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How To Make Sauerkraut In A Jar


Staff member
Dec 14, 2023
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The easiest way to experiment with fermented foods for the first time is to make sauerkraut in a jar at home. What makes sauerkraut so simple is the minimal ingredients it requires: cabbage and salt. That’s it!

So, below is a basic sauerkraut recipe. Once you try it out, you can move on to adding other ingredients to customize the flavor, like different herbs, garlic, and vegetables.

If you’d like to learn more about fermented foods, listen to the Joyful Microbe podcast episode with Dr. John Leech, a fermented foods research scientist. He shares how to make sauerkraut for the at-home microbiology activity, along with lots of great information about the microbiology behind fermented foods.

Listen to my episode with Dr. John Leech

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Or listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify

This post contains affiliate links — see my disclosure policy.


  • 1 head of red or white cabbage
  • Salt (2% of the weight of the cabbage)



  1. Wash the cabbage
  2. Cut up or grate the cabbage into small pieces
  3. Add 2% salt (2% of the weight of the cabbage)
  4. Mix it up and squish and kneed the salt into the cabbage with your hands for several minutes. You’ll begin to see juices come out of the cabbage.
  5. Let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes (you can add some pressure by putting a plate on top of the cabbage).
  6. Transfer the cabbage and the juices into a mason jar.
  7. Press down and pack into the jar so the juices are all on top and there is no cabbage above the liquid (brine).
  8. Optional: Place a fermentation weight to keep pressure on the cabbage to make sure that the cabbage is held underneath the brine.
  9. Place the lid on the jar.
  10. After about 3 or 4 days, the fermentation really kicks in. The cabbage might start to creep up from the bubbles formed by the microbes. Keep an eye on it and press it down if it pops above the brine. (Otherwise, you could end up with undesirable microbes like Kahm yeast, which is safe but will change the taste and texture of your food.)
  11. Take note of the smells as they change each day.
  12. You can begin to taste your sauerkraut at 7 days and notice the sour, tangy flavors.
  13. Let it ferment for 2 to 4 weeks.
  14. Enjoy!
Steps to make sauerkraut.

Cut the cabbage, squish, pack into jar, and ferment! Photos by Justine Dees.
Sauerkraut day made

Day sauerkraut was made
Finished sauerkraut

All finished!

Additional Resources​

Helpful for your sauerkraut fermentation:

4-Pack of Fermentation Glass Weights with Easy Grip Handle for Wide Mouth Mason Jars

4-Pack of Fermentation Glass Weights with Easy Grip Handle for Wide Mouth Mason Jars
Ball Regular Mouth 32-Ounces Mason Jar with Lids and Bands, Clear,(Pack Of 2)

Ball Regular Mouth 32-Ounces Mason Jar with Lids and Bands, Clear,(Pack Of 2)

The post How To Make Sauerkraut In A Jar appeared first on Joyful Microbe.
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