A Simple Sauerkraut Recipe for New Fermenters

Simple Sauerkraut Recipe Photo



Sauerkraut, which literally translates to “sour cabbage”, is a Germanic dish made of finely chopped cabbage that has gone through the lacto-fermentation process, the same process used to make Kimchi and Dill Pickles. That preserving process, which requires the help of unrefined mineral-rich salts, gives Sauerkraut its distinctive sour flavor and long shelf life. It also gives the original cabbage new health benefits thanks to probiotics from the lacto-fermentation process that improve digestive health, among other areas. And you can still make your Sauerkraut in the same traditional style that has been used for hundreds of years with ceramic fermentation crocks.

Sauerkraut is extremely easy to make and provides a flavorful kick to basic dishes. Traditionally, after undergoing the fermentation process, Sauerkraut is cooked and served warm. Some of our favorite ways to eat warm Sauerkraut are on sausages (like bratwursts or hot dogs) or mixed with mashed potatoes or potato dumplings. Try this simple recipe to make your own Sauerkraut and figure out what your favorite way to eat it is!


red and green cabbage sauerkraut mason jar
For this recipe you can use green or red cabbage, or combine them for pink Sauerkraut!



MIXING BOWL: You’ll want one large (4 or 5-quart) glass or stainless steel mixing bowl to combine the salt and cabbage before transferring to the fermentation crock. Stainless steel and glass are non-absorbent materials and will not impart any undesirable flavors into your cabbage like plastic. We like the largest bowls from this Pyrex set of bowls or this Cuisinart set of bowls. Both are great sets with lids that you will get a lot of general use out of in the kitchen for cooking, backing, and food storage!

FERMENTATION CROCK: We recommend that you use a traditional ceramic fermentation crock, like the SAUERKROCK by Humble House, instead of mason jars for all food fermentation recipes and we have documented the reasons for this in detail in this blog post. The main reason for this is that mason jars and other clear glass vessels allow light and UV rays in which can be harmful to the fermentation process cause damage to your fermenting food.

CABBAGE TAMPER: A sauerkraut pounder is truly an asset when it comes to making a successful batch of Sauerkraut because it increases the amount of brine extracted the cabbage. More brine means a better chance your fermenting cabbage is completely covered in liquid and less chance of mold or spoilage. You will want one long enough for use with a crock like the SAUERSTOMPER by Humble House which is specifically designed for people who ferment in a SAUERKROCK by Humble House, and store in mason jars.

STORAGE JARS: After the Sauerkraut has completed the lacto-fermentation process, you will need to transfer it over to mason jars for refrigerator storage. We’ve found that wide mouth mason jars make for the easiest transition and best storage solution and recommend either the quart-size like these ones or half-gallon size like these ones. The Sauerkraut produced by this recipe should fit in two quart-size jars or one half gallon-size jar.

PLASTIC GLOVES: Gloves are totally optional, but we recommend food grade disposable poly gloves like these ones if you don’t want your hands to sting from massaging the salt into the cabbage!




Makes approximately 2 quarts of Simple Sauerkraut

  • 1 large (5 pounds) green or red cabbage
  • 3 tablespoons mineral-rich dry salt*

*We do not recommend using standard table salts or kosher salts because they are refined and often contain additives. The best salts we’ve used for making Sauerkraut and other fermented foods are Real Salt brand sea salt and varieties of Pink Himalayan Salt. These salts are natural and unrefined, which means they contain no artificial ingredients and maintain all of their original minerals which add to the quality and flavor of your recipe.


humble house sauerkrock simple living company sauerkraut crock
We recommend a quality fermentation crock like the SAUERKROCK by Humble House over mason jars for a variety of reasons. Read this post from the Humble House blog to learn why..






Remove the wilted outer leaves of cabbage and discard. Cut the cabbage into quarters to expose the core, then trim out the core and discard. Very finely chop, or even grate, the remaining cabbage and move it into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt to the mixing bowl then thoroughly massage the salt into the cabbage with your hands (wear gloves if desired) until it is noticeably softer to touch.



Transfer the softened cabbage into your fermentation crock in layers, packing it down with a sauerkraut pounder with each layer to maximize the amount of brine that is extracted from the cabbage. Make sure the Sauerkrock is filled no more than 3/4 full in order to leave room for the ceramic weights. Set the weights on top of the cabbage and push down lightly to ensure it stays submerged in the brine that develops during the lacto-fermentation process.

