Oma's Traditional German Recipe for Sauerkraut

Oma Gerhild

by: Gerhild Fulson  /  Cookbook Author, Blogger, German Oma!

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This easy recipe for sauerkraut is a staple in our German menu. It's delicious with almost anything.

Yes, sauerkraut goes with pork, beef, sausage, noodles, potatoes, dumplings, etc., etc. It goes into casseroles, into soups, on sausages, etc., etc.

Here's how to make homemade sauerkraut from scratch, using either a mason jar, a fermentation crock, or a E-Jen container (the best way!). Then, after you've made it, come back here and cook it this absolutely yummy German way.

Delicious German Sauerkraut that goes great with potato dumplings!

If you're vegan, you'll enjoy this as a wunderbar side dish to almost anything. And you know sauerkraut is so healthy! One of my favorite German foods, it's similar to a Bavarian sauerkraut with its final seasoning having sugar added.

Oma's Tips for Cooking Sauerkraut

  • It should be cooked to a "dry, but juicy stage” with the kraut itself being moist with no soupy sauce around it.
  • In order to get it like this, the well-drained sauerkraut is sautéed first in hot fat.
  • A little water or broth is then added and it is then cooked very slowly, adding extra liquid only if needed.
  • If you wish, you can dice some bacon (unless vegan) and brown it first. The longer it's browned, the better.Then add the onion and well drained sauerkraut and continue with the recipe.
  • Delicious!!!! The difference between Bavarian Sauerkraut and a regular German Sauerkraut is that the Bavarian one is milder and sweeter. As well, it is usually flavored with caraway seeds.

Is Sauerkraut good for you?

The simple answer? YES!

Basically, it's good for your gut. At least that's what my Mutti told us as she served it, especially when one was constipated. Yummy tasting medicine is what it was!

In all truth though, sauerkraut is fermented cabbage and during the fermentation process, beneficial probiotics are produced. These give sauerkraut most of its health benefits.

On top of that, it's a good form of dietary fibre, with vitamins C and K, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

However, sauerkraut is fairly high in salt, which is part of the fermenting process. So if that's an issue for you, you may just need to consume it in smaller quantities.

Interesting facts about Sauerkraut

  • Not only enjoyed in Germany, but in eastern Europe, but especially in Poland, the Baltic states, Ukraine, Russia, and Romania
  • You can buy fermented cabbage leaves (I guess this could be called sauerkraut leaves?) and use them easily make cabbage rolls (hint from my Serbian friend).
  • You can drink the sauerkraut liquid. In fact, it's considered extremely healthy.
  • Korean kimchi is similar to the German sauerkraut. Kimchi is less acidic but saltier
  • Apparently sauerkraut does not originate in Germany, but rather in China about 2,000 years ago
  • Captain Cook used sauerkraut (25,000 pounds of it) to prevent scurvy among his sailors during long sea voyages.
  • Since it's fat-free and very low in calories, it's the perfect diet food. And so delicious.

Need that “all’s good with the world” feeling? Comfort food will do that. Get your copy of Oma's German favorites in her Comfort Foods e-Cookbook.

Take a look at Oma’s Comfort Foods eCookbook and enjoy the traditional taste of German cuisine!

Take a peek at all Oma's eCookbooks. They make sharing your German heritage a delicious adventure!

What's the best type of Sauerkraut to buy?

Ideally, fresh sauerkraut is best if you're wanting the live bacteria and probiotics. Using canned or jarred means that the living organisms are no longer alive.

And, there are so many ways to enjoy it fresh. Just adding it the way it is to a salad buffet, as a 'condiment' with sausages and wieners, or just as a snack.

Here's one of my favorite salads to make with this, adding some other colorful veggies from your crisper. Looks so pretty and tastes so good. And, making this sauerkraut salad is so easy. 

If you'll be cooking the sauerkraut, most of the live bacteria and probiotics will not survive. However, the other health benefits of sauerkraut remain. So, you'll still be getting a huge advantage in eating fermented cabbage.

What's the best brand of Sauerkraut to buy?

As far as brands to buy, you really need to try several and compare which ones you like best. There are slight to major differences between brands, and according to your taste buds, you'll like one more than the others.

May I also suggest, once you find a couple you like, compare them like I did here:

Compare sauerkraut brands to find the one you like best and then make this dish.

Two of my favorite brands, when I drained them, look at the quantity remaining! I was shocked when I tried this. You can guess which one is no longer on my shopping list. 

However, if you really like drinking the sauerkraut juice, you would pick the one on the right.

Make this a Vegan recipe for Sauerkraut ...

Just use oil instead of butter or bacon drippings when you make this recipe. It won't quite have the same intensity of flavor, but if you brown the sauerkraut as much as possible, you'll still have great taste.

If you're looking for more vegan recipes, check out these.

Ready to make Oma's Sauerkraut Recipe?

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Oma's Traditional German Recipe for Sauerkraut

This easy recipe for sauerkraut is a staple in our German menu. It's delicious with almost anything. Yes, sauerkraut goes with pork, beef, sausage, noodles, potatoes, dumplings, etc., etc. It goes into casseroles, into soups, on sausages, etc., etc.

And you know sauerkraut is so healthy! If you end up with leftovers, turn them into a sauerkraut casserole

Prep Time

10 minutes

Cook Time

20 minutes

Total Time

30 minutes


Makes 4 servings


  • 28-ounce jar sauerkraut
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons oil (if vegan), butter, or bacon drippings
  • ⅔ cup liquid (broth, white wine, apple juice, or water)
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 juniper berries or 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced (optional)


  1. Drain sauerkraut in colander, pressing out as much liquid as possible.
  2. Heat oil in frying pan.
  3. Add onion and sauté slowly until golden.
  4. Add sauerkraut and continue browning. Add more oil if necessary.
  5. Add apple, juniper berries and caraway seeds, if using.
  6. Add liquid and bring to simmer.
  7. Cover and cook at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour. Stir occasionally, adding more liquid if necessary.
  8. Mix cornstarch in a little cold water and slowly add just enough to sauerkraut to thicken sauce.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.

Notes & Hints:

  • If you wish, you can dice some bacon (unless vegan) and brown it first. The longer it's browned, the better. Then add the onion and well drained sauerkraut and continue with the recipe.
  • Preferable is to use fresh sauerkraut, although jarred or canned will work.
  • The difference between Bavarian sauerkraut and a regular German sauerkraut recipe is that the Bavarian one is milder and sweeter. So, add a bit of sugar (even brown sugar) if you're going Bavarian! As well, it is usually flavored with caraway seeds.
  • Leftover sauerkraut makes a fabulous casserole.
  • Add a bay leaf or two bay leaves if you're adventuresome.
  • This is a wonderful comfort food served with pork chops or even on top of hot dogs!
  • Learn how to make your own sauerkraut from scratch for this recipe and others, such as sauerkraut soup.

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05.11.2022 revision update

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Delicious German Sauerkraut goes great with potato dumplings! Do it the German way!

Oma's German Recipe for Sauerkraut

Oma's German Recipe for Sauerkraut
This easy recipe for sauerkraut is a staple in our German menu. Delicious with almost anything! You can make this vegan or the traditional way. Both are quick and easy.

Ingredients: sauerkraut, onion, butter/oil, cornstarch, seasonings, apple, broth/wine,

For the full recipe, scroll up ...

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