Gingery Apple Cabbage Sauerkraut

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Jar and fork with Gingery Apple Cabbage Sauerkraut

Before you write off sauerkraut, don’t. It’s:

  • a fun way to eat more vegetables
  • quick + easy to make
  • colorful
  • customizable
  • good for your gut
  • perfect on bowls, salads, sandwiches, and more

Not convinced yet? Let us show you how easy it really is.

Daikon, red cabbage, apple, salt, ginger, and garlic for making our Apple-Cabbage Sauerkraut recipe

Origins of Sauerkraut

You may have heard that sauerkraut was a German invention, but that’s not necessarily true! Sauerkraut is thought to have originated in northern China. It made its way to Europe about 1000 years later and was eaten by Dutch seafarers as a way to prevent scurvy, due to sauerkraut’s vitamin C content. (source)

How to Make Sauerkraut

If you’ve ever been intimidated by the process of making sauerkraut, don’t be! It’s as simple as slice, salt, massage, and forget about it for a week. For this sauerkraut you will:

  1. Thinly slice cabbage, apples, and radish.
  2. Add cabbage and salt to a mixing bowl and massage for 5-10 minutes (or until a fair amount of moisture is sitting in the bottom of the bowl and the cabbage is reduced in volume by about 1/2).
  3. Add apples, radish, ginger, and garlic, and mix — massaging again.
  4. Transfer to a jar and press down so liquid covers mixture.
  5. Let set for 1-7 days in a dark, warm place (such as a cabinet).
Hands massaging red cabbage to make homemade sauerkraut

This 6-ingredient sauerkraut strays a bit from traditional kraut as we added sliced apple, radish, garlic, and ginger for a tangy-sweet kick.

It’s loosely inspired by white kimchi, which is a less spicy version of red kimchi and is adapted from our SUPER flavorful Carrot Beet Cabbage Sauerkraut!

Big bowl of Crunchy Apple Cabbage Sauerkraut

How Long to Ferment Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut can take anywhere from 24 hours to 10 days to properly ferment. This will largely depend on temperature, your preferred level of tanginess, and how well the ingredients were mixed with the salt.

We found our sweet spot to be around 7-10 days for a noticeably tangy flavor with quite a kick.

Jars of our delicious Gingery Apple Cabbage Sauerkraut recipe

We hope you LOVE this kraut! It’s:

Slightly sweet
Gingery
Crunchy
Probiotic-rich
& Super flavorful!

It would be delicious in breakfast bowls or other bowls (such as this Crispy Miso Chickpea Bowl or this Vegetable Quinoa Harvest Bowl), on salads, or just by the spoonful (just don’t double-dip — you want to avoid contamination)!

More DIY Fermentation Recipes:

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Tall jar of homemade Sauerkraut next to cabbage, apple, ginger, and salt used to make it

Gingery Apple Cabbage Sauerkraut

A gingery take on sauerkraut with apple, radish, and cabbage. The perfect addition to sandwiches, salads, bowls, and more! Just 6 ingredients and simple methods required.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Top down image of a jar of Apple Cabbage Sauerkraut beside fresh ginger and apples
4.78 from 9 votes
Prep Time 1 day 32 minutes
Total Time 1 day 32 minutes
Servings 20 (~1/4-cup servings)
Course Side, Snack
Cuisine Chinese-Inspired, German-Inspired, Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 6 months

Ingredients

  • 8 cups red or green cabbage, finely grated or chopped (reserve whole outer leaves for later use)
  • 2 ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup thinly sliced radish (daikon or red)
  • 1 large apple, cored and thinly sliced + chopped into strips (we like Honeycrisp)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger (grated)
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely minced or grated)

