Table of Contents
  1. Why this recipe works.
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
  6. You'll love these other savory preserving recipes.
  7. Watch how to make this recipe.
  8. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  9. How to Make Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe

Sauerkraut is a great addition to so many types of meals and is simple to create at home. Homemade sauerkraut ferments over a few days and holds incredible taste while providing great probiotic benefits. Simply using kosher salt and cabbage, this sauerkraut comes together with minimal effort and equipment!

Why this recipe works.

You’re either team sauerkraut or team no sauerkraut. I have always been on the team that loves sauerkraut but have many friends who are the opposite. This recipe is for the latter team. For the people who love sauerkraut, love to eat it on their brats, with pork chops, and maybe even by itself. This is an ode to my love for sauerkraut and how easy it is to make the real stuff. Wait, real stuff?

That’s right, there are two types of sauerkraut. The first is the canned shelf-stable kind usually has sugar and is really pickled cabbage. The second is lacto-fermented sauerkraut or cabbage that has been fermented at room temperature with salt until it creates the perfect “sour” flavor. The fermented sauerkraut has immense health benefits but more so have much more nuanced flavors that are unmatched. If you love or want to sauerkraut, this is the recipe for you.

White marble surface with glass quart jar filled with homemade sauerkraut showing texture of finished recipe.

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

The greatest part about the ingredients for this homemade sauerkraut recipe is that it is comprised of only two things! You heard that right: two simple ingredients that are easily found in most grocery stores. With that in mind, there’s no excuse for not making this recipe!

  • Cabbage is the main ingredient and will transform in flavor and appearance as it ferments to create the sauerkraut. Choose an organic cabbage with no preservatives which can inhibit the fermentation process.
  • Kosher salt, or sea salt, or a salt that has no additives or preservatives is essential to create a safe environment for the cabbage to ferment and not spoil.
White marble surface with upside head of cabbage and a canister of kosher salt.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

  1. Prepare the cabbage. Cut the cabbage into quarters, setting aside the outer ribbed leaves for later. Using a kraut cutter, knife, or mandolin, slice the cabbage into thin strips or other desired size.
  1. Season the cabbage. In a large bowl, combine the kosher salt and shredded cabbage. Massage the salt into the cabbage, squeezing lightly. Continue until the volume of the cabbage is reduced, and liquid can be squeezed out of the cabbage.
  1. Pack the jar. Place the cabbage in a jar and press downward. Fill until about 1 inch of space is still exposed at the top of the jar. Using the outer leaves, cut roughly larger than the size of the jar. Press it over the top of the shredded cabbage, pushing it beneath the liquid. Seal with the lid and place in a dark place. Remove the lid each day to allow gas to escape. Taste after 2 to 3 days. Continue to let ferment for up to 9 days until the desired taste is achieved. Once ready, refrigerate to end the fermentation process.

These pro tips will make this recipe a success.

  • Organic cabbage is crucial for the success of this process. Chemicals inherent in non-organic cabbage can inhibit the fermentation process, making it difficult to make sauerkraut properly. Using organic cabbage ensures there are no chemicals that can stop that.
  • Using salt with nothing added is vital. Table salt can contain iodine, which can make the sauerkraut cloudy. Canning or sea salt can also be used, but it measures differently. This recipe is written for kosher salt.
  • The cabbage must stay below the liquid to ferment properly. The outer leaves of the cabbage can be used to press it down. Specialty canning weights or springs can also be used to keep the cabbage fully contained within the liquid.
  • Use a clean utensil each time a serving is removed from the jar. Used utensils can introduce bacteria that can alter the flavor or make the sauerkraut go rancid.
Big glass jar filled with homemade sauerkraut with pieces of carrot included in the mixture along with the shredded cabbage.
This recipe can also be spiced up a bit with some added carrots.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe.

What can sauerkraut be served with?

Naturally fermented sauerkraut is delicious on its own or served as a side. Try it on brats, with pork chops, or with a salad. I usually love to eat it alongside my meal.

What else can be added to the cabbage while fermenting?

Yes! I find it always best to start with only cabbage and then build your own mixture after getting used to the process. Spices such as caraway, juniper, or dill can be added. Also, various vegetables can be mixed in, like carrots.

How long will this sauerkraut last once fermented?

Once the fermentation process is finished, the sauerkraut is stored in the refrigerator and has a long shelf life of about 3 to 6 months.

Quart jar with black screwtop lid filled with homemade sauerkraut sitting on white marble surface.

Watch how to make this recipe.

