The Easiest Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe in a Mason Jar (2024)

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The easiest homemade sauerkraut recipe in a mason jar, no special equipmentneeded.

The Easiest Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe in a Mason Jar (1)

While every other food blog on the planet is starting off December with a cookie recipe, I thought I would rebel and give you sauerkraut 😉

Do. Not. Worry. I have cookies coming. Plus tons of amazing desserts and holiday recipes.

BUT…I have been thinking a lot about the toll the holidays can take on our bodies and I thought it would be more supportive to spend just a few minutes today (this very first day of December) talking about one of the easiest, and healthiest recipes on the planet.


Sauerkraut is the original superfood, way before that word was even a thing. A traditionally fermented product, consisting of two simple ingredients; salt and cabbage, sauerkraut has been produced for over 4,000 years.

The Easiest Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe in a Mason Jar (2)

I've been making my own for about 5 years.

Admittedly, I was intimidated to ferment anything at first. I thought it was the type of thing that only matcha drinking Brooklyn hipsters with man buns did. I attended my first fermentation workshop several years ago with the king of all things pickled, Mr. Sandor Katz.Man-bun in place, matcha in hand, I am now a bonafide fermenting hipster. #NoShameInMyFermentingGame

Fermented foods, sauerkraut specifically, is an incredible health tonic due to it's superstar abilities to improve gut health and function. Gut health is vital to overall health.

This time of year it's important to remember that a healthy gut is essential for:

  • A healthy immune system
  • Reduced anxiety

So if you want to sail into the holiday season with less stress and less illness then this is the recipe for you. I am so in awe of the immense healing potential of fermented foods, I can't give you a recipe for sauerkraut without a little bit of a “Holy-toledo-can-one-food-really-do-all-that” lesson.

Are you ready to try your hand at the easiest sauerkraut recipe ever?? If you aren't interested in any of the health benefits of sauerkraut scroll on down for that recipe.

The Easiest Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe in a Mason Jar (3) Benefits of Fermentation

There are 4 main benefits of fermentation:

  1. Enrichment of the diet – Fermentation enriches the diet, it helps to encourage a diversity of tastes, aromas, and textures.
  2. Preservation – Fermentation helps to preserve food, which is why fermented foods have been produced for at least 4000 years! Way before refrigeration we had fermentation.
  3. Biological Enrichment – Fermentation biologicallyalters food, it improves the nutrient content including protein, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, and vitamins. For instance, the vitamin C content in cabbage is increased by 600% after 7-days of fermentation. WHAT?? This fact blew my mind.
  4. Breakdown of anti-nutrients – Fermentation helps to breakdown toxins and anti-nutrients that may be found in food including phytates and agricultural chemicals,

Benefits of Sauerkraut

The benefits of sauerkraut are simply a health-promoting cascade stemming from the benefits of the fermentation process. A few additional standouts to know (basically so you can brag to your friend, who is currently eating Christmas cookies, that you just made your first batch of sauerkraut and here is why that makes you a better person ?)

  • Low glycemic index – due to the content of organic acids which help to delay gastric emptying i.e. delayed gastric emptying = less impact on blood sugar levels
  • Rich in probiotics – Typically we consider the healthy bugs in sauerkraut of the wild variety. Wild as in they haven't all been studied. However, studies show that sauerkraut is rich in the strain Lactobacillus plantarum.
  • Contains indole-3 carbinol and glucaric acid (glucarate) which helps to improve estrogen metabolism
  • Contains anti-fungal compounds
  • Supports gut health via reducing increased intestinal permeability

The Easiest Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe in a Mason Jar (4) How to make the easiest homemade sauerkraut

Read full instructions below (with step by step photos) but here they are in a nutshell

  1. Start with shredded cabbage and salt
  2. Massage salt into cabbage
  3. Place massaged cabbage into wide mouth mason jars
  4. Place a weight on top of cabbage (I use pickle pebbles, but you can also just use a smaller mason jar filled with dried beans)
  5. Cover jars with cheesecloth
  6. Check for 24 hours
  7. Ferment for 3-10 days
  8. Remove cheesecloth, replace with mason jar lids. Place in fridge. Eat every day.

Two ingredients, a little bit of muscle, and some patience. You can totally do this!

I must also mention, my favorite store bought sauerkraut is nearly $14 at Whole Foods, I still love it and buy it when I don't have homemade, but a head of cabbage costs a few dollars and will make several large jars of sauerkraut. My frugal mind LOVES that!

The Easiest Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe in a Mason Jar (5)

More recipes and posts about gut health:

Gut Gummies – Healthy candy for a healthy gut

Benefits of bone broth

Health benefits of fermented food

[clickToTweet tweet=”This may just be the healthiest recipe in the history of the world. #TrueStory #GutHealth ” quote=”This may just be the healthiest recipe in the history of the world. #TrueStory #GutHealth “]

Thanks for reading Abra's Kitchen! If you make this recipe tag #abraskitchen on Instagram 🙂

The Easiest Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe in a Mason Jar (6)

Easy Homemade Sauerkraut

Abra Pappa, MS, CNS, LDN

The easiest homemade sauerkraut recipe in a mason jar. No special equipment needed.

