What Does Sauerkraut Taste Like? A Detailed Answer

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You have heard a lot about sauerkraut and its benefits. But you are hesitant to try it unless you know its taste in detail. You desperately want to know the answer to “What Does Sauerkraut Taste Like?” and I have the best answer in this article.


Sauerkraut has a sour and salty taste. In fact, sauerkraut is known for its distinctive sour taste as a result of the fermentation process. The level of sourness varies based on the stage of fermentation. It has a soft texture that resembles that of cooked noodles. 

Sauerkraut is your heaven if you have a penchant for fermented foods. It is just not about the taste of sauerkraut for which it is known for. It has immense health benefits as well. Well, let us get started right away because we have a lot of talking to do!

What Is Sauerkraut?

Sauerkraut is German for sour cabbage. It refers to the cabbage which has been fermented. Sauerkraut comprises finely shredded cabbage mixed with salt, which is then left to ferment. Although sauerkraut is a German dish, it has its origin in China. 

To put it simply, sauerkraut is just pickled cabbage. The shredded and salted cabbage is fermented in a de-oxygenated environment for several weeks, and the result is what we enjoy as sauerkraut.

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What Does Sauerkraut Taste Like?

I will now give you what you came for – the taste of sauerkraut. I believe you already have a fair idea of its taste given its name, but let me explain.

Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage mixed with salt. The fermentation process gives sauerkraut its unique, distinctive sour taste. It is similar to kimchi but without a sweet or spicy kick. Some recipes may include the usage of caraway seeds or juniper berries which can give a different taste to sauerkraut but overall, the taste remains sour!

Can You Eat Sauerkraut Straight From The Jar?

I understand the concern behind this query, but it is not as complicated as you think. If you are familiar with fermented foods, you probably know the answer.

Sauerkraut is basically a fermented food – it can be rightly called pickled cabbage. You know what to do with pickled foods – they can be eaten straight from the jar.

Consequently, sauerkraut can also be eaten straight from the jar. There is no need to cook most of the canned or jarred foods since they are preserved, cooked, or processed. 

Does Sauerkraut Taste Like Vinegar?

You might have thought that fermented foods have a vinegary taste. In that line, does sauerkraut taste like vinegar? Let us find out.

Sauerkraut has a mild taste like vinegar, but it is not because vinegar is added. Traditionally, sauerkraut doesn’t include vinegar as an ingredient.

But, sauerkraut tastes like vinegar due to the sour taste that comes as a result of fermentation. The fermentation and the usage of salt give a sour taste as that of vinegar to sauerkraut.

Does Sauerkraut Taste Like Cabbage?

Sauerkraut is a food item that is fermented cabbage. So, how far does it taste like cabbage? Sauerkraut tastes like cabbage which has been fermented with the addition of salt. In fact, it tastes acidic and sour with a subtle saltiness, unlike raw cabbage or cooked cabbage. This taste can vary depending on the stage of fermentation.

Does Sauerkraut Taste Like Kimchi?

Do you know what kimchi is? Kimchi is a Korean dish that has the major ingredient as cabbage. Radishes, red pepper flakes, scallions, red chili pepper, green onions, and fish sauce are added to cabbages which are then fermented.

Kimchi has a sour, tangy, spicy, and salty taste. Different varieties of kimchi have varied flavors, unlike sauerkraut, which has a sour taste. Thus, sauerkraut doesn’t taste like kimchi. Also, kimchi has its flavors coming from the use of vegetables, while sauerkraut has its taste only from fermented cabbage. 

Why Does Sauerkraut Taste So Acidic?

Most fermented foods have an acidic taste, and sauerkraut is no exception. Aren’t you curious to know about the reason? 

Sauerkraut tastes acidic due to the presence of lactobacillus bacteria. Lactobacillus bacteria is a chemical bacteria that is responsible for the fermentation process. The bacteria ferment the sliced cabbage and dissolve all the sugar in it. 

Sauerkraut Vs. Yogurt | What Tastes Better?

Did you know that fermented foods such as sauerkraut and yogurt help calm social anxiety? In that case, you would want to know if sauerkraut tastes better than yogurt. Let us find the winner.

Yogurt comes in various types and thus can taste sweet, sour, and savory. Mostly, unsweetened plain yogurt has a sour taste which is comparable to the similar taste of sauerkraut.

The answer to what tastes better – sauerkraut or yogurt – is a matter of preference and purpose – you have many options when it comes to eating and experimenting with yogurt. That is not the same with sauerkraut since the taste and ingredients are always the same. 

What Does Bad Sauerkraut Taste Like?

It is important to notice when to throw away sauerkraut lest you want health-related issues. So, what does bad sauerkraut taste like? Time to know the answer.