More preserving recipes

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you can let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they, too, can make, enjoy, and love!

Quart jar filled with homemade sauerkraut made from cabbage with gray screwtop lid with another larger glass jar in background filled with more sauerkraut.

How to Make Homemade Sauerkraut

5 from 6 votes
Sauerkraut is a great addition to so many types of meals and is simple to create at home. Homemade sauerkraut ferments over a few days and holds incredible taste while providing great probiotic benefits. Simply using kosher salt and cabbage, this sauerkraut comes together with minimal effort and equipment!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 7 days
Total Time 7 days 20 minutes
Servings 8 servings (1 qt jar)

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs organic cabbage shredded
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt

Instructions
 

  • Clean the cabbage. Remove any large outer leaves with thick ribs and set them aside. Use a kraut cutter, mandolin, or sharp knife to slice the cabbage. The cabbage can be sliced up to ¼-inch thick or smaller.
  • In a large bowl, combine the shredded cabbage and kosher salt. Toss the two ingredients together and gently massage the salt into the cabbage. Allow the cabbage and salt to rest until juice begins to collect in the bottom of the bowl, about 4-6 minutes.
    2 lbs organic cabbage, 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • Pack the cabbage into a quart jar, slightly pressing to cover it with its own liquid. Pour any remaining liquid in the bowl over the packed cabbage. The cabbage needs to stay below liquid at all times during fermentation. Cut a piece of the reserved cabbage outer leaf into a smaller size that fits into the quart jar. Press the outer leaf onto the shredded cabbage and use it as a weight to keep the cabbage below the liquid.
  • Put a lid on the jar and place it in a spot out of direct sunlight. Once a day, remove the lid to allow the collected gas to escape. Begin to taste the sauerkraut after 2-3 days. Let the sauerkraut sit for up to 9 days until it achieves the desired sour flavor. Once finished, remove the top piece of cabbage and store the sauerkraut in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation process.

Notes

  • Organic cabbage is crucial for the success of this process. Chemicals inherent in non-organic cabbage can inhibit the fermentation process, making it difficult to make sauerkraut properly. Using organic cabbage ensures there are no chemicals that can stop that.
  • Using salt with nothing added is vital. Table salt can contain iodine, which can make the sauerkraut cloudy. Canning or sea salt can also be used, but it measures differently. This recipe is written for kosher salt.
  • The cabbage must stay below the liquid to ferment properly. The outer leaves of the cabbage can be used to press it down. Specialty canning weights or springs can also be used to keep the cabbage fully contained within the liquid.
  • Use a clean utensil each time a serving is removed from the jar. Used utensils can introduce bacteria that can alter the flavor or make the sauerkraut go rancid.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 28kcal
Course Preserving
Cuisine American
Difficulty Easy
Method Fermenting

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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13 Comments

  1. Hi Kaleb, I adore eating sauerkraut and have always wanted to try making it. Thank you for sharing a recipe for just one quart for those of us who like to try something small before making a huge commitment.
    I have one question regarding the leaf of cabbage used as a weight. Does it have to be under there liquid too?
    Thanks again, Mona

  2. I just made the kraut. I made two 1 1/2 quart jars full. Got the bigger jars at Walmart. I didn’t get enough liquid to cover the kraut so added some filtered water. I’m hoping it turns out ok. Will unscrew kids tomorrow and taste after a few days.

  3. 5 stars
    Put a jar of kraut this weekend and am loving the results!

    That being said, while I love the flavor of the kraut itself, my brine is overwhelmingly salty. Like swimming in the ocean salty. My cabbage wasn’t producing enough liquid so I added more salt to make more liquid. It worked, but yikes!

    Any suggestions on what to do differently next time? Can I just add water? (I am cooking at 7000 feet if that would make a difference)

    Also I’d love to know how much sea salt to use instead of kosher salt as that is what I have easier access to.

  4. 5 stars
    Hi Kaleb, I’m so anxious to try, making sauerkraut the way you demonstrated. I’m sure it will come out great I’m just a little bit hesitant as I don’t know the ratio of salt to cabbage. I looked but did not see any ratios posted. Would you mind providing it for me. By the way, you are a very smart man and I love watching all your videos. They make me get want to get right to making whatever you’ve demonstrated.

  5. 5 stars
    This is day 4 of your sauerkraut recipe fermenting in a quart jar. This afternoon noticed the brine on top now is a layer of tiny bubbles? Is
    this normal and part of the fermentation process or not good?
    Please let me know soon before I taste it! 😜