Old-Fashioned Homemade Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut on chopping board, preserving jar
Westend61 / Getty Images
Prep: 90 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 90 mins
Servings: 36 servings
Yield: 8 quarts
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
72 Calories
0g Fat
17g Carbs
4g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 36
Amount per serving
Calories 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2467mg 107%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 118mg 591%
Calcium 153mg 12%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 618mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is an old-fashioned, homemade sauerkraut with canning instructions. The recipe was adapted from a Mississippi Cooperative Extension recipe.


  • 25 pounds cabbage

  • 1/2 pound pickling salt, about 3/4 cup

Steps to Make It

  1. Remove outer leaves and any undesirable portions from firm, mature, heads of cabbage; wash and drain. Cut into halves or quarters; remove the core. Use a shredder or sharp knife to cut the cabbage into thin shreds about the thickness of a dime.

  2. In a large container, thoroughly mix 2 tablespoons pickling and canning salt with 3 pounds shredded cabbage. Let the salted cabbage stand for several minutes to wilt slightly; this allows packing without excessive breaking or bruising of the shreds.

  3. Pack the salted cabbage firmly and evenly into a large clean crock or jar. Using a wooden spoon or tamper or the hands, press down firmly until the juice comes to the surface. Repeat the shredding, salting, and packing of the cabbage until the crock is filled to within 3 to 4 inches of the top.

  4. Cover the cabbage with a clean, thin, white cloth (such as muslin) and tuck the edges down against the inside of the container. Cover with a plate or round paraffined/waxed board that fits inside the container so that the cabbage is not exposed to the air. Put a weight on top of the cover, so the brine comes to the cover but not over it. A glass jar filled with water makes a good weight.

  5. An alternative method of covering cabbage during fermentation consists of placing a plastic bag filled with water on top of the fermenting cabbage. The water-filled bag seals the surface from exposure to air and prevents the growth of film yeast or molds. It also serves as a weight. For extra protection, the bag with the water in it can be placed inside another plastic bag. Any bag used should be of heavyweight, watertight plastic and intended for use with foods. The amount of water in the plastic bag can be adjusted to give just enough pressure to keep the fermenting cabbage covered with brine.

  6. Formation of gas bubbles indicates fermentation is taking place. A room temperature of 68 F to 72 F is best for fermenting cabbage. Fermentation is usually completed in five to six weeks.

  7. Fully fermented sauerkraut may be kept tightly covered in the refrigerator for a few months, it can be frozen in sealed freezer bags, or it may be canned as follows: ​

  • Hot Pack: Bring sauerkraut and liquid slowly to a boil in a large kettle, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and fill sterilized jars rather firmly with sauerkraut and juices, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.​

  • Raw Pack: Pack sterilized jars with sauerkraut and cover with juices, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust jar lids and process.

Hot Pack:

  • Pint jars: 10 minutes

  • Quart jars: 15 minutes

Raw Pack:

  • Pint jars: 20 minutes

  • Quart jars: 25 minutes