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Making Sauerkraut in a Quart Jar

Making homemade sauerkraut is easy! All you need is a bunch of cabbage, pickling salt, and a couple of quart-sized mason jars.

Making Sauerkraut in a Quart Jar

When my daughter was a toddler, she LOVED sauerkraut. (She still does.) She called it “sauercrap” and we laughed our heads off every time she said it.

Any sauerkraut fans out there?

Sauerkraut seems to be having a resurgence in the last few years as people are learning how beneficial sauerkraut and other fermented foods can be for your gut health.

If you’ve only tried the bottled sauerkraut from the grocery store, you really need to give the homemade version a shot.

When I was in my 20s I spent 18 months as a representative for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Austria.

(Yes, the hills are alive, my friends.)

When I returned home, I was shocked by two things — 1) Wienerschnitzel Restaurants (hot dogs are neither schnitzel, nor are they “Wiener” aka Viennese.) and 2) How gross grocery-store sauerkraut was.

I have fond memories of seeing older Austrians spreading cabbage out on their countertops. I’m not sure what method they used for making sauerkraut (and I regret finding out), but I found an easy method (that takes up much less counterspace).

It just takes a little patience, as all fermented products do!

How to Make Mason Jar Sauerkraut

To make 2 quarts of sauerkraut, shred 5 pounds of cabbage.

I used the shredding attachment on my food processor. If you have something similar (like the slicing/shredding attachment on a Kitchen-Aid mixer) I’d highly recommend it.

Next, you’ll need some pickling salt, which is just plain salt. (No iodine or anything added.)

It’s cheap and available at just about every grocery store.

Sprinkle it on your cabbage, give it a good mix, and go do something else for a couple of hours — like sterilizing a couple of quart-sized mason jars. I just run mine through the dishwasher.

When you get back your cabbage will have wilted slightly.

Now take out your potato masher, a meat pounder, or a large, heavy-bottomed glass and smash that cabbage to smithereens.

You really want to release as much moisture from the cabbage as you can.

See how the cabbage’s volume has reduced significantly? That’s a good thing.

You’ll want to keep smashing it until you can see liquid collecting at the bottom when you press hard with your masher.

Now, transfer the smashed cabbage (and juices!) to the quart jars. (I really love my canning funnel.)

Really smash it in. It’ll fit.

You’ll know you pounded the cabbage enough if it releases enough of its own liquid to cover the cabbage once pressed into the jars. If it’s close, just add a little salt water until the jars are full. (There are notes about this in the recipe.)

Put lids on the jars (loosely) and place them on a plate or a tray to catch any juices that will most likely escape from the jars. Not most likely. Juices will come out. I’m not sure why but it happens and it’s messy.

Now we wait.

For a couple of weeks.

No, really.

As the days go by, check on it. If foam starts forming at the top, just skim it off. Bubbles will start to form inside the jar and rise to the top. And the cabbage will change from it’s pretty spring green color to a warmer, yellow-green hue.

After two weeks, start tasting it. If it tastes more salty than pickled, then it’s not ready yet. The process could take anywhere from 2-6 weeks, depending on the temperature. I had a batch finish in 2 weeks once and 5 weeks another time.

Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe tips

If the sauerkraut still tastes pretty salty, try rinsing a little off first, but not more than you plan on eating right then.

How to Store Sauerkraut in Mason Jar

Sauerkraut will last in the refrigerator for several months! It was so nice to have the real stuff after ahem . . 10 years without.

How to use Mason Jar Sauerkraut

And, do me a favor and grill up your favorite sausage or brat and eat it with a side of sauerkraut and some whole-grain mustard — that’s a real German/Austrian culinary experience right there.

other recipes

Have some extra sauerkraut? Try adding it to this delicious potato salad!

Hot German Potato Salad with Sauerkraut

By the way, there are a lot of health benefits from eating fermented foods like sauerkraut, miso, kimchi, and sourdough. Good fermentation = good bacteria for the gut!

If you make one of my recipes, be sure to post it on social media and tag me at @perrysplate or #perrysplate so I can send you some love!

Making Sauerkraut in Quart Jars

Making Sauerkraut in Quart Jars

Yield: 2 quarts
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 14 days
Total Time: 14 days 20 minutes

Making homemade sauerkraut is easy! All you need is a bunch of cabbage, pickling salt, and a couple of quart-sized mason jars.


  • 5 pounds trimmed green or red cabbage
  • 3 Tablespoons pickling salt


  1. Core and shred the cabbage. I recommend using some kind of shredding attachment on a food processor or a stand mixer to get fine, uniform shreds. You can also use a knife if you want.
  2. Transfer the cabbage into an extra-large bowl and add the salt. Stir well, then let it stand at room temperature for 2 hours. It should start releasing its liquid by then.
  3. Pound the cabbage using a potato masher, a meat pounder, or a heavy-bottomed glass. Really bruise it to release more of its liquid. Pack the cabbage firmly into two sterilized quart-sized jars. There should be enough juice in the jars to cover the cabbage, but if there isn't enough, add a little water.
  4. Cover with a lid and screw band. Don't tighten them firmly, just until you feel resistance. Place the jars on a tray or a plate to catch any juices that will try (successfully) to escape. Store where the temperature remains fairly steady, between 60 and 70 degrees F.
  5. Check the sauerkraut after 24 hours. The cabbage should still be completely immersed in the liquid. If you need to make more brine, dissolve 1 1/2 tablespoons of pickling salt in 1 quart of water. Pour enough in brine to keep the cabbage submerged.
  6. Check the sauerkraut every few days and skim off any foamy stuff that appears on the surface. Bubbles should begin to rise to the surface, indicating that fermentation is taking place.
  7. Start tasting the sauerkraut after 2 weeks. The flavor should change from salty to pickled. The fermentation can take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks depending on the temperature. You may want to rinse it off before eating if it still tastes very salty (it does to me). Only rinse off what you plan on eating right then.
  8. Store finished sauerkraut in the fridge for several months.

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Thursday 8th of September 2022

Been several years since I made kraut and couldn’t remember some details of how I make it, like how did I shred it, the food processor or the attachment for the Kitchen Aid mixer (probably both). Also some idea of how many quart jars I need for the quantity of cabbage I have (3 very large heads). Your article answered both questions.

Natalie Perry

Monday 26th of September 2022

Happy to help!

Marshall Reagan

Thursday 12th of July 2018

I make it and put hot peppers in it because I like it spicy . I keep a jar in the fridge to eat on whenever I want a bite or two of something to hold me until the next meal. it is good for your gut.

Natalie Perry

Thursday 12th of July 2018

Adding hot peppers is a fabulous idea.

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Tuesday 16th of July 2013

Do I need to use a glass jar? Can I use a plastic bucket with a lid?


Friday 2nd of November 2012

Just had to give this a thumbs up. Finally tore into our first jar this evening and the kids loved it. Thanks for a great recipe and good instructions. Now I have to make several gallons to satisfy everyone!

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