Kimchi or Kombucha: Know Which One Is a Better Probiotic and Why?

Rohit Panwar

Kimchi and kombucha are widely popular probiotics across the world, though there are a few misperceptions about them. To clear those up, I am here to discuss kimchi vs kombucha and how different they are.

As a nutritionist, I like to explore the world of food and love to share my expertise. The information about kimchi and kombucha will help you to pick the right one for yourself. 

Kimchi vs Kombucha: Decoding Nutrition & Benefits

Let’s take a quick look of kimchi vs kombucha based on various aspects: 


Cabbage/ Vegetables & Spices


Black/ Green Tea, Sugar & SCOBY


2-6 Weeks


5-10 Days


Spicy, Salty & Sour


Sweet & Tart


50-100 g


1-2 Cups






4.7 g*


3 g*


1.2 g*


0 g*


341 mg*


4 mg*






Very Good


Very Good


Morning & Noon


Noon & Evening


Very Good


Very  Good


Very Good


Very Good


Very Good




3-6 Months


4-6 Weeks

*Source: USDA; Quantity defined is 100 grams

Kimchi vs Kombucha: What Are They?

Kimchi is a spicy fermented food of Korea. It is mainly a mix of chili powder, garlic and napa cabbage. However, other ingredients such as scallions, fish sauce and shrimp paste are also used to enhance the flavor. 

First, vegetables are soaked in a brine which is made with salt and water. After that chili paste is added and then its left for several days to ferment. 

Kombucha is a fermented tea that originated from China. To prepare kombucha, sugar and SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) are added to the tea. Kombucha can be made with green tea or black tea. 

How Long Do Kimchi vs Kombucha Probiotics Take To Ferment?

Kimchi will take around 2-6 weeks to get ready and it will require regular monitoring to see if there is no mold in the jar. Don’t touch it with bare hands or with any metal spoon. Always use a wooden spoon to check kimchi in between. 

Kombucha can be ready in 5-10 days, depending on the temperature of the place. Keep the mixture away from direct sunlight and at  a warm place. It is better to use mineral or RO water to make Kombucha which doesn’t contain fluoride or chlorine. 

Taste and Texture of Kimchi vs Kombucha

Kimchi is widely known for its spicy, salty and sour taste. The combination of all these three flavors are difficult to resist. It has a crunchy and slightly chewy texture.

It has a strong smell of garlic and shrimp sauce, which can be off putting for few people. 

Kombucha has a sweet and tart flavor. It also contains the slight bitterness of tea which can be more strong in black tea.

Homemade kombucha is usually orange-brown in color, however packed ones may come in different colors depending on the ingredients. 

How Does Yogurt Fate Against Kimchi & Kombucha?

| Yogurt Vs Kimchi |

| Yogurt Vs Kombucha |

How Much Kimchi vs Kombucha Is Enough Per Day?

If you are new to kimchi and kombucha then start with smaller quantities. You can increase the quantity gradually once you get adjusted. 

Since kimchi is a spicy and salty food, consume it in moderation. You can have around 50-100 grams of kimchi a day. On the other side, up to 1-2 cups of kombucha can be added to your daily routine. 

Know the Caloric Difference of Kimchi vs Kombucha

There is not much difference in calories between kimchi and kombucha. If you are making kombucha at home with natural cane sugar then it has the same calories as kimchi. However, store bought versions can have much more calories than kimchi. 

To avoid those extra calorie either opt for DIY kombucha or choose the one which does not contain high calories. 

Low Carbs Option: Kimchi or Kombucha

In terms of carbs, the difference between kimchi and kombucha is quite noticeable. Kimchi will give you more carbs, compared to kombucha. This is due to the base ingredients of both the products. 

If you are following a low carb diet, then kombucha is a much better option for you instead of kimchi. 

What Is Better for Fiber, Kimchi or Kombucha?

Fiber is a type of carbs which promotes your digestive health and helps to maintain the regular bowel movements. 

