Make Sauerkraut Less Sour

How To Make Sauerkraut Less Sour?

It happens. With all the best intentions in the world, you find a batch of sauerkraut has turned out tasting sour, but how do you fix too sour sauerkraut?

Here are a few easy tips on how to fix too sour sauerkraut!

Did you know that sauerkraut is chock full of vitamins, minerals, and probiotics? It’s low in calories, high in vitamin C, B, K, calcium, and magnesium. It’s also a great source of dietary fiber and iron. If you eat it raw, it’s full of wonderful probiotics and enzymes that are ever so good for your digestive tract. Many people even drink sauerkraut brine as a great way to keep your kidneys clean.

With all this goodness, it would be a shame to toss out a batch of sauerkraut because it is too sour.

How Does Sauerkraut Get Its Sour Flavor?

Sauerkraut gets its sour flavor from lactic acid produced by the lactic acid bacteria (LAB) that eats the sugars in the cabbage and vegetables.

The sauerkraut will reach its max levels of tang when the sugars have been completely converted to lactic acid.

How To Sweeten Sauerkraut?

Adding a little sweetness will balance out the acidity, sourness, and bitterness of sauerkraut. But sweetness can come from many sources other than plain white sugar; consider applesauce, diced apples, pears, or pureed dates as sweeteners that also add flavor and mouth-feel.

Other ways to get a balancing sweetness might include adding sweet vegetable ingredients such as shredded carrots, corn, or daikon radishes.

Dried fruit is a common staple found in most pantries and is sweet as well; try adding a few tablespoons of raisins, figs, or apricots to a batch of too sour sauerkraut.

Add A Little Fat

Sauerkraut that has become too sour or acidic can be balanced out by the addition of creamy, fatty ingredients such as tahini, avocado, or a little olive oil, depending on the flavors that you’re working with. Mix a ½ cup of the sauerkraut with avocado and enjoy!

Rinse & Drain Too Sour Sauerkraut

If you are using the sauerkraut in a recipe such as brats, soup, casserole, pork, or salad, then rinsing it first with cold water and draining it will help remove any sour and salty flavors.

Quick Sauerkraut & Onions Recipe To Reduce Sour Flavors

Start by sauteing onions then add in the drained sauerkraut along with 1tbsp sugar, a pinch of sea salt, and black pepper. Let it cook for a few minutes on its own before adding it to your final recipe.

Try adding other traditional flavorings to offset the sour taste such as peppercorns, bay leaves, juniper berries, caraway, and or anise seeds.

A trick German’s would use to fix too sour sauerkraut is to cook it in a little butter with brown sugar and onions.

Baked Sauerkraut

Place the sauerkraut in a baking dish or casserole and add a small amount of water, sweet white wine, beer, chicken broth or other liquid, depending on your personal taste. Bake the sauerkraut at 275 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit until it’s softened, and its flavor profile has mellowed and is no longer sour.

It is Common for Fermented or Pickled Vegetables to Have Acidity to Them.

Instead of trying to fix it, try embracing the “mistake” and use it as a base in a delicious salad dressing. The brine from fermented vegetables adds both salty and sour notes that will transform any dressing or marinade.

Homemade Sauerkraut: Tips On How To Prevent Sour Sauerkraut

Tips for preventing homemade sauerkraut from turning out too sour.

When you make sauerkraut at home, you will have far better control of its flavors and final outcome. Here are a few tips on how to prevent homemade fermented sauerkraut recipes from becoming too sour.

First, start out with a larger size cabbage. The bigger, fully mature cabbage tends to have a sweeter flavor. Look for cabbage that is over six pounds.

Next, shorten the amount of time that you ferment the cabbage. In general, a shorter fermentation time results in a sauerkraut that is less bitter.

Fermenting sauerkraut yourself allows you the option of testing each batch to find the best fermentation time for your tastes.

Sample the cabbage at about four to five days after you started the batch and then every day or two thereafter. When it has the right flavor, stop the fermentation process by putting it in the refrigerator.

If it is still too sour, then simply rinse the sauerkraut with cold water and squeeze out the juices in a colander. It should be ready to eat.

Draining the liquid also will remove some of the acidity, resulting in milder, less sour sauerkraut.

If you are cooking with it, repeat the rinse and strain process once more before cooking it in your sauerkraut recipe.

Achieving the “right” fermentation time can be tricky when it comes to making sauerkraut at home, especially if you have several people with different flavor preferences.

Still, making homemade sauerkraut is quite rewarding in itself, and it allows you the flexibility to make many batches of sauerkraut that will appeal to your tastes for a mild flavor and those who prefer a stronger taste.

If you are ready to make a batch of sauerkraut, please check out our Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe.

One Last Tip: Take Notes! By keeping a fermentation journal of fermentation time, temperature, and other fermenting data allows patterns to emerge; you will be able to figure out a batch turned out the way it did.

When your sauerkraut is a little overly sour, salvaging it is not a problem. Reduce the acid content and neutralize the sour flavor with a variety of well-chosen ingredients that you probably have on hand. Combine these acid busters or add them individually to your sauerkraut or recipe to counteract the sourness and enhance the flavor.

Have an abundance of sauerkraut? Try any one of these 10 Delightful Ways To Eat Sauerkraut. You won’t be disappointed.

What do you do if your sauerkraut is too salty? Check out another helpful article from Fermenters Kitchen: Salty Sauerkraut & How To Fix It.


Hello! I’m Katie, mom, hobby fermenter, gardener, canner, and boundless experimenter. Here at Fermenters Kitchen, our team of enthusiast aims to encourage readers to embark on a fermentation journey with us, one bubbly jar at a time.