Does Kimchi Go Bad?

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Kimchi, a fermented delicacy originating from Korea, is now enjoyed globally.

There are many delicious dishes made from kimchi like kimchi dumplings, kimchi fried rice, kimchi stew, kimchi pancake,…

Korean cuisine is known for having a strong presence of pickled vegetables.

One such example is kimchi, which is made by fermenting vegetables with salt, chili peppers, garlic and sometimes rice or barley.

It’s a great way to keep vegetables like cabbage and radishes fresher longer.

Does Kimchi Go Bad

Does kimchi go bad?

Kimchi does not go bad in the same sense as other foods.

For instance, if you bought a gallon of milk at your local grocery store and left it out on the counter overnight, it would spoil.

That’s because milk contains bacteria called mesophilic bacteria (which are good at growing at room temperature) and molds (which grow best at refrigeration temperatures).

When you make kimchi, you’re creating an environment where both types of bacteria thrive.

This means that kimchi should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within three months after making it.

However, some people will say that kimchi goes bad after three months.

This may be true if you don’t properly store it.

Kimchi should be kept in a dark place at approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

If it gets too cold, it won’t last long enough.

Also, kimchi needs oxygen to continue to ferment.

So, if you put it in an airtight container, it won’t last very long.

Some people also believe that kimchi goes bad when it starts to smell funny.

But this isn’t necessarily true. Kimchi smells different depending on how old it is.

It might have a stronger aroma than usual if it has been sitting in the fridge for a while, but it shouldn’t smell foul.

In fact, there are some people who actually prefer the smell of kimchi that’s gone off rather than one that smells fresh.

There are two main reasons why kimchi can go bad.

The first reason is improper storage.

The second reason is that the fermentation process changes the taste of the kimchi.

Let’s look at each of these separately.

How long does kimchi last?

One of the biggest questions about kimchi is how long you should store it before using it.

There are two main types of kimchi:

  • Fermented vegetables (such as cabbage, turnips, carrots, cucumbers, etc.)
  • Meat (usually pork)

It’s important to note that kimchi isn’t just one thing.

It comes in many varieties, including spicy, sweet, sour, and more.

Some people prefer to eat their kimchi straight out of the jar or even make kimchi soup with it.

Here we’ll look at how to tell when your kimchi has gone bad.

What are the signs that kimchi has gone bad?

There are some things you can do to tell if your kimchi is going bad before it does.

Here are some of the most common signs of kimchi going bad:

  • Sourness – Sourness and off-flavors are usually caused by bacteria growing on the surface of the kimchi. The smell and taste of kimchi also changes as the fermentation process continues. If you see bubbles forming at the top of the jar, this means there’s gas being produced from the bacteria. This can be a sign that your kimchi will eventually become sour.
  • Rancid oil – When the contents of your kimchi have reached the end of their shelf life, they’ll start to produce rancid oil. This causes the kimchi to turn brown and smells strongly of fish.
  • Dryness – Dryness comes about when the kimchi loses moisture from the fermentation process. You can often see the inside of your kimchi looking dry, or it may feel hard when you squeeze it.
  • Taste change during storage – As the kimchi continues to age, it becomes more acidic and less flavorful. To avoid this, try storing your kimchi in the fridge after opening it, rather than leaving it out at room temperature.
  • Foamy white liquid – Some types of kimchi contain alcohol, but not all of them do. If you open a bottle of kimchi and see foam forming in the bottom of the container, this could mean that the kimchi contains alcohol. Alcoholic kimchi should only be consumed within a year after it was opened, because it’s very high in calories.

Can kimchi be eaten after it has gone bad?

Yes, you can eat kimchi even though it may have gone bad.

The key here is to use your nose to determine whether or not the kimchi is safe to eat.

If it smells really funky, then it probably needs to be thrown out.

However, if it still tastes good, there are ways to make it last longer before the flavor goes away.

Here are some tips on how to extend the life of your kimchi:

  • Add more fresh ingredients.
  • Refrigerate your kimchi immediately after making it.
  • Once the kimchi has been refrigerated, store it in an airtight container.
  • Don’t wash your hands until right before you’re about to eat your kimchi.
  • Eat small amounts at a time.
  • Use your leftovers within one week.

How can you tell if kimchi is bad?

Although there are many different kinds of kimchi, one thing they all have in common is fermentation.

Fermentation is when bacteria grow on the surface of a food, causing it to change into something new.

For example, when you buy sausages at the grocery store, they’re not actually fresh sausage.

They’ve been sitting in a refrigerator case for a few days, and most likely have some form of preservatives added to them.

When you eat those sausages, you get a little bit of a stomach ache because the bacteria inside the sausage has started to digest the meat and release toxins.

The same thing happens when you eat spoiled cheese, rotten fish or any other type of fermented food.

Kimchi is a unique kind of fermented food because it undergoes two stages of fermentation.

