Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (2024)

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3.39 from 34 votes


Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut

People used to pound cabbage to get it good and juicy for fermentation. Pounding isn't necessary when you let salt do the work instead!

Servings 1 Quart

Author Wardee Harmon


  • 1mediumcabbage
  • 1tablespoonsea saltor 1/2 tablespoon sea salt + 1/4 cup leftover kraut juice from a previous batch


  1. Quarter and core cabbage, discarding outer leaves.

  2. Shred cabbage by hand or in food processor.

  3. Put in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt.

  4. Cover bowl with a tea towel and set aside for 30 minutes.

  5. Remove towel and stir.

  6. Re-cover with tea towel and set aside for another 30 minutes.

  7. Remove towel and stir. It should be getting juicy.

  8. Transfer cabbage to a sterilized wide-mouth quart canning jar.

  9. Press down firmly to remove any air gaps and pack cabbage tightly (this works well).

  10. Fill jar to within 1 inch of the rim.

  11. Cover tightly with metal band and lid.

  12. Leave at room temperature (around 70 degrees Fahrenheit) for 3 to 7 days, burping daily to remove pent-up gases. (Or, use an airlock jar.)

  13. During the first 24 hours, open the jar a few times to press the cabbage down beneath the level of the juices.

  14. Transfer to refrigerator or cold storage, where it will continue to age for many months.

  15. Eat at any time!

Enjoy! Have you ever made sauerkraut before? Will you try this recipe?

Other Fermented Vegetable Recipes

  • Homemade Sauerkraut In A Stoneware Crock
  • High Vitamin C Sauerkraut
  • Homemade Kimchi: An Easy Korean Sauerkraut Recipe
  • Old-Fashioned, Crunchy, Fermented Garlic-Dill Pickles
  • Lacto-Fermented Carrot Sticks
  • 5-Spice Apple Chutney {lacto-fermented!}
  • Spontaneously Fermented Sparkling Apple Cider {fall’s easiest ferment!}
  • Homemade Raw Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe
  • Lacto-Fermentation archives here at Traditional Cooking School

...without giving up the foods you love or spending all day in the kitchen!

Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (4)

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Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (5)

About Wardee Harmon

Wardee lives in the Boise area of Idaho with her dear family. She's the lead teacher and founder of the Eat God's Way online cooking program as well as the author of Fermenting, Sourdough A to Z, and other traditional cooking books. Eat God's Way helps families get healthier and happier using cooking methods and ingredients from Bible Times like sourdough, culturing, and ancient grains.

Reader Interactions


  1. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (6)Marg says

    I guess I’ll be up late tonight for the unlimited internet access so I can download the video! I love Beyond the Peel!! I look forward to seeing the video.


  2. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (11)Sarah Eileen via Facebook says

    I have pretty much never fully “pounded” my sauerkraut and it is always amazing.


  3. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (12)Lisa says

    I enjoyed your interview! I’m excited to try the sauerkraut recipe. I’ve been buying Bubbie’s sauerkraut but it would be cheaper to make it myself, especially if I succeed in growing cabbage this year (I’m a little doubtful). I have a feeling I’m going to end up buying your book, too.


  4. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (13)Rachel says

    What’s the name – and where can one find – the wooden tamper you use in the photo to pack down the cabbage? I’ve used a wooden spoon but it doesn’t work nearly as well as a round, flat device like this one. I supose a bar muddler might work but this is much larger than any of those I’ve seen.



  5. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (15)Mhikai says

    This looks like a great idea and I am sure a lot of people would want to try this.. Thanks!


