Kimchi vs pickled cabbage, wondering if they are different names for the same product? Well, they are quite different, and as a nutritionist, I clarify how.

Kimchi and pickled cabbage, are both popular fermented foods. However, if you have to pick between the two, I am sharing their differences that you must know.

Kimchi Vs Pickled Cabbage: Are They Really That Different?

Let’s delve into the differences between kimchi and pickled cabbage with this overview:


Vegetables & Spices

Pickled Cabbage

Vinegar, salt & cabbage


Spicy, Salty & Sour

Pickled Cabbage

Sweet & Sour


2-6 weeks

Pickled Cabbage

1-2 weeks



Pickled Cabbage




Pickled Cabbage



4.7 g*

Pickled Cabbage

5.7 g*


1.2 g*

Pickled Cabbage

3.1 g*


341 mg*

Pickled Cabbage

277 mg*


Very Good

Pickled Cabbage



Morning or Noon

Pickled Cabbage

Morning or Noon



Pickled Cabbage




Pickled Cabbage

Very Good 



Pickled Cabbage



Very Good 

Pickled Cabbage

Very Good


3-6 Months

Pickled Cabbage

4-6 Weeks

*Source: USDA; Quantity defined is 100 g

Is Pickled Cabbage the Same as Kimchi?

Kimchi and pickled cabbage are two popular fermented dishes that originated from Korea.

Kimchi is typically made by combining chopped cabbage with a variety of seasonings and spices, including chili peppers, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce. The mixture is then left to ferment.

Pickled cabbage is made by soaking thinly sliced cabbage in a brine made of water, vinegar, and salt. Other seasonings, such as dill, garlic, or peppercorns are added to enhance the flavour. The mixture is then left to sit for several days to allow the cabbage to absorb the flavors of the brine.

Kimchi and Pickled Cabbage: How Do They Compare in Taste and Texture?

Kimchi has a more complex flavour profile which is because of the combination of seasonings and spices used in its preparation. It has a spicy, sour, and salty taste with a crunchy, slightly chewy, and a little bit slimy texture.

Pickled cabbage, on the other hand, has a milder taste compared to kimchi. It is mostly sour and salty, but can have some different flavours if other spices have been added. The texture of pickled cabbage is crisp and firm.

Kimchi Vs Pickled Cabbage Fermentation Time

Kimchi is typically fermented for several days to several weeks or even months, depending on the recipe and desired taste. The longer it ferments, the tangier and more pungent the flavour becomes.

Pickled cabbage, comparatively has a shorter fermentation time of around one to two weeks. This is because the brine used in pickling already contains enough salt to preserve the cabbage and prevent spoilage.

The fermentation time may vary with factors, such as the temperature and humidity, ingredients, and the desired level of fermentation. Just follow the instructions of the recipe and closely monitor the fermentation process while making it at home.

How Does Kimchi Fare Against Other Probiotic Foods?

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| Kimchi Vs Kefir |

How Much of Kimchi or Pickled Cabbage Can Be Included in Your Diet?

Kimchi and pickled cabbage can be included in your diet in moderation as they offer several health benefits.

A serving size of kimchi or pickled cabbage is typically 1/2 to 1 cup. If you are new to these foods, begin with half the recommended quantity and gradually move up.

The Lower Calorie Option: Kimchi or Pickled Cabbage

Both kimchi and pickled cabbage are low-calorie options. One serving will give you about 20-30 calories. 

The amount of calories in both kimchi and pickled cabbage may vary with the kind of ingredients used. So, check the labels for the exact value.

Better for Low Carb Diet: Kimchi or Pickled Cabbage

As evident in the table, both kimchi and pickled cabbage have almost similar amount of carbohydrates. This makes them suitable options for those following a low-carb diet.

Again, the carb content of kimchi and pickled cabbage can vary depending on the recipe and ingredients used.

Kimchi Vs Pickled Cabbage: Higher Fibre Content 

Kimchi and pickled cabbage are both high in fiber, making them great choices for people looking to boost their fibre intake. For proper digestive health, it’s recommended to consume at least 25-30 grams of fiber per day.