Kimchi is a better source of fiber compared to kombucha. This is because it is a vegetable based food. 

Is Kimchi and Kombucha the Same in Their Sodium Levels?

A lot of salt is used while preparing kimchi. Hence, it has significantly higher sodium compared to kombucha. That’s the reason it is recommended to consume kimchi in moderation. 

Too much consumption of salt can be harmful for you in various ways, however, avoiding it completely can also be fatal. Add salt in your daily diet according to the suggested quantity of 1500-2300 mg. 

Kimchi or Kombucha: What to Pick for Hydration?

Kimchi and kombucha both are rich sources of electrolytes such as potassium, sodium etc. This makes them good options to stay hydrated. 

However, since kombucha is a water based probiotic, it is definitely a better option to get immediate relief during dehydration. Although, you can’t replace both of them with water. 

Which One Is More Nutritionally Diverse: Kimchi or Kombucha?

Since a variety of ingredients are used to prepare kimchi, it provides you with many nutrients. Kimchi is a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, niacin, iron, riboflavin and folate. Where kombucha gives you benefits of tea, kimchi is loaded with garlic’s antibacterial properties. 

Kombucha has antioxidant properties which boost your immunity and provide many health benefits. Kombucha also has a good amount of probiotics, types of vitamin B complex such as thiamin and niacin. 

Both the products have their own properties, though kombucha can be consumed in a larger quantity it will provide you with many nutrients and their benefits. 

Right Time to Have Kimchi vs Kombucha?

You can have kimchi in the morning or in the afternoon. However, its pungent ingredients such as garlic and shrimp paste may not motivate you to have it with breakfast. I will suggest adding it with your lunch as a side dish. 

Kombucha can be consumed any time of the day, however I will suggest incorporating it with your lunch or as a post lunch drink. It is also a good option for the evening to get that caffeine kick. 

Kimchi or Kombucha: Gut Friendly Option

Kimchi and kombucha both contain the benefits of probiotics. Probiotics are considered like superfoods due to their ability to boost your digestive health. 

Besides that both the foods have their own characteristics to keep your guts happy and healthy. Kimchi is a fiber-rich food whereas kombucha is a water based drink. These qualities make them perfect foods for the stomach.  

Oral and Bone Health Outcome of Kimchi vs Kombucha

Compared to kombucha, kimchi will provide more benefits to your teeth and bones. Kimchi has a high amount of vitamin K2, which is an important nutrient for your bone density and teeth. 

Kimchi also contains garlic, which is known for its antibacterial properties and helps to reduce plaque and gingivitis. 

How Versatile Are Kimchi vs Kombucha?

Kimchi can be added as a side dish with your meal or you can have it as a snack or appetizer. You can add it to fried rice or fried noodles. You can sprinkle on top of your salads to make them more flavorful. 

Kombucha can be consumed straight. This fermented tea is best when served chilled. You can use it as a base of cocktails and mocktails. 

A Longer Shelf Life: Kimchi or Kombucha

Speaking of shelf life, kimchi can stay for much longer than kombucha. Kimchi can be stored for up to 6 months whereas kombucha can stay for 4-6 weeks. 

It is important to store both of them in the refrigerator to avoid further fermentation. Store kimchi in the airtight container so that it won’t make your fridge stinky. 

We can conclude here by saying that kimchi and kombucha, both these age-old fermented foods, are highly nutritious for you. You can choose anyone according to your taste preferences and health needs. 

However, commercial packs of kombucha are very expensive so it is better to make it your own at home. To make kimchi at home is the work of patients and I usually prefer to buy it from the store.

Rohit Panwar

Hi! I'm Integrated Nutrition Coach Rohit Panwar. I hold twin Certifications from IIN, New York & SAFM, Massachusetts. I am a passionate vocalist of holistic lifestyle and have fully committed the past several years to educate & empower people towards their wellbeing. Despite a successful yet hectic corporate stint of 21+ years, I have prioritised nutriment in my life. I truly hope my personal journey from illness to wellness helps everybody reading this forge their own path.