How To Make Sauerkraut From Scratch [Recipe]


Make your own homemade sauerkraut. Crunchy and tart at the same time, it’s the perfect condiment for meat, sandwiches, eggs and more!

how to make sauerkraut recipe

If you like pre-made sauerkraut, then prepare to have your socks blown off. Homemade sauerkraut is a whole new level of flavor. It’s a world apart from store-bought options, and it’s going to be your new favorite BBQ side dish.

Crunchy and tart at the same time, it is unlike anything else. And the good news is that anyone can do it. It goes great with sandwiches and burgers and is the perfect pairing with meat. It’s not for nothing that millions of Bavarians enjoy it alongside their bratwurst .

Made with cabbage, salt and water, it couldn’t be easier to prepare. The only obstacle is time, so be patient. Once fermentation begins, it takes at least 3 weeks to turn into a delicious sauerkraut.

If this is your first foray into fermented foods, be sure to check out our Grilled Kimchi recipe as well .

Homemade sauerkraut in a tattoo on the table

How to make homemade sauerkraut in a mason jar

Sauerkraut is a great introduction to fermented foods for newcomers. You only need one main ingredient and a mason jar. It’s easy, you don’t need any special equipment, and it’s very convenient once fermentation starts.

While you can make large batches of the stuff in a slow cooker or even a keg if you’re feeling brave, a mason jar is the perfect size to start with.

Once the cabbage is submerged and sealed in the jar, it sheds its water content and forms its own brine. After a few days, it starts to ferment, slowly forming the sauerkraut we love.

The essence of our homemade sauerkraut consists of just three simple ingredients: cabbage, salt and juniper berries. Heck, you don’t even need the January berries, but I recommended them on the AllThingsBBQ YouTube channel and haven’t looked back since trying them as an added spice.

It takes time, but the weeks of fermentation it takes to make it is what makes the ingredient so special and delicious.

Main idea

If you want to make your homemade sauerkraut recipe even better, you can add some of our suggested ingredients. These are our 3 favorite additions of spices and flavors that we enjoy in our sauerkraut.

There are several ingredients that you can add to sauerkraut that can make a difference in your dish. You can add ingredients for their visual appeal, taste, texture, or added nutritional value. Some of these ingredients are juniper berries. adds color and a lot of flavor to your dish. They are small and quickly look like berries. 

Each of these ingredients ensures that you stick to a ratio of three parts cabbage to one part added ingredient. So, avoid going overboard with your experiments!

Juniper berries

Juniper berries are a classic addition to sauerkraut, and it’s easy to see why. These little purple berries pack into a powerful punch that cuts beautifully through the tart flavor of cabbage.


Ginger has an uncanny ability to warm up anything in it, and it makes a great addition to any winter dish. There’s a good reason why it IS added to almost every home remedy for the common cold. In sauerkraut, grated ginger adds a deep, milky layer of warmth and goes particularly well with pork.


If you want a little sweetness in your sauerkraut, adding shredded beets to the mix can go a long way. They’re a great way to balance out the saltiness of the cabbage in case you went too far.

You can also add beets, which are bright in color and have an earthy, sweet flavor. This complements the acidity of the sauerkraut. Beets already contain sugar so should be used sparingly or they can distort the fermentation process. You can also add ginger, which adds a warm, tangy touch.


You can use lemon zest to add flavor as well as a dense, firm texture. You can also add cumin, which is a classic. Also, consider adding fennel bulbs or stalks. Simply slice or grate thinly. You can mix them with apples to add acidity and sweetness. 

Why is my homemade sauerkraut moldy?

There are a few reasons why mold can form on sauerkraut. One is that the pH isn’t dropping like it should. It may also have mold because it has been contaminated. Sauerkraut has bacteria that help it ferment. But if this WILL be overdone and there are more bacteria than necessary, your sauerkraut WILL be more likely to go moldy. 

If there is too much air in the container YOU are preparing your sauerkraut in, there is a chance that mold will form along with the yeast. You don’t want the yeast to overgrow. Mold will also form if not enough salt is used. Mold can also develop when exposed to high temperatures, while the other reason may be that you have used more sweet vegetables than necessary. 

What kind of salt do you use?

Salt is a great ingredient to slow down the fermentation process. There are different types of salt. The first is processed salt. These include table salt, kosher salt, and regular iodized salt. These types of salt also contain various additives and are not a good idea for fermenting foods like sauerkraut. 

Additives can inhibit the natural growth of bacteria necessary for fermentation. The only type of processed salt you could use is ground salt, which is granular and doesn’t contain anti-caking agents like iodine. 

The other type of salt you can use is a wet mineral salt, such as B. Gray salt. It has natural minerals as well as high moisture content. The downside of this salt is that it can contain toxins from the water thanks to all the pollution. 

The best salt for making sauerkraut should be rich in minerals. Some examples are pink Himalayan salt, and it should be dry as well. Himalayan salt occurs in its natural state and was crystallized over 200 million years ago. It has a high mineral profile that helps foods ferment well. 

A word of warning: adding too much salt can be a mistake. That doesn’t mean you should throw away your sauerkraut, though. You can rinse off excess salt and get the concentrations you want. Simply add 1 to 2 tablespoons of purified water to specially salted cabbage. Mix and match to check it out. If it’s still not the right amount, you can repeat the process until the flavor is just right. 

