How Long Does Kimchi Last?

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Kimchi is a globally adored Korean food. If you absolutely love kimchi, you must have stored a lot of it! But if you are wondering how long kimchi last, I’m here to solve all your queries.


A sealed bottle of kimchi stays fresh for years. Once exposed to air and kept at room temperature, kimchi should be used within 1 month to enjoy its best taste. However, when kept in the fridge, opened kimchi stays for another 3 months. Frozen kimchi has a shelf life of 7 years.

Kimchi, as you may know, is a Korean side dish. It is made from salted and fermented vegetables like radish and napa cabbage. Kimchi has a very appetizing flavor and aroma and is well known for its health benefits. 

Kimchi is slightly spicy and is accompanied by a little sourness. The more the fermentation process, the sourer it will be. But is too much sour kimchi consumable, or has it gone bad? 

We have heard or seen people using kimchi that is very old. But can all kimchi be used similarly? Let’s understand in detail the shelf life of this amazing probiotic food.

How Long Does Kimchi Last?

Type Kept OutsideFridgeFrozen
Opened Bottle 1 month 3 months7 years
Unopened Bottle More than 1 yearYears18 Months 

An unopened kimchi bottle has a very long shelf life to it. Kimchi is a fermented food and doesn’t go bad that easily. Even though many store-bought kimchi bottles last one year, if properly kept, they are good to eat even after 1 year.

If the bottle is unopened, it doesn’t matter whether you have kept it inside the fridge or outside; the dish is fit for consumption. 

Kimchi is a traditional Korean food that people have used for years. In the olden days, people, after making it, kept it underground for years before using it. However, nowadays, kimchi is made using vinegar and brine.

Once you open kimchi, keeping it in the fridge is always recommended. The cold temperature and less contact with air helps to improve the shelf life of kimchi. An opened bottle of kimchi kept in the fridge should be consumed within three months.

Even after that, the kimchi is fit for eating. However, kimchi left in the fridge for over three months will have a high sourness. If you are someone who enjoys sourness in your food, then you can have it!

However, if you forget to put your kimchi bottle back in the fridge after opening it, make sure to consume it within 1 month to enjoy its best taste. 

Can You Freeze Kimchi?

Absolutely yes! If you are a fan of kimchi and want to save it for a longer period, it is best to freeze kimchi. KImchi freezes really well and can be stored without much hassle.

 Once your kimchi is ready to eat, make it into batches and freeze it in a ziplock bag. Make sure to squeeze the rest of the air from the bag. Kimchi, unopened, will stay fresh for up to 7 years in the freezer. 

Once you take it out from the freezer, give it some thawing time before using it. 

How To Tell If Kimchi Has Gone Bad?


Kimchi, being a fermented food, has a long shelf life. As we have already discussed, the unopened kimchi bottle is fit for consumption years after it is made. However, once opened, kimchi, like all other foods, will go bad!

So if you are new to eating kimchi and are clueless whether your kimchi has gone or is it just the taste of old kimchi, read this section thoroughly! None of us wants to eat bad kimchi, do we?

1. Smell Your Kimchi

Kimchi has a very appetizing aroma to it. The smell of kimchi is such that you’ll know it’s a sour food. However, since the fermentation process continues over time, the smell of the kimchi will also change.

But if your kimchi starts to sting, it’s a sign that your kimchi has gone bad. Many people use oyster sauce or fish sauce to prepare kimchi. If you have any of these and your kimchi smells bad, throw it out.

2. Taste Go Off 

Kimchi is known for its robust flavors. Kimchi is globally loved for its spicy, sour taste. However, kimchi, when gone bad, will have a different taste. Kimchi, over time, will get a little sourer. However, if it’s too sour, it might go bad. 

Many people assume that kimchi has a very sour taste to it. But many times, this is a sign that kimchi has gone bad. We eat food to enjoy it! So if you are eating your sour kimchi thinking it’s the taste of kimchi, you are wrong!

Kimchi made traditionally can be consumed even after a certain point. However, nowadays, people add a lot of sauces to kimchi. So if your kimchi tastes bad, stop eating it, as the sauces might have also gone bad and could affect your health badly. 

3. Appearance 

Kimchi has a very vibrant appearance to it. However, if your kimchi becomes dull, take it as a cue to understand that the kimchi has started to decay. Also, kimchi started to decay and had a lot of moisture present in it. 

It often takes quite a long time for kimchi to develop any mold. However, if you notice any discoloration or the presence of molds or black spots, it’s a sign that your kimchi has gone bad and is not fit for consumption. 

How To Store Kimchi To Extend Its Shelf Life?


Making kimchi is a little long and tiring process. Moreover, it’s such tasty and healthy food. None of us wants our kimchi to go bad. So if you have made a batch of kimchi, make sure to follow these steps to extend its shelf life.

1. Store Unopened Bottle In Your Pantry

If you have just prepared your kimchi and tightly sealed it, you can keep it in your pantry. However, while doing so, keep in mind that direct exposure to heat and sunlight will affect the shelf life of your kimchi.

So always select a space for kimchi where it is not directly affected by light. It’s best to keep it in the corner of your pantry!

2. Store It In The Fridge 

Once you have opened the bottle, always make sure that you place your kimchi inside the fridge after each use. The cold temperature of the fridge will keep down the fermentation process.

Thus even after a certain amount of time, you can enjoy your kimchi without much taste difference. Even if you save for kimchi in the fridge, keep it in an airtight container. If you keep it unsealed, it will get too dry!

3. Freeze 

Many people don’t like the idea of frozen kimchi. However, if you live far from home and don’t want to miss eating kimchi occasionally, the best way to store it is to freeze it! Frozen kimchi stays fresh for up to 7 years. 


Kimchi is a great food to have at your home. You can eat it as it is or can eat it as a side dish. While being an extremely yummy food, it also offers zillions of health benefits. However, since its making process is a little time-consuming and it is often made in big batches.

So if you have made a lot of kimchi, make sure to store it properly to enjoy the best of it!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does kimchi ever go bad?

Kimchi has a very long shelf life. However, if exposed to air for long time, it might go bad.

How long does Kim Chi last in the fridge?

Opened bottle of kimchi can last up to 3 months in the fridge.

Is it OK not to refrigerate kimchi?

Yes. It’s okay to not to refrigerate kimchi. However, when kept outside, the fermentation happens in faster phase resulting in much sour kimchi.

Does kimchi go bad if not opened?

Unopened kimchi stays for years in the pantry.

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