Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe [Easy Small-Batch] Fermenters Kitchen (2024)

This post may include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.You can read my complete affiliate disclosure for more details.

Jump to Recipe

Making Homemade Sauerkraut is Very Easy

Sauerkraut is a classic fermented condiment made of cabbage and salt. What's fun about making sauerkraut at home is its endless opportunities to customize the taste. Let's dive in!

This recipe for fermented sauerkraut is acidic and sour, with a subtle saltiness and a bit of tangy, and perfect for liberally topping hotdogs and salads or eating large bite fulls straight out of the jar.

It's easily made at home and can be adapted to your tastes–mild or spicy, more or less sour.

Add jalapenos and onions for just the right amount of spice. It's perfectly briny and crunchy. If you like a sweeter sauerkraut, add pears and apples to the recipe.

Why You Are Going To Love This Recipe

  1. Simplicity at its Best:This recipe requires two main ingredients: cabbage and salt. It's an uncomplicated process that yields complex flavors.
  2. Health Boost:Sauerkraut is a nutritional powerhouse. Rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, it's also a fantastic source of probiotics that support digestion and strengthen the immune system.
  3. Gut-Friendly:Probiotics are known for their positive impact on gut health. Including sauerkraut in your diet can contribute to a well-balanced gut microbiome, which is essential for overall well-being.
  4. Versatility:While the basic recipe is delightful on its own, sauerkraut can be a versatile addition to your meals. Use it as a topping side dish or incorporate it into recipes for added zing.
  5. Cost-Effective:Store-bought fermented foods can be pricey, but making your sauerkraut home is a cost-effective way to enjoy its benefits.

** If you want to reap the health benefits of fermented foods, make sauerkraut without vinegar.

Ingredients for Classic Sauerkraut


When fermenting sauerkraut, we like to find the crispiest head of cabbage, preferably freshly picked from the garden or purchased from the farmer's market. When they're not in season, we scour the market shelves until we find the firmest ones possible.

Like selecting cucumbers for fermented pickles, you want the cabbage to be healthy and fresh, so they are full of water and retain a crunch.

Use fresh (and preferably organic) ingredients. The better your cabbage and other vegetables taste when they are new, the better your sauerkraut will taste in the end.

Ensure the cabbage is finely shredded. Use acabbage sliceror cut your vegetables by hand.

Make delicious sauerkraut with various cabbages:Try different types of cabbage, such as red cabbage and napa cabbage. Make individual batches or combine varied kinds for a multi-colored sauerkraut!


A vital component of making sauerkraut is using good quality salt. Not only does salt create that iconic fermented food taste, but it also allows the fermentation process to occur.

The salt brine makes the much-needed anaerobic conditions for fermentation and prevents the cabbage from being exposed to the air, where it may begin to mold.

Finally, adding salt will prevent the vegetables from softening too quickly, allowing them to remain crunchy over a more extended period.

Related Topic: How Much Salt to use to Make Sauerkaut

Additional Vegetables and Seasoning

You can add many vegetables to a sauerkraut recipe to add more flavor. Try carrots, jalapenos, onions, garlic, bell peppers, juniper berries, and apples or pears. Caraway seeds, mustard seeds, and peppercorns add great flavor as well.

Be sure to cut each vegetable to match the cabbage's size to balance the texture of the final dish. You don't want large chunks of onion mixed in with shredded cabbage.

Let's get straight to the point on how to make fermented sauerkraut without any vinegar. Here's the no-nonsense recipe:


  • 1 medium-sized cabbage (about 3-5 pounds)
  • 2-3 tablespoons salt (sea salt, kosher or non-iodized)


  • Cutting board
  • Chef's knife
  • Large mixing bowl
  • 2-quart wide-mouth jars
  • Canning funnel (optional)
  • glass weights for weighing the vegetables down
  • Cloth for covering the jar, such as cheesecloth
  • Rubber band or twine for securing the cloth


  1. Chop and Shred:Slice the cabbage into thin strips. Chuck the outer leaves and save a couple to use later.
  2. Salt and Sit:Mix the shredded cabbage with the salt in the mixing bowl. Massage it with your fists for about 5 minutes until it gets juicy. Let it chill for 10-15 minutes. Repeat 2-3 times until there enough brine.
  3. Pack It Up:Start shoving the cabbage into the jar. Pack it in tight and press it down while you go. Pour any liquid from the bowl into the jar.
  4. Weight It Down:Place one of the saved outer leaves on top of the cabbage like a blanket. Put a glass weight on top to keep things submerged.
  5. Cover and Wait:Cover the jar with a clean cloth or paper towel, secured with a rubber band. Let it hang out in a room that's not too hot or cold. Fermentation needs its space, so give it 10 days to do its thing. Wait 30 days for even more flavor.
  6. Check and Taste:Peek at it every day or so. You might see bubbles or a funky smell – that's the fermentation at work. After a few days, taste it. Once it's tangy and to your liking, it's go time.
  7. Move to the Fridge:Once it's got the right tang, stick it in the fridge.

