How To Make Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar

How To Make Easy Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar | Jills Home Remedies | Learn how to easily make sauerkraut in a mason jar! Homemade sauerkraut is full of probiotics and is healing for the entire body!

We are huge fans of sauerkraut in my house. In fact, if I don’t have it on hand all the time, at least one of my girls will be asking me over and over to get some made already. I’m so glad they like it so because it is one of the healthiest foods on planet earth. Homemade sauerkraut is full of probiotics and healing nutrition. I’m going to show you how to make easy sauerkraut in a mason jar!

When making sauerkraut, I highly recommend fermenting and not canning. I love the taste of canned sauerkraut but you will lose a lot of nutrition that way. When you ferment the cabbage, you don’t just have plain ol’ sauerkraut, you have miracle food in a jar. Not only is it a wonderful source of probiotics, it also heals the digestive tract, and acts as a healing medicine in the body. Try a few sips of the sauerkraut juice the next time you’re sick and see how well you improve! You will also likely find that you don’t get sick as often if you are eating it on a regular basis.

Fermented foods are preserved by a process called lactofermentation. This is a process in which bacteria feeds on the sugar and starch in food, creating beneficial vitamins, enzymes, Omega-3 fatty acids, and several different strains of probiotics. Food fermentation is something cultures have practiced from all over the world for hundreds of years. Besides delivering top nutrients, fermentation also breaks food down in an easily digestible form. This greatly improves a person’s digestion, gut health, and overall well-being.

There are 3 different ways to ferment vegetables:

  • With whey
  • With a culture starter packet
  • With salt

I have only used the salt method so that’s what I’ll be sharing today.  

There are a few different containers you can use for fermenting vegetables:

  • Crock or container with clamp-down lid
  • A jar with an airlock lid
  • A mason jar with a tight lid 

While I have had great results making sauerkraut with a plain canning lid, I’ve also had a few times that it didn’t turn out so well. This is likely due to the temperature changes in the house and oxygen seeping into the ferment. Oxygen is the enemy of fermentation and sometimes the canning lids don’t keep the air out so well.

I highly recommend using a fermenting lid which will create the perfect environment in the jar for fermenting  for more consistent results. I use Kraut Kaps here. You can experiment yourself and see what works for you!

Another great optional tool is a fermentation weight. I have made lots of sauerkraut without any weights, but they are very convenient to keep the cabbage under the liquid so it doesn’t turn brown or mold. You can buy glass weight here and plastic weights here. You just simply place them on top of the cabbage before you screw the lid on!

How To Make Easy Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar | Jills Home Remedies | Learn how to easily make sauerkraut in a mason jar! Homemade sauerkraut is full of probiotics and is healing for the entire body!

How To Make Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar

This recipe makes a half gallon of sauerkraut. Simply cut the recipe down if you wish to make smaller amounts.


1 large head cabbage (about 3 or 4 pounds)
3 tablespoons of Real Sea Salt (buy here)
Filtered Water
1/2 gallon Mason Jar, wide-mouth (buy here)
Fermenting Lid, optional (buy here)
Fermenting Weights, optional (buy here)


  • Finely chop/shred the cabbage. Though not necessary (but such a time saver!!), make the chopping super fast and easy, by using a food processor (this is the one I have)!
  • Toss salt and shredded cabbage in a bowl until well combined. 
  • Pack cabbage into a jar.
  • Pour water into the jar until the cabbage is well covered. Leave at least a 2 inch head-space for cabbage to expand.
  • Cover with lid.
  • Set in cool dark cabinet for 7 days.
  • Refrigerate
  • Keeps in refrigerator for 9 months. 

How To Make Easy Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar | Jills Home Remedies | Learn how to easily make sauerkraut in a mason jar! Homemade sauerkraut is full of probiotics and is healing for the entire body!

When you remove the lid, you should find it nice and bubbly.  This jar below was the bubbliest I’ve ever made.  If any of the vegetables have risen above the water/salt mixture {also known as brine}, they will likely be discolored.  Just scoop out the top layer and throw it away.  

How To Make Easy Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar | Jills Home Remedies | Learn how to easily make sauerkraut in a mason jar! Homemade sauerkraut is full of probiotics and is healing for the entire body!


Sauerkraut in a Mason Jar
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  1. 1 large head cabbage (about 3 or 4 pounds)
  2. 3 tablespoons of Real Sea Salt
  3. Filtered Water
  4. 1/2 gallon Mason Jar, wide-mouth
  5. Fermenting Lid, optional
  6. Fermenting Weights, optional
  1. Finely chop/shred the cabbage. To make it fast and easy, shred it in a food processor if you have one!
  2. Toss salt and shredded cabbage in a bowl until well combined.
  3. Pack cabbage into a jar.
  4. Pour water into the jar until the cabbage is well covered. Leave at least a 2 inch head-space for cabbage to expand.
  5. Cover with lid.
  6. Set in cool dark cabinet for 7 days.
  7. Refrigerate.
  8. Keeps in refrigerator for 9 months.
Adapted from Cultured Food Life
Natural Remedies Mom

Have you ever made sauerkraut?  I would love to hear about it in the comments below!