  6. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (16)Dani says

    I am at work and all videos are blocked, so I’ll have to tune in later from home–I can’t wait to see it, and am shocked that this is my first introduction to Beyond the Peel! Can’t wait to learn more.
    In lieu of some leftover juice from a previous batch, I’m sure I could sub an equal amount of fresh whey? I know it might not make it juice as much (might also add some filtered water), but my hubby DRANK the last of the juice from my last batch of kraut! Oh, and if you haven’t tried it yet, mix in a handful of mustard seed to each batch–we swear that it adds a nuanced depth of flavor that plain cabbage doesn’t give.
    BTW, I have found kraut pounders at flea markets from time to time. In fact, when I first decided I wanted one, I started looking online but put it off. Next time we were at the local “antique dealers’ warehouse” (aka gigantic indoor flea market with fixed stalls… I know CO isn’t the only place that has those!), Hubs actually saw it before I did, held it up, and said, “Honey, what’s THIS?” I said, “That’s my newest acquisition!” I had given consideration to stealing one of his wooden baseball bats if I couldn’t find one… Or, you could always buy one online LOL
    We LOVE our kraut on just about everything, and one of our favorite summertime meals is when I have one of those sourdough loaves that may be a bit beyond its prime, I’ll dice up a couple slices, and put them in a bowl with some fresh egg salad on top, then top it with the kraut. It’s like a deconstructed egg salad sandwich, served up with a spoon and lots of probiotics!


  7. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (17)Marian says

    Wardee, I have your book and I love it!, have been recommending it to everyone (see But I was wondering: Some folks say you must ferment things like kraut 28 days to get the full probiotic benefit, and you are doing yourself a disservice if you put it in cold storage before that time. Does using the whey speed up the process so much that a 5, 6 or 7 day ferment is truly sufficient? Although…I noticed on this recipe that you don’t use the whey at all and it’s still ready in just a few days.

    My husband has major digestive issues caused by chronic illness and antibiotics, but he loves kraut and eats it every day, and I’m hoping that will help him on his way to being a healthier person. The probiotic benefits of the fermented foods are so important to us; I just don’t want to be short-changing him by “harvesting” our ferments too soon. Please give me your take on this. Thanks so much.


  8. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (18)Tonya says

    Hello! I am sorry if this is an obvious question, but I am SO literal 🙂 I am wondering if this can be done in pint-sized jars as we don’t use it very fast. If so, how would you do that? Thanks!!!


    • Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (19)Polly says

      Tonya, I live alone and have limited storage space so generally prepare only very small quantities of ferments. It’s completely fine as long as you adjust the quantities accordingly. So, if you have a reasonable head for practical maths it’s no problem. I’ve also found that the recipes seem to have more natural ‘give’ than recipies you would use for baking etc.: if you don’t get the proportions perfect it’ll likely still work fine (and if it doesn’t it’ll smell and look so bad you’ll have no hesitation in consigning it to the compost bin). At the end of the day, the worst that’ll happen is you’ll waste a cabbage and a bit of salt – go for it!


  9. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (20)Diana says

    Looks like you posted this just after I made my first sauerkraut earlier this year! I was looking and looking for a simple recipe like this and ended up doing a combination of several recipes, but it was almost exactly this method. That kraut is long gone, but I just got a good deal on cabbage and would like to make more. So excited to find this, and about to go chop my cabbage now! Thanks 🙂


  10. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (21)Mary Jo says

    I feel silly asking this, but what does it mean to burp it?


    • Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (22)Wardee Harmon says

      Open the jar to release pent up gases 🙂


  11. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (23)Mary Jo says

    So, I have a batch of this on my counter right now (second batch…first exploded!). How do you know it’s ready for the fridge? Is it like kombucha, just move it when it tastes right? Or am I looking for something specific?


    I am on GAPS right now and spending about $15/week on Bubbie’s. If I succeed at making my own, it will save a bundle!


  12. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (24)Wendy says

    I served a 2-week-old batch of this to my family today, telling them: “You like cabbage, right? And you like pickles and relish, right? Well, this is pickled cabbage!”
    Wow! I already knew I liked sauerkraut and my family of 9 isn’t generally picky, but despite the strong smell and it being a new food, they all tried it! The initial reaction was a big-eyed, “Wow, that’s strong!”, then almost immediately, “Can I have MORE?”
    You eat a bite and your tongue says, “This is okay…yeah, I could eat this occasionally…”, then something deep inside you says, “This is SO good!!! PLEASE give me more!!!!!!!”

    When I made this, I was aiming for 4 quarts, but one jar was a bit short, so I just added some chopped onions and anaheim peppers, plus a little more salt to fill it. I tasted that batch before moving it to cool storage and I almost couldn’t part with it! So tasty, and it smelled nicer than the plain-cabbage batches.

