german style sauerkraut recipe
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Homemade German Style Sauerkraut Recipe

This make-ahead German Style Sauerkraut recipe will take your camping hot dogs to a whole new level!…

Hot dogs are a camping favorite, but they don’t have to be as simple as ketchup and mustard. You can easily elevate your hot dogs with New York-style toppings, including this homemade German-style sauerkraut.

Sure, you can buy sauerkraut from grocery stores, but you won’t get the crispiness you get from homemade sauerkraut. And canning your own sauerkraut is easier than you think!

All you need is two ingredients and 1-3 weeks of patience for the fermentation process to do its thing. Then you can enjoy and show off this easy recipe as the best-tasting sauerkraut your camping buddies have ever had.

(Not to mention enjoying the beneficial probiotics!)

We have a few quick tips and important info for you if you’ve never canned sauerkraut before. If you’re already a big fan of canning, feel free to jump to the recipe by clicking the button below. 

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Quick Tips & Important Info

German Style Sauerkraut Recipe

This is a very easy sauerkraut recipe, but these tips will ensure you have nice sour tartness and avoid any bad mold growth.

  • While fermenting, keep the jar at room temperature (65 F to 72 F) and out of the sun. Keep it loosely covered with the mason jar’s lid (without the sealing ring). Place it in a deep dish to catch any overflow that may occur from fermenting.
  • It’s important to keep the cabbage submerged. If the salt brine (liquid) evaporates to nearly exposing the top of the cabbage, top the jar off with filtered water. Some German sauerkraut recipes say to top off with salt water, but salt stays behind when water evaporates. So, why add salt if it’s still there?
  • When fermenting, you might see white spots or film at the top. These are harmless. Just skim it off the top before sealing the jar and refrigerating it. 
  • If you see any mold above the water line, simply wipe it away. Sometimes a little mold might occur at the top of the jar because the fermenting bubbles splashed out. However, if you see fuzzy, black, or colored spots in or below the water, that’s not harmless, and the batch must be thrown out. This happens if the jar and utensils weren’t properly sterilized or if the loose covering is too loose. 
  • Use WOOD utensils and GLASS cookware during prep, NOT METAL. Metal can react with the acids and leave a metallic flavor behind.
  • How long to ferment sauerkraut depends on the weather and personal taste. Sauerkraut takes longer to ferment in the cool temperatures of winter and less time in hot summer months. 
  • The longer it ferments, the stronger the sour flavor. So, you’ll want to taste it after the first week and every few days thereafter until it reaches your desired level of tartness. Then seal and refrigerate it to maintain that level of tartness. 
  • The best way to start is with small batches (staggering 1 mason jar at a time). This helps you get the hang of it and narrow in on your ideal timing. So, if you accidentally leave it out too long and it’s past your tastes, you’ve only wasted one small batch of sauerkraut.
  • Once sealed and refrigerated, homemade sauerkraut stays fresh in the fridge for about 4-6 months. It’s a good idea to tape a “sealed date” on the jar.
  • You can also freeze sauerkraut if you use freezer-safe mason jars. If frozen immediately, it’ll maintain peak freshness in the freezer for 4-6 months, then another 4-6 months once you move it to the fridge. It’s a good idea to tape a “sealed date” on the jar when freezing and another “thawed date” when you move it to the fridge.

Health Benefits of Sauerkraut

Saurkraut is not only a tasty addition to New York-style hot dogs, pork chops, Reuben sandwiches, and other dishes, but it also comes with a host of health benefits!

It’s made by fermenting cabbage with salt and water, allowing the good bacteria to grow and multiply. This lactic acid fermentation uses the cabbage’s natural sugars to make the sour cabbage we all enjoy.  As a result, it’s a rich source of vitamin C and probiotics, the good bacteria that live in your gut and help keep your digestive system healthy.

Probiotics boost your immune system, aid digestion, and even improve your mental health. Studies have shown that a healthy gut microbiome is linked to reduced risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. 

So, by adding delicious sauerkraut to your diet, you could be improving your overall health! Granted, we mostly use it on hot dogs when camping, but let’s not focus too hard on that fact 😉 

Ready to Make Sauerkraut?

If you’re making homemade sauerkraut, you gotta put it to good use in this New York Style Hot Dog Recipe! But first, the sauerkraut…

Homemade German Style Sauerkraut Recipe

5 from 3 votes
Recipe by Camping Food Recipes Course: Sides, ToppingCuisine: GermanDifficulty: Easy


2-Tbsp servings
Prep time


Fermentation Time



This make-ahead German Style Sauerkraut recipe is easy, even for beginners! All you need are 2 ingredients and 1-3 weeks of patience for the fermentation process to do its thing. Then you can serve it with this New York Style Hot Dog recipe!


  • 1 lb 1 shredded cabbage (~1 sm. head of cabbage)

  • 1-1/2 tsp 1-1/2 Pickling Salt, divided (or other non-iodized salt*)

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 Caraway Seeds (optional)

  • 5 5 Juniper Berries (optional)

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 Filtered Water


  • Remove & discard the outer leaves and core of the cabbage. Thinly slice the cabbage with a knife or food processor.
  • In a clean, glass bowl, mix the cabbage and 3/4 teaspoons of pickling salt. Mix in optional caraway seeds and juniper berries.
  • Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon or firmly massage with clean hands for 5 minutes. Or, stir it thoroughly, let it sit for 10 minutes, and repeat. Liquid will build in the bottom of the bowl; the more liquid, the better.
  • Sterilize a 16-oz wide-mouth mason jar and lid by boiling for several minutes or thoroughly washing with antibacterial dish soap. Drain and dry on a clean dish towel.
  • Using a wooden spoon, pack the cabbage into the jar and pour in the juice from the bottom of the mixing bowl. You want to leave room for the cabbage to be completely submerged, so don’t pack the cabbage to the rim.
  • Combine the filtered water with the remaining pickling salt (3/4 tsp) and pour as needed to top off the jar to the rim.
  • Place the sterilized canning lid (not the lid’s ring) loosely on top of the jar and place the jar in a deep dish that will catch any overflow as it ferments. It may bubble at first- that’s okay. Once bubbling stops or if too much liquid evaporates, top off with filtered water as needed to keep the cabbage submerged.
  • Keep the jar in the dish in a cool (65 F – 72 F) shaded place for 1-3 weeks. Taste after the first week and every few days thereafter until it suits your tastes.
  • Once it reaches your desired tartness, skim any film or white spots from the top (it’s harmless) and seal the jar with the sterilized lid ring. Wipe the jar with a clean towel and store it in the fridge.
  • Spoon on top of New-York Style Hot Dogs, Reuben sandwiches, pork chops, and more.



  • *You can safely use iodized salt, but it’ll cause clouding that isn’t appetizing.
  • You can double this recipe if using a 32-oz canning jar. We opt for the smaller jars to save room in the RV fridge.
  • Your homemade sauerkraut will stay fresh in the fridge for 4-6 months. You can also freeze it in a freezer-safe mason jar indefinitely, but the quality will start to fade after 4-6 months.

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