Quick and Easy Sauerkraut

Our quick sauerkraut recipe is the solution for when you want to enjoy sauerkraut today. Inspired by traditional German sauerkraut (which can take weeks), this easy sauerkraut takes just over an hour before it is ready to eat!

A jar of homemade sauerkraut with caraway seeds

I love traditional fermented sauerkraut, but it takes at least a week to make. When I’m in a pinch for time and crave the flavors of sauerkraut today, this is the recipe I turn to. Our fresh sauerkraut takes just over an hour, and it’s ready to eat.

This recipe is part of our chef series, where we share recipes from our friend and renowned chef, Richard Hattaway. After being disappointed with the store-bought options, Chef Richard developed this fresh sauerkraut recipe. He wanted a quick and easy way to enjoy sauerkraut at home, and this method is how he does it! We genuinely love it, and we hope you do too.

Quick Sauerkraut

How to make fresh sauerkraut

Thanks to caraway seeds, juniper berries, and allspice, this German-inspired sauerkraut perfectly accompanies sausages, hearty meat dishes, soups, stews, smoked fish, and more. Its slightly sour taste and crunchy texture will add a delicious contrast to your meal. Fresh sauerkraut is not as crunchy as the fermented version but has a nice bite.

To make it, massage shredded cabbage with salt and spices and set aside for 30 minutes. Chef Richard uses classic spices like caraway seeds, juniper berries, and allspice to keep the flavor more traditional. I love the caraway seeds in this recipe!

Massaging cabbage with salt and spices for a batch of quick sauerkraut

After sitting with the salt and spices for 30 minutes, here’s what the cabbage looks like. It’s released some of its juices, wilted a bit, and looks floppy.

The cabbage after 30 minutes of sitting with the salt

Cook the cabbage, all the juices from the bottom of the bowl, and spices with onions, apple cider vinegar, and apple cider for 30 minutes.

Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook the cabbage, covered with a lid (and, if you have it, a piece of parchment paper set directly on top) for 30 minutes. The parchment paper keeps the cooking environment nice and moist.

Cooking the sauerkraut

Serve or allow to cool and keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Of course, it is delightful immediately, but if you can, let the sauerkraut cool and sit in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight) so that the flavors bloom.

Use our quick and easy sauerkraut as you would the traditional versionIt keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks! It gets better over time.

Quick Fresh Homemade Sauerkraut

How to serve sauerkraut

You can serve this fresh sauerkraut warm or cold. It’s excellent with pork chops or pork tenderloin. I love it stirred into soup like this creamy potato soup or our vegetable soup. Think of adding a spoonful whenever a dish needs an extra pop of flavor. It’s an excellent side dish for roasted chicken, meatballs, and other roasted veggies, like these roasted potatoes.

Quick and Easy Sauerkraut

  • PREP
  • COOK

This quick homemade sauerkraut recipe is the solution for when you want to enjoy sauerkraut today. Inspired by traditional German sauerkraut (which can take weeks), this fresh homemade sauerkraut takes just over an hour before it is ready to eat!

Makes 5 to 6 cups

You Will Need

1 large head green cabbage, nearly 2 pounds

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced, about 2 cups

1 ¾ teaspoons fine sea salt

2 teaspoons caraway seeds

1 juniper berry, lightly crushed

1 allspice berry, left whole, see notes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 ¾ cups apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup apple cider

1/2 cup water


    1Quarter and core the cabbage, then thinly slice crossways. You should have close to 12 cups (3 quarts) of sliced cabbage.

    2Add the cabbage to a large bowl with 1 ½ teaspoons of salt, the caraway seeds, juniper berry, and allspice berry. Massage the salt into the cabbage and let it stand for 30 minutes.

    3Five minutes before the cabbage is ready, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onions, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to brown the onions — if you notice that they begin to take on some color, reduce the heat slightly.

    4Add the cabbage, its liquid, and all the spices from the bowl to the pot with the onions. Stir in the sugar, apple cider vinegar, apple cider, and water.

    5Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and place a sheet of parchment paper on top of the cabbage. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes. The parchment paper helps to maintain a moist environment for the cabbage. You can make this without it, but keep an eye that the liquid in the pot does not evaporate.

    6Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and then allow to cool. Transfer to jars and refrigerate. Keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Caraway seeds taste nutty with hints of anise and citrus. They are common in German dishes, such as sauerkraut. Find them in the spice aisle of most grocery stores.
  • Juniper berries have a piney taste with hints of citrus. Find them in the spice aisle of grocery stores or online.
  • Allspice berries taste like a combination of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. We found whole allspice berries less common in the grocery spice aisle, but Chef Richard recommends buying a “pickling spice blend” instead. McCormick “Mixed Pickling Spice” contains allspice berries, which we purchased and picked out 3 berries for this recipe.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1/2 cup (assumed 5 cups total) / Calories 59 / Total Fat 1.6g / Saturated Fat 0.2g / Cholesterol 0mg / Sodium 369.4mg / Carbohydrate 9.2g / Dietary Fiber 3g / Total Sugars 4.8g / Protein 1.6g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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8 comments… Leave a Review
  • LC Smith July 27, 2023, 11:15 pm

    Can this be canned?

    • Joanne January 12, 2024, 7:39 pm

      If you have a pressure canner, you can use it for this recipe. However, we do not have instructions for canning this.

  • Jennifer March 26, 2023, 12:19 pm

    This sounds so yummy, my whole family lives sauerkrout. Will be trying this very soon!!! And also the homemade mayo, thank you for the inspiration!

    • Joanne March 27, 2023, 1:23 pm

      Thanks, Jennifer! We are thrilled you enjoy our recipes.

  • Dana March 26, 2023, 8:49 am

    I enjoy reading and trying your recipes. I usually make sauerkraut for its healthy probiotics, enzymes, etc. and I would think cooking it would destroy these. I would consider your recipe as a tasty cabbage dish. Thanks.

    • Joanne March 27, 2023, 1:23 pm

      Thanks, Dana! You are correct, this recipe will not develop the same probiotics as the fermented version, but it is still incredibly healthy thanks to the cabbage and vinegar.

  • monica March 25, 2023, 7:40 pm

    Can red cabbage be substituted for the red

    • Joanne March 27, 2023, 1:22 pm

      Hi Monica, Yes, red cabbage will work nicely.


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