Does Kimchi Go Bad? How long does Kimchi last?

So you are wondering the best way to store the Kimchi you recently purchased.  You also want to know if it goes bad and how to tell since Kimchi already has a pungent smell and sour taste.

Quick Answer

Yes, Kimchi can go bad if stored improperly. Kimchi can spoil and could lead to food poisoning because of many of the ingredients it contains. Unpasteurized Kimchi lasts only 1 month after the best-by date if refrigerated. Kimchi lasts only a couple of days at room temperature. An opened jar of pasteurized Kimchi can last a week at room temperature. Refrigerating it can maintain freshness for up to 3-6 months. Freezing can extend the shelf-life for 2-3 months more than refrigeration.


Kimchi will continue the process of fermentation and can be even more tart as it continues.  There are still a few ways to tell if you need to get rid of the Kimchi you currently have.

Does Kimchi Go Bad? How long does Kimchi last?

Yes, Kimchi can go bad.   Many Koreans believe that Kimchi never spoils; it only ripens more.  If not appropriately stored, eating spoiled Kimchi can lead to foodborne illnesses.

How Long Does Kimchi Last in Pantry

Kimchi keeps well when refrigerated because of its continuous fermentation process.  Leaving it at room temperature accelerates the process of fermentation.

Unopened:  The best-by date plus 1-3 months is the best time to use Kimchi. The fermentation process quickens at room temperature. Storing Kimchi in the pantry is not best. The jar will be very tart and could explode upon opening.

Opened: An unopened Kimchi jar can last for 1 week in the pantry.  The problem is that the temperature quickens the fermentation process of Kimchi.  It will not necessarily make you sick unless there is mold or bacteria is present.

Storing Kimchi in the pantry or cabinet is not the best method to extend shelf-life.

How Long Does Kimchi Last in the Fridge

Storing Kimchi in the refrigerator extends its shelf-life. It is the best and easiest way to store leftover Kimchi.

Unopened:  It is perfectly safe to leave an unopened jar of Kimchi in the pantry.  It is not necessary to refrigerate until it is open.  If you choose thoug, you could keep it in the refrigerator.  Refrigeration will not cause it any harm.

Opened:  Once opened, Kimchi is maintained better if it is refrigerated.  It will last 3-6 months after the best by date.  It can still be eaten 3 months after this date as well if stored well.

How Long Does Kimchi Last in the Freezer

Store leftover Kimchi in the freezer.  Freezing it will not cause any adverse effects to the consistency of the Kimchi.

Unopened:  You never want to store an unopened jar of Kimchi in the freezer.  Once the liquid freezes, the jar will burst in the freezer, causing a messy clean-up.

Opened:  If packaged properly, Kimchi can last up to 3 months more than it would have in the refrigerator. Frozen Kimchi will last approximately 6-9 months after the best-by date. Using freezer safe-storage bags and portioning out the Kimchi is best.

Refrigerating or freezing Kimchi is the best way to store it for prolonged usage.

How to Tell if Kimchi is Bad? How to Tell if Kimchi is Fresh?

It can be hard to tell if Kimchi is no longer any good.  It would be best to look for mold or a smell that is not ordinary when dealing with Kimchi.

Mold:  If there are any signs of mold, you need to discard the jar of Kimchi.  You may see fuzzy forms in the jar or black, blue, or green dots inside as well.  There may even be a white film at the top of the contents in the jar.

Color:  Red and orange are the usual colors you should see when looking at a jar of Kimchi.  If the Kimchi is brown, it is not any good.

Smell:  If the Kimchi has an unusual odor, discard and purchase another jar.

If none of these signs are present, you should be able to continue to use Kimchi.

How to Store Kimchi?

The best way to store Kimchi is in a refrigerator.  If you do not plan on using the product for a while, keeping it in the freezer is also acceptable.

Counter/Pantry: It is perfectly fine to store unopened Kimchi in the pantry.  It will last approximately 1 month after the best-by date if it remains unopened.

Fridge:  Kimchi should be stored in the refrigerator once opened, pasteurized or not.  It will last several months after its best-by date.

Freezer:  You can store Kimchi in the freezer, which will help maintain it for three months longer.

Can You Freeze Kimchi? How?

Yes, you can freeze Kimchi.   Here are a few tips before freezing.

Refrigerate: Only refrigerated Kimchi can be transferred to the freezer.  It keeps better and ensures that it is the best quality before freezing.

Freshness:  Do not freeze Kimchi that is going bad or is already bad.  You will not be able to revive bad Kimchi by freezing it.  Once it has gone sour, it is best used in cooked dishes only.

Freezer Safe Container/Bag:  Do not store a jar of Kimchi directly in the freezer.  Transfer contents to a freezer-safe bag or container.  Make sure all air is expelled from the bag before storing and sealed tightly.  Ensure that all the contents are submerged in liquid before freezing.

How to Thaw Kimchi?

The best way to thaw Kimchi is slowly to ensure the taste and quality after thawing.

Cold:  It is best to defrost Kimchi overnight in the refrigerator. Place the entire frozen container in the fridge.

For Cooking:  You do not need to thaw Kimchi if you use it in a cooked dish.  Add the contents directly from the freezer into your meal.  Cook as normal; you may need a few additional minutes to ensure it is cooked evenly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I eat fizzy Kimchi? If the Kimchi is orange and is fizzy, it is just fermenting.  Red or orange Kimchi is okay to eat if there is mold present though it is no longer any good and should be discarded.

Does Kimchi have any nutritional value? Yes, Kimchi is packed with lots of nutrients. One of the main ingredients in Kimchi is Chinese cabbage with has vitamins A, C, K, and riboflavin. Vitamin A is good for the immune system, reproductive health, and vision. Vitamin C promotes growth and development, while vitamin K is good for healing. Riboflavin breaks down fats.

Does Kimchi have lots of calories?  No, Kimchi is low in calories. One serving of Kimchi is 23 calories.

Wrap Up

Kimchi can go bad if not stored properly. Kimchi is no longer edible when there are signs of mold. If you see fuzzy forms, white film floating at the top, or black, blue, and green dots visible, you should discard it. Kimchi is best maintained if refrigerated after opening. It will last 3-6 months after the best-by date. Freezing unused refrigerated portions can extend shelf-life by three more months.

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