Help! My Kimchi Is Too Watery!

Homemade kimchi is delicious and beneficial for your health. However, even though it’s not difficult to make, it’s not easy to get it right every time.

Certain things can go wrong in the process, such as ending up with kimchi that has too much water in it.

If this sounds familiar and your kimchi is too watery, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’ll tell you what can make your kimchi too watery, along with possible ways to fix the problem.

kimchi too watery

Why Is My Kimchi So Watery?

Several things can make your kimchi too watery. Let’s take a look at them.

Not Enough Salt

When preparing kimchi for fermentation, one of the crucial things is adding salt to the cabbage and other vegetables that you want to include. The purpose of this is to dehydrate the vegetables, i.e., extract the water from them.

Your kimchi can turn out watery if you didn’t add enough salt to enable the dehydration process. If there isn’t enough salt, water will remain in the vegetables, making your kimchi watery and mushy.

Salt Wasn’t Spread Evenly

When adding salt, it’s important to spread it evenly, making sure that the surface of the vegetables is covered in salt. If the salt isn’t distributed evenly, only some parts of your vegetables will be dehydrated, and some water will remain inside them.

If there’s too much water in your vegetables, it will make the kimchi too watery and mushy. Therefore, be sure to put salt on each side of the vegetables and between all the leaves.

You Didn’t Wait Enough

Once you’ve added salt to your vegetables to extract the water, you should wait at least a few hours before continuing with the fermentation process. If you don’t wait long enough, you will interrupt the dehydration process, and there will still be some water in the vegetables.

You Soaked the Vegetables in Water

After salting your vegetables, you should rinse them. Some people submerge the vegetables in water. However, this might make your vegetables watery. You can use different techniques to rinse the salt from your vegetables without making them watery and soggy.

You Used Hot Water

If you use hot water when rinsing out your vegetables, it may make your kimchi too watery. This can also leave your cabbage slimy, which is something you want to avoid.

You Didn’t Squeeze Out the Water Properly

After salting and rinsing your vegetables, you should always squeeze them to eliminate residual water. This is an important step that, if skipped, can make your kimchi watery and affect the taste. So always squeeze out as much water as you can.

Is Kimchi Supposed to Be Watery?

Traditional kimchi isn’t supposed to be watery. That’s why salt is added to the vegetables before the fermentation process. The salt removes water from the vegetables to help preserve them. The whole purpose of this process is to avoid kimchi being too watery.

person with yellow gloves soaking cabbage in water in big red tub

How to Fix Watery Kimchi

If your vegetables are too watery, try adding more salt to help the water extraction process or try squeezing the water out. You can leave the vegetables to dry and flip them after a while to ensure each side is dry.

How to Prevent Watery Kimchi for Your Next Batch

Nobody wants watery kimchi! There are different approaches and techniques you can use to avoid this issue.

Add Enough Salt

Adding salt is crucial for extracting water from your vegetables before the fermentation process. People often don’t use enough salt because they’re afraid their kimchi will be too salty, making sense.

However, you should also keep in mind that you’re going to rinse out the vegetables before mixing them with other ingredients. In the process, the extra salt will be rinsed out, and your kimchi won’t be as salty.

If you don’t add enough salt, your vegetables will remain watery, and you won’t be able to squeeze them out properly.

Spread the Salt

Concentrating on one side of the vegetables will lead to your kimchi being too watery. Why? Because the salt won’t reach all parts of the vegetables, and the extra water won’t be extracted. Therefore, ensure everything is covered as that’s the only way you’ll dehydrate your veggies.


If you’ve salted the vegetables and want to make sure it’s done its job, you have to be patient.

You should wait at least three hours before rinsing your veggies, although the recommended time is six hours. After six hours, all the moisture will be drawn out, and the salt will penetrate the vegetables.

The waiting time also depends on how salty you like your kimchi. If you don’t like it salty, wait around three hours.

Shower the Vegetables Instead of Submerging Them

By not submerging the veggies in water, you’ll ensure they don’t retain the extra moisture. So instead, rinse them out. This will remove the salt, but it won’t make your vegetables watery and mushy.

Use Cold Water

If you use hot water to rinse the salt from your veggies, they might remain watery and slimy. However, there’s a simple way you can prevent this: use cold water instead.

Squeeze Out the Water

Once you’ve rinsed out the vegetables, the critical step is to squeeze out the water. You can use your hands or tongs. If you’re using your hands, it’s recommended to wear gloves. Some people even wring the cabbage to make sure every drop of water is squeezed out.

In Summary

If you like making kimchi, you know it’s not uncommon to end up with a batch that’s too watery.

Several things can make your kimchi too watery, especially if you’re not paying enough attention.

Hopefully, I’ve shown you the possible causes and solutions to this problem.

Making the perfect kimchi isn’t easy, but it’s all about practice. Don’t beat yourself up if one batch wasn’t up to scratch. Once you have more experience, you’ll be able to make excellent kimchi with your eyes closed!

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