    I’ve noticed the frequent question about the possibility of jars exploding during fermentation…
    I love the ideas and gadgets to help with that question, but for those of us who are in the “meanwhile, what can I do with THIS batch?”, I’d like to point out that if you tighten a canning lid “fingertip tight”, it’s designed to let air escape, but not come in, correct? Because that is what happens during heat canning. I HAVE had ferments spill out liquid too and that is annoying, especially when enough spills out that you’re worried the veggies won’t stay submerged, but I think that is the worst catastrophe possible unless the lid was WAY too tight.
    Just a thought.

    I LOVED this easy method–thank you so much!

    • Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (25)Wendy says

      My homegrown cabbage just didn’t have quite as much juice as it probably should this year (got it in late and it’s been a dry year–except for flooding in Aug-Sep–and we’re getting around to it late, since it’s willing to endure some frosts while we take care of other crops), so in my later batches I have added some water and just a bit more salt at the top of each jar to ease my conscience. So far, so good…


  13. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (26)Candice says

    Does the sauerkraut lose its probiotic qualities if heated? In other words, how do we eat it?


  14. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (27)Chaim Bochner says


    Since I cannot buy fresh cabbage because of the bug issue and Kosher dietary rules, what about vacuum packed pre cut cabbage from a greenhouse?

    Do you think it’s ok and will provide health benefits just as much as if I cut it myself?

    Please assist.

    Thank You.


  15. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (28)Autumn says

    Hi Wardee! I use the pound method, so I’m excited about trying this today!! My question is, we usually store the finished product in our cool basem*nt storage room. Do you think that is cool enough instead of the frig? Thanks!!


  16. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (29)Suzanne says

    Wardee, is it okay if the fermenting jar is only half full?


    • Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (30)Millie says

      Hi Suzanne,

      If the jar isn’t full, be sure to have the veggies completely covered in brine. You may need to add a weight (such as a full cabbage leaf) to help hold the veggies under the brine.


  17. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (31)Helene says

    So in one hour the wild ferments get in the cabbage thru the towel? Otherwise Im not understanding where the probiotics come in so they grow and culture the cabbage & sliced onion, garlic, shredded carrot, etc… Thanx!


    • Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (32)Wardee Harmon says

      Helene — The wild organisms are right on the cabbage, so no need to get through the towel. Most fermentation happens with organisms present on the food. Enjoy!


  18. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (33)Helene says

    I’ve seen other recipes call for a probiotic capsule opened up into the mix. Is this just to further inoculate the ferment you’re making or to introduce different strains than what might be in your kitchen or…?


    • Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (34)Wardee Harmon says

      Helene — You can jumpstart your ferment and ensure a good result by adding a starter culture such as a probiotic capsule. That’s why people do it. It’s not necessary but it can help ensure more consistent results. Especially if the vegetables are not organic.


  19. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (35)bee mac says

    help please
    hi i am new to fermintiong. i am doing kraut. i did not use whey but used salt instead in my cabbage and i used way too much salt. it has been 30 days on my counter and still to salty and crunchy. can i take it out and rinse it off some and put it back into the jar to start over or can i leave it to do its thing longer. thanks wardee


    • Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (36)Millie says

      Hi Bee,

      You can drain some of the brine and replace with cool water. That should help with the saltiness. You do want it to have some crunch to it.

      Traditional Cooking School


  20. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (37)Connie says

    If sauerkraut is dehydrated does it lose it’s probiotic goodness? How would be the best way to store it after dehydration?


    • Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (38)Millie says

      Hi Connie,

      It doesn’t lose probiotics when dried, but it does lose its crunch. A better way to save it is to freeze it.

      Traditional Cooking School


  21. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (39)Amy E says

    How much time does this method save? Or basically, how much time would it have taken to pound the kraut instead?
    Another question, why not just fill the crock with the salted cabbage instead of using the bowl? It seems feasible.


    • Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (40)Wardee Harmon says

      Amy ~ As I’ve never pounded kraut, I’m not sure. I’ve heard people say they pounded for awhile though… 30 minutes?

      You could put the whole mixture in the crock, however, the cabbage isn’t soft enough to press down until it’s wilted and it probably won’t fit until it’s more juicy. And then there’s the question of whether or not you can really pack it down if it’s all in there at the same time. (It works best to add a little, then pack, add more, then pack more…)

      Thanks for your questions!