In comparison to kimchi, pickled cabbage contains slightly more fibre per serving. The fiber in both these fermented dishes comes from the vegetables used in their preparation.

Which is Lower in Sodium: Kimchi or Pickled Cabbage?

Kimchi and pickled cabbage are both high in sodium due to the salt used in the fermentation process. Therefore, it’s recommended to consume them in moderation, especially if you have high blood pressure or are on a low-sodium diet.

Pickled cabbage is generally lower in sodium than kimchi. This is because kimchi often includes additional salty ingredients like fish sauce and shrimp paste, which can increase the sodium content.

Which is a More Nutritional Choice: Kimchi or Pickled Cabbage?

Kimchi is comparatively more nutritionally diverse than pickled cabbage due to the additional ingredients used in its preparation.

Kimchi generally includes ingredients like garlic, ginger, scallions, and chili peppers, which are all rich in vitamins (Vit C,Vit K, Vit B), minerals (Potassium, Calcium), fibre and antioxidants.

Pickled cabbage doesn’t offer the same variety of nutrients as kimchi. However, it is high in vitamin C, vitamin K, and fibre.

When to Include Kimchi Vs Pickled Cabbage in Your Diet?

There is no specific time of day that is best for consuming kimchi or pickled cabbage. Both dishes can be enjoyed as a side dish or incorporated into a variety of meals throughout the day.

Kimchi can add a tangy, spicy kick to breakfast dishes like omelets or avocado toast. It can also be served alongside rice and protein for a satisfying lunch or dinner.

Pickled cabbage can be a refreshing addition to salads, sandwiches, or tacos.

Which One is Vegan Friendly: Kimchi or Pickled Cabbage?

Traditional kimchi often includes fish sauce or shrimp paste, which are not vegan-friendly. However, there are many vegan versions of kimchi that use alternative ingredients like soy sauce or miso paste to achieve a similar flavour.

Pickled cabbage, is generally vegan-friendly. However, check the ingredient label to make sure that no animal products or by-products have been added.

Is Kimchi or Pickled Cabbage Easy on the Tummy?

Kimchi and pickled cabbage both contain healthy bacteria and fibres. These help to promote good gut health and aid in digestion. However, some people may have digestive comfort, so make sure you begin with smaller quantities.

In my experience, kimchi can be more challenging to digest due to its spicy and pungent flavors. Pickled cabbage is generally milder and easier on the stomach.

Kimchi or Pickled Cabbage: Better for Oral & Bone Health

Kimchi contains calcium, which is important for maintaining strong bones and teeth. It also contains probiotics or good bacteria, which can help to support good oral health by preventing growth of bad bacteria in your mouth.

Pickled cabbage is a good source of vitamin K, which is important for bone health as it helps to support the absorption of calcium. It also contains antioxidants, which can help to protect against cell damage.

Which Can Be Put to More Uses : Kimchi Or Pickled Cabbage?

Kimchi can add flavour and depth to stir-fries, rice dishes, and soups. It can also be used as a condiment or topping for sandwiches, burgers, or hot dogs. You can also use kimchi as a pizza topping or as a filling for savoury pancakes.

Pickled cabbage can be used as a tangy addition to salads, sandwiches, and wraps. It can also be used as a topping for tacos or as a side dish to accompany grilled meats or fish.

Which Can Be Stored For a Longer Time: Kimchi or Pickled Cabbage?

Kimchi has a longer storage life than pickled cabbage because it contains more salt and is fermented at a lower temperature. This slows down the fermentation  and helps to preserve the kimchi for a longer period of time.

Make sure that you store both kimchi and pickled cabbage properly in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Kimchi and pickled cabbage can both be nutritious additions to a healthy diet. Choose the option that you enjoy and fits your personal dietary needs.

For example, if you are looking for a milder and lighter food, choose kimchi, but if you are looking for some more complex flavours and more nutritional value, kimchi is a better choice.