Sauerkraut: Important Facts, Health Benefits, and Recipes

Explore the health benefits, history, and culinary uses of sauerkraut, a nutritious fermented cabbage dish, and learn how to store, substitute, and incorporate it into various recipes.

What is Sauerkraut?

Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage dish that was likely transmitted from China to Europe by the Tartars nearly 2,000 years ago, where it was known as suan cai. Although the word "sauerkraut" is German, the dish did not originate in Germany. It has a tangy, sour taste and a crunchy texture, making it a great addition to various dishes. Sauerkraut is commonly used as a side dish, condiment, or ingredient in recipes such as sandwiches, salads, and casseroles.

Is Sauerkraut Healthy?

Sauerkraut is not only delicious but also highly nutritious. It is low in calories and rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and iron. Additionally, the fermentation process creates beneficial probiotics, which support gut health and overall wellness.

8 Health Benefits of Sauerkraut

  • Supports digestion: The probiotics in sauerkraut aid digestion and promote a healthy gut flora.
  • Boosts immune system: Vitamin C and probiotics in sauerkraut help strengthen the immune system.
  • Reduces inflammation: The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in sauerkraut can help reduce inflammation in the body.
  • Promotes heart health: The fiber and potassium in sauerkraut contribute to maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and supporting heart health.
  • Enhances brain function: The vitamin K and probiotics in sauerkraut may support cognitive health and protect against neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Supports bone health: Vitamin K in sauerkraut plays a crucial role in maintaining strong bones and preventing osteoporosis.
  • Aids weight loss: The high fiber content in sauerkraut can help you feel full and support weight management.
  • Fights cancer: Some studies suggest that the antioxidants and anti-cancer compounds in sauerkraut may help prevent the development of certain cancers, including breast cancer.

History and Background of Sauerkraut

The origins of sauerkraut can be traced back to ancient China, where it was made by fermenting cabbage in rice wine. It was later introduced to Europe by Genghis Khan and his Mongol army. In Germany, the dish was adapted by fermenting cabbage with salt, which became the modern version of sauerkraut we know today.

What is the Best Way to Store Sauerkraut?

To preserve its freshness and quality, store sauerkraut in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will keep it crisp and flavorful for several months.

What are the Different Types of Sauerkraut?

There are various types of sauerkraut, distinguished by the ingredients used and the fermentation process. Some popular varieties include traditional German sauerkraut, which is made with white cabbage and caraway seeds, and Korean kimchi, which is made with napa cabbage, chili peppers, and other spices.

What is the Best Substitute for Sauerkraut if I Don't Have Any?

If you don't have sauerkraut on hand, you can substitute it with pickled vegetables, such as pickled cucumbers or pickled red cabbage, or a similar fermented dish like kimchi.

What Cuisines Use Sauerkraut?

Sauerkraut is a staple ingredient in several cuisines, including German, Polish, Russian, Alsace (a region in France), and Central European.

Why is Sauerkraut Good For Gut Health?

Sauerkraut is rich in probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that support gut health by promoting a healthy balance of gut flora, aiding digestion, and strengthening the immune system.

Can Sauerkraut Help With Weight Loss?

Yes, sauerkraut can support weight loss due to its high fiber content, which helps you feel full and satisfied, making it easier to manage portion sizes and reduce overall calorie intake.

What are Some Creative Ways to Use Sauerkraut in Recipes?

Sauerkraut can be used in various recipes, such as:

  • Topping for hot dogs or burgers
  • Mixed into salads or coleslaw
  • Added to sandwiches, wraps, or paninis
  • Used as a filling for pierogi or stuffed cabbage rolls
  • Incorporated into casseroles, soups, or stews

See some recipes below that use Sauerkrat on Relish.


In conclusion, sauerkraut is a versatile and nutritious ingredient with numerous health benefits and culinary uses. By incorporating sauerkraut into your diet, you can enjoy its tangy flavor while reaping the rewards of its nutritional profile and probiotic properties. So, go ahead and experiment with sauerkraut in your favorite dishes and discover the wonders of this humble yet powerful ingredient.

Nutritional Facts
1 cup
Amount per serving
6.1 g
0.2 g
1.3 g
Saturated Fat
0 g
938.6 mg
4.1 g
2.5 g

Best Sauerkraut Recipes