  22. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (41)Chrisi says

    Thank you so much for all the information you share. I got brave enough to try my first ferment, kraut. Canned kraut is too strong to me, I like it in VERY small amounts with meat. My husband loves kraut. Neither of us had ever tasted homemade kraut, so we weren’t sure what to expect. Yesterday we were finally able to dig in to our jar of kraut that was 8 days old. I absolutely love it! That is the most kraut I have ever eat in a setting. My husband thought it needed to be stronger, but liked it. I am going to let the rest continue to ferment for him and see if he likes the taste better. I am so excited! I never thought I would make something like this. My next ferment is going to be Kimchi. Thank you SO much!


  23. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (42)Linda Baker says

    I have a conundrum. I had a friend come and pound 15 pounds of cabbage for me, only to learn it didn’t need to be done. That is ok, we can learn, but my husband got a large glass vase off the top of the refrigerator, filled it with water, and set it on top of the plate that I had down in the crock to weight it down. You would think – all fine and good – but he didn’t wash the outside or the bottom of the vase. I’m sure it was dusty, though he said he didn’t see any dripping off(you know how nasty tops of refrigerators get). I thought I would cry. Do you think the fermentation process will take care of something like this, or do I need to start over?


  24. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (43)Linda Baker says

    After 4 days it has some white foam…otherwise seems good…? Can I trust it?


    • Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (44)Millie Copper says

      Hi Linda,

      Ferments can sometimes foam. If it smells good and otherwise looks good it’s likely fine. Do you see any foreign objects floating around? If not, I wouldn’t worry too much about the vase at this point.

      ~Millie, TCS Customer Success Team


  25. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (45)Amanda says

    I finally tried my first batch of this stuff today. It’s so good I ate a whole bowl plain. I need to get some more started, pronto! Thanks for this easy no-fuss recipe.


    • Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (46)Millie Copper says

      Wonderful, Amanda!

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

      ~ Millie, TCS Customer Success Team


  26. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (47)Tamie says

    Would you please give the amount of cabbage as a weight? Your idea of a medium cabbage and mine could be different. thanks.


    • Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (48)Peggy says

      Hi, Tamie,
      I am happy to help. 1 medium-size cabbage will weigh around 2 pounds.
      ~Peggy, TCS Customer Success Team


  27. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (49)Jessica says

    I see that your recipe calls for a very short time to ferment…. I was seeing much longer times online and am a little confused. How long should sauerkraut ferment? Can it ferment too little? Is 1 week enough? Most places were saying at least 2-3… Any help you can give me would be great. Thanks!!


    • Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (50)Wardee Harmon says


      Fermentation has many styles. I prefer to ferment one week at room temperature and then possibly several months aging in cold storage. Others do 2-4 weeks at room temperature. It’s really up to you and your preference. My experience with fermenting longer than 1 week at room temperature is increased chance that the kraut will get mushy.


  28. Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (51)Mary says

    Wardee, thank you for this recipe and method. I’ve tried it and have enjoyed success. I prefer sauerkraut with a more pronounced “sauer” element, a stronger flavor. I don’t want to compromise the texture of the kraut. Is there a way to achieve a stronger flavor while maintaining the crunch? Thank you and God bless.




    • Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (52)Peggy says

      Hi, Mary,
      I am happy to hear you love this recipe 🙂 There are different variables that come into play with fermenting, the temperature of your room, starter culture, and ingredients. You will have to play with the timing of your ferments. Check it, if it’s not sour enough but still crunchy keep it going. Salt plays an important role in keeping it crunchy. So making sure you are following the recipe above but if your cabbage is huge than add just a little more salt. Here is a great link that I think you would find helpful:
      ~Peggy, TCS Customer Success Team


      • Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (53)Mary says

        Thank you, Peggy. This answered my questions. I must have overlooked this video; I’m glad you pointed it out and included the link! Have a great afternoon. Time for me to get fermenting!




Leave a Reply

Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut Recipe (2024)


Can you make sauerkraut without a weight? ›

People used to pound cabbage to get it good and juicy for fermentation. Pounding isn't necessary when you let salt do the work instead!