Instructions

  • Sterilize any equipment you will be using for fermentation, especially the jars (we prefer using mason jars or these Weck Jars that hold about 850 ml). It is extremely important that everything is sterilized to allow for proper fermentation. Do so easily by pouring boiling water over clean jars and lids and drying completely. Let jars come back to room temperature before adding ingredients.
  • Add finely grated cabbage (we used our mandolin) to a large mixing bowl and top with sea salt. Wash hands thoroughly and massage cabbage for 10 minutes. The cabbage should start softening, shrinking in volume, and releasing water. Continue massaging until this happens.
  • Add radish, apple, ginger, and garlic and massage once more with clean hands for 4-5 minutes until thoroughly combined. Then taste test and adjust flavor, adding more salt for saltiness, grated ginger for more zing, or garlic for more intense garlic flavor.
  • Use your clean hands to put the sauerkraut mixture into your sterilized jars and press down firmly to pack. There should be enough liquid from the massaging to rise up and cover the vegetables. If this doesn’t happen, top with filtered water until covered (it is unlikely that you will need to add water).
  • Also, make sure there is plenty of room (about 1 ½ inches) between the contents and the lid so it has room to expand. Seal with a lid and set on the counter where there's not much direct sun exposure — or in a cabinet. The ideal temperature for fermentation is above 65 degrees F (18 C), so try to keep your environment on the warmer side to encourage proper fermentation.
  • Fermentation can happen in as quickly as 24 hours if your space is hot, or it can take as long as 2 weeks (again, depending on the environment). We found our sweet spot to be about 7-10 days.
  • During the fermentation process, open your jars once per day to release air (you should feel pressure release and see air bubbles when you open the jars). Press down with a sterilized object such as a spoon or the bottom of a drinking glass to ensure that the vegetables are still completely covered by the liquid. Doing so helps encourage proper fermentation.
  • The longer it sits and ferments, the tangier it will become, so sample occasionally with a clean utensil to test and see if it is at the right stage for you. Once it has reached your desired tanginess, cover securely and transfer to the fridge, where it should keep at least 3 months and up to 6 months. When serving, resist double-dipping to avoid contamination.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
*Prep time includes preparing the sauerkraut and fermenting it for 24 hours. But we prefer a longer fermentation — up to 72 hours or more.
*Sauerkraut usually keeps for months in the fridge. You’ll know it’s gone bad when mold appears, it tastes off, or it smells offputting.

Nutrition (1 of 20 servings)

Serving: 1 quarter-cup-servings Calories: 20 Carbohydrates: 5 g Protein: 0.6 g Fat: 0.1 g Saturated Fat: 0 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 304 mg Potassium: 122 mg Fiber: 1.2 g Sugar: 2.7 g Vitamin A: 403.4 IU Vitamin C: 22.37 mg Calcium: 20.33 mg Iron: 0.34 mg

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  1. Celine says

    Hi, this recipe looks really good! I’ve been thinking about trying out fermenting and I might start with this :)
    Did you also sterilize your mandolin, knife, mixing bowl and cutting board or do you think that’s not strictly necessary?

  2. Sara says

    Hi there. I made this a few days ago and came back the following day to find a layer of brown on the top. I scooped it all off and smushed down the remaining sauerkraut but then there was more the following day. Today is the third day with that result. Should I throw it out?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sarah! That’s likely just oxidation, which is normal. Were you able to submerge the kraut in its own liquid? Sometimes it can help to put a larger cabbage leaf on top so it pushes the shredded bits down. As long as it tastes OK and there’s no visible mold, you’re good!

  3. Batya Gold Wiener says

    My sauerkraut has been fermenting for 5 days so far and is still tasting very soapy. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Soapy, hmmm. What is the temperature like in your space? Did you include salt? Not sure why it wouldn’t be tangy yet.

  4. Ingvild says

    Hi Minimalist Baker!:)

    Was wondering, how big of a glass should I opt for? I have no idea how big of a glass I need for ~500g cabbage😅 Would 1L be ok?:)

    Ingvild

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Ingvild, this recipe makes ~5 cups so we would a little more than a liter. Or splitting up into two smaller jars. Hope that helps!

  5. Katy says

    Hi there. I made this and have a question. I followed the instructions exactly, and had tons of liquid. However, I couldn’t get all the cabbage to sink, regardless of how hard I pushed it down, so I ended up with cabbage bits floating on top. For the first 3-5 days this was fine, but it kept expanding (guessing due to fermentation), and even though I kept pushing the cabbage down, by the 7th day when I checked it there was a thin layer of mold on the top of the cabbage. :( I ended up throwing out the whole batch. I am wondering if you can provide advice on this and what may have happened? I had a ton of liquid so I don’t think that was the issue.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, perhaps yours produced an excess of liquid, which isn’t typically an issue, but in this instance it allowed a little mold to form. I’ve heard of people scooping off top layers of mold from fermented foods and it being fine, but I would’ve probably tossed mine as well. I’d say next time ensure everything is sterilized before beginning, and if there is excess liquid to drain it off. You want the cabbage submerged but not drowning.

