Spicy Garlic Sauerkraut

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Are you a kraut lover looking for a spicy kick? You’ve got to try this simple spicy sauerkraut recipe! Made with fresh garlic and red pepper flakes, this homemade sauerkraut has a gentle kick that’s perfect for adding to sandwiches, scrambled eggs, brats, and more.

spicy sauerkraut recipe

This spicy, garlicky sauerkraut is the perfect condiment

I love eating sauerkraut to get the probiotics, but plain sauerkraut gets a little boring.

This spicy sauerkraut has a great garlic flavor and the hit of chili just takes the flavor to the next level.

Typically, I eat my sauerkraut raw on scrambled eggs or cheesy toast. The heat from the chili flake and tanginess from the brine cut through fatty flavors like egg yolks and cheese perfectly.

This recipe is the right amount of heat for me. If you want a sinus-buster, add another teaspoon or two of chili flake!

How do you make sauerkraut?

There are a few different ways to make sauerkraut. The traditional preparation for traditional sauerkraut is to make naturally probiotic sauerkraut through the process of fermentation.

This is different than most sauerkraut in stores as it is naturally fermented by good bacteria. Yep, real sauerkraut is a probiotic!

Other types of sauerkraut are basically pickled cabbage. They’re canned and processed to be shelf-stable.

This recipe uses the natural bacteria on the cabbage and the garlic!

spicy sauerkraut recipe

Equipment to make this spicy sauerkraut

Although it can seem intimidating to ferment food for the first time, it’s really incredibly easy. I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help you have a consistent and positive ferment each time!

Fermenting Jar

There are so many different fermentation vessels out there, but there’s one I prefer more than any other! It’s called a Fido jar.

Basically, this is a glass jar with a rubber or silicone gasket.

Years ago, I did a deep dive into the best fermentation tools. I’d been using regular mason jars and was having really inconsistent results.

That’s when I read that Fido jars are an excellent option for lacto-fermentation.

Basically, the rubber gasket allows CO2 to leave the jar while keeping bad bacteria out. It’s like a natural airlock.

There are 3 things to remember when using Fido jars:

  • Use food-grade Fido jars that can withstand some pressure
  • Change out the rubber ring with each ferment
  • Burp your ferment occasionally

If you don’t have a Fido jar, they’re easy to find new at Target or used at your local thrift store! Just be sure to buy a high-quality one made for preserving food and not just decoration.

Learn more about other fermentation containers to find the right one for you!

spicy sauerkraut

Essential fermentation tools

  • Large bowl
  • Chef’s knife
  • Mandolin or food processor with slicing blade (optional)
  • Sea salt
  • Pounding device (kraut pounder, rolling pin, wine bottle, potato masher)
  • Fermentation weights
  • Canning funnel (optional)
  • Fermentation lid (optional depending on your container; not required for Fido jar)

My favorite fermentation tools

Ingredients for Spicy Sauerkraut

  • 1 large head of cabbage (sliced thinly)
  • Sea salt or kosher salt (2.25 – 2.5% of cabbage weight)
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 tsp red chili flakes

How much salt do I need for this recipe?

spicy sauerkraut recipe

There are differing opinions on how much salt to add to your sauerkraut. Personally, I don’t like using one set measurement as each cabbage is different. I prefer to weigh my shredded cabbage and then measure out the appropriate quanity of salt for the weight.

For a successful ferment, you need 2.25 – 2.5% salt.

To calculate this amount, I prefer to weigh my shredded cabbage on my kitchen scale in grams. Then, I multiply that number by 0.025. Measure out that many grams of salt to use in the recipe.

For example, 5 lbs of shredded cabbage is 2268 grams. 2268 x 0.025 is 56.7 grams.

Spicy Sauerkraut Recipe Instructions

  1. Clean and dry your Fido jar. Add a fresh silicone ring.
  2. Wash, dry, and slice your cabbage into thin strips by either cutting or shredding with a mandolin/food processor. Add all cabbage to a large bowl.
  3. Weigh the shredded cabbage to find the appropriate amount of salt for fermentation. Measure out the salt and add it to the cabbage.
  4. Toss or mash the salt into the cabbage. Allow it to rest while preparing the other ingredients.
  5. Thinly slice peeled, fresh garlic. Add the sliced garlic and the chili flakes to the large bowl of cabbage.
  6. Mash the cabbage to release the liquid.
  7. Once the cabbage has clearly released its liquid, place the canning funnel over the jar. Pack the cabbage mixture into the jar, pressing down as you go.
  8. When all of the kraut is in the jar, use a fork to press all of the kraut down. You should see liquid coming to the surface. If you have a fermentation weight, add it at this time to keep the sauerkraut submerged under the brine. Many people like to put a single leaf of cabbage over the top to keep the tiny pieces of kraut under brine. There should be enough liquid to keep the kraut fully submerged.
  9. Wipe off the inside of the Fido jar to remove any stray pieces of cabbage.
  10. Close the lid and allow it to ferment in a cool, dark place for a month. Burp the jar daily for the first week and then once a week.
After slicing, add the salt, garlic and chili flakes. Mash until the liquid releases and the cabbage shrinks.