To start with, sauerkraut that has gone bad tastes nothing like sauerkraut. It has a strong rotten smell that makes you regret that you opened it. Bad sauerkraut has an unpleasant taste, discolored appearance, and changed texture.

What Does Raw Sauerkraut Taste Like?

You already know that sauerkraut comprises cabbage which is subjected to fermentation in its raw form. So, what is the deal with raw sauerkraut, and what does it taste like? Let us find out.

Raw sauerkraut simply refers to sauerkraut that has never been heated or pasteurized. It is thus also known as unpasteurized sauerkraut. Regular sauerkraut, after fermentation, involves the heating of cabbages.

After the cabbages are fermented, they are stored in jars, which is what we mean by raw sauerkraut. Raw sauerkraut has a tart and tangy flavor with a bold, crunchy texture. 

What Does Sauerkraut Cake Taste Like?

Isn’t it nice to know that fermented foods like sauerkraut offer you many benefits from the presence of probiotic bacteria? But, even nicer is that you can make some tasty cakes out of it. Let us read about it more!

Sauerkraut cake is made using sugar, margarine, eggs, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, water, and sauerkraut. Sauerkraut cake is mostly made as a sauerkraut cake.

Sauerkraut cake has a sweet, delicious flavor similar to a chocolate cake. Some even compare the taste of sauerkraut cake with that of a chocolate coconut cake. The tart and acidic taste of sauerkraut amazingly complement the sweetness of the cake.

What Does Bavarian Sauerkraut Taste Like?

Bavaria is a region in Germany with exquisite culture, language, architecture, and, most importantly, cuisine. How does sauerkraut change when it comes to Bavaria? Let us see.

Bavarian sauerkraut is made using bacon, apple, onion, salt, pepper, and sauerkraut. Bacon can be skipped for a vegetarian version. Bavarian sauerkraut has a sweet, mild taste, unlike regular sauerkraut, which tastes sour and tart. The sweetened taste comes from the use of apples, onions, and caraway taste.

What Does Red Cabbage Sauerkraut Taste Like?

Apart from regular sauerkraut, raw sauerkraut, and Bavarian sauerkraut, there is another type of sauerkraut. It is red cabbage sauerkraut, and we will find out what it tastes like.

Traditional sauerkraut is made using white cabbages. Red cabbage sauerkraut comprises red cabbage, salt, water, caraway seeds, and juniper berries. Red cabbage sauerkraut has a tangy flavor, subtle sweetness, crunchy texture, and appealing color. 

Factors Affecting The Taste Of Sauerkraut?

You are now well aware of the taste of sauerkraut. Shouldn’t you also be aware of the factors which affect the taste of sauerkraut? Keep reading!

1. Freshness of Ingredients

Although cabbage is the only major ingredient in sauerkraut, it is important to ensure its quality for tasty sauerkraut. Fresh cabbage should be selected rather than late winter cabbage.

Fresh cabbages have high sugar content and sufficient juices to make the right quantity of brine. Also, select those cabbages which have full heads.

2. Time for Fermentation

Sauerkraut requires a minimum of two weeks of fermentation time for the sugars in the cabbage to break down. That said, sometimes, two weeks of fermentation wouldn’t suffice – it might not have achieved the level of sourness you aspired to get. In that case, you may have to ferment for two more weeks. 

3. Light and Temperature

Variables such as light and temperature have to be considered since these ought to affect the taste and texture of sauerkraut. Sauerkraut must be stored at a temperature between 65-72 degrees F. Additionally, the jars of sauerkraut have to be stored away from direct sunlight. Direct sunlight destroys the bacteria responsible for fermentation.

4. Addition of Salt

It is imperative to ensure that you add the right amount of salt with water. Too much salt can make the brine extremely salty, and less of it can make it go tasteless. 

5. Using Other Ingredients

You can always be creative and experimental and enhance the taste of sauerkraut by adding other ingredients. These could be apples, cranberries, grapes, anise, and even horseradish.

How Do You Know If Sauerkraut Has Gone Bad?

It will only help you to know the signs that tell you that sauerkraut has gone bad. Let us see, shall we?

The prominent feature you should notice about bad sauerkraut is the smell of sauerkraut. If sauerkraut has an intense, rotten smell, it has gone bad.

Additionally, if sauerkraut has changed its soft, crunchy texture to a mushy weird one; it is also a sign that it has gone bad. If you notice that sauerkraut has developed green or blue mold on its surface, it is time to throw it away!

How To Make Sauerkraut?

Making sauerkraut is an art. There isn’t much to do, but whatever you do should be done meticulously for a delicious taste. Here is how to do that.