The first stage takes place during the production process, while the second stage occurs after it’s finished being stored in your fridge.

This second stage is what makes kimchi different from other types of fermented food, but it also means that you need to be careful about how long you keep it in your fridge.

What happens if you eat bad kimchi?

If you’re eating your kimchi on a regular basis, chances are good you’ve already been served some bad kimchi at least once.

If you’ve ever eaten a batch of kimchi that was too salty, too spicy, or just plain gross, you’ll understand why this could happen.

Kimchi has a short shelf life because it contains bacteria and yeast that help it ferment.

The fermentation process breaks down complex sugars and starches into simpler ones that bacteria and yeasts can use to grow.

This causes the flavor of kimchi to change over time.

When kimchi becomes old, it loses its freshness and flavor.

That’s not necessarily a problem unless you prefer your food fresh.

However, there are times when even a little bit of bad kimchi can ruin an entire meal.

Here are the things you should know about what happens when you eat bad kimchi:

  • Most of the time, eating bad kimchi won’t cause any serious health problems.
  • It’s best to consume kimchi within two weeks of making it.
  • You should also avoid consuming raw kimchi or kimchi that hasn’t been stored properly.
  • There are ways you can prevent kimchi from going bad.

How to tell if kimchi is safe to eat

Although most people don’t think much about the storage conditions for their kimchi, they need to be careful to make sure the kimchi isn’t contaminated with harmful bacteria.

To do this, follow these steps:

  • Always wash your hands before handling kimchi.
  • Keep kimchi refrigerated at 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius).
  • Don’t store kimchi for more than three days after making it.
  • Don’t store kimchi in plastic containers.
  • Never reuse kimchi containers.
  • Make sure to keep the kimchi covered when storing it.
  • Avoid using aluminum foil to cover kimchi containers.
  • Use a clean knife or spoon to remove pieces of kimchi from the container.
Does Kimchi Go Bad? 2

How do you store kimchi to prevent it from going bad?

Most people buy kimchi because they love the flavor, but after eating it for awhile, they might start to notice that it’s not quite as good anymore.

That’s when you should take a closer look at how you’re storing your kimchi.

Here are some tips to help you avoid this problem:

  • Keep it refrigerated.
  • Do not use plastic containers.
  • Keep it out of direct sunlight.
  • Never eat it straight from the jar.

Once you’ve stored your kimchi properly, you can enjoy it for many years to come.

But what happens if you forget to put it back in the refrigerator before you go on vacation or leave town for an extended period of time?

You might be surprised to find that it has turned into something completely different from what you originally bought!

What is the shelf life of kimchi?

Unlike other fermented foods like sauerkraut or yogurt, kimchi has no set shelf life.

The only thing that will determine when its best to eat your kimchi is how fresh it feels.

When kimchi starts to smell funky, it’s probably time to toss it out.

The bacteria used to create kimchi are usually harmless and beneficial to our health, but they can also cause some unpleasant smells.

Bacteria that produce bad odors include Clostridium botulinum, Lactobacillus brevis, and Pediococcus pentosaceus.

While these types of bacteria aren’t harmful in small amounts, they can cause problems when they grow too much.

If you have kimchi that smells off, you should throw it away before it grows into something more serious.

You don’t want to get sick from eating spoiled kimchi!

How long does kimchi last?

For most people, kimchi lasts about a month.

This depends on the type of kimchi and how it was stored.

For instance, if you store your kimchi in the refrigerator, it will last longer than if you left it outside in direct sunlight.

If you’re making kimchi, you can typically expect to use a few days’ worth of ingredients at once.

As soon as you finish cooking, put the rest of the ingredients (including any spices) in a container with an airtight lid.

Store this mixture in the fridge and let it ferment for one to two weeks.

Once it’s ready, you’ll be able to eat it.

You can also freeze kimchi without removing it from the brine.

Just transfer it to freezer-safe containers and label them clearly.

After it reaches room temperature again, you can enjoy it.

Can kimchi be frozen to extend its shelf life?

If you’ve ever had kimchi before, then you probably know that it has a very short shelf life, but there are ways to freeze it to extend its lifespan.

The main thing to remember when freezing kimchi is that it should not be thawed completely before using.

Once it’s been fully thawed, it will spoil more quickly than if it was left alone.

There are different methods of preserving kimchi, both commercially and at home.

The most common method is to freeze it in plastic bags, but there are a few others.

Freezing kimchi in plastic bags

This is one of the easiest ways to preserve kimchi because it keeps it fresh while also keeping it safe from contamination.

You just need to follow these steps:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Take a large bowl and place some ice water inside.
  • Put a little bit of salt into the bottom of the bowl.
  • Place about 2 cups of chopped veggies into the bowl.
  • Add 1/4 cup of soy sauce.
  • Pour salt on top of the vegetables.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and seal it tightly.
  • Place the bowl in the freezer overnight.
  • Remove the bowl from the fridge and let it sit out for an hour or two.
  • Cut off the plastic wrap and toss the contents into a colander.
  • Rinse the vegetables until they’re free of any excess salt.
  • Pack them up and store them in the refrigerator.