What can I use as a weight for sauerkraut? ›

Mini jelly jars, condiment dishes or small dessert ramekins that fit inside the mouth of the jar work very well to weigh down fermenting veggies. Partially fill the jar with water to create extra weight or add these jars on top of fermentation weights to help keep vegetables submerged.

What is the shortest time to ferment sauerkraut? ›

Store the container at 70°–75°F (21°–23°C) while fermenting. At these temperatures, sauerkraut will be fully fermented in about three to four weeks; at 60°–65°F (15°–18°C), fermentation may take six weeks. Below 60°F (15°C), sauerkraut may not ferment.

Why do you pound sauerkraut? ›

The pounding process is critical because it will extract the water needed for the fermentation process. If you simply add water without extracting the water from the cabbage, you will end up with an imbalance of water to salt ratio which will result in your ferment failing.

Do you need weights when fermenting? ›

Most times when you ferment you need to use something to hold your vegetables down under the brine. There are many products online for this and some simple things you can use that you already have on hand. In my humble opinion, I think I have found the best fermentation weights.

Can you use a plastic bag as a fermentation weight? ›

Fine quality fermented vegetables are also obtained when the plate is weighted down with a very large clean, plastic bag filled with 3 quarts of water containing 4-1/2 tablespoons of salt. Be sure to seal the plastic bag. Freezer bags sold for packaging turkeys are suitable for use with 5-gallon containers.

Why is my homemade sauerkraut mushy? ›

Too soft is usually because of not enough salt being added before fermentation. If you want crisp fermented vegetables, you need to increase the salt concentration.

What happens if you use too much salt when making sauerkraut? ›

The amount of salt you use determines the rate at which fermentation takes place. Too much salt is a “Go away.” sign for the beneficial bacteria, the lactobacillus that you want living and multiplying in your jar. Fermentation slows way down or doesn't happen at all.

Does sauerkraut need to be in a dark place? ›

Step 5: Seal and Store in a Cool, Dark Place

You have some wiggle room here, but somewhere around 65 to 70°F (18 to 21°C) is good for sauerkraut. Because light can degrade foods over time, as mentioned above, keeping your vessels—especially clear glass ones—in the shade or dark is best.

Can you open a jar of sauerkraut while fermenting? ›

Opening the Jar During Fermentation

Undesirable organisms could then develop on the surface of the vegetables. The best thing to do is to leave the lid on and leave your jars alone.

What is the ratio of salt to cabbage for sauerkraut? ›

The most widely used ratio of 2.00%–2.25% weight of salt to weight of cabbage gives the best results. This means you add 2g to 2.25g of salt for every 100g of finely sliced cabbage in your recipe.

What happens if you don't burp sauerkraut? ›

If you are using a clip-top mason jar, be sure to burp your ferment each day. Gas will build up in the jar so you're going to want to release it through burping. You may notice bubbles appearing, an odour and your sauerkraut will become more translucent as time goes on.

What happens if you don't rinse sauerkraut? ›

If you enjoy the tangy flavor and the probiotic benefits of sauerkraut, then it's probably best to skip the rinsing step and savor it as it is. However, if you find sauerkraut too pungent or too salty, then rinsing it slightly may make it more palatable for you.

What happens when you eat sauerkraut consistently? ›

Maintaining a healthy gut flora also helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and may even boost the production of natural antibodies. Regularly consuming probiotic foods like sauerkraut may reduce your risk of developing infections like the common cold and urinary tract infections .

How do you measure salt for sauerkraut without a scale? ›

I have found it to be very reliable, especially if no scale is available. To determine the salt, multiply the amount of cabbage by the percentage of salt desired. For example, for two percent salt: cabbage (800 grams) x salt (. 02) = 16 g.

Can you make sauerkraut in a 5 gallon plastic bucket? ›

yes you can,, i have used 5 gallon buckets that were used for food…i would not use plastic garbage pails because they are food grade material….

How thin should cabbage for sauerkraut? ›

The ideal thickness for shredding cabbage for sauerkraut is around 1/8 to 1/4 inch. This thickness allows for even fermentation and ensures that the cabbage remains crunchy. Avoid shredding the cabbage too thinly as it may become mushy during the fermentation process.

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