Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe




Introduction: Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe

About: I work at instructables by day, and turn into a stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @jessyratfink to see what i'm working on! ^_^

Sauerkraut was something I was not crazy about growing up, but I've grown to love it as an adult. Not only is it super delicious, raw sauerkraut is also probiotic. Yay for health benefits! Plus, this sauerkraut is some of the best I've ever had. Hands down. I love it!

I started making my own sauerkraut when I found this great article on making small batches of sauerkraut on the kitchn. I don't think I'll ever go back to buying it.

Buying sauerkraut can get pretty expensive when you go through as much of it as we do at my house, but making it at home is cheap and easy! All you really need is cabbage, salt, and time. And perhaps a sense of adventure, because making good sauerkraut at home is all about tasting, and you never know how it's going to taste from day to day. ;)

Step 1: Tools + Ingredients


  • cutting board + knife
  • large mixing bowl
  • 64 oz wide mouth glass jar - these work great! (You may be able to get it into a 32 oz jar, though.)
  • a smaller jar or glass that will fit into the mouth of the larger jar
  • beans or something similar for weighing the sauerkraut down
  • cheesecloth or open weave fabric

Make absolutely sure your jars, tools, and hands are very, very clean before you begin. Rinse them extremely well to make sure that no soap lingers, too - you don't want to harm any of the bacteria that will involved in the fermenting process.


  • salt
  • a head of green cabbage
  • water (optional - we'll get to this later)

Step 2: Prep the Cabbage

Peel the outer leaves off the cabbage - remove any that are wilted, dark green, or bruised.

Then cut the cabbage into eighths and cut the core from each piece. Slice each section into nice thin ribbons.

Step 3: Mix It With Salt

Place the sliced cabbage into a large bowl and add 1 1/2 tablespoons salt over the top.

Go wash your hands REALLY well.

Now, we knead the salt into the cabbage.

This part is pretty fun - just massage the cabbage in your hands for 5-10 minutes, until it's wilted, reduced in size, and has begun to lose liquid. It will become slightly darker during this time, too.

Step 4: Pack the Cabbage Into the Jar

Once the cabbage is nice and wilted, pack it into the canning jar. Press it down after every handful.

Pour any liquid leftover in the bottom of the bowl over the cabbage.

Step 5: Weigh It Down and Cover It

Now you'll want to use a spoon or spatula to scrape down the sides of the large jar and make sure you don't have any rogue cabbage clinging to the sides.

Insert the smaller glass or jar down into the larger jar and add something to weight it down - I'm using some old dried chickpeas I found in the back of my cabinets.

Once the weight is in, place an piece of cheesecloth or fabric over the top. You want the sauerkraut to be able to breathe, but you don't want dust/hair/other contaminants getting in. :)

Step 6: The Fermenting Process

The fermentation process will vary in duration, but will typically take around 10 days. the kitchn recipe states that the sauerkraut could be done in as few as three days, but it's never tasted sour enough for me at that point. You can even let it go for more than 10 days - but that's normally right where I like it. :)

Keep in mind that you should be fermenting the sauerkraut out of direct sunlight and in a warm but not hot area. 75 degrees F and up is not good - it can lead to mold growing and mushy sauerkraut.

During the first 24 hours, try to press the sauerkraut whenever you think about it. This is important because it allows the cabbage to release liquid. After 24 hours, if it doesn't have enough liquid to come above the top of the cabbage, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in a cup of water and pour it over.

After the first day, check the sauerkraut once a day to press it down and make sure all the cabbage is under liquid. After day three, begin to taste it when you check it.

Keep in mind that bubbles and foam are normal and a good thing to see! Don't be alarmed about that. Do check daily for mold - if you see any remove it immediately. The rest of the sauerkraut will be okay - I promise! You can't really do much to mess up sauerkraut.

As soon as the sauerkraut tastes good to you, remove the cloth and weight, close up the jar, and put it into the fridge for storage. The flavor will mature more in the fridge - it will become sharper and more sour.

Step 7: Storing Your Sauerkraut

Store your sauerkraut in the fridge. It will honestly keep well for months! A batch never lasts long enough around here for me to test it out, though.

However, the basic rule of sauerkraut is: if it looks normal, and tastes and smells good enough to eat, it is!

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33 Discussions


2 years ago

Jessie!! I just finished making a batch .. Got a question: Im letting it sit in a perfectly cylindrical 'vase about 14" high ... cuz I've a bottle of Thai fermented fish oil of near perfectly same outside dia as the vase's inside dia .. I cleaned both very well, then before insertion of the bottle as the weight, i wrapped in a layer of new plastic wrap.

The bottle is loose enough to slide into the vase with a small air-gap .. Do you think this arrangement will work? No cheesecloth on top yet .. will drape one later ...

The bottle weighs about 3/4th of a Kg .. is that too much weight? I fear that the final product might have less 'acetic acid' cuz of the 'more anaerobic ' conditions.. and more ethanol , which might not be a bad thing! lol

and thanks for what promises to be great success .. UNLESS, of course your advice is to toss the whole thing and actually follow your directions!!! :))))

THANKS for this and for the tons of other projects you've shared!!

