This homemade classic sauerkraut with caraway seeds goes well with just about anything. No matter what healing diet you are currently on, the caraway fermented sauerkraut is probiotic while suitable for GAPS, Paleo, Whole 30, Keto and vegan.
If you like this classic sauerkraut, you will like my Pineapple-Turmeric-Ginger Probiotic Sauerkraut too. Also watch my video below for tips to make the best sauerkraut.
The Best Sauerkraut Tips
Year after year, I have consistently received positive reviews from my friends who had my home-made sauerkrauts. Here are the 3 key reasons my fermented sauerkraut turns out super delicious.
- Lower salt ratio of 1 tablespoon to 2 pounds of cabbage.
- Longer fermentation time of 6 to 8 weeks.
- Use flat cabbage instead of regular green cabbage, if available. The flat variety is sweeter and more tender.
Try these tips above, they make a big difference!
The Perfect Salt-to-Cabbage Ratio
You may have heard or read in many places that the recommended salt ratio for sauerkraut is 3 tablespoon of salt to every 5 pounds of cabbage. With years of tries and errors and successes, I can confidently say that this 3-to-5 salt ratio is too salty for my taste. I have found that 1 tablespoon of salt to every 2 pounds of vegetables (whether you use cabbage alone or a combination of cabbage and other vegetables) yields the most delicious fermented sauerkraut.
Your sauerkraut will develop better flavours with a longer fermentation time. My preference is to ferment the sauerkraut for 6 to 8 weeks. For those less patient, I still recommend a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks. Sauerkraut fermented less than 4 weeks does not taste very good.
Using a Salt Brine
Sauerkraut is a self-brining vegetable ferment, meaning there is no need to add more water, if you take the time to pound, massage, and wait for the salted cabbage to release enough juice. But some days you may not have the time to do so. In those cases, you can make a salt brine to top up your sauerkraut jar. In this classic fermented sauerkraut recipe with caraway seeds, I am also including an optional 2% salt brine recipe. For more details on salt brine percentage, see my fermented cucumber pickles recipe.
Should I Use Whey As a Starter?
As always, I don’t use whey as a starter in my vegetable ferments, for it’s not necessary. I talked about why in great details in my wild fermented salsa recipe.
What Kinds of Salt Should I Use?
I talked about what kinds of salt are best for fermentation in my fermented cucumber pickles recipe.
This caraway sauerkraut is the most traditional sauerkraut flavour. It is versatile to pair with sausages and pierogies. However, my favourite way to eat this sauerkraut is to put them in a smoked meat sandwich. In the winter time, I love to toss them with some root vegetables to make a probiotic and stunning traditional Russian vinaigrette salad.
Related: More Fermented Vegetables You Will Love
- Paleo Apple-Fermented Kimchi
- Keto Kimchi (Whole 30, GAPS, Paleo)
- Fermented Pickles /w Green Tea and Dill Flowers
- Wild Fermented Salsa (No Whey, Probiotic, Vegan)
- Sichuan Fermented Vegetables (四川泡菜)
- Fermented Hot Peppers
- Chinese Long Bean Recipe: Fermented Long Beans (酸豇豆)
- Fermented Cherry Tomatoes
- Fermented Watermelon Rind Salsa
- Pineapple-Turmeric-Ginger Probiotic Sauerkraut
Classic Sauerkraut /w Caraway Seeds
Self-Brining Caraway Sauerkraut
- 6 pounds green cabbage the flat variety preferred
- 3 tablespoons sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
- 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
Salt Brine (Optional)
- 1 1/3 cups filtered water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
- Thinly slice the cabbage. Add the sea salt and caraway seeds, massage, let it stand for 4 to 6 hours until the cabbage juice is released.
- Pack the cabbage with juice into a crock or glass jar(s) tightly, until the cabbage is submerged in its own juice.
- (Optional) If the cabbage didn't release enough juice, make a salt brine to top up the sauerkraut until all cabbage is submerged under the brine.
- Make sure there is at least an inch to 2 inches of space from the brine to the rim of the jar for expansion. Close the jar lightly to prevent oxygen from entering but allow air to escape. You may use weight and air lock if you wish.
- Let the cabbage ferment in a cool dark spot in the house. Within a couple days, you should see bubbles released by the fermentation process. If you aren't using weight and air lock, you will need to press down the cabbage to keep it submerged under the brine, and release the gas from the jar by opening the jar daily.
- At the minimum, let the sauerkraut ferment for 4 to 6 weeks in room temperature. For best result, ferment for 6 to 8 weeks. Move the sauerkraut to cold storage.