Health Benefits of Fermented Foods – Wellness Mama. (2011, April 7). Retrieved April 10, 2015, from


  1. Deon says

    Hi there,
    I’m just staring this herb journey and I’m going to do my first tincture…I’m confused on the alcohol . Proof and %….recipe calls for 70 %..I’ll have everclear ..this is confusing…any advice will help….the tincture is Arrowleaf.

    • says

      Hey Deon!

      80 proof vodka (which is about 70%) is the standard recommendation for tinctures. Your bottle will say what the proof is. Fill a jar full with fresh herbs or half full with dried herb. Cover to the top with the alcohol and place a lid. Let sit in a cool, dark cabinet for 6-8 weeks, shaking several times a week. Then strain the herbs and store the liquid in dark amber bottles or in mason jars out of direct sunlight. I hope this helps! Let me know if you have further questions!

  2. Cindy3539 says

    I would love to try this. It would be my first attempt at fermenting. Do you burp the jar at all? Thank you.

    • says

      Cindy, they say that if you’re not using an airlock lid you should burp the jar occasionally so it doesn’t explode. Don’t unscrew the lid all the way because you don’t want to let too much oxygen in the jar. Just barely unscrew it to let some of the air out. Best wishes!

      • Debbie says

        When I made my sauerkraut I put the shredded cabbage tightly packed into a quart jar put one tsp of salt then poured boiling water over to the top put the canning lid and ring on put back in the box the jars came out of kept in a warm place for about two weeks and listened for the jars to pop sealing themselves only had to refrigerate the ones that didn’t seal been using this method for about 35 years

  3. says

    Jill, this sounds like the easiest recipe for kraut! It’s got to be tastier than the old storebought I was raised on…and probably easier on the gut too? I’ve been intimidated by all the articles discussing brine solution percentages, etc. Do you ‘sweat’ your cabbage before you add the water?

    • says

      No I never have “sweated” the cabbage. In fact, I don’t even know what that is! πŸ™‚ There are different opinions floating around on specific aspects, but those of years gone by didn’t put a science to it so I tend to lean toward simplicity! As long as you cover the vegetables with water and add enough salt, you’re good to go! πŸ™‚ It really is very simple and yes, much easier on the gut.

  4. Wendy Ray says

    Thank you for explaining this so well! I have made sauerkraut with a similar method (only without adding water), but with my homemade cabbage it was a bit of an adventure (a less juicy variety, perhaps?). I’m looking forward to trying it with a bit of water like you suggest, so maybe the gasses can escape better without pushing the cabbage up and causing spills. Either way, it’s worth the trouble AND the mess, because it is so yummy.
    *Note: you probably ought to mention in your recipe that you DO need to put the lid on: you mentioned it above, but not specifically in the recipe. (I find that tightening it “fingertip tight” like when you’re canning, works well for fermenting as well, and would prevent any exploding jars.)
    Thanks again for a very helpful lesson & recipe!

  5. deb says

    I have seen many recipes call for kosher or pickling salt , isn’t that just as good to use? My mother would always add vinegar to her kraut as well, just curious as to why this isn’t needed in your recipe?
    Thank you!

    • says

      I prefer sea salt because of the nutritional value of it. Vinegar is not needed since the brine {the water and salt} create an acidic environment so that no bad bacteria can survive. I love vinegar foods, but from my understanding when you add vinegar, you are pickling the vegetables and not fermenting. While I love eating pickled food, it does not have the live probiotics and nutrition that fermenting does, so I like to make sure I’m fermenting some foods. Thanks for the question!

  6. Dannielle says

    I just did this with cabbage out of my garden. So I ended up with 4 half gallon jars! What is the best way to store what I am not using? Is it fine like it is, should it be canned? Thanks

    • says

      Wow! Good job on making so much healthy sauerkraut! πŸ™‚ Homemade sauerkraut lasts for months in the refrigerator. If you want long-term storage for years, you can can it. Keep in mind that while canned sauerkraut is food for you, the canning process kills most of the nutrients and the living enzymes and probiotics. You won’t get the health benefits once it’s canned, so I would not choose that method unless I wanted to be prepared for the future when food may be more scarce. πŸ™‚

  7. PaPa Grizz says

    I tryed this it took 5 weeks to get it to tast like my grandmothers .Its verry easy to make i made a gallon it was gone in two weeks. thanks PaPa Grizz

    • says

      Hi, Libby! Great question! You can use metal lids but many prefer plastic. People have been fermenting foods for thousands of years without using plastic lids. I have, however, just switched to plastic air-lock lids. Thanks for the question!
      Jill recently posted…How To Make a Brain Tonic TinctureMy Profile

      • says

        I have read of other people fermenting for this long. My recipes say to ferment for 6-7 days, so that’s what I do. πŸ™‚ I don’t know if it depends on the method of making it but I may experiment with different methods in the future. πŸ™‚

        • Deborah Burkett says

          I did make some using this recipe, I had no luck, it not only have none to a very mild taste but also turned brown.