  6. Marnie O'Brien says

    Hi! Thank you so much for your excellent recipes. I made this about a week and a half ago and its fermenting well BUT I left out the apple. I tasted it and it definitely needs something. Could I add the apple now and let it ferment then for another week say?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Marnie, we haven’t tried fermenting apple on its own, but it might work! Let us know if you try it!

  7. Shelagh says

    Hi there,

    I made this kraut and it did work. I was quite excited as it was my first time fermenting. Only giving it 4 stars however as the flavour is just way too strong for me. I think I may reduce the garlic next time.

    Question: it has been in the fridge for several weeks and now has a brownish colour save for the bottom of the jar which is still purple. Is this normal? Thanks.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Shelagh, sorry to hear it was too strong for you! Feel free to reduce or omit the garlic next time. If it is just a small amount of brown on top, scoop it off and discard that part. It means it has oxidized which will happen with time. Make sure to keep it covered to reduce oxidation. Hope that helps!

  8. Claire Humber says

    This is day four and still no bubbles. Looks, smells and tastes ok, and I open every morning and push down into the liquid. From your other replies I’m wondering if I need a warmer spot to ferment? At what point do I bail (if no bubbles appear)?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Claire, it does sound like it might need a warmer spot. We’d say give it a week or so!

  9. Cara says

    Hi, I made this on Friday but it wouldn’t stay submerged, so I used a ziplock bag with some water to keep everything covered. I made sure there were no air pockets. Because of that I had to leave the lid cracked as it wouldn’t shut. I assume it’s been self burping as the container I sat the jar in has liquid in. Does that all sound okay so far? I don’t want to give my family food poisoning while trying to improve their gut health!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Cara, it sounds like it should be fine, but check for any signs of mold before consuming.

  10. Charlotte Jones says

    Hello,
    I hope you are well :)
    What are the outer leaves for? I didn’t see any use for them in the method.
    Thank you x

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      They are used to create a bit of a cap or cover for the kraut as it ferments! Not necessary but helpful.

  11. Katy Ionis says

    Yum! This is really good! Vibrant, fresh, crunchy, sour, gorgeous color! I’ve recently gotten into fermenting and this is maybe the 4th variation I’ve tried and is my favorite so far! I used a granny smith apple, purple cabbage, and purple daikon radish and it stood for about 8 days at room temp to my taste. I was surprised how much more ginger it took to get 2T grated using a microplane vs. minced, which is my usual technique. Thank you for this one, will definitely be repeating it!

  12. Carolyn says

    My kraut has been fermenting for about a week on the counter. I’ve been opening the lid once a day to let the air out, but i’m not seeing any bubbles. Is this a sign that it’s not fermenting properly?

  13. Edra says

    Hi! In trying sauerkraut for the first time and I think I’m ready to use it as ir is. I let it ferment for 3 days (in a hot tropical weather) and the flavor is perfect. But I notice that it is really dry. Somehow it consumed almost all the liquid :/. Should I add more water? Of can I leave it as it is??

    I hope to hear your feed back.

    Be safe,
    Edra Marie

  14. Stephanie Voegele says

    Love this recipe! So far our kraut has been fermenting for four days. Lots of actions with bubbles the first two…but now it’s settling down. Is that normal? Thanks for keeping us well fed and inspired! ❤️

  15. Dawn McIntyre says

    I made this two days ago. I am so excited because I popped up in the jar this morning and I saw the bubbles. I did however use a sterile fork to taste and it is too salty. Well that subside or is there anything that I can do about that? I really appreciate all you do.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, if it’s too salty I’d say next time you can add less salt. Otherwise, there’s not much you can do at this point!

  16. Patti says

    This recipe will give my turkey sandwiches life during the COVID-19 Self quarantine in my state. God bless you!!

  17. Anisha says

    Can I sub a Bosc pear for the apple? My kid ate my last apple and I just bought radishes to make this…social isolation so don’t want to go out again to buy apples just yet. Thx!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, we think the texture might be too mushy. We would probably suggest omitting the apple instead. Let us know how it goes!

  18. Amanda says

    So good! I love making krauts and I’ve tried a bunch of different combinations and this must be one of the best. I have been eating it as a side order as if it is a salad (with frittata, toast, really anything) and it is just incredible.

    I make mine in mason jars with the lid cracked. This combination made for a ton of liquid; I submerged the kraut in the liquid using river rocks I boiled and scrubbed well. Left it to ferment for 7 days. Will definitely make again!

