Sauerkraut, a fermented cabbage dish, has been a staple in Eastern European cuisine for centuries. Packed with probiotics and essential nutrients, sauerkraut is not only delicious but also beneficial for gut health. In this article, I’ll guide you through the steps how to cook sauerkraut from a bag or jar, so you can enjoy this tangy delight in the comfort of your own kitchen.

1. How To Cook Sauerkraut


  • 1 bag or jar of sauerkraut
  • 2 tablespoons butter or oil (optional)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • 1-2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (optional)
  • Caraway seeds, juniper berries, or other optional spices for flavoring
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Colander
  • Pot or large saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Cutting board and knife (if adding optional ingredients)
  • Grater (if adding optional ingredients)


Step 1: Drain & Rinse

If using sauerkraut from a bag, open the bag and transfer its contents into a colander. If using sauerkraut from a jar, use a fork or tongs to lift the sauerkraut out of the jar, allowing the excess liquid to drain back into the jar. Rinse the sauerkraut thoroughly under cold water. This step helps reduce the saltiness and removes excess brine, giving you more control over the flavor.

Step 2: Sauté Optional Ingredients (if desired)

For an added layer of flavor, consider sautéing some optional ingredients. Heat the butter or oil in a large pot or saucepan over medium heat. Add the finely chopped onions and cook until translucent. Next, add the minced garlic and chopped apples (if using) and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until fragrant and slightly softened.

Step 3: Add Sauerkraut

Once the optional ingredients are sautéed (if using), add the drained and rinsed sauerkraut to the pot. Use a wooden spoon to mix everything together, ensuring the sauerkraut is well-distributed.

Step 4: Add Flavorings

To enhance the flavor of your sauerkraut, consider adding caraway seeds, juniper berries, or any other preferred spices. These additions can impart a unique and aromatic quality to the dish. Start with a small amount and adjust to taste.

Step 5: Simmer & Cook

Cover the pot and let the sauerkraut simmer over low to medium heat for about 20-30 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld together and the sauerkraut to soften to your desired consistency.

Step 6: Season to Taste

After simmering, taste the sauerkraut and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add salt and pepper to taste, keeping in mind that the sauerkraut may already be quite tangy from the fermentation process.

Step 7: Serve & Enjoy

Your sauerkraut is now ready to be served! It makes an excellent side dish for a variety of meals, or it can be used as a topping for hot dogs, sausages, or sandwiches. The possibilities are endless!

Now, you know how to cook sauerkraut perfectly at home. With just a few basic steps, you can enjoy a flavorful and nutritious dish in the kitchen. You should try sauerkraut with other ingredients and spices to create a sauerkraut that suits your palate.

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Julia Jane is a home cook inspired by her mother's cooking. With the desire to share my cooking experiences with everyone, she created this website

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