14 In Side Dish/ Vegetable/ Video

Tsukemono (Salt-Pickled Cabbage) Recipe

Tsukemono are pickled vegetables. There are many kinds that are pickled in many ways, using salt, vinegar, Miso, rice bran, etc.  Tsukemono get rich flavors often (but not always) from fermentation in a base like rice bran.

The salt-pickled cabbage in this recipe does not involve fermentation. Instead, the vegetables simply sit in salt for a short while; therefore, it is very easy to make.  Because it is pickled in a very small amount of salt, it does not preserve the vegetables for a long time, but the salt taste is still strong enough.  Since it is so easy to make, just make small amounts as often as you want.  If you don’t like cabbage, you can try  Japanese cucumbers or eggplant (they are both skinnier than the ones typically used in the US).

Tsukemono is such a small dish but it is a necessity for everyday Japanese cuisine.  It comes with almost every meal in Japan along with Steamed Rice.  It has a simple but refreshing taste, and you’ll like it.

Tsukemono (easy version)



  1. Cut cabbage into 2" squares.
  2. Put cabbage, salt, and Kombu in a freezer bag and let sit about 10 minutes.
  3. When the Kombu gets soft, take it out, cut thinly, and put back in the bag. Rub the ingredients together well and leave for 2-3 hours at room temperature.
  4. Squeeze out any water and serve.


You Might Also Like

  • Kali
    June 7, 2014 at 3:49 am

    Hello, I enjoy reading through your article. I wanted to write a little comment to support

    • Noriko
      September 14, 2014 at 3:01 pm


  • Tom
    July 18, 2014 at 10:36 am

    I have a lot of extra miso paste to use. Can I substitute it 1:1 fir the salt or would you recommend something different? Thank! Love your recipes.

    • Noriko
      September 13, 2014 at 9:06 pm

      if you want to use up your miso, you can make Miso Grilled Salmon!

  • Noriko Nakao
    September 6, 2014 at 2:55 am

    Can this be done with napa cabbage?

    • Noriko
      September 8, 2014 at 8:22 pm


  • Kari Ann
    October 16, 2014 at 8:25 am

    Thank you for website. My favorite meal is anything with Japanese curry sauce (most favorite being anything Katsu Curry related). I’m right now searching for a recipe to make my own red pickles. I don’t know what else to call them. I would love some insight on those. I find them served most often with Katsu (Wagamamas does it best). I haven’t gone through all of your site so maybe it is already up here but what I like is how easy Japanese pickling is. I’m going to have to try this! Thank you for the information.

    • Noriko
      October 24, 2014 at 8:53 pm

      is that often served with curry and rice? Kind of like sweet relish? That’s called Fukujinzuke, and unfortunately we don’t have the recipe..

  • mark
    January 7, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Hello.just wanted to say I love this.its so simple .I eat it with almost anything the texture and taste is amazing.I have cooked many of your recipes and love them all.keep up the good work. Mark

  • Ivanna
    January 11, 2016 at 6:07 am

    Hi, thank ypu for the recipe! Didn’t know it’s so simple… I would like to know how long will this cabbage pickles last in the fridge?

    I actually made this at night near bedtime (my daughter requested for pickled cabbage for tmr’s lunchbox) and can’t wait the 2-3 hrs in room temp for the pickling.. I am currently leaving the freezer bag in the fridge overnight and hoping for the best tomorrow morning 😧

    • Noriko
      January 11, 2016 at 11:20 pm

      hope you like it!

  • Kathryn Curran
    April 3, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    I use to make this all the time but haven’t made it in years. Just finished putting a batch together. I do let mine sit for about 3 days with a weight on it. I use a one gallon jug filled with water sitting on a plate on top of the cabbage. Can hardly wait for it to be done. We use to get this in Japanese restaurants all the time now we never seem to get it. Glad I can make my own.

  • Sil
    August 27, 2016 at 5:13 am

    So I read in the description that can be done with nasu (Japanese eggplant/aubergine). Where I live there are mainly just round aubergines (like the black beauty type), is it safe to try this recipe with this kind of aubergine raw?

  • Bex
    September 10, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    This is wonderful! I just returned from a trip to Japan and now I have the burning desire to learn how to recreate all the pickles I had there. In particular, I had a pickled kabocha squash in Kyoto that was amazing. Do you have any idea how that’s done? Thanks!