How To Make Homemade Sauerkraut

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Learn how to make perfectly crunchy and briny homemade sauerkraut. This recipe has been passed down through generations; it’s healthy and very simple to prepare.


  • 1 large cabbage head
  • 1 large carrot (shredded)
  • 3/41 Tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon sugar


  1. Start with shredding the cabbage. You can either do this with a sharp knife, or use a mandolin. 
  2. Grate the carrots on a fine julienne slicer or a box grater.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the cabbage, carrots, salt and sugar. If I’m using a large cabbage head, I use a full Tablespoon of salt. If I’m using a small cabbage head, I use a little less than a Tablespoon of salt.
  4. Using both hands, aggressively scrunch up the cabbage and carrot, for at least 5 minutes, until it releases a lot of liquid. It should completely cover all of the cabbage.
  5. The cabbage mixture should feel and look wet. When you press down on it, all of the liquid should cover the cabbage liberally. In regards to the salt – I always taste a bit of the cabbage when I’m done scrunching it. You should be able to taste the salt. Remember that when the cabbage brines, it will get a more tart flavor and will dilute the salt a bit, so I aim to make the cabbage just a bit saltier than I think it should be and when it becomes sauerkraut, it is perfect.
  6. At this point, you can keep the cabbage in a large bowl, or transfer it to a glass jar. I usually keep it in the bowl, because it’s easier for me to put a weight on top of the cabbage to make sure it stays submerged the entire time it’s fermenting.
  7. Put a weight on top of the cabbage – a plate on top of the cabbage, or an extra cabbage leaf and then something heavy on top of it, like a large can of tomatoes, or a jar filled with water work really well. As the sauerkraut ferments, it will increase in size, so make sure to use a bowl with plenty of extra room at the top. Then, cover the bowl with several layers of plastic wrap (as the cabbage is fermenting, it will have a very strong “cabbagy” odor).
  8. Keep the sauerkraut at room temperature for about 3 days. Each day, use the end of a wooden spoon to poke several holes all the way through the sauerkraut, to release some of the built up “gas”. Make sure the cabbage is submerged for the entire 3 days.
  9. At this point, when you taste the cabbage, it should taste like sauerkraut. If it still doesn’t taste briny, let it stand for another day or two.
  10. Transfer the sauerkraut to a glass jar and store in the refrigerator.
  11. When I’m serving the sauerkraut on the side, I like to add some salt, freshly ground black pepper, sunflower oil, thinly sliced or finely minced red onion, dill seeds, and fresh herbs, like green onion and dill. Sometimes, I also add a thinly sliced apple to it for a bit of sweetness.