Pineapple Kkakdugi (Kimchi) & Pineapple Kimchi Hot Sauce


That’s right! This post is for two – count ’em – two pineapple kimchi recipes. The cubed pineapple kimchi (kkakdugi) is so delicious, you’ll be lucky if you can resist eating it all before the blending stage to make it an epic sauce.

Kkakdugi normally is the cubed, firm & crunchy Korean radish kimchi you’ve probably had or seen before. This isn’t the first time I’ve made other versions, including a mango recipe I really enjoy.

Like the mango, I recommend using a firm fruit, potentially a bit underripe. The salting and fermenting process is going to soften it up and the pineapple will normally sweeten up as it ripens continues to ripen, even during fermentation which involves the conversion of its sugar into acids and CO2.

Although you might enjoy this fermented for a long period to get a more sour kimchi, it also has the ability to get a little boozy given the large amount of sugars present in most pineapples, so this is something you may want to play by ear. In my own experience, I like kimchi pineapple refrigerated after around 5-6 days, but if converting to sauce I may try to hold out for longer for a lower pH. Since the pH may not have yet gotten much below the sought after pH 4.6 “acidic foods” classification by 5-6 days, let alone below the more ideal 4.0 mark, the sauce recipe involves adding some vinegar and other acids at the time of blending and cooking the sauce.

What to do with the sauce? It’s amazing on burgers, wings, ribs, stir fries & noodles, in soup, and in (or as) dressing or marinade. It’s really a remarkable (and so easy!) sauce, but I think it is the absolute best as a pizza sauce (whether as the base sauce or as a topper to regular pizza)!

Quick side note: if you’re planning on throwing away the peels and core, why not try making this tasty fermented tepache mojito with them, to go along with whatever meal you’re planning?

First we’ll start with the kimchi recipe and further below you’ll find the optional next steps to blend it into sauce. This is for a quart jar of kkakdugi, which makes around 20 oz. of sauce. If you want more, just double the ingredients and use a half-gallon jar for fermenting.

You will need:


  • 5 lbs. pineapple (gross weight; this is around one large or two small pineapples); then remove top, peel, core, and cube into 3/4″ or 1″ pieces
  • 1 TBSP additive free salt (or 2.5% of net weight of cubed pineapple)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled & halved
  • 1 small nub ginger (~7-8g), cut into a few slices
  • 3 green onions, cut into 1/2″ slices
  • 1 TBSP fish sauce (or alternatives like organic soy sauce or liquid aminos)
  • Gochugaru powder (around 1/3 cup)
  • Optional: Added hot peppers or red chili flake as desired (gochugaru powder alone won’t make a very hot sauce)
  • Optional: if you’re just making the kimchi (not blending into sauce), you may garnish with roasted sesame seeds, before or after fermentation
  • If making hot sauce sauce: 1/3 cup white vinegar & 1/4 cup pineapple juice (can substitute juice with more vinegar if needed)


1.) Prepare the pineapple as described, then place in the mixing bowl and evenly coat with the salt. Allow to sit out for 1.5 – 2 hours. (Covering the bowl with plastic wrap is recommended.)

2.) After sufficient time has passed, much of the pineapple’s juice will have accumulated in the bowl. Strain out the brine (probably around 1/3 cup of salty pineapple juice will form) and measure it by volume. Use an equal amount of gochugaru powder. Place both the “brine” and gochugaru, in the blender. Add the garlic, ginger, fish sauce (or alternatives), and any optional hot peppers. Blend until a smooth paste has formed.

3.) Add the paste to the pineapple cubes. Cut up and add the green onions as well. Wearing gloves, mix the paste thoroughly and evenly with the pineapple.

4.) Using the canning funnel, transfer the pineapple cubes to the jar, add airlock lid and seal. Ferment for 4-6 days (recommended). If you like, you can try a sample after several days and see if you’ve achieved the amount of fermentation desired.

After the allotted time, transfer to fridge or start eating!

Pineapple kimchi hot sauce:

1.) Place the fermented pineapple kimchi and all the sauce into the blender. Blend on high for a minute, along with the added vinegar and pineapple juice.

2.) Transfer sauce to saucepan and completely rinse out the blender. (You will use the blender again and don’t want living bacteria to remain in it, which can restart the ferment if it makes contact with the cooked sauce.)

3.) Heat the sauce on high and stir until boiling. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.

4.) After the allotted time, bring sauce back to the clean blender and blend on high for 4-5 minutes, pulsing periodically.

5.) Using the sauce funnel as needed, transfer the sauce to a container or sauce bottles. (At minimum these should be very clean from hot water or dishwasher, if not a full sanitizing.)

Enjoy the sauce and let us know what you think!


  1. Oh Yes 😋😋😋😋

  2. I made this today! Can’t wait for fermentation, but so far so yummy!

    • Yay! Please let me know what you think. My friend who can’t stand kimchi can’t get enough of this hot sauce lol.

  3. I made this recipe and went the hot sauce route. Let it ferment on the counter for a week, but not sure I got much fermentation. The hot sauce I ended up with tastes great though.

    • Daniel Berke

      Glad to hear it! Yes, you can certainly ferment longer. Due to the concerns mentioned in the write-up, another technique to ferment fruit based kimchi is to allow them a month to months in the fridge after the initial room temp ferment. Anyway, glad you enjoyed it!

  4. I’m going to make a batch here shortly, specifically for hot sauce. Also adding some dried ghost powder to up the heat. Or maybe thai pepper flakes which I have also. Would you recommend a fermentation period longer than the 4-6 days recommended for kimchi? Really like your site.

    • Daniel Berke

      Awesome sounds great. Yes ideally I think you ferment this for longer, maybe 2-3 weeks or more if you want, but it’s a good way to get a quick hot sauce that has a mature flavor if you have limited time or are impatient.

      • If you went 2-3 weeks for the hot sauce would you still add all the vinegar?

        • If you go by a certain pH, you can add vinegar just until you achieve that. But pineapple juice also has a low pH good for sauces normally at 3.5. So it could be one or the other or a combo. If you didn’t want quite the sourness of the vinegar, the pineapple juice is a good option, especially as you have a pretty well fermented product now. But when you add the juice, you’ll want to pasteurize the sauces.

    • I’m getting ready to make this. When making the sauce, does the vinegar and pineapple juice go in before or after the fermentation? Thinking of using this on some hot wings, any other tips or tricks?

      • Absolutely add the vinegar only when you’re done fermenting. Vinegar will inhibit or otherwise stop a ferment in large doses. I would make this as you would any kimchi and then if turning it into a sauce, add the liquids when you blend, ideally I would use a combo of pineapple juice and vinegar. And pasteurize it if you don’t want to lose the sugars.

  5. Nathan Parsons

    Just finished a 6 day ferment. Chilled in fridge for two days then made the sauce. My pineapple was very ripe and gave up over a cup of juice to which I added an equal amount of gochu garu as well as 4 Thai birds eye chiles. It made two full quarts with nearly 5# gross wt pineapple. This stuff tastes amazing!!!! I have now added the vinegar and additional juice simmered and filled 6-5oz. Bottles of sauce. How long will this stay good in the fridge? I’ll be giving some away as gifts and making a wing sauce. Next purchase will be a pH tester to really dial in the accuracy for consistent results. I will be making and keeping this on hand for years to come. Great recipe! Thanks!


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