          • says

            Hi, Deborah! Mine had a mild taste too compared to the vinegary kind I was used to at the store. The top can turn brown if it comes above the liquid. You can check on it daily and push it under the liquid, use a glass weight to keep it under the liquid, or just scoop the brown part off of the top. Hope that helps!

  8. says

    My sister made some when I was there for my grandmothers funeral in 1998. I fell in love with it and tried to make some but did not have the cool place for it so therefore it did not turn out right. Have not asked her for the recipe but I will give yours a go and see how it turns out. Thanks.

  9. Dawn says

    Are you eating this cold or room temperature? I grew up eating this heated up but would that kill most of the nutrition?

    • says

      Hi, Dawn! I do eat it cold. Heating it would likely kill some of the nutrition and living properties. If you like it heated up or in a certain dish, I would recommend eating it both ways. πŸ™‚

  10. says

    My mom made sauerkraut in a huge crock in our cellar every year. It was delicious!! If we were nauseous, it was our go-to remedy. I’ve wanted to make my own sauerkraut but don’t have a cellar. The fermentation process was– ummmm –aromatic. I’m going to try the mason jar method. I look forward to eating the real thing again!

    • says

      Awesome, Kathy! That’s so neat that you used sauerkraut for stomach troubles. I had never heard about that until a few years ago. Fermenting definitely helps those tummy troubles and stops viruses. I wish you success with this mason jar method!

  11. Debbie says

    I’ve made sauerkraut many times before in huge crocks. i do prefer the taste after fermenting at least a month though. Thanks for your input.

  12. says

    Thank you for this recipe! You mentioned you’ve only tried salt – is there a reason for this? Do you think you’ll ever give the other methods (like whey) a chance? Can’t wait to try this at home!

  13. says

    I love this! You made it so simple and straight forward and also included perfect pictures to go along with it. Can’t wait to try this at home and report back with how my kraut turned out! Thanks for sharing!

  14. wm says

    no water ,just salt keep pressing till the juice covers the cabbage. don’t worry it will cover ,just keep pressing . yours is great .i just don’t use water.good recipie thank you.

    • Hester says

      That’s how my mom made it and my dad would dig a hole deep enough to put straw in and he’d put the jars in on top of the jars and put a old sheet on that then he’d cover it up with the dirt. It would keep for a year or longer. That’s the old school way.

  15. Jenn says

    So I actually grit this receipe from a friend. Did 4 large mason jars and the lids buckled. I’ve read where u prefer the plastic. Also, you mention β€œburping” the container. My question is I do not have to be concerned if the lids are not sealed tight Luke in canning? I can open them periodically during the 5 week process?

  16. says

    Yes it’s very different than canning – you can open them during the process to make sure the cabbage is still submerged in the liquid.

  17. Arvell Padavell says

    Am anxious to try your sauerkraut . I love ‘kraut, hubby not so much. Rather than using a Large mason jar, can I use pint jars??

  18. says

    Mother used to make sauerkraut in a large crock in the storm cellar. She never used a lid, just a dinner plate with a rock on the plate to keep the cabbage under the brine.

  19. Julie Arbuckle says

    Your recipe calls for using a half gallon Mason jar, but my Pinterest picture shows a small jar… not a canning jars. Did you transfer your finished sauerkraut?

  20. Ronni says

    Love making my own and make it often. Firstly I squeeze the cabbage after food processing for about 10 minutes which takes water out of cabbage. When done I also add some carroway seeds which makes it perfect. I also look at everyday and push cabbage down.

  21. Cindy Kluchinsky says

    Can you use the rest of the cabbage after boiling it for stuffed cabbage. My head was so big but i only used like 8 leaves to make the stuffed cabbage now i have the rest of the head and was looking for something to do with it. Its soft from boiling but not soggy. Thanks

  22. says

    Can you use the rest of the cabbage after boiling it for stuffed cabbage. My head was so big but i only used like 8 leaves to make the stuffed cabbage now i have the rest of the head and was looking for something to do with it. Its soft from boiling but not soggy. Thank you for your help

  23. Madonna Seegert says

    I’m ready to make sauerkraut – does this have to be kept refrigerated? Or do I need to do a hot water bath?

    Thanks in advance.


    • says

      Hi, Donna! You refrigerate it after letting it ferment in the cabinet for at least a week. If you use a hot water bath, that would be canning it instead of fermenting. That’s fine to do, but it would not have the probiotic properties that the fermentation method gives.

  24. Jennifer says

    I am going to making a lot of quart sized jars of this. After the 7 day fermentation, I am not going to be able to put them all into the fridge for storage. What would you recommend, I do? Water bath can them? I noticed above you didnt like that idea because it loses alot of the nutritional value of the kraut. Hope to hear back from you soon!

    • says

      Hello! Canned sauerkraut is not a medicine food like the fermented, but you can definitely do that for longer shelf life and it will still be good for you. πŸ˜€ I’ve never canned it but you can find helpful instructions HERE.

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