Freezing kimchi in glass containers

Another popular way to freeze kimchi is to use glass jars with tight-fitting lids.

This is best done in the summer months since it’s warmer outside, but this method works well year round.

  • Clean your jars.
  • Fill each jar with about 1/4 cup of chopped veggies.
  • Add 1/4 cup of soy sauce.
  • Top it off with a pinch of salt.
  • Seal the jar and place it in the freezer.
  • After a few days, check to make sure everything is frozen solid.
  • Unmold the jar and put it back into the freezer.
  • Repeat this process every couple of weeks.

Freezing kimchi in mason jars

Mason jars work really well, too.

Just follow these steps:

  • Clean your jars.
  • Place your ingredients into a bowl and add 1/4 cup of soy sauce.
  • Pour a little bit of salt onto the bottom of each jar.
  • Pack the mixture into the jar and add enough ice packs to fill up the jar.
  • Close the lid and shake the jar gently to ensure everything is mixed together.
  • Place the jar in the freezer.
  • Check the jar after a week to see how much liquid is left.
  • Once you have removed the amount you want to use, remove the ice packs and place the rest of the jar back into the freezer.
  • Repeat this process every couple of weeks.

Freezing kimchi in Mason jars with cheesecloth

You may think that making and storing kimchi in Mason jars is complicated, but it actually isn’t.

All you need to do is follow these simple steps:

  • Clean your jars.
  • Place your ingredients into a bowl and add 1/4 cup of soy sauce.
  • Mix everything together thoroughly.
  • Use a piece of cheesecloth to line the inside of each jar.
  • Pour the contents into the jar and cover it with the cheesecloth.
  • Place the jar back into the freezer.
  • Every couple of weeks, take the cheesecloth out of the jar and squeeze the liquid out of it.
  • Refill the jar with new ingredients and repeat the process.

What are some tips for keeping kimchi fresh?

Kimchi will start to lose its flavor after about four weeks, but there are ways to prevent this from happening.

Here are some tips on how to preserve your kimchi well.

Keep your kimchi refrigerated
If you want to keep your kimchi fresh, you’ll need to store it in the refrigerator.

This is especially important when making large batches of kimchi.

The bacteria that causes fermentation needs air to grow, so the cooler temperatures in the fridge slow down their growth.

You should also buy only as much kimchi as you plan to use within two months.

If you have more than that, you’ll be better off freezing it rather than letting it sit in the fridge.

Don’t let kimchi touch metal.

One of the most common causes of spoilage in kimchi is due to contact with metal utensils.

Metal conducts electricity, and this can cause the kimchi to “leak” into the metal.

When this happens, the kimchi starts to smell sour and become spoiled.

To avoid this problem, never put kimchi directly onto a pan or bowl.

Instead, pour the kimchi into a bowl, then transfer it to another container.

You can even pack the kimchi into a jar or plastic bag before transferring it to the bowl.

Use a good kimchi brine.

A good kimchi brine will help extend the life of your kimchi.

To make one, mix 1 tablespoon of salt per quart of water.

Then add 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Stir until dissolved and add any additional seasonings you’d like (like sesame seeds).

Store the solution in a clean glass jar, cover loosely and keep in the refrigerator.

When you’re ready to use the brine, just pour enough of it into a bowl to completely submerge your kimchi.

Make sure to leave at least an inch of space between the top of the kimchi and the surface of the liquid.

If there isn’t enough room for air to circulate, the kimchi will begin to ferment.

Kimchi Fried Rice Recipe

Kimchi Fried Rice Recipe

The dish is so ubiquitous there that it's almost become synonymous with the country itself.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine asian
Servings 2
Calories 432 kcal


  • 1 Pan
  • 1 wooden spoon


  • 3 cups steamed rice
  • 1 cup kimchi chopped
  • ¼ cup juice kimchi
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2-3 tablespoons gochujang
  • 3 teaspoons sesame oil toasted
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup green onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds roasted
  • 1 sheet seaweed roasted and shredded gim


  • Heat up a pan.
  • Add the vegetable oil.
  • Add the kimchi and stir fry for 1 minute.
  • Add rice, kimchi juice, water, and gochujang.
  • Stir all the ingredients together for about 7 minutes with a wooden spoon.
  • Add sesame oil and remove from the heat.
  • Sprinkle with chopped green onion, roasted gim, and sesame seeds.
  • Serve right away



Calories: 432kcalCarbohydrates: 80gProtein: 8gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 20mgPotassium: 331mgFiber: 3gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 532IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 107mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Kimchi Fried Rice
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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