kimchi, causing it to lose its basic colors and develop spots. If the color of the kimchi appears to be changing, it is not recommended that you consume it.

Shelf life:

Prepared kimchi is usually placed into a clean, airtight container and covered with salt water before everything ferments. Some individuals like to add a splash of apple cider vinegar to their salads. At ambient temperature, it ferments in 3–4 days, or even in the refrigerator, it takes 2–3 weeks. Kimchi can be kept for a week at room temperature after being opened.

It keeps considerably longer in the fridge — around 3–6 months — and continues to ripen, which may result in a sourer flavor. Keep your kimchi refrigerated at less than 39°F (4°C), since higher temperatures will hasten deterioration.

Health effects:

Foodborne diseases can result from eating rotten kimchi. Mold’s, in particular, can induce nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Those with weaker immune systems are more vulnerable.

Moreover, botulism, poisoning, or infections can occur if your meal contains rotten pickled kimchi. Nausea, vomiting, respiratory discomfort, and even bowel obstruction and bleeding are all symptoms of this disease.

Several commonly used components in kimchi, like cabbage and shrimp, are frequently linked to food illness. Rice and sprouts, which are commonly served with this meal, are other common culprits.

If you create your homemade kimchi, you must always clean the materials properly and use correct food processing procedures. If you want to buy it already manufactured, make absolutely sure you get that from a reputable source.


So, in this article, we explored four simple methods for determining if kimchi has gone bad or not. You can tell whether it’s ruined by looking at the colour. The dark shade might indicate that the kimchi has gone bad.

Mold growth, a terrible odour, and a bad taste are all signs of kimchi that has gone bad.

Intake of spoiled kimchi may result in a range of health issues, including severe diseases such as vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, and stomach cramps. If you notice that your problems are getting worse, consult a doctor right away.

I hope you have found this article helpful. If you have any questions or queries, then feel free to comment below. Thank you!


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.