- 6 lb cabbage makes roughly 3 quarts of sauerkraut. To make more or less sauerkraut, be sure to maintain the same ratio of ingredients.
- This recipe includes a 2% salt brine that's optional. To make more or less salt brine, be sure to maintain the same water to salt ratio for salt brine. Find more details about different percentage salt brine in my fermented pickle recipe.
Jonathan S. says
Just made my first batch following your recipe, should be ready right on Christmas Day for a special treat!
Hi Yang, I need you opinion (help!) with my sauerkraut.
The problem I have is that when I use caraways seeds or any other seed, my kraut doesn’t ferment and perhaps is damaged, it has 5 weeks and there’s no signal that it’s working as it should be.
When I don’t add anythng to my sauerkraut it works excellent, any aidea? Please
I also have a queston about open daily the kraut to press the cabbage leaves, isn’t this oxygen entering to the bottle?
Thanks in advance
Hi! I made your Classic Sauerkraut without the Caraway Seeds. My 6 weeks is up for the Fermenting process. I put the cabbage and salt and water in 3 larger mason jars. I put a cabbage leaf over the top of the cut up cabbage and then I put a small jar with rocks in it for weight & screwed on the lid tight and made sure there was the 2 inches from the top of mason jar for the water to rise. Now the water has subsided to above the cabbage leaf. I am not clear as to what to do with the 3 mason jars of sauerkraut. Do I take the small jar with rocks in it out of the larger mason jar?? . What do I do with the cabbage leaf I put in over the sauerkraut and salt water? Do I take it off? . Do I take the sauerkraut out of these 3 larger jars and put it back in regular size mason jars? .I don’t know for sure what I am to be doing. It just says to move the sauerkraut to cold storage…so does that mean the fridge or a cold room in the basement of the house? .It sure smells good! .I got the recipe from your good friend ,Muneerah Tanya Shiraz! ,I will be waiting for your reply as to what to do with the sauerkraut as this point. Thank you. Susan
Hi Susan, thank you for making the recipe! It sounds like you have had great success! As for the weights and cabbage leaf, you can remove both of them now that the fermentation is over. If the large mason jars fit into your fridge or cold room, you can simply move the existing jars over, with lids on tight. If your jars are too big, then you can transfer the sauerkrauts into smaller jars, screw on the lids, and store the smaller jars in fridge or cold room. Let me know if your questions are answered.
James McNulty says
Living in So California most of my life (Born in Barrie, Ontario), and being fairly food/vegetable observant, I have NEVER seen “pickling cabbage” offered for sale in this area. I have seen on occasion, Korean Flat Cabbage offered for sale at 99 Ranch Markets. So much of our area is arid and hot, so there are few gardens in peoples yards.
Kelly @ A Girl Worth Saving says
Yum, I know that caraway gives ferments the most amazing flavor but I never thought to pair it with sauerkraut. I’m going to use your salt ratio info and make this stat!
Love how simple it is to make homemade sauerkraut. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe !
Emily @ Recipes to Nourish says
So yummy! There is nothing better than homemade kraut. I love the caraway seeds addition too – so classic and yummy!
I have sauerkraut fermenting in my cupboard right now! I have found that I have the best success when I don’t use water, but it certainly does give the hands and arms more of a workout !
So happy to see this recipe with caraway seeds! One of my favourite store-bought sauerkrauts is studded with caraway seeds and I love it so much. I will have to try your salt to cabbage ratio out too 🙂
I love the idea of having another great way to save some cabbage from the garden! This looks delicious@
Tessa Simpson says
fresh sauerkraut is the best, i especially like the addition of the caraway seeds! Yum Yang!
Megan Stevens says
Love this simple recipe and the caraway seeds. I’m 1/2 Russian, so those resonate with the childhood foods I sometimes ate.
Lindsey Dietz says
The majority of the folks who live in our town are Scandinavian, and let me tell you the Scandinavians LOVE their caraway seeds! Rye bread, sauerkraut… caraway is in all the things! Such a pretty kraut!
Yum! I think homemade sauerkraut tastes so much better than the store bought kind. This is my favorite way to get in my daily probiotics!
linda spiker says
So simple! Wonderful recipe!
Carol Little R.H. @studiobotanica says
Thanks for sharing your ideas re salt ratio and your tricks from years of making ferments!
Please advise what is flat cabbage and pickling cabbage?
We eat a lot of cabbage and I’ve never heard of either. Thanks for a great recipe!