a bowl full of Sauerkraut

7 Best Substitutes for Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is definitely something you want to use while preparing some delicious food items like hot dogs and pastrami. What If you ran out of it? No worries, you can try some viable substitutes that perfectly mimic the sour taste of Sauerkraut.

What are the best substitutes for Sauerkraut? The best Sauerkraut substitutes include Kimchi or Dill Pickle Relish. You can make homemade Fried Cabbage with onions, Fast-Pickled Cabbage, or Flash Sauerkraut if you need it quickly. If you don’t wanna use cabbage, you can use thinly sliced Homemade Pickled Vegetables or Salsa Verde.

Like you, I’m also a big fan of this traditional cabbage dish for its distinct sour flavor. In this post, we’re going to explain everything about the best substitutes for sauerkraut. You’ll get to know the uses and benefits of sauerkraut too.

Sauerkraut History

The word ‘Sauerkraut’ comes of German origin but many people claim that it was practiced in China first. With time, this tradition passed on to Eastern and Central Europe. The pickling procedure has some roots in Russia and Austria too. Lactic Acid fermentation was basically a way of preserving vegetables for long durations. It was also helpful in the long transportation of food when refrigerators weren’t available.

Uses of Sauerkraut

hot dogs with Sauerkraut topping

Sauerkraut is pickled cabbage prepared to provide a distinctive sour flavor to various dishes. This sourness comes from the lactic acid produced during fermentation by lactobacillus bacteria. You can use it in the following ways:

  • Topping for hot dogs
  • Put it on your egg sandwich
  • Add it to your mashed potatoes
  • Top your Reuben sandwich
  • Use it on Avocado Toast
  • Enjoy with pastrami
  • Put in your hamburger
  • Make it with Rice
  • Top your Salad bowl
  • Make it a Sauerkraut dip
  • Pairs well with mustard
  • Put on your meal plate as a side dish
  • Serve in combination with other sausages like kielbasas

The 7 best substitutes for sauerkraut:

Sr. No.Sauerkraut SustitutePreparation TimeFermentation Time
1Kimchi2:30 hours5-7 days
2Dill Pickle Relish2:30 hours2 hours
3Fresh cabbage and Onions20 minsReady-to-serve
4Fast-Pickled Cabbage20 minsReady-to-serve
5Homemade Flash Sauerkraut1 hourReady-to-serve
6Homemade Pickled vegetables20 min1 week
7Salsa VerdeHalf hour2 hours



The fermented sauerkraut prepared with salt and sugar might not be desirable to every person. For large gatherings where people with different taste requirements are invited, you should keep a viable alternative available on hand. The very first substitute for sauerkraut that comes to mind is Kimchi.

Kimchi is easily available at many grocery stores. It is the most preferred substitute for sauerkraut due to its robust and lively taste. Kimchi consists of pickled vegetables flavored with fish sauce, chili pepper, and ginger.

The ingredients you’ll need to make Kimchi are as follows:

  • Cabbage – 2 lbs
  • Kosher salt – ¼ cup
  • Grated Ginger – 1 tsp
  • Granulated Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Grated Garlic – 1 tbsp
  • Fish sauce – 2 tbsp
  • Finely chopped scallions – 4 medium-sized
  • Korean red pepper flakes – 1-5 tbsp (Depends on your taste)
  • Thinly sliced Korean radish – 8 ozs


The process to make Kimchi is almost the same as that for sauerkraut. First, soak the thinly-sliced cabbage in brine water for 1-2 hours. Rinse it thrice in cold water. Make a smooth paste by mixing garlic, sugar, shrimp paste, chili pepper, ginger, and fish sauce in water. If you’re a vegetarian, you can use 3 tbsp of kelp powder instead of shrimp paste and fish sauce.

Pour the spice paste into the cabbage bowl and also add thinly-sliced scallions and radish. Mix all these ingredients thoroughly and put the mixture in the jar. Let it ferment at cool room temperature for up to 5 days. Then transfer the jar to the refrigerator and use it as needed.

2.Dill Pickle Relish

.Dill Pickle Relish

Dill Relish is a condiment that contains a variety of ingredients alongside the Dill seeds. This time you wanna give a different taste to your bbq meat or your hot dogs but you have just realized that your sauerkraut jar is empty. Don’t worry, Dill Relish will serve as an excellent substitute for sauerkraut with its slightly tangy and acidic flavor.

Many people keep these Dill relish jars in their pantries but you can also make your dish via these simple ingredients.