Wide Mouth Mason Jars 16 oz 5 pack

Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe [Easy Small-Batch] Fermenters Kitchen (8)

Masontops Pickle Packer

Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe [Easy Small-Batch] Fermenters Kitchen (9)

Fermentation Kit-4 Glass Fermentation Weights,4 Fermenting Lids,4 airlocks

Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe [Easy Small-Batch] Fermenters Kitchen (10)

DASH Safe Slice® Mandoline Slicer

Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe [Easy Small-Batch] Fermenters Kitchen (11)

Last update on 2024-02-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Give This Sauerkraut Recipe A Twist


Are you ready to create something new? Add the following ingredients to the classic sauerkraut recipe for a sweeter flavor.The following portions will work well with one medium head of cabbage.

  • One pear or apple chopped
  • One carrot shredded
  • One tablespoon of finely grated ginger
  • Handful of Juniper Berries or raisins


Regular sauerkraut is excellent, but what if you want to add a new spine to an old favorite. Here are a few ingredients to make a spicy fermented sauerkraut. Only use some of these ingredients, one or two per recipe.

  • One large jalapeno diced
  • ½ habanero pepper diced
  • ½ white onion diced
  • 2-3 tablespoons Gochugaru Korean Chilli Flakes
  • One tablespoon of mustard seed

That's all, folks! No vinegar is needed in this easy homemade sauerkraut recipe, just cabbage, salt, and patience. Or get creative and spice it up!

Slap that sauerkraut on hot dogs, sandwiches, or eat it straight from the jar (no judgment here). It's DIY deliciousness in a jar!

Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe [Easy Small-Batch] Fermenters Kitchen (12)

Homemade Sauerkraut

Yield:4 - 6 cups

Prep Time:1 hour

Fermentation Time:30 days

Additional Time:28 days

Total Time:1 month 27 days 15 hours

Making homemade sauerkraut is super easy, and there are plenty of ways to spice it up and make it unique. Enjoy all the health benefits of the vibrant probiotics and the superior taste of homemade sauerkraut!


  • 1 medium head of cabbage ( about 3 – 5 lbs, preferably organic)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sea salt, kosher or non-iodized
  • additional vegetables, peppers, or seasonings


  1. Start by cleaning the jars and tools thoroughly. Hot soapy water will do just fine.
  2. You will use your hands to massage the salt into the cabbage, so give those a good wash, too.
  3. Finely shred the cabbage and any other vegetables.
  4. Place the vegetables in a large bowl in layers while sprinkling a little salt.
  5. Sprinkle with 1 ½ tablespoons of salt, mix, pound, and massage the cabbage by hand.
  6. Cover and let it sit for 15 minutes; this allows the salt to draw the fluid out of the vegetables.
  7. Repeat 2 – 3 more times.
  8. Periodically taste the mixture to determine how much salt you need to add. It should be a little salty but not too salty. Add more salt as needed.
  9. It is ready when you can squeeze a handful of cabbage, and the liquid runs freely into the bowl.
  10. Scoop the cabbage mixture into the mason jars and pack it down firmly by hand or use a kraut pounder.
  11. Fill the jar only about ⅔ full so it has room to expand.
  12. Place a weight on the cabbage to hold it under the brine.
  13. Use an Airlock system on the glass jar and close it securely. You might need 2-3 jars.
  14. Store the jars away from sunlight and at room temperature (60-70°F is preferred) for at least seven days.
  15. Burp the jars every few days to release excess pressure from the gas buildup. Skip this step if using an Airlock system.
  16. The sauerkraut can take 4 to 6 weeks, depending on your preference.
  17. Continue to test it every few weeks; when it has reached the desired flavor, it is ready to enjoy.


Ingredents for Sweet Sauerkraut:

  • One pear or apple chopped
  • One carrot shredded
  • One tablespoon of finely grated ginger
  • Handful of Juniper Berries or raisins

Ingredients for Spicy Sauerkraut: Choose 1 or 2 per recipe.

  • One large jalapeno diced
  • ½ habanero pepper diced
  • ½ white onion diced
  • 2-3 tablespoons Gochugaru Korean Chilli Flakes
  • One tablespoon of mustard seed

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe [Easy Small-Batch] Fermenters Kitchen (2024)


How to make a small batch of homemade sauerkraut? ›

  1. Clean everything. ...
  2. Slice the cabbage. ...
  3. Combine the cabbage and salt. ...
  4. Pack the cabbage into the jar. ...
  5. Weigh the cabbage down. ...
  6. Cover the jar. ...
  7. Press the cabbage every few hours. ...
  8. Add extra liquid, if needed.

What is the shortest time to ferment sauerkraut? ›

But the truth is that how long you ferment also depends on how you like it. In a warm room in a house, you will have enough fermentation for mild sauerkraut in just 3 or 4 days. After that, the longer it goes, the more the flavor develops, until it reaches maximum acid levels.

Does sauerkraut fermentation require vinegar? ›

Despite the tangy flavor of sauerkraut, most recipes (especially the authentic ones) out there don't require vinegar brine for the fermentation process. In this old world-style recipe, all you need is two pounds of cabbage, a couple of carrots, sugar and salt. That's right – it couldn't get any easier!

