Bokashi Composting Step-by-Step Guide

Bokashi composting, a traditional Japanese method of organic waste management, has gained significant popularity recently as an eco-friendly alternative to conventional composting techniques. Derived from the Japanese word “bokashi,” meaning “fermented organic matter,” this innovative approach involves fermenting kitchen scraps and other biodegradable materials using specialized bran inoculated with effective microorganisms (EM).

What is Bokashi Composting?

Bokashi Composting

The process starts by collecting kitchen waste such as fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and leftovers. These organic materials are mixed with a special inoculant called bokashi bran or serum containing beneficial microbes like Lactobacillus. The mixture is tightly packed into an airtight container to create an anaerobic environment where the microorganisms can thrive and break down the waste quickly. You’ll need to know the Types of Composting.

Benefits of Bokashi Composting

Let us now discuss the various benefits of Bokashi composting.

Bokashi Composting

It makes a plant-nutritious byproduct

Bokashi composting is the ability to break down a wide range of organic materials, including meat, dairy products, and even cooked foods. No food scraps go to waste, and everything can be transformed into valuable plant nutrients. Bokashi composting can be done indoors or in small spaces since it does not produce any foul odors or attract pests like traditional compost piles.

Uses less space

The magic of bokashi composting lies in its use of beneficial microorganisms. These microorganisms break down organic matter quickly and efficiently, eliminating the need for large piles or bins. You only need a small container with an airtight lid to ferment your food waste. This fermentation process reduces the size of your compost pile and helps neutralize odors, making it perfect for indoor use.

Faster than traditional composting methods

Bokashi composting has emerged as a revolutionary method offering faster decomposition than traditional composting methods. This innovative approach originated in Japan and has gained popularity worldwide due to its efficiency and effectiveness.

Using Bokashi bran, a blend of beneficial microorganisms that aid in breaking down organic matter quickly. When mixed with kitchen scraps such as vegetable peelings or coffee grounds. In weeks, you can obtain high-quality compost ready for use in your garden or potted plants.

Here are just a few of the reasons why we love bokashi!

Bokashi, a traditional Japanese composting method, has gained popularity worldwide for its numerous benefits. Bokashi allows us to compost all kinds of organic waste, including meat, dairy products, and cooked food.

Bokashi offers a convenient and space-saving solution for urban dwellers. Its compact design enables easy indoor use without any offensive smells. Whether you live in an apartment or have limited outdoor space, you can effortlessly transform your kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich fertilizer with a small bokashi bin.

Lower odor 

The key to bokashi’s lower odor is its use of effective microorganisms (EMs). These EMs are mixed with food scraps and other organic materials, creating an anaerobic environment that promotes fermentation rather than decomposition. Foul-smelling gases like methane and sulfur dioxide are significantly reduced or eliminated. The absence of these odorous gases makes bokashi composting an ideal solution for those living in urban areas or confined spaces where strong smells could be a nuisance.

Minimum maintenance 

This can include everything from fruit and vegetable peels to meat and dairy products that are typically not recommended for traditional compost bins. Once the container is full, sprinkle a layer of bokashi bran over the waste material. The bran is inoculated with beneficial microbes that aid in the fermentation process. Repeat this layering until the container is filled, ensuring each layer is covered with bran.

You can compost milk and meat products

Composting has long been hailed as a sustainable solution for managing organic waste, but there are often misconceptions about what can and cannot be composted. Contrary to popular belief, milk, and meat products can indeed be composted effectively, offering an opportunity to divert these food scraps from landfills. With proper knowledge and techniques, homeowners and businesses can harness the potential of composting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while creating nutrient-rich soil amendments.

While many traditional composting guides advise against including milk and meat in your compost piles due to their potential to attract pests or produce foul odors, it is possible to incorporate them into the process safely. Hot composting methods that reach high temperatures can break down pathogens in these materials.

Bokashi vs. composting

Both methods have advantages and disadvantages, making it essential to understand the differences before deciding which one is right for you.

One difference between bokashi and composting lies in the types of waste they can handle. Bokashi can deal with a broader range of materials, including cooked food, dairy products, and meat scraps – items that typically cannot go into traditional compost piles due to the risk of attracting pests. Mainly composting focuses on plant-based materials like grass clippings, leaves, and vegetable scraps.

How to start Bokashi composting

If you’re interested in starting bokashi composting but don’t know where to begin, this article will guide you through the process step by step.

Bokashi Composting
  • Gather all the necessary materials for bokashi composting.
  • You’ll need a bokashi bucket or bin with an airtight lid and bokashi bran (which contains beneficial microorganisms).
  • A drainage plate or tray to collect excess liquid.
  • Kitchen scraps like vegetable peels and coffee grounds.
  • Start by placing a layer of bokashi bran at the bottom of your bin.

Bokashi Composting vs. Traditional Composting

Traditional composting and bokashi are methods of converting organic matter into plant food. Their requirements differ significantly.