4.38 from 8 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Course Side Dish

Cuisine Fermentation

Servings 10

Calories 2 kcal


  • 1 medium head cabbage (about 3-4 lbs.)
  • 1.5 tbsp salt


  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds



  • Start with a clean surface including hands and all equipment you are using.

  • Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage. DO NOT WASH THE CABBAGE. The beneficial bacteria is in the cabbage, don't wash it all away. I prefer to use organic cabbage as to avoid pesticide exposure.

  • Slice the cabbage by first slicing in half, then in quarters. Remove the core and slice the cabbage lengthwise into thin ribbons

  • Place the cabbage into a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Using clean hands, massage the salt into the cabbage. Continue to massage and squeeze the cabbage for several minutes. This requires putting a little muscle into it. Gradually the cabbage will become watery and limp. This should take 5-10 minutes.

    The Easiest Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe in a Mason Jar (7)

  • Your cabbage should begin to look like this once you've properly given it a good rub down.

    The Easiest Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe in a Mason Jar (8)

  • If you are using caraway seeds or any other spice add it now.

  • Pack the cabbage into your wide mouth mason jars. Really punch the cabbage down with your fist to attempt to pack the cabbage in and allow the liquid to rise to the surface. Ideally you want the cabbage to be fully immersed in liquid (the liquid that you have produced by rubbing the salt into the leaves). Pour any additional liquid from the bowl into the jars with cabbage. Fill the jars a little more than 3/4 full.

  • Optional – Use one of the larger reserved outer cabbage leaves over the surface of the sliced cabbage. This will help to keep the cabbage submerged.

    The Easiest Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe in a Mason Jar (9)

  • Once all of the cabbage has been placed into jars, use either a pickle pebble or another smaller mason jar filled with pebbles or dried beans to weigh down the cabbage and allow the cabbage to remain submerged in liquid.

  • Cover the mouth of the jar with cheesecloth and a rubberband or twine. This will allow air to pass in and out of the jar while still keeping creepycrawlers out.

    The Easiest Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe in a Mason Jar (10)

  • For the first 24 hours of fermentation you will need to open the jars and press the cabbage down every so often. I call this step “punch the cabbage”. This is to ensure that the cabbage stays submerged and over time the cabbage will become more limp and compact and the liquid will rise to the surface.

  • If after 24 hours you find that there isn't enough liquid, dissolve 1 tsp salt into 1 cup of water and add more liquid to the cabbage.

  • Ferment the cabbage for 3-10 days. After 3 days taste the cabbage, I tend to like cabbage at the 7 day mark, but if you like a milder ferment you can stop the fermentation process at 3 days. Keep in mind that you reach peak nutrition around day 7.

    While the cabbage is fermenting you may see bubbles rise to the surface, this is ok! That is fermentation working. If you see scum rise to the surface you can skim that off and if any mold begins to appear remove it and do not eat that bit.

  • Once you have reached your desired level of fermentation, remove the cheesecloth, and weights from the jar and close with regular mason jar lid. Store in fridge for 2 months or longer. My rule of thumb is as long as it still tastes good, it's good to eat.


  • Type of cabbage – you can use napa cabbage, red cabbage, green cabbage, or really any kind of cabbage. They all work!
  • Temperature – try to keep your sauerkraut at a relatively cool room temperature while its fermenting. I just leave mine on my kitchen shelf away from sunlight or any direct heat source.


Calories: 2kcalSodium: 1046mgPotassium: 9mgVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 5mgIron: 0.1mg

Snap a photo when you try this recipe!Tag me! @abrapappa or #abraskitchen so I can feature your photo!

The Easiest Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe in a Mason Jar (11)

Created by Abra Pappa, MS, CNS, LDN

Abra Pappa, MS, CNS, LDN holds a master's degree in functional medicine and clinical nutrition from the University of Western States. Abra practices functional nutrition in New York City with a clinical focus on eating disorders, digestive imbalances and women’s health. Abra is the publisher of the popular food blog, Abra’s Kitchen, a celebration of wholesome food, and has appeared in dozens of publications as a recipe developer, and wellness authority. Abra speaks and teaches on the topics of functional nutrition and mindful eating throughout the country.

The Easiest Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe in a Mason Jar (2024)


How long to ferment sauerkraut in a jar? ›

Store the container at 70°–75°F (21°–23°C) while fermenting. At these temperatures, sauerkraut will be fully fermented in about three to four weeks; at 60°–65°F (15°–18°C), fermentation may take six weeks. Below 60°F (15°C), sauerkraut may not ferment. Above 80°F (26°C), sauerkraut may become soft and spoil.

How to make sauerkraut step by step? ›

  1. Prepare cabbage: Discard outer leaves, then rinse heads under cold water and drain. ...
  2. Salt cabbage: Layer cabbage with salt in large mixing container. ...
  3. Pack container: Using clean hands or optional tamper, pack a handful of the cabbage into the fermenting container(s). ...
  4. Ferment: ...
  5. Store: ...
  6. Enjoy!

