How To Make Sauerkraut In 6 Simple Steps

Sauerkraut, a tangy and probiotic-rich fermented cabbage dish, has been a staple in many cultures for centuries. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also packed with health benefits due to its fermentation process.

Making sauerkraut at home is surprisingly easy and requires just a few simple steps. Follow this guide to create your own homemade sauerkraut and enjoy its unique flavors and health benefits.

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients and Equipment


  • 1 medium-sized cabbage (approximately 2-3 pounds)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of sea salt (non-iodized)
  • Optional: Caraway seeds, juniper berries, or other spices for flavor


  • Large mixing bowl
  • Sharp knife or mandolin
  • Fermentation vessel (glass jar, ceramic crock, or fermentation container)
  • Weight (e.g., a glass weight or a clean, food-safe stone)

Step 2: Prepare the Cabbage

  1. Wash the Cabbage: Rinse the cabbage under cold water to remove any dirt or debris.
  2. Remove Outer Leaves: Peel off and discard the outer leaves of the cabbage if they are wilted or damaged.
  3. Slice the Cabbage: Cut the cabbage into quarters and then thinly slice it using a sharp knife or mandolin. Aim for thin, uniform slices.
  4. Massage the Cabbage: Place the sliced cabbage in a large mixing bowl and add the salt. Massage the cabbage with your hands for about 10-15 minutes, or until it becomes soft and releases its juices. This helps break down the cell walls and extract the natural juices, which are crucial for the fermentation process.

Step 3: Add Optional Flavors

If you want to enhance the flavor of your sauerkraut, this is the step to add spices or other flavorings. Traditional choices include caraway seeds or juniper berries, but feel free to experiment with your favorite herbs and spices.

  1. Add Spices: Sprinkle in your desired spices or flavorings and mix them well with the cabbage.

Step 4: Pack the Cabbage into the Fermentation Vessel

  1. Transfer to Fermentation Vessel: Transfer the cabbage and spice mixture into your fermentation vessel, pressing it down as you go. Pack the cabbage tightly to remove any air bubbles.
  2. Press and Weight: Place a weight on top of the cabbage to keep it submerged in its juices. This can be a glass weight, a clean food-safe stone, or a cabbage leaf folded and pressed down.

Step 5: Ferment the Sauerkraut

  1. Cover and Store: Cover the fermentation vessel with a lid or cloth to keep out dust and insects. Place the vessel in a cool, dark place (around 65-75°F or 18-24°C) for about 1-4 weeks, depending on your taste preferences. The longer the fermentation, the tangier the sauerkraut will become.
  2. Check and Adjust: Check the sauerkraut regularly to ensure it remains submerged in its juices. If necessary, press it down to release any trapped air bubbles.

Step 6: Enjoy Your Homemade Sauerkraut

  1. Taste Test: After the desired fermentation time, taste the sauerkraut to check if it has reached the flavor you prefer.
  2. Store: Transfer the sauerkraut to a clean, airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for several months. The cold temperature will slow down the fermentation process, preserving the flavor and texture.
  3. Serve: Serve your homemade sauerkraut as a side dish, condiment, or a flavorful addition to various recipes.

Making sauerkraut at home is a rewarding and enjoyable process. Experiment with different flavors and fermentation times to find your perfect blend of tanginess and crunch. Enjoy the health benefits of this probiotic-rich delight while savoring its unique taste!

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