Homemade Sauerkraut


Cabbage, salt, and sugar (plus some time) are all that's required to make a standout homemade sauerkraut recipe. Serve this German sauerkraut recipe on brats or corned beef sandwiches.

Homemade Sauerkraut
Photo: Jason Donnelly
Prep Time:
45 mins
Stand Time:
2 hrs
Total Time:
2 hrs 45 mins
8 cups


  • 3 - 4 pound green or red cabbage

  • 1 ½ tablespoon pickling salt

  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  1. Remove outer leaves from cabbage. Quarter cabbage heads lengthwise; remove cores. Using a mandoline, food processor, or large chef's knife, finely shred cabbage. Measure 2 1/2 pounds shredded cabbage.

  2. Place the 2 1/2 pounds shredded cabbage in a large ceramic crock, glass container, or plastic food container that holds at least 1 gallon. Add pickling salt and sugar. Using very clean hands or tongs, toss cabbage with pickling salt and sugar. Let stand 10 minutes. Using a clean, heavy plate that fits just inside the container, press plate down on cabbage. Let stand at room temperature for 2 to 24 hours, tossing cabbage and pressing plate down on cabbage every hour or until enough liquid is released to cover cabbage by at least 1 inch. (If cabbage does not release enough liquid, add enough water to cover in a ratio of 1 cup water to 1 teaspoon pickling salt.)

  3. Place a large resealable plastic bag filled with 1 quart water plus 4 teaspoons salt (or a clean 1-gallon jug full of water) over the plate to weight it down. Cover container with a clean dishcloth or loose-fitting lid. Place container in a cool place out of direct sunlight to ferment. At temperatures between 70ºF and 75ºF, fermentation will take 3 to 4 weeks; at 60ºF to 65ºF, fermentation will take 5 to 6 weeks. The sauerkraut is ready when it has a slightly crunchy texture and pleasantly tangy flavor.

  4. Every 2 or 3 days, replace dishcloth with a clean dishcloth, skim off any scum that forms on surface of cabbage, and clean and replace plate. If any discolored cabbage appears at the top, remove and discard it. If the water level gets too low, add enough water to cover in a ratio of 1 cup water to 1 teaspoon salt.

  5. Transfer undrained sauerkraut to canning jars or airtight containers; seal and label. Store in the refrigerator up to 2 months.

Apple-Caraway Sauerkraut:

Prepare as directed, except add 1 large or 2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and shredded or finely chopped, and 1 tablespoon caraway seeds to the cabbage with the salt in Step 2.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

10 Calories
2g Carbs
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 32
Calories 10
% Daily Value *
Sodium 338mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Total Sugars 2g
Vitamin C 13mg 65%
Calcium 14mg 1%
Iron 0.2mg 1%
Potassium 60mg 1%
Folate, total 15.2mcg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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