How much salt do you put in a quart jar when making sauerkraut? ›

Be sure the container is deep enough so that its rim is at least 4 or 5 inches above the cabbage. If juice does not cover the cabbage, add boiled and cooled brine (1-1/2 tablespoons of salt per quart of water).

What is the ratio of salt to cabbage for sauerkraut? ›

The most widely used ratio of 2.00%–2.25% weight of salt to weight of cabbage gives the best results. This means you add 2g to 2.25g of salt for every 100g of finely sliced cabbage in your recipe.

Do you ferment sauerkraut with lid on or off? ›

Pop a loose fitting lid or cloth on top (be sure that you don't seal your jar, because there may be pressure inside as the ferment develops which will need to escape). Alternatively (for keeping cabbage beneath the brine), use a clean plastic food-grade bag (i.e. a freezer bag or a ziplock bag) instead.

Do you use vinegar when making sauerkraut? ›

These are the simple ingredients you'll need to make this homemade sauerkraut recipe:
  1. Water and vinegar: This sauerkraut recipe starts with water and distilled white vinegar.
  2. Vegetables: You'll need a half of an onion and a head of cabbage.
Jan 9, 2024

What is the easiest fermented food to make? ›

Sauerkraut is one of the simplest fermented foods to make. It only contains two ingredients – cabbage and salt – although sometimes caraway seeds are added too. To make sauerkraut, all you have to do is shred your cabbage, cover it with salt, and mix around.

Does sauerkraut need brine? ›

Two things preserve the sauerkraut - the salt and the fermentation. If the sauerkraut gets dry I can't imagine that it would taste as good… and it may well spoil. If you're just keeping it a week or two it shouldn't matter, but sauerkraut preserved in its brine will easily keep 6 months, probably longer.

Do I need to add brine to sauerkraut? ›

If your cabbage isn't submerged in about 1cm depth of liquid after 24 hours, add some extra brine. Dissolve 1 tsp salt, (always use pure sea salt), into 250ml water and add, or multiply and add enough to cover the cabbage.

What happens if you use too much salt when making sauerkraut? ›

The amount of salt you use determines the rate at which fermentation takes place. Too much salt is a “Go away.” sign for the beneficial bacteria, the lactobacillus that you want living and multiplying in your jar. Fermentation slows way down or doesn't happen at all.

What is the best salt for homemade sauerkraut? ›

Sea salt works well, or rock salt. Watch out for the salt labelled 'pickling salt', it often has anti-caking agents in it which can negatively affect your fermentation. If you're not sure, read the ingredients, there should just be one! A fine grind of salt is required for this type of pickling.

What kind of cabbage is best for sauerkraut? ›

Danish Ballhead, Late Flat Head and Premium Late Dutch are good cabbage varieties for sauerkraut. Krautman is one of the most popular varieties for making sauerkraut, and growers are encouraged to try new varieties as well.

What happens if you don't put enough salt in sauerkraut? ›

The proper amount of salt is critical for success. Salt is what inhibits bad bacteria but still allows the good fermentation bacteria to flourish. Never try to make a low-salt sauerkraut, all you'll end up with is a crock of inedible rotten cabbage and you sure don't want that stinky mess anywhere near your kitchen.

Does more salt make sauerkraut more sour? ›

(Traditional amounts are in the 1–2% range, which is below the USDA recommended minimum. If you use this low an amount, it's imperative to ferment on the cool side.) The more salt, the slower the fermentation and the more acidic your sauerkraut. Use too much salt, though, and you'll inhibit fermentation.

Why is my homemade sauerkraut so salty? ›

Yes, some of the salt has entered the cabbage itself, but most of it will be in the brine/on the surface. If rinsing in a colander isn't enough (and if you used twice the recommended amount of salt it's likely not to be), then you can drain the liquid as best you can, then add clean water to cover, and let it soak.

How do you know when sauerkraut is done fermenting? ›

Fermentation is complete when your sauerkraut tastes pleasantly sour. So, if you've noticed signs of active fermentation, like bubbles, and it smells pleasantly sour, then your sauerkraut is ready for eating. You can also continue to let the cabbage ferment, so it develops a 'rich' flavor.

Can you ferment sauerkraut too long? ›

Can you ferment sauerkraut for too long? Yes, there is such a thing as too-long fermentation. A clear sign that you have left your cabbage out for too long a period is that it might turn mushy. However, that is not the only factor to know for sure.

How long to ferment sauerkraut for maximum probiotics? ›

Ideally, you want to ferment sauerkraut at room temperature with the right amount of salt for 21 to 28 days. Not only does fermentation preserve food, but it also improves food.

Can you open a jar of sauerkraut while fermenting? ›

Opening the Jar During Fermentation

Undesirable organisms could then develop on the surface of the vegetables. The best thing to do is to leave the lid on and leave your jars alone.

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