How to make Sauerkraut

Fermented foods are SO good for the gut. I find as we get older our stomachs could use a little help to keep it healthy. That is why I originally learned how to make sauerkraut.

how to make sauerkraut

This year was actually the first time I have ever eaten sauerkraut. It isn’t one of those foods that sounded enticing to me. Plus, usually my only encounters with sauerkraut was when I was at a hot dog stand, and it always looked a little sketchy to me at those places!

On the flip side of that, I didn’t have a good history with cabbage. Usually I am not a fan of cabbage. I am actually a little embarrassed to say that, because since my background is Ukrainian it definitely feels like I should be an avid eater of cabbage rolls. But, truth be told, I just don’t like them.

Also, let’s not forget that one time I made cabbage soup for the cabbage soup diet. I was newly married, living in a one bedroom apartment and I had absolutely no homemaking skills. I made this cabbage soup in my crockpot that I was to consume for 7 days straight. I still can’t believe I actually thought a fad diet was a good idea. Anyways, after a few bites of my first bowl I decided it was so disgusting that I couldn’t eat anymore of it. I attempted to flush it down the toilet and it clogged the toilet because, well….cabbage.

Oh, the things my 34 year old self would tell my 20 year old self if I could go back. First, to never make flavorless cabbage soup, secondly, to avoid fad diets at all costs, and thirdly, never, ever try and flush a whole crockpot of cabbage soup down the toilet.

All that aside, I finally learned how to make sauerkraut and have found a way to eat cabbage that is absolutely delicious. It’s tangy, and a perfect addition to many meals. It is also very easy to make. I don’t know why I waited so long to make it, as it is a new favorite of mine. Don’t be like me and wait 34 years to make it. Learn how to make sauerkraut and make your own batch today!

How to make Sauerkraut

Use a jar of some sort. They make fermenting crocks which are beautiful and work really well, but many are quite expensive and so for the time being, a jar fits into my budget. I used a small salsa jar to make a smaller batch.

The first thing you want to do is take off one of the leaves of cabbage. You will use this later to help weigh the cabbage in the jar down.

Next, you want to slice your cabbage in long, thin strips. As you can see by my picture, my strips weren’t that thin. Clearly I failed in this area. I used about 3 quarters of a cabbage which was 2 lbs.

how to make sauerkraut

Put the cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with 4 tsp of sea salt. You want to use two tsps of salt for every lb of cabbage.

Toss it together and massage the cabbage for 5-10 minutes. Let it sit for awhile. I let it sit for 30 minutes.

After it is done sitting for 30 minutes, start pounding and squeezing your cabbage to get the juices out. I rotated between squeezing the cabbage with my hands and using a wooden spoon to pound on it. This will require some time and effort. I did this for about ten minutes or so.

how to make sauerkraut

Once it is softening and has brine, it is ready to be put into a jar. You will also notice at this time that the volume has decreased.

Stuff it into jars and push down with your hands. You want all the cabbage to be under the brine. I pound it a little more with the wooden spoon as I am stuffing it into the jar. Add any brine to the jar that is leftover in the bowl.

how to make sauerkraut

Take the cabbage leaf you set aside and fold it into the top of the jar. This will weigh down the rest of the cabbage to keep it under the brine as it is fermenting. It’s okay if the top cabbage leaf isn’t completely submerged as you won’t be eating that and will throw it out, but it is really important to keep the rest of the cabbage submerged.

how to make sauerkraut

Some people will use a small dish of some kind, like a ramekin that will fit in the mouth of their jar, and use that to weigh it down. Since my jar is so small in the first place a cabbage leaf is the best choice for me.

If there is anything you take away from this tutorial, it is that you keep the cabbage COMPLETELY SUBMERGED. If the cabbage is not submerged it can get moldy. And then you can’t eat it. 🙁

Put the lid on the jar and store it in a warm place. I wrap it in a tea towel to keep it in a dark place, but you could put it in a dark cupboard as well.

how to make sauerkraut

Let it sit for 7 days. Every day unscrew the lid to release the gases so the pressure does not become too great in the jar. You can also check to make sure everything is still submerged. If not, push it down to submerge it. Put the lid back on.

Once it is done fermenting you can put it in the fridge. It will continue to ferment in the fridge, but at a slower rate.

And that is how to make sauerkraut.

Eat, and enjoy!

how to make sauerkraut

how to make sauerkraut



  • 2 lbs cabbage, sliced thinly into strips
  • 4 tsp sea salt


  • Put the sliced cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with 4 tsp of sea salt.  
  • Toss together until evenly coated with the salt.  Massage the cabbage with your hands for 5-10 minutes. then let it sit for 30 minutes.
  • Pound the cabbage with either a wooden spoon or squeeze with your hands for about 10 minutes to get the juices out.
  • Once there is some brine, stuff the cabbage into a jar, pushing the cabbage under the brine until completely submerged.  Pour any leftover brine from the bowl into the jar as well.
  • Fold a whole cabbage leaf into the mouth of the jar to weigh down the cabbage.  Put the lid snugly on the jar.
  • Let the sauerkraut sit in a warm location for 7 days.  Each day unscrew the lid to let the gases out of the jar, and then screw the lid snugly back on.  Make sure the cabbage is submerged still.  If not, push down the cabbage until completely submerged in brine.
  • After 7 days store in the fridge.  It is ready to eat!

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