  • 1 medium cabbage (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 ½ tablespoon of salt


  • After cleaning everything (the jars and your hands, too!), discard the outer leaves of the cabbage.
  • Slice the cabbage into sliced quarters by cutting lengthwise into 8 separate pieces.
  • Sprinkle salt over the cabbage pieces and start squeezing and massaging them. Eventually, you can notice the pieces of cabbage turning watery in texture.
  • Pack the cabbage pieces into a canning jar. You can cover the jar using a cheesecloth.
  • You may need to press the cabbage once every 24 hours. You might see the liquid of the cabbage coming up to the surface.
  • If you don’t find enough liquid, you can add salt and water on a 1:1 ratio and submerge the cabbage.
  • Store the jars at a temperature between 65°F to 75°F. Depending on your taste preference, you can keep them as long as you want them to ferment.

Some Sauerkraut Recipes To Definitely Try

If you are all set to experiment with sauerkraut, you need to know the best recipes to try. Here are some of the sauerkraut recipes which you have to definitely try:

  • Sauerkraut Soup
  • Sauerkraut Casserole
  • German Meatballs with Sauerkraut
  • Bratwurst and Sauerkraut
  • Ginger Beet Sauerkraut
  • Lithuanian Sauerkraut
  • Sweet Garlic Sauerkraut
  • Reuben Sandwich
  • Sauerkraut Stew
  • Potato and Sauerkraut Latkes
  • Sauerkraut Chocolate Cake
  • Pork Roast with Sauerkraut

Best Sauerkraut Pairings

You should know that sauerkraut is not at all disappointing in flavor pairing. Do take a look at some of the best sauerkraut pairings:

  • Pork Sausages
  • Red Apples
  • Onions
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Roasted Carrots
  • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Fish Tacos
  • Tuna Salad
  • Beef
  • Brisket
  • Caraway Seeds
  • Bratwurst
  • Bacon
  • Pork Chops
  • White Wine
  • Dill Pickles

How To Store Sauerkraut Properly?

Now is the time to know how to store sauerkraut properly so you can relish it without compromising its texture or taste.

  • Get a kimchi fridge! The kimchi fridge is the standardized fridge for storing all fermented foods. You can store sauerkraut properly in it.
  • Opened and unopened pouches of sauerkraut (if store-bought) must be refrigerated. It can last for about four to six months with refrigeration.
  • Homemade sauerkraut has to be sealed tightly using a cloth and then stored at room temperature, and it can last for a month. Once opened, it has to be refrigerated for future use.

Health Benefits Of Sauerkraut

You know very well that sauerkraut is healthy. Don’t you want to know how sauerkraut can help keep you healthy?

  • Sauerkraut is packed with many vital nutrients necessary to maintain optimal health. It is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • It helps in better digestion since it contains probiotics. Probiotic bacteria help in reducing gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.
  • It helps in improving our immune system and assisting in weight loss.
  • It is beneficial in reducing stress and maintaining brain health.
  • It contains helpful plant compounds which can mitigate the risk of certain cancers.
  • It promotes the heart’s health and contributes to the development of strong bones.

Nutritional Content Of Sauerkraut

In a cup of sauerkraut (140 g), the following nutritional values are observed:

Fat3.5 g
Sodium925 mg
Carbohydrates5.8 g
Fiber3.9 g
Sugars2.4 g
Protein1.3 g
Iron1.9 mg

Final Word

That was all about sauerkraut and its taste. I hope the article has cleared the way to try sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is just pickled cabbage that has a unique sour taste. It can be made in an instant with just cabbage and some salt.

You can also get creative and add other ingredients such as vegetables or seasonings to enhance the taste of sauerkraut. So, when will you taste the sauerkraut, and how soon can I expect your comments about the same? See you soon with another article!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is sauerkraut so good for you?

Sauerkraut is good since it is an excellent source of probiotics. Consumption of sauerkraut helps in improving the immune system, digestive system and in assisting weight loss.

What to add to sauerkraut to make it taste better?

Fruits, vegetables, seeds and seasoning agents such as ginger, garlic and dill can be added to make sauerkraut taste better.

What are the side effects of sauerkraut?

Excessive consumption of sauerkraut can cause you diarrhea, flatulence, headaches, itchy skin and running nose.

What is the healthiest way to eat sauerkraut?

The healthiest way to eat sauerkraut is to eat it without subjecting it to heat.

What does sauerkraut mean?

Sauerkraut is a German dish made of shredded and pickled cabbage. The word sauerkraut is German for the term sour cabbage.

Is sauerkraut crunchy?

Sauerkraut has a crunchy texture even being soaked in its own juices and water.

What should sauerkraut smell like while fermenting?

Sauerkraut should have a sour, acidic smell as that of vinegar while fermenting. 

How do you get rid of the smell of sauerkraut?

You can add a teaspoon of white vinegar to get rid of the smell of sauerkraut. 

What does kimchi taste like?

Kimchi is a Korean dish made of cabbages, salt, ginger, garlic and many others. It has a sour, spicy and umami flavor and tastes less acidic than sauerkraut. 

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