Bavarian sauerkraut versus regular sauerkraut

These two types of sauerkraut differ in that Bavarian sauerkraut is milder and also sweeter than regular sauerkraut. When they’re raw, there’s not much of a difference. In addition, the Bavarian sauerkraut is sweetened with caraway. Sauerkraut recipes can also differ in the broth used. 

How to grill sauerkraut

To roast sauerkraut, make sure it is well drained first. It usually has a lot of juice in it, so you’ll need to make sure it’s dry before attempting to grill it. Then season to taste with enough salt and olive oil and wrap in foil. Aluminum foil helps when grilling. The purpose of the foil is to form a packet that will hold sauerkraut while grilling.

How long should I ferment sauerkraut?

Although recipes may vary, the recommended time to ferment sauerkraut is at least 20 days. On these days, the aromas would have fully developed and the acidity would have reached its optimum. After these days, the sugar in the cabbage will also be consumed.

Some of the most important bacteria form in the first three days. Between the third day and the 16th day, the process of lactic acid formation begins. This is how sauerkraut gets its preserving character. Lactic acid also aids in digestion and stops the growth of troublesome bacteria. These are just some of the roles that lactic acid plays. 

Homemade sauerkraut

Make your own homemade sauerkraut. Crunchy and tart at the same time, it’s the perfect condiment for meat, sandwiches, eggs and more!
Appetizer , salad, side dish
Grill kitchen , German
Preparation time 3 hours
Cooking 21 days


  • Glass jar


  • 3 pounds of cabbage
  • 1 ounce kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons of juniper berries

For the brine

  • 1-2 cups of water
  • 1-2 teaspoons of kosher salt


  • Remove some of the outer leaves of the cabbage and set them aside(we’ll use them later). Cut the whole cabbage into quarters, then remove the scraps from the center of each quarter.
  • Cut the cabbage quarters into thin pieces with a large knife. Transfer the shredded cabbage to a great pain and toss it lightly. Add kosher salt.
  • Using your hands, start shredding the cabbage to process the salt and break up the cabbage pieces. Knead until water comes out of the shredded cabbage.
  • Add the January berries and spread evenly.
  • Cover the wound with plastic wrap and leave it on for 20 minutes. Repeat the kneading process again and let it rest for another 20 minutes. Repeat the process until you see standing water in the container. usually takes about 2-3 hours.
  • When the cabbage is ready to ferment, you’ll notice that it looks soggy and has lost some of the light green color that it has fresh. If you take a handful and squeeze them out, a good amount of liquid should drip out. It is crucial that there is liquid at the bottom of the container.
  • For fermentation we need to add additional salt water solution. To do this, just combine 1 cup of water with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Stir to dissolve.
  • Place the cabbage in a mason jar and pour the brine solution over it. If the cabbage isn’t completely covered, you’ll need to make more solution. Be sure to stick to the ratio of 1 cup of water to 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.
  • Squeeze the cabbage so that it is immersed in the solution. Against YOU, leave about a half inch of solution on top to ensure the cabbage is not exposed to the air at all.
  • Look for the cabbage leaves we set aside earlier(remember those?). Place them in the mason jar on top of the cabbage, it acts as a weight barrier to keep the cabbage pieces submerged in the solution.
  • Once the cabbage is fully submerged, unscrew the lid of the jar. Keep it at room temperature(not in the fridge) away from direct sunlight. After a few days you should see the process begin, with pressure building up inside the jar. In this case, loosen the cap slightly to allow the gas to flow before tightening it again. Do this every 3-5 days.
  • There is no hard and fast rule as to how long fermentation can last. Wait at least 3 weeks and then test if it suits your taste. As long as the cabbage is always submerged and nothing weird has developed in the jar, SHE can taste it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to make sauerkraut?

If sauerkraut is prepared in a mason jar, it will take at least 3 weeks to prepare. It will start to ferment after about 3 days and will need to be degassed every few days to relieve the pressure build up in the glass. Larger amounts of sauerkraut harden longer.

Is sauerkraut healthy?

As with many other fermented foods, eating sauerkraut is associated with a number of health benefits. It contains a variety of probiotics that can aid in digestion and boost the immune system. However, sauerkraut is high in sodium, so be careful about the amounts included with it.

How do you eat sauerkraut?

In Germany, sauerkraut is best known as an accompaniment to smoked or grilled sausages, but it also goes well with meaty sandwiches and burgers. It’s also great in non-meat dishes like scrambled eggs, avocado, and as a salad dressing.

Can sauerkraut go bad?

Ha you can This is an interesting question because technically the sauerkraut is already fermented. However, there is a point where the bacterium goes past an edible point. You’ll also recognize it by a bad smell, texture, and color.

Will Heating Sauerkraut Fight the Probiotics?

Heating will only kill the probiotics in sauerkraut if it is above 46°C or 1154°F. If you cook, there’s a good chance you’ll still retain the good bacteria. It is therefore important that you finish cooking sauerkraut quickly so that it does not reach high temperatures.

What goes well with sauerkraut?

On a hot summer day, when the grill comes to life, you might be wondering what else goes with your sauerkraut. You can accompany it with different types of sausages, including hot dogs. It also goes well with burgers and sandwiches. You can also use it as a filling for tacos or add it to a green salad with a few grilled pieces.

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