(Now, on to the 'How to Make Bratenwurst' , including, how to spell it! )

Hi Thanks you for your recipe. But did you eat it uncooked ? And how do you cook it if you do ?

1 reply

It's best to eat it uncooked for the probiotic benefits!

Whenever I cook it, I normally brown some sausages or meat in a pan and then throw in a fistful or two of sauerkraut for the last few minutes. It'll soften a bit in the heat and flavor whatever else you're cooking. :)

Cooked sauerkraut is really great with boiled potatoes!

OH Cool. I love Kraut. My Grandmother used to make two good sized crocks. And of course the obligatory tales of explosions (dunno if it is true or not) . This small batch is a great idea since I am the only one in the house that eats eats. I fact I might be the only one that likes fermented food (Pickles, peppers...) Saving this to add to my collection. Thanks!

Great instructable! When the cabbage is fermenting does it have a smell? Wanted to know if my kitchen will smell like sauerkraut...

Nice instructable. The water from the sauerkraut is one of the best cures for hangover. We have a special name for it in my country and we often keep it after the fermentation as a drink. When you get used to it, it can taste really nice :)

1 reply

Kraut juice is a great chaser when consuming Moonshine too... I know it sounds revolting but it is damn good. Some cobblers from Missouri turned me onto that.


2 years ago

I'm sorry, but, like most sauerkraut recipes, this one neglects the very basic and simple concept of percent salt. Unfortunately, cabbages weigh anywhere from about a pound (or 2) to 40 pounds or more (ask anyone from Alaska). Any RESPECTABLE recipe for sauerkraut takes this into account and therefore gives the amount of salt as a percent of the weight of cabbage. This way, a reader can make a successful batch of sauerkraut in a relatively small jar with one small-ish head of cabbage or he or she might use several heads of cabbage in a large crock. By the way - if you have a food processor, the shedding disc is GREAT for this aplication, especially if you're making a rather large batch.

2 replies

So, what *is* the ratio that you suggest ?? I believe Jesse, not being from Alaska to my knowledge, is talking about the most-common supermarket variety of cabbage .. maybe 10" or less in diameter?? If so, then her 1 1/2 Tb would work out to be a amount of salt that is compatible with your comment?

Fortunately for me, living here in a largely Polish farming community in New England; cabbages are everywhere .. and it's quite neighborly to be sure that residents have access to the best of the best here, gratis!

The link I've shown here is merely to show you all just how SERIOUS this neck of the woods considers cabbage and vegie's generally! :


and THANKS, Jesse, for another great 'structable !!

Ooops! Shoulda said - try 2% salt by WEIGHT. This is really easy to do with a digital scale, especially if you set it to read grams/kilograms. After discarding outer beat up leaves and the core of the cabbage, cut or shred it with whatever tools you prefer. Weigh the shredded cabbage. Sprinkle 2% of that weight of salt on the cabbage and mix it thoroughly. Pack you sauerkraut-to-be into jars or a crock. Do NOT use a metallic container. Most sources strongly suggest using non-iodized salt.

I have enjoyed many of Jessy's instructables and had no intent to be hard on her in any way. Just saying this one would be better with the additional info.


2 years ago

I am really looking forward to trying this. I am nearly done a can of wine sauerkraut that is very good, so I am wondering if anyone has tried using wine, and what difference it makes. I will try using salt substitute (potassium chloride) to replace some of the salt. If you haven't heard about the role of potassium in high blood pressure, check it out.


2 years ago

I have been making my own for some time but failed at first due to some very bad instructables. This one if very clear and informative. I also add fresh ginger to mine and ferment carrots which I eat like candy.

2 replies

You add the ginger to the sauerkraut? That sound so tasty and ginger is good for your gut health too. How much would you add to a jar in the above recipe? Sorry for all the questions, one more, is the recipe the same as this instructable for carrots? My mouth is watering thinking about the flavours!!!

Adding ginger gives the kraut a nice bite. I use about and inch per quart either slice, grate or cut into strips. I basically have no rules as to what I add to the kraut. I have put in grated carrots, white or red onion, red cabbage etc.

Below is my basic recipe for carrots and they are good with ginger too. Don't know why but the site kept rotating my image.
Good luck and enjoy!
Fermented Carrot Sticks


2 to 3 pounds carrots, cut into sticks
3 cups Water
1 1/2 tablespoon salt

Heat up a small amount of the water and disolve the salt then add it to the rest of the water.

Place the carrots in the jar and pour the liquid over the carrots. Ideally the carrots should be submerged under the liquid. Ferment for two weeks or longer at room temperature.

Once the fermentation period is complete, the carrots can be removed to a storage container if desired. Store cultured carrots in the refrigerator or root cellar.

Makes approximately 2 quarts.


2 years ago

We add a few cumin seeds as a family secret...

Could you do this with red cabbage as well?

1 reply

Oh, yeah - and it's good.

white scum floating is not unusual, it is bacteria, but not very harmful, keep its from growing into a big colony by spooning it off when you see it,

I make it in a large crock,5 gallon at a time. Place a plate on top to hold it down and place something heavy on the plate, cover with a cheese cloth over it and check daily

1 reply

How do you store it once it's ready? In separate jars and refrigerate them? I would be wanting to do a large batch too to have plenty of stock.