How To Make Homemade Sauerkraut

how to make homemade sauerkraut recipe

How To Make Homemade Sauerkraut in a one-quart Mason Jar

Sauerkraut is the German style of fermented cabbage.  Finely shredded cabbage is frequently mixed with other ingredients such as caraway seeds, carrots, and garlic. Red cabbage, napa cabbage, and other cabbages all make great sauerkraut, thus making it fun to create unique and enjoyable flavors all your own.

How to make homemade sauerkraut recipe:
1. Chop/shred cabbage and any additional vegetables.
2. Mix the cabbage mixture by hand and sprinkle with sea salt and spices.
3. See the full recipe below.

Although sauerkraut is a traditional German and Eastern European food, variations of it appear around the earth.  In the past sauerkraut was especially useful because it provided the vitamins and nutrients of fresh vegetables throughout long sea voyages and during the long winter.

Sauerkraut easily keeps for several months if refrigerated.  I have eaten sauerkraut well over six months old; it is fine although it begins to lose its crispness at the half-year mark.

Fermented Foods are Healing Foods

The process of lactic acid fermentation transforms salt and vegetables into fermented foods and increases food enzymes and vitamins, especially vitamin B.

Using this process to turn salt and cabbage into sauerkraut is yet another example of using food to help maintain, nourish, and heal the gut.

Homemade sauerkraut is full of beneficial bacteria, which are friendly microorganisms that help to colonize the gut, support the immune system, and develop vitamins in the digestive tract.

Why You Should Make Your Own Sauerkraut at Home

Money talks, and we all want to save money, right?

Homemade sauerkraut is easy and inexpensive. Buying sauerkraut that actually has the probiotics in it at a grocery store or online easily runs you $15 or more per jar.

If you thought all sauerkraut sold in stores has probiotics, you are wrong. Check out my post Does store-bought sauerkraut have probiotics?

Buying the ingredients, organic cabbage, sea salt, and a few mason jars, you can make your own.

And the best part about it is you can adjust the flavor to your personal preference, whether that is more or less sour, adding in garlic, spices, peppers, even apples.

The Good Stuff Takes Time

Keep in mind the fermentation process will take longer in colder temperatures and shorter in warmer temperatures. The key is not to let your kitchen get too warm, or you invite an off taste to the sauerkraut. Keep your kitchen temp 80 degrees or lower.

Tasting the sauerkraut, after about a week, should give you some idea of how sour you want it. If you prefer a sweeter flavor, then it will most likely be ready after one week.

But if you crave the sour kind, then consider waiting a few months. I find that one to two months if perfect for me.

Like spicy foods? Add peppers and garlic to the mix. They will take time to marinate together for a real “punch” to your sense.

How about making it a little sweet to help get your kids to eat it too. Just add apples, a little lemon juice, caraway and fennel to the recipe. You will be surprised at how fast your children will jump on the “healthy gut” bandwagon without even knowing it.


Use organic cabbage when able to find (or grow your own!)

When sealing up the cabbage in a jar or fermenting crock, fill the vessel to its neck with the cabbage mixture, place the ferment weights over it to ensure that the veggies rest below the liquid. You can also use clean stones, a ziplock bag with water or just fold up some large cabbage leaves and press them over the top of the mixture.

how to make homemade sauerkraut

Supplies for making Sauerkraut

1-quart Wide Mouth  Mason Jars  

Metal canning lids   

Meat tenderizer or another compacting tool which can fit inside the mouth of the jar  

Something to keep the vegetables submerged below the brine. A glass weight, or even a few clean stones, a ziplock bag with a little water in it ,  even a few cabbage leaves placee on top of the sauerkraut mixture will do the trick. 

Want to learn  more about the what, why and how of keeping veggies submerged below the brine? Read my article, Fermentation Weights: How to Keep Veggies Submerged.

How To Make Homemade Sauerkraut

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Category: Fermented Food Recipe

Servings: 1 quart

how to make homemade sauerkraut recipe

Delicious homemade sauerkraut recipe.


  • 1 Medium Head of Cabbage (preferably fresh, local, and organic)
  • 1 Medium Carrot
  • Sea Salt 1 to 3 Tbsp. Per quart of water. The amount of salt used can vary according to personal taste preference.
  • Spices and additional vegetables of choice


  1. Chop up or shred the cabbage and any additional vegetables into small pieces.
  2. Mix the cabbage mixture by hand and sprinkle with sea salt and spices.
  3. Cover and let it sit for a half hour; this allows the salt to draw the fluid out of the cabbage. Do this two to three times until it produces enough liquid to cover the cabbage.
  4. Ladle the cabbage into the mason jars and compact with the meat tenderizer by pressing down firmly
  5. Place a stone on top of the cabbage to hold it underwater. If necessary, add a bit of water to ensure the cabbage is completely covered.
  6. Add more water if needed so that cabbage remains below the water line.
  7. Put covers on mason jars and close securely.
  8. Leave the jars in a dark place at room temperature (60-70°F is preferred) for at least three days until desired flavor and texture are achieved.
  9. However the longer you wait, the better it will taste. I like to wait at least four weeks before eating it.
  10. Check the sauerkraut every couple of days to see if it needs burping to release excess pressure.
  11. Once the sauerkraut has reached your desired flavor, you can store in the refrigerator. The sauerkraut flavor will continue to develop as it ages.

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