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Traditional Sauerkraut

If you have never lacto-fermented before, check out Fermenting 101 first for everything you need to know about fermenting!

Fermenting Sauerkraut Recipe

Traditional sauerkraut is different from canned and store-bought kraut because it is never heated. It uses a brine of natural juices from the cabbage and salt – never vinegar.

The ingredients for fermented sauerkraut vary from recipe to recipe. Green cabbage is the most common ingredient (but red can also be used). Some recipes like to add spices, and you are more than welcome to mix and match based on your taste

But for us, we go super simple in this recipe and include only 3 ingredients that will still produce the delicious classic sauerkraut taste.

The only equipment you need is a fermenting jar (or fermenting lids for mason jars).

The ingredients you need are a head of green cabbage, distilled water and canning/pickling salt (or sea salt)

green cabbage
Use the freshest cabbage possible for a better sauerkraut. Red can also be used in place of green.

The trick with making sauerkraut is to use it’s natural juices as part of the brine. Thinly shred the cabbage and pour salt on it. Massage the salt into the cabbage. Let rest and repeat. This causes the cabbage juices to release and ta-da! – you have your brine!

Jam the cabbage real good into your jar or crock and pour cabbage juices over it. IF your cabbage didn’t make enough juices to completely cover the cabbage, just add distilled water to top it off.

Weigh the cabbage down under the brine so it is completely submerged (important). Let sit in a cool dark place for 3 to 6 weeks or until desired taste is reached.

Fermented sauerkraut will last for MONTHS in the fridge. We do not recommend canning fermented foods because the heat will kill all the beneficial bacteria.

Super simple. Super healthy. Super worth the wait.

sauerkraut fermenting recipe

Traditional Sauerkraut

Fermented cabbage recipe for some good old-fashioned German sauerkraut.
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  • 1 head green cabbage (or red)
  • 2 tbsp canning/pickling salt (or sea salt)
  • distilled water (if needed to top off jar)


  • Wash, core and shred cabbage. Place in a large bowl.
  • Sprinkle salt on cabbage and use hands to massage/knead it into the shredded cabbage. Let sit for 5 minutes so juices can start to release from cabbage. Massage/knead again. Let sit another 5 minutes.
  • Add cabbage to 1/2 gallon fermenting or jar. Pack it in tight.
  • Pour cabbage juices over cabbage. Top off with distilled water if cabbage is not complete covered in brine.
  • Use a weight to keep cabbage completely submerged under brine and add jar lid. Place jar on a plate with a lip (gasses will escape causing liquid overflow. It's normal). Let sit in a cool dark place for 3 to 6 weeks, or until desired taste is reached.
  • Store in an airtight container in fridge for months.

Want to make sauerkraut with a kick? Try out our Spicy Fermented Sauerkraut!

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