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A glass jar filled with fermented sauerkraut..

How to make Sauerkraut

Arlene Mobley - Flour On My Face
How to make homemade sauerkraut at home. It is so easy to make fermented sauerkraut. All you need is a head of fresh cabbage, salt and about 4 weeks of time to turn a head of cabbage into delicious homemade sauerkraut.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Fermenting Time 28 d
Total Time 28 d 10 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, German
Servings 20 Servings
Calories 11 kcal



  • 1 medium medium head of cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon pickling salt
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
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  • Wash and gently scrub the outside of a head of cabbage. Remove any blemished outer leaves.
  • Trim off two to three large outer leaves and set aside. These leaves will be used in place of fermenting weights if you do not have them.
  • Cut the head of cabbage in quarters. Trim off the core from each quarter piece. Using a very sharp knife cut the cabbage into very thin shredded ribbons.
  • Transfer the shredded cabbage to a large bowl. Add the pickling salt and caraway seed if you are using it.
  • Using clean hands toss the cabbage with the salt. As you toss to cover the cabbage with salt squeeze the cabbage to massage the salt in. Do this for about 3 minutes until the salt is evenly distributed.
  • If you have a wooden vegetable tamper pound the cabbage until the cabbage is compressed, squeezing out more liquid. If you don't have a vegetable tampering tool you can place a heavy saucer on top of the cabbage and weight it down so it will compress the cabbage and help it release moisture for the brine.
  • Place a lint free towel over the top of the bowl and allow the cabbage to release moisture to create the brine. This process can take a couple of hours up to 48 hours.
  • Transfer the cabbage and all of the liquid to one or more wide mouth canning jars. Use a wooden sauerkraut pounder to compress the cabbage in the jar. Only fill the jar to the shoulder of the jar to leave space for the weight.
  • Place the fermenting weight into the jar if you have one. If you don't you will need to use the whole pieces of cabbage leaves you saved when you trimmed the cabbage earlier.
  • Place a silicone fermentation airlock lid on top of the jar. If you don't have one cover the jar with cheesecloth or a coffee filter.
  • Screw a canning lid band over the the airlock lid. Place the jar out of direct sunlight on the kitchen counter.
  • Place the jar in a safe spot on the kitchen counter that is not in direct sunlight. Allow the sauerkraut to ferment for about 1 month. The airlock system will allow gasses to escape naturally as the cabbage ferments. Check the brine level weekly. (see recipe notes)
  • Occasionally, if needed manually release the gasses by squeezing the nob on the silicone top.
  • After 2 weeks you can open the jar and taste a piece of the sauerkraut. It should be firm and crunchy with a pleasant sauerkraut odor and flavor.
  • Once the sauerkraut has reached the perfect fermented flavor you like remove the airlock lid, the fermentation weight and cover the jar with a lid and refrigerate.


Recipe Expert Tips

  • Cabbage: After trimming and coring a five pound head of cabbage you are left with about 2 pounds of cabbage. (Yes, I actually weighed the head of cabbage I used for this recipe.)
  • Not enough brine to cover the cabbage: Mix ½ teaspoon of pickling salt with ½ cup of warm water. Mix until the salt dissolves. Pour the brine over the cabbage in your jar until all of the cabbage is covered with brine.
  • What to use if you don't have any fermentation weights? Cabbage leaves can be tucked in on the top of the cabbage. Or if using a crock you can place a heavy bowl or saucer if it will fit in the container.
  • What to use in place of a fermentation airlock lid?: If you do not have a airlock lid you can place a coffee filter over the top of the jar and then screw the canning band over the coffee filter to hold it in place.
  • Why is the sauerkraut brine turning cloudy?: Cloudy brine is proof that your cabbage is fermenting. As the natural lactic acid bacteria growth is happening during the fermentation period the brine will turn cloudy. This is proof that fermenting is taking place.


Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 11kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 357mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 44IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg
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