How much salt do you put in a quart jar when making sauerkraut? ›

Be sure the container is deep enough so that its rim is at least 4 or 5 inches above the cabbage. If juice does not cover the cabbage, add boiled and cooled brine (1-1/2 tablespoons of salt per quart of water).

How long to ferment small batch sauerkraut? ›

Store the container at 70°–75°F (21°–23°C) while fermenting. At these temperatures, sauerkraut will be fully fermented in about three to four weeks; at 60°–65°F (15°–18°C), fermentation may take six weeks. Below 60°F (15°C), sauerkraut may not ferment.

How much salt for 2 lbs of cabbage to make sauerkraut? ›

You want 2% salt by weight, so 20 grams of salt for every kilogram of cabbage, or roughly one tablespoon of Diamond Crystal kosher salt per pound of cabbage. Trim and core the cabbage, removing the outermost leaves.

Should fermenting sauerkraut be kept in the dark? ›

While the cabbage is fermenting it is best to keep it on the counter away from direct sunlight. You can also keep it in a dark place like a cabinet if you wish. The ideal fermenting temperature is 60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C). In other words, room temperature.

What is the salt ratio for fermenting sauerkraut? ›

In sauerkraut making, salt is often expressed as a percentage of the total weight of cabbage and other vegetables in the recipe. The most widely used ratio of 2.00%–2.25% weight of salt to weight of cabbage gives the best results.

Can I open sauerkraut while fermenting? ›

Opening the Jar During Fermentation

Undesirable organisms could then develop on the surface of the vegetables. The best thing to do is to leave the lid on and leave your jars alone.

Why is my homemade sauerkraut mushy? ›

The texture of your sauerkraut can vary from crisp and crunchy to soggy and soft and is dependent upon the amount of salt used, the temperature you are fermenting at and how long you ferment.

Can I add sugar to fermenting sauerkraut? ›

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.

What interferes with the fermentation process of sauerkraut? ›

Do not use aluminum, copper, brass, galvanized or iron containers for fermenting sauerkraut; these metals will react with the acids and salt in the sauerkraut, discolor it and leach into it. Use large enough containers to allow 4 to 5 inches of space between the top of the cabbage and the top of the container.

What happens if you use too much salt when making sauerkraut? ›

The amount of salt you use determines the rate at which fermentation takes place. Too much salt is a “Go away.” sign for the beneficial bacteria, the lactobacillus that you want living and multiplying in your jar. Fermentation slows way down or doesn't happen at all.

What kind of salt is best for sauerkraut? ›

Sea salt works well, or rock salt. Watch out for the salt labelled 'pickling salt', it often has anti-caking agents in it which can negatively affect your fermentation. If you're not sure, read the ingredients, there should just be one! A fine grind of salt is required for this type of pickling.

What kind of cabbage is best for sauerkraut? ›

Danish Ballhead, Late Flat Head and Premium Late Dutch are good cabbage varieties for sauerkraut. Krautman is one of the most popular varieties for making sauerkraut, and growers are encouraged to try new varieties as well.

How to make sauerkraut step by step? ›

  1. Prepare cabbage: Discard outer leaves, then rinse heads under cold water and drain. ...
  2. Salt cabbage: Layer cabbage with salt in large mixing container. ...
  3. Pack container: Using clean hands or optional tamper, pack a handful of the cabbage into the fermenting container(s). ...
  4. Ferment: ...
  5. Store: ...
  6. Enjoy!

Do you add water to cabbage when making sauerkraut? ›

If you did not get enough juice from salting and pounding your cabbage, you can moisten it a little with a brine, using a 1/2 tablespoon unrefined sea salt with 1 cup of filtered water.

Is it cheaper to make your own sauerkraut? ›

Why make your own sauerkraut/kimchi? There are so many reasons! COST: making your own fermented veggies is WAY cheaper than buying them at the store! FLEXIBLE FLAVORS AND SALT LEVEL: making your own fermented veggies allows you to put whatever ingredients, flavors, level of salt or hot pepper that you want.

How to make old fashioned sauerkraut in a 5 gallon bucket? ›

  1. Remove outer leaves, wash, core and slice cabbage.
  2. Add cabbage to a 5-gallon bucket and massage in 6 Tablespoons of salt.
  3. Tamp down until the juices start to come to the surface. ( ...
  4. Use a plate and some weights to press the cabbage down underneith the liquid.
  5. Store in a dark, cool space for 5-6 weeks.
May 14, 2020


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Mr. See Jast

Last Updated:

Views: 6690

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (75 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Mr. See Jast

Birthday: 1999-07-30

Address: 8409 Megan Mountain, New Mathew, MT 44997-8193

Phone: +5023589614038

Job: Chief Executive

Hobby: Leather crafting, Flag Football, Candle making, Flying, Poi, Gunsmithing, Swimming

Introduction: My name is Mr. See Jast, I am a open, jolly, gorgeous, courageous, inexpensive, friendly, homely person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.