FAQs for Spicy Sauerkraut

How full should I fill the jar?

You need a couple of inches of headspace to give room for the gases created by the bacteria digesting the sugars in the cabbage.

For Fido jars, we typically recommend filling up the jar to the shoulders and leaving about 2 inches of space between the top of the cabbage and the lid

spicy sauerkraut recipe

Where should I store my sauerkraut as it’s fermenting?

I prefer to store my kraut in a cupboard at room temperature. Do not store your kraut in the fridge until after the month has passed. When the kraut moves to the fridge, the probiotic bacteria will grow more slowly.

Especially during the first week of your ferment, consider storing it in a tub or bin to collect any excess brine that spills out.

What if there’s too much or too little brine?

The salty brine is a key part of making sauerkraut. You need enough to completely cover the cabbage, but not too much.

If you make this recipe with a spring cabbage, you may have more brine than necessary. Pack your cabbage into your jar and press down. If you have brine that comes up to cover the top of the cabbage, you have enough and can discard any leftover.

Sometimes it seems like you don’t have enough brine for a recipe. If you press down the cabbage in your jar and there’s brine that swells up to the top, you’re good! I’ve never had an issue with too little brine so as long as you’ve massaged the cabbage enough to bring out the moisture, you’ll be fine.

If you really do not have enough brine, you can add a teaspoon of salt and a cup of water.

How do I store my sauerkraut after 30 days?

Once the lacto-fermentation process has finished, it’s time to move your sauerkraut to the fridge! The fridge slows down the bacteria without killing it.

You can store your Fido jar in the fridge directly or transfer your sauerkraut to smaller mason jars.

If you transfer your kraut to mason jars, do not close the rings all the way. Sauerkraut needs some air and if the jars are sealed too tight, the beneficial bacteria will die.

Once opened, plan to eat your kraut within 4-6 months.

spicy sauerkraut

Spicy Sauerkraut Recipe

With a few simple ingredients and a little time, you'll have a delicious probiotic spicy sauerkraut to use on eggs, sausages, and more! This recipe is way cheaper than the sauerkraut at the store and just as healthy!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 1 hr
Fermentation Time 30 d
Total Time 30 d 1 hr
Course Appetizer, Snack
Servings 1 liter

Equipment

  • 1 Chef's knife
  • 1 Mandolin optional
  • 1 Fermentation jar
  • 1 Pounder

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large head of cabbage sliced thinly
  • Sea salt or kosher salt 2.25 – 2.5% of cabbage weight
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 tsp red chili flakes

Instructions
 

  • Clean and dry your Fido jar. Add a fresh silicone ring.
  • Wash, dry, and slice your cabbage into thin strips by either cutting or shredding with a mandolin/food processor. Add all cabbage to a large bowl.
  • Weigh the shredded cabbage to find the appropriate amount of salt for fermentation. Measure out the salt and add it to the cabbage.
  • Toss or mash the salt into the cabbage. Allow it to rest while preparing the other ingredients.
  • Thinly slice peeled, fresh garlic. Add the sliced garlic and the chili flakes to the large bowl of cabbage.
  • Mash the cabbage to release the liquid.
  • Once the cabbage has clearly released its liquid, place the canning funnel over the jar. Pack the cabbage mixture into the jar, pressing down as you go.
  • When all of the kraut is in the jar, use a fork to press all of the kraut down. You should see liquid coming to the surface. If you have a fermentation weight, add it at this time to keep the sauerkraut submerged under the brine.
  • Wipe off the inside of the Fido jar to remove any stray pieces of cabbage.
  • Close the lid and allow it to ferment in a cool, dark place for a month. Burp the jar daily for the first week and then once a week.

Notes

Feel free to use whichever fermentation container you prefer! I recommend a Fido jar as that’s the container that’s worked best for me in the past.
It’s important to keep your sauerkraut fully submerged under the brine for the entire 30 days. Anything above the top of the brine can introduce bad bacteria and should not be eaten.
To keep all of the cabbage pieces under the brine, many people put a single leaf of cabbage over the top of the brine. Consider using a glass fermentation weight to keep the cabbage compressed, especially if fermenting during the summer.
The raw garlic makes this sauerkraut extra active. Burp the recipe once per day for the first week (do it over the sink!) and then reduce to once per week.
Keyword cultured foods, fermented foods, probiotics, sauerkraut
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spicy sauerkraut recipe

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