Does Kimchi Have Alcohol? – All About Kimchi

We all know that Koreans love their kimchi. It is a staple food in most Korean households and a part of Korean culture. About 60% of Koreans eat kimchi for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and 95% have it more than once a day.

Kimchi has been around for centuries. It’s made up of fermented cabbage and seasonings. Some people believe that it contains alcohol, and others think that it doesn’t. 

So, Is it safe to eat kimchi? Does kimchi have alcohol in it?

Since it is fermented, kimchi should have alcohol in it. Kimchi is mostly probiotic lactic-acid bacteria with sugars and starches turned into lactic acid, leading to the presence of alcohol. However, the amount is very minimal. And with no NO3, NO2, or other contamination, they are safe to eat.

Most importantly, kimchi is healthy and contains many vitamins and minerals.

However, if you are concerned about alcohol consumption, you may want to read this article.

Does Kimchi Have Alcohol?

Does Kimchi Have Alcohol

Kimchi is mainly produced through lactic acid fermentation of different vegetables at a low temperature. The process ensures idle ripening and preservation. Due to the fermentation, some people believe that kimchi may contain alcohol. For this, there has been some debate among people about whether it is safe to eat.

However, kimchi is a typical open ecosystem, and each fermentation may contain different bacteria compositions depending on the ingredients. Therefore, the fermentation process can create small amounts of ethanol.

So, the end result of kimchi is probiotic lactic-acid bacteria. On top of that, sugars and starches may also turn into lactic acid because of the availability of bacteria. So, kimchi has alcohol in it, but in a very low amount.

Even though kimchi contains alcohol, it is safe from NO3, NO2, biogenic amines, nitrosamines, and NaCl contamination.

How Much Alcohol Does Kimchi Contain?

How Much Alcohol Does Kimchi Contain

Since kimchi is made with a variety of vegetables, it can contain a range of different amounts of alcohol. However, typically kimchi produced from 2 days of fermentation may contain less than 0.00010% of alcohol which is lower than wine and beer.

During a Korean traditional festival in autumn named ‘kimjang,’ kimchi is produced on a large scale. The alcohol amount in kimchi was tested on different days during the festival. The tests found that kimchi contained 0.0007% ethanol on the first day of fermentation and 0.0008% ethanol on the second day.

So, if your kimchi smells highly alcoholic or too sour, you should not be happy; it may have gone bad.

How Do You Know If Your Kimchi Gone Bad?

Since kimchi contains a low amount of ethanol, you may think it will smell like alcohol. However, it should not smell alcoholic. And you should not take it because it contains too much alcohol, which is a sign that the kimchi is gone bad.

Usually, an opened kimchi may last 1 week, while it can last 3-6 months in the refrigerator. Seafood kimchi such as oysters or fermented fish tends to spoil early.

If you see any mold or smell any foul odors, you should not eat it.

What Is Kimchi Mostly Made Of?

Ingredients Alternatives


Aster, burdock roots, cress, cilantro, balloon flower roots, celery, crown daisy greens, garlic chives, eggplant, cucumber, ginger, Korean parsley, Korean angelica shoots, lotus roots, onions, bamboo shoot, radish greens, seaweed, sugar beets, sweet potato vines, rapeseed leaves, tomatoes and spinach,


Brining salt, chili powder, garlic, ginger, scallions, jeotgal or salted seafoods, fish sauce and sugar.

Kimchi is mostly made of cabbage, a mixture of salt and spices. However, it also contains other vegetables such as aster, cilantro, cucumber, and mustard greens.

You can use kimchi in many ways. You can eat it plain or with rice. Also, you can even use it to make a salad and eventually increase the flavor of your food.

Moreover, you can add it to soups, stews, and stir-fries. It is also a great way to add flavor to sandwiches and wraps. Most people like the flavor of kimchi because it is a unique and delicious taste.

How Long Does Kimchi Fermentation Take?

How Long Does Kimchi Fermentation Take

The kimchi fermentation process depends on its ingredients. However, kimchi is usually fermented at room temperature for 2-3 days. On the other hand, if you want to ferment in the fridge, you will need to wait 2-3 weeks.

It has been seen that kimchi ferments quickly in humid temperatures. In addition, raw materials, kimchi type, fermentation method, and condition also affect the kimchi fermentation process. Since lactic acid bacteria initiate the fermentation, ingredients are the main element to boost or slow down the kimchi fermentations.

If the raw material produces a significant amount of lactic acid bacteria from the beginning, your kimchi might get fermented in just one day.

Can You Get Drunk Off Of Kimchi?

Since kimchi contains a very low amount of alcohol, it will not make you drunk. Even if you overeat kimchi, you will not be drunk. The alcohol in kimchi is not nearly enough to alter behavior or intoxication.

Is Kimchi Halal Or Haram?

As you already know, kimchi has a small amount of alcohol, which is not enough to intoxicate you. Hence, kimchi is halal, and you can eat it without any reasonable doubt.

However, some people view kimchi as haram as they believe that the presence of a small amount of alcohol is haram. But, according to Islamic scholars, if any foods don’t make you drunk or change your behavior, they are halal. And same goes for the kimchi too.

Therefore, Muslims can eat kimchi without any tension.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Kimchi?

What Are The Health Benefits Of Kimchi

Kimchi has a wide variety of health benefits. It’s been linked to a number of different health conditions. These include preventing cancer, improving heart health, reducing inflammation, improving digestion, and more.

So, when it comes to inflammation, kimchi can work effectively. Inflammation is a natural response to injury or infection, but too much can lead to chronic conditions like arthritis. Kimchi contains antioxidants that protect cells from damage and help stop inflammation from spreading. 

Further, kimchi can help improve your digestion. It contains a lot of probiotics, which are live bacteria that help maintain good gut health.

If you have a weak immune system, kimchi can help to boost your immune. The probiotics in it help to build a strong immune slowly.

Due to the ingredients, kimchi is full of fiber, which can help you feel full for longer. It can help you avoid eating too much at mealtimes, which can help you lose weight.

Is There Alcohol In Fermented Cabbage?

Fermented cabbage may not sound like your typical food, but it is a popular condiment in many parts of the world. Fermented cabbage is made by fermenting cabbage in a sealed container with probiotic bacteria. The fermentation process creates a tiny amount of alcohol which is negligible and is not harmful.

So, you can say that fermented cabbage doesn’t have alcohol.

Other Fermented Foods Containing Alcohol And Lactic Acid

You may ask what foods contain alcohol besides kimchi?

Apart from the kimchi, some Korean cuisine, including kombucha, kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, and pickles, has alcohol. Usually, these foods are produced using yeast or bacteria and create ethanol as a byproduct.

These cultured and fermented foods have 0.1% to 0.5% of ethanol. However, like the kimchi, the amount of alcohol in those foods is very low and not harmful.

Final Words

Does kimchi have alcohol? Yes, kimchi may contain a tiny amount of alcohol, but it’s not harmful or intoxicating. Instead, it is a tasty dish to try out.

Moreover, if you’re looking for a healthy and filling meal, consider giving kimchi a try.

Kimchi’s strong flavors come from lactic acid that is produced by the fermentation process. So enjoy kimchi as a healthy side dish or condiment to add flavor and texture to your favorite meals.

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