Place the lid on the Sauerkrock, fill the water channel water, then tuck the crock away in a low-traffic area (like the inside corner of a kitchen countertop) in order to avoid being disturbed while it ferments. Let the mixture sit in the Sauerkrock at room temperature for anywhere from 2 days to a whole week depending on how sour you like your Sauerkraut. Don’t forget to check the water channel regularly to ensure enough water remains after evaporation to keep a seal.



When the Sauerkraut tastes good to you, move it into wide mouth mason jars after skimming off any surface mold that grew during fermentation and straining out the excess liquid. Next? Refrigerate and enjoy! Sauerkraut continues to develop its flavor even during refrigeration and can last for months thanks to the preserving power of lacto-fermentation.




12 thoughts on “A Simple Sauerkraut Recipe for New Fermenters

  1. Billy Reply

    Thank you for quickly outlining why using other salts aside from pink himalayan and sea salt is not beneficial for the process – I’ve always wondered this. I didn’t know there were that many additives in normal kosher salt. I love the picture you have that outlines the stark contrast between yellow and red cabbage! I don’t know which one to choose – My Grandpa always used yellow and this is the type we always had with our family dinners, but I’m more than happy to try the non-nostalgic way and shoot for red cabbage! Thanks for your article and recipe!

    • The Humble House Team Post authorReply

      Hi Billy,

      We’re glad you enjoyed our post and learned something new from reading it! It is probably worth us posting an article just on the different types of salt that are available and why they would or would not be suitable for using with fermenting foods as it is certainly something that is not commonly known.

      If you liked this recipe, we have several other foundational fermented foods recipes here on our website and plan to release several more in the coming months.

      Happy Fermenting!

      The Humble House Team

  2. Bud Horowitz Reply

    Can I assume that this recipe is for the larger 5L crock? If I have the smaller one, should I just cut this recipe in half?

    • The Humble House Team Post authorReply

      Hi Bud,

      Our recipe for Simple Sauerkraut yields approximately 2 quarts (or a half gallon) of Sauerkraut which would fit in the 5L Sauerkrock “Original” with the weights and plenty of room to spare. Halving this recipe would be appropriate if you are using the 2L Sauerkrock “City” fermentation crock. In that case we recommend using either a small cabbage (around 2 pounds) or a portion of a larger cabbage head.

      Hope this helps and happy fermenting in the new year!

      The Humble House Team

  3. Eadie Schillinger Reply

    I have always heard not to use stainless? Is this an old wives tale?

    • The Humble House Team Post authorReply

      Hi Eadie,

      Not all metals are appropriate for use fermenting foods and beverages, but stainless steel is an approved and often preferred material for home fermentation vessels. It is an especially commonly used material amongst home and industrial beer brewers alike. Stainless steel is a non-ferrous (does not contain iron) and non-reactive material so you do not need to worry about leeching or corrosion when using it.

      Hope this addresses your concerns!

      The Humble House Team

    • The Humble House Team Post authorReply

      Hi Lauren,

      Whether the salt is fine or coarse should not matter quite as much as what kind of salt. You definitely want to use unprocessed or unrefined salt for fermentation. We definitely do not recommend Table salt, Kosher salt or the like. We recommend Pink Himalayan Salt or Real Salt!

      Hope that helps.

      Happy Fermenting,
      The Humble House Team

  4. alex Reply

    Can i just add some cucumber slices mixed in with this recipe, perhaps maybe some garlic as well? (open to other suggestions as well) Or is there more to it than that?

    • The Humble House Team Post authorReply

      Hi Alex,

      Once you get the basics of this recipe down, you can definitely add a few more things like cucumber and garlic in to add some additional flavor.

      Additionally, try browsing through some more recipes over at our friends at http://www.fermentationrecipes.com!

      Happy Fermenting,
      The Humble House Team

  5. C. Baukus Reply

    I have just started my first batch of sauerkraut in my new 2L Sauerkrock. After prepping the cabbage, tamping it and applying the weights, the crock is only filled about 1/4 of the way. Does the Sauerkrock have to be filled all the way for good results? Will I have any problems with so small a batch?

    • The Humble House Team Post authorReply

      Hi there,

      We don’t think how filled your SAUERKROCK is matters quite as much as if the cabbage is submerged under the brine/ weights. If this is the case, you should be ok. Let us know if you have any additional questions.

      Thanks and Happy Fermenting!
      The Humble House Team

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