It can be challenging to determine which one requires less maintenance. Bokashi and traditional composting are two widely used techniques offering distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Bokashi composting is an anaerobic method that involves fermenting organic waste using a special mix of beneficial microorganisms. Unlike traditional composting, bokashi composting allows you to add all types of organic matter, including meat, dairy products, and even cooked food scraps. This makes it a convenient option for those who generate a lot of kitchen waste but lack the space for an outdoor composter.


We will compare Bokashi composting and traditional composting regarding time efficiency.

Traditional composting involves layering green and brown materials in a bin or pile, adding water, and periodically turning the mixture to facilitate decomposition. This method requires regular monitoring and manual labor to ensure proper aeration and moisture levels. The decomposition process can take several months to a year before the finished compost is ready for use in gardens or potted plants.

Bokashi composting offers a faster alternative for those seeking quicker results.


Traditional composting relies on aerobic decomposition, where microorganisms break down organic matter in the presence of oxygen. This method requires regular turning or mixing of the pile to ensure adequate airflow for microbial activity. While this process can produce nutrient-rich soil amendments over time, it often demands manual labor and careful management to maintain proper oxygen levels throughout decomposition.

Bokashi composting follows an anaerobic fermentation process that does not rely on as much oxygen.


Traditional composting typically requires a dedicated outdoor area or backyard garden plot, which can be prohibitive for those living in small apartments or urban areas with limited access to green spaces. Bokashi composting is ideal for space-scarce individuals as it can be easily implemented indoors. The process involves fermenting organic waste using beneficial microbes in a specially designed bokashi bucket or bin.

How to Make Bokashi Compost?

The bokashi method is one of the most accessible forms of home composting. Please follow the step-by-step guide given below:

Get materials

To start making bokashi compost, you will need a few essential materials. Acquire a sturdy container with an airtight lid – a bucket or a bin designed explicitly for bokashi composting. Collect kitchen scraps such as fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, tea bags (minus any staples), and even small amounts of cooked food. Avoid adding meat or dairy products as they can attract pests.

Add scraps

You can easily make bokashi compost at home by following a few simple steps. In a sealed container, start by collecting food waste such as vegetable peels, coffee grounds, eggshells, and leftover fruits. Chop the larger scraps into smaller pieces to speed up decomposition.

Once you have gathered your scraps, it’s time to add the bokashi mix. This mixture contains beneficial microorganisms that ferment the organic matter in an anaerobic environment. Sprinkle a handful of bokashi mix over the first layer of food waste and continue this process until all the scraps are covered evenly. Place a layer of plastic wrap or a lid on top of the container to create an airtight seal.

Mix bokashi bran with water and squish

Bokashi bran is a mix of wheat bran infused with beneficial microorganisms that aid fermentation. 

Once enough waste is collected, sprinkle a layer of the bokashi bran over the top. Then, using gloves or a spoon, press down on the mixture to release air bubbles and ensure everything is evenly coated in the bran.

Keep adding food scraps

Begin adding your food scraps on top of the bran layer. You can add all sorts of waste like fruit and vegetable peels, leftover cooked food, tea bags, and even small bones or fish parts.

Remove excess liquid 

To remove excess liquid from your bokashi bin, start by ensuring that your container has a drainage system. Many commercially available bokashi bins come with a built-in spigot at the bottom for easy leachate removal. If your bin doesn’t have one, consider drilling a small hole near the base and attaching a tap or valve for convenient draining.

Place the matter in a spot that is not used for gardening

Choose a suitable spot for your bokashi bin. It should be located in an area not used for gardening. If space is limited, this could be a corner of your garage or basement or even under the sink. Can you know How to Make Compost at Home for Gardening?

Add to your garden soil

To begin making bokashi compost, gather all your food waste, such as vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and eggshells. Avoid using meat or dairy products as they can attract pests. Chop the trash into small pieces to accelerate decomposition. Add a layer of bokashi bran – an essential ingredient with microorganisms responsible for breaking down organic matter – to the bottom of an airtight container.


Bokashi composting offers a simple and effective way to recycle food waste and create nutrient-rich soil. Its unique fermentation process breaks down organic matter quickly and efficiently without the need for worms or heat. The resulting bokashi compost can be used in gardens, potted plants, or even indoor houseplants to promote healthy growth and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers. By implementing bokashi composting into our daily lives, we can take a small but significant step towards reducing landfill waste and contributing to a more sustainable future. So why not give it a try? Start your bokashi composting system today and positively impact your garden and the environment.


Is Bokashi composting odor-free?

Yes, one of the advantages of Bokashi composting is that it produces very little odor. The fermentation process creates a slight pickled smell that dissipates quickly when the fermented waste is buried or added to traditional compost piles.

Can I use Bokashi compost in my garden immediately after fermentation?

No, the fermented waste from Bokashi bins cannot be used directly on plants as it may still have an acidic pH and could harm them. It needs further decomposition before being added to soil or mixed with regular compost.

Can I use Bokashi composting in an apartment or with limited outdoor space?

Absolutely! Bokashi composting is ideal for apartments or homes with limited outdoor space, as it can be done indoors without producing any foul odors. The fermented waste can then be buried in potted plants or taken to a community garden for further decomposition.

Maria Khan