A Basic Sauerkraut in a Jar Recipe

Many years ago, a woman at my church told me I could make sauerkraut in a jar. That was a new idea and I was intrigued by it. I love sauerkraut, and I thought I couldn’t make it at home because I didn’t have a cellar. But every attempt to make it turned out bad. It wasn’t until I discovered Fermentools, and the instructions here, that I successfully created my first batch of lacto-fermented sauerkraut. If you want just a basic sauerkraut recipe, here it is–done the right way.

How to Make Basic Sauerkraut in a Jar

Sauerkraut is the hallmark of fermented foods. While it may have many variations, there isn’t much like the good, plain, ole ‘kraut.

Though sauerkraut takes some patience, the process is simple and the results are satisfyingly healthy. It’s full of fiber, vitamins C and K, and iron. And unlike store-bought, canned sauerkraut, the traditionally lacto-fermented stuff is full of probiotics for gut and overall health.

A Basic Sauerkraut Recipe

To make sauerkraut, you will need only three ingredients:

  • Cabbage
  • Filtered water
  • Sea salt

Amounts will vary depending on how much cabbage you have. Since cabbage produces much of its own liquid, you may not need as much brine as in other ferments. If you’re not sure how much brine to make, start with a quart. You can always make more if needed.

1) Make a salt water brine consisting of 1.5 tablespoons of salt to every four cups of water. (Adjust amounts proportionately.) Gently warm the water and mix with the salt until it dissolves. Using Himalayan Powder Salt makes this job easier. Let cool completely.

2) Meanwhile, chop your cabbage thinly and massage it in a bowl with your hands for a few minutes. This will soften the cabbage and allow it to release some of its own juices.

3) Pack cabbage tightly into a wide-mouthed pint, quart, or half-gallon jars. Cover cabbage with the salt brine and be sure to leave about ½-1” headspace at the top of the jar.

4) Use glass weights to hold down the cabbage under the brine. (This prevents spoilage through unwanted exposure to air.) Install the Fermentools lid and airlock per manufacturer instructions to allow for the release of carbon dioxide as the cabbage ferments.

5.) Leave sauerkraut at room temperature to ferment. Waiting is the hardest step!

Remember to not leave sauerkraut too long in extremely warm conditions, as too much heat could cause it to spoil. Check your kraut every day or two to taste and smell its progress. Make sure to always test the kraut with clean hands and utensils.

How long do you have to wait? Sauerkraut can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks to finish, depending on the environment and taste preferences. Generally, kraut should be pleasantly sour and tangy, but ultimately it is finished when you think it tastes right to you.

6) Move sauerkraut to cold storage (i.e., a refrigerator or root cellar).

Enjoy your sauerkraut on hot dogs, pork, sausage, or other meat, or even on top of eggs for breakfast! Remember to add it at the last moment of cooking to avoid killing the good bacteria that are part of traditionally lacto-fermented foods.

Have you made homemade sauerkraut in a jar? How do you most enjoy eating yours?


The mistakes I made in my first attempts to make sauerkraut in a jar revolved around keeping the air from the food. Using the Fermentools kit with glass weight and airlock made all the difference. If you haven’t gotten your Starter Kit yet, do it today.


Abigail is an aspiring homesteader, homeschooler, and music-maker. She lives with her husband and three children on her acre-and a half homestead in scenic Pennsylvania. You can visit her blog about living the homegrown life (and seeking contentment while doing it) at They’re Not Our Goats.

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