  19. Toni says

    The (almost) sauerkraut is in its second day but no bubbles yet. I noticed that the liquid is no longer covering the veggies and may have dried out (i covered the jar with plastic wrap before sealing the cap). Should I add filtered water to cover the veggies?
    Thanks.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      You could, but if you massaged it enough with the salt on the front end it should’ve created ample liquid. Was this your experience?

      • Toni says

        There was barely enough to cover the veggies after massaging for 10 minutes. So, I added filtered water to cover the veggies.

        Do you think I should have massaged it more vigorously or longer?

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

          I’d say, more salt and more massaging is the way to produce more liquid (not adding water). The only other potential is that your veggies weren’t fresh and thus not as rich in water content?

          • Toni says

            Thank you, Dana. I think it’s the freshness. The cabbage and radishes waited quite a while in the ref until I found fresh ginger hahaha

  20. Jordan says

    I made this last Sunday (social distancing is a great time to start fermenting), and I started eating it today. I am very pleased with my first sauerkraut attempt! Mine came out pretty garlicky, which I might modify next time, but it’s still really, really good. Thank you for sharing!

  21. Susie says

    I made this on Tuesday morning and had some in my salad tonight (Thursday) and it is perfection! It will be a new staple for my house for sure. I love all of your recipes. Thank you!

  22. Tara says

    I have everything on hand except red cabbage, can I substitute red cabbage for white round cabbage? Thanks.

  23. Sadie Gildone says

    I made this and it’s been sitting in a cupboard for less than a week and the top layer is brown and it seems almost slimy. Is it bad? Not sure what I did wrong unless i overfilled the jar initially. The first day of fermenting the liquid had leaked out of the lid and so I removed some out of the jar and keep trying to press it down so liquid rises to the top. Help!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, interesting. It sounds like it maybe didn’t get properly sterilized on the front end or some unfriendly bacteria got introduced along the way. If it’s smelling bad and is slimy, I’d toss it. Sorry it didn’t work out!

  24. Heather says

    We have everything but a radish. Any substitution suggestions or could we get away with not using one? Trying not to go to the store right now because of social distancing.

  25. Emilia says

    Hi, I live in Panama where the climate is very hot and humid. So, for how long do you recommend fermenting the sauerkraut?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Until it gets tangy and bubbly! Sample to check and stop fermenting (transfer to fridge) when it’s tangy enough for you!

  26. Kristina says

    This looks delicious! I have Himalayan fine sea salt. Would I need to adjust the measurement at all?
    Thanks!

  27. Jessica says

    So it lasts for months, even after opening? Also, you didn’t actually seal the jar like you would with home-canned goods, did you?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      You don’t need to do a proper seal, no. And yes, it will keep for months in the fridge well sealed. (toss if it’s moldy though!)

  28. Justin from dailyveganmeal says

    I’ll be making this to use on my buddha bowls. I’ll be it will be fantastic. Gotta get those probiotics in!
    Thank you for sharing it :)

    • Kevin says

      Like Justin I followed the link from https://minimalistbaker.com/black-bean-buddha-bowl-with-gingery-lemon-tahini-sauce/ to add this to my “Buddha Bowl”. I LOVE sauerkraut (and coleslaw too which is what I originally thought I would do with the cabbage). I have mine in the refrigerator, as I’m not wildly optimistic about it turning out okay if I leave it out at room temperature.
      Question: Does it matter if the mixture sits in a glass jar or a plastic bowl? Have it a plastic container right now, but I could move it to one of the glass jars I have lying around. Also should I add some kind of liquid to it, or should I just let it “sweat” naturally?

      • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

        Hi Kevin, we prefer using glass, but plastic should work. No need to add more liquid. With enough massaging of the veggies, they should release enough liquid to cover them. Hope that helps!

        • Kevin says

          @MinimalistBaker Thank you for the quick reply! Actually reported back for work (at least part-time) today. I Can’t believe how happy I am to be back at work after over a month’s Coronavirus layoff (under Gov. Cuomo’s orders). Still have it in the ‘fridge (unable to “supervise” it right now). But I’ll think I’ll thoroughly sterilize one of the glass jar’s I have and move it to that this weekend.

  29. Adrien says

    I want to try this recipe out! What brand / kind of jars are they? They look perfect for fermenting?

    Thanks!