How to Make Homemade Sauerkraut

You may or may not know that I’m very passionate about lacto-fermenting whatever I can. Traditionally fermented foods and drinks are the ultimate superfood as they give us lots of probiotics (beneficial gut bacteria). Probiotics not only optimize our gut flora but are also amazingly awesome to overall health. Sauerkraut is one of the most popular lacto-fermented foods in our culture. However the store bought versions almost always contain preservatives, sometimes vinegar and are also pasteurized (which kills probiotocs) to make them shelf stable. So today I’d like to share with you how to make homemade sauerkraut. It’s a very easy sauerkraut recipe and I can almost guarantee that it will turn out great for you. I wrote “almost guarantee” because natural fermentation is not a consistent process, so there always is a tiny chance that something may go wrong. But if you follow the steps I listed below then within a few days you should have two or three jars of delicious sauerkraut to enjoy with your meals.

Here are the ingredients and equipment you’ll need for homemade sauerkraut:

  • one shredded cabbage (mine was 3.5 lbs)
  • 1 tbs kosher or sea salt
  • one grated carrot (optional)
  • 1 ts caraway seeds (optional)
  • mason jars (this time I used 3 quart jars)
  • small jelly jars that can fit into mason jars opening
  • some kind of pounding tool (I used this wooden masher you can see in a photo below)
  • chef’s knife and cutting board or food processor to shred the cabbage

ingredients for homemade sauerkraut

Sauerkraut recipe:

Put shredded cabbage, grated carrot and caraway seeds into a large pot or bowl, add salt and mix everything well, massaging the salt into the cabbage.

sauerkraut recipe

Cover the pot with a clean kitchen cloth and leave overnight. The fermentation process will begin during this time, the veggies will soften, the fiber will open and the beneficial bacteria will start to multiply and do its magic.


The following day transfer everything into clean and sanitized with boiling water jars. This is the most time consuming part. Grab the cabbage handful by handful and pack really well pounding each layer with a masher. You should notice the juice being released. Ideally each layer you add should be submerged in its own juice. Fill the jars up to about 3/4 full as the cabbage will expand a little during fermentation.

homemade sauerkraut in a jar

Wash small jelly jars,  sanitize them (on the outside) with boiling water. Fill each with cold water and screw a lid on. Place small jars into large jars with already packed cabbage to keep the cabbage weighed down and submerged in its own juice.

If your cabbage is on a dry side and didn’t produce enough juice, you may add a little bit of salted water (1 tbs salt per quart) to cover it with liquid. Make sure to use filtered water as chlorine is not good for lacto-fermentation. It’s very important that the cabbage is fully submerged in liquid, otherwise it may start to mold.

sauerkraut in mason jar

Cover the jars with a kitchen cloth and put away for 3-7 days. I put mine on a tray, because sometimes the cabbage produces lots of juice and it may want to “escape” from the jars.


Keep checking the cabbage at least once a day. Here is how much juice mine had a day later:

easy sauerkraut recipe

Every day poke the cabbage with a wooden chopstick or a handle of a wooden spoon to release the gases (to prevent it from turning bitter or off) and then pack and mash again to make sure all of it is submerged in juice. Keep doing this daily for at least 3-5 days. You may start tasting your sauerkraut after 3 days. The longer you keep it on the counter the more sour it will get. I usually like mine best after about a week. When it tastes good to you, remove small jars and screw on the caps.

how to make sauerkraut

Sauerkraut will store in a fridge for at least a few months. You may now enjoy it daily with meals. We recently had ours for dinner with fish and roasted potatoes. Yum!

fish and sauerkraut dinner

If you’d like to experiment more with lacto-fermenting then check out these other great recipes on my blog. Have fun!

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