Sauerkraut in a glass jar with spoon

How to make sauerkraut

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(4 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins plus at least 5 days fermenting, no cook


Makes 4 x 450ml jars,

Try the simplest way to make classic sauerkraut using raw cabbage. This fermented food is great for your gut and goes very well with sausages and mustard

Nutrition and extra info

  • Gluten-free

Nutrition: per tbsp

  • kcal33
  • fat0g
  • saturates0g
  • carbs5g
  • sugars5g
  • fibre3g
  • protein1g
  • salt2.1g
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  • 2kg very firm, pale green or white cabbage (any leathery outer leaves removed), cored
  • 3 tbsp coarse crystal sea salt (or 6 tbsp flaky sea salt)
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp peppercorns


  1. Thoroughly wash a large tub or bowl (we used on the size of a small washing-up bowl), then rinse with boiling water from the kettle. Make sure that your hands, and everything else coming into contact with the cabbage, are very clean. It’s wise to use a container that will comfortably fit the softened cabbage, allowing several inches of room at the top to avoid overflow.

  2. Shred the cabbage thinly – a food processor makes light work of this. Layer the cabbage and the salt in the tub or bowl. Massage the salt into the cabbage for 5 mins, wait 5 mins, then repeat. You should end up with a much-reduced volume of cabbage sitting in its own brine. Mix in the caraway seeds and the peppercorns.

  3. Cover the surface of the cabbage entirely with a sheet of cling film, then press out all the air bubbles from below. Weigh the cabbage down using a couple of heavy plates, or other weights that fit your bowl, and cover as much of the cabbage as possible. The level of the brine will rise to cover the cabbage a little. Cover the tub and leave in a dark place at a cool room temperature (about 18-20C) for at least five days. It will be ready to eat after five days, but for maximum flavour leave the cabbage to ferment for anywhere between 2-6 weeks (or until the bubbling subsides).

  4. Check the cabbage every day or so, releasing any gases that have built up as it ferments, giving it a stir to release the bubbles. If any scum forms, remove it, rinse the weights in boiling water and replace the cling film. You should see bubbles appearing within the cabbage, and possibly some foam on the top of the brine. It’s important to keep it at an even, cool room temperature – too cool and the ferment will take longer than you’d like, too warm and the sauerkraut may become mouldy or ferment too quickly, leading to a less than perfect result.

  5. The cabbage will become increasingly sour the longer it’s fermented, so taste it now and again. When you like the flavour, transfer it to smaller sterilised jars. Will keep in the fridge for up to six months.

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Comments, questions and tips

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23rd Jul, 2020
I had so much fun making this. It worked perfectly and is so tasty in a pita bread with some leftover roast lamb.
Ysolda Dee's picture
Ysolda Dee
13th Jul, 2019
Have been into the fermenting for quite some time now. I usually do 10 grams of salt for each kilogram of raw cabbage. The brine for refilling - half a teaspoon of salt per 250 ml cold water. It works fine. I wouldn't recommend cling film or any plastic. Just press the salted, softened cabbage - with all the ingredients you like - bay leaves, mustard seeds, juniper berries, caraway seeds ... - into sterilized Weck jars. There are special glass weights for keeping the kraut under the brine. Let sit in room temperature for some days, then transfer to the fridge. You can also make sauerkraut from red cabbage. Very nice!
9th Jan, 2018
I spent half my life in Germany and am a huge Sauerkraut fan, but never made my own before. The method may look long, but in fact it's incredibly easy. Just make sure your utensils are squeaky clean. After a week (I had to top up the brine around day four) I portioned it into glass jars and stored it in the fridge. We just tried our first glass after waiting eight weeks and it got full points from my husband, who is German, so that's saying something. Yes it's salty, but that's a fine excuse to have another beer ;)
1st Jan, 2018
I tried this, but the cabbage remained unfermented and horribly salty. I had to throw it away.
Rob Wilson's picture
Rob Wilson
24th Mar, 2018
You might have used too much salt, the proportion in relation to cabbage must be around 2%- I don't think the instructions on this are clear enough, it needs to be weighed precisely along with the cabbage. Significantly more and it will inhibit the probiotic bacteria. Also you need to make sure you use non-iodised salt, the instructions to use sea salt are not just fanciful, iodine will inhibit bacterial growth. It's worth trying again, adding grated ginger is a fantastic taste addition and also inhibits surface mould.
2nd Oct, 2017
I do not seem to be able to get the method up. Do you have to pay or something?
goodfoodteam's picture
6th Oct, 2017
Thanks for your question. We think you must be accessing this from your mobile in which case there is an ingredients tab and a method tab. Ingredients display automatically, above them you will see both the tabs. Click on the method tab to view.
mother_ship's picture
19th Feb, 2017
My sauerkraut has turned out really salty with 15g/500g and not very sour, is this the correct amount and will less salt affect the keeping properties?
goodfoodteam's picture
28th Feb, 2017
Thank you for your question. Yes this is the correct amount. The sour taste will increase the longer you ferment the cabbage - we suggest 2 - 6 weeks fermentation. Aim for closer to 6 weeks if you like a more dominant sour taste. Hope that helps.
mother_ship's picture
4th Mar, 2017
Thanks, having left it longer it has definitely improved, I think that a week is no where near enough. :-)
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