  • Dill seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Pickling Cucumbers – 4 lb
  • Onions – 8 ounces
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Sugar – 2 ½ tbsp
  • Canning salt – ¼ cup
  • Water – 2 cups
  • White wine vinegar – 2 cups


Chop the cucumbers in a food processor and transfer them to a bowl. Seasoned it with salt and turmeric. Put water in the bowl and let it chill for 1 – 2 hours. After 2 hours, drain the water and add dill seeds, sugar, vinegar, and chopped onions to the bowl. Transfer this concoction to a pan and give it a boil. Allow it to simmer for 10-15 minutes at low flame and then shift it into pickle jars. Let the relish temperature go down to room temperature before serving.

3.Fried Cabbage and Onions

Fried Onions

The flavor profile of Sauerkraut is slightly acidic and sour. This flavor came out when sliced cabbage is kept submerged in brine for several days. In this duration, fermentation occurs which results in the production of lactic acid. This lactic acid contributes to the distinct flavor of Sauerkraut.

If you want to put a topping on your food but you don’t have any around, you can create a simple cabbage dish with an almost similar flavor profile.

The ingredients you need to make this substitute are:

  • Cabbage flower – 1 medium-sized
  • Onion – 1 large
  • Cooking or olive oil – 1 tbsp
  • Sherry vinegar – 1 cup


Cut the cabbage in half and slice one half nicely. Then chop the onion into small pieces. Put 1 tablespoon of cooking or olive oil to lubricate the frying pan. Fry both the onion and cabbage in a hot pan. When they get soft, pour 1 cup of sherry vinegar. Let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes. Then pull it off the heat. Serve it either hot or cold. It tastes deliciously yummy either way.

 4. Fast-Pickled Cabbage

Pickling takes more than a week. But sometimes you don’t have enough time to wait for this long. Luckily, there is a way you can pickle the cabbage fast. This method also doesn’t require any labor over hot stoves.

Sauerkraut is always served as an excellent side dish in your potluck meals or family feasts. If your BBQ dinner is ready to be served within one hour. Consider this easy and quick method to make a substitute for sauerkraut.

You need these few ingredients for fast-pickled cabbage.

  • Cabbage – 1 small
  • Onion – 1 large
  • White vine vinegar – 1 cup
  • Table salt – 1 tsp
  • Honey or castor sugar – 1 tsp
  • Water – 1 cup


Chop the onion and shred the cabbage finely. Put them in a large-sized container. Dissolve salt and honey in the mixture of vinegar and water. Pour the mixture into a large container and cover with clingfilm. Let the cabbage imbibe the liquid for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the excess liquid from the container and serve.

5. Homemade “Flash” Sauerkraut

If you make Sauerkraut with the traditional method, it’ll take more than a week to reach the final look. But if you’re in a hurry, you can use an express method to prepare sauerkraut within one hour.

The traditional method took long as it allow the fermentation process to offer a great number of probiotics. Probiotics are good for your digestion and your gut health. But this flash method didn’t provide enough time to build as many probiotics as normal sauerkraut has.

These are the ingredients you’ll need for preparing flash sauerkraut

  • Green or White cabbage – 1 small
  • Onion – 1 large
  • Sherry vinegar – 1 cup
  • Apple cider vinegar – 1 cup
  • Salt – 1 tbsp
  • Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
  • Water – 1 ½ cup


Slice the onion finely and also shred the cabbage with a sharp knife. To save time, you can use a food processor for this purpose. Put cooking oil in the pan and heat it. Fry the cabbage and onion for 3-5 minutes until they get softened. Pour salt, water, and vinegar into the pan. Keep it for half an hour on low flame to let it simmer. When you see the water has evaporated, add one cup of water again. Cook it for 4 hours. Put out the flame and let it cool before serving.

6. Homemade Pickled Vegetables

Pickled Radish

Some people who love the distinct flavor of sauerkraut may dislike cabbages. You can make a convenient substitute for cabbage sauerkraut by using various vegetables of your own choice. Like

  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Radish
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber


Although cabbage is the main ingredient you can skip it for your taste preference. This is a laborious task if you use a knife to slice all these vegetables one by one. You can use a vegetable spiralizer for your convenience. It creates thin slices of vegetables within minutes. The rest procedure is the same as used for fast-pickled cabbage above. You can use this dish as an alternative to roasted vegetables as well.

7. Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

Salsa verde is a Mexican food item with hot spices. Some people love the spicy touch. They just don’t like the taste of normal sauerkraut with insipid cabbages. There exists another alternative to cabbages and that is Salsa verde. The main ingredients of this dish are Tomatillos and Green Chilli pepper.

The ingredients used in Salsa verde give it a unique taste that is sour and spiced to its fullest. This popular substitute is available in the markets but you can make it on your own at home. The ingredients will be as follows:

  • Tomatillos – 4 to 5
  • Onion – 1 large
  • Cooking oil – ½ tbsp
  • Green Chilli pepper – 1
  • Cilantro – 1 cup
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Minced garlic – 1 clove
  • Honey or caster sugar – 1 tbsp
  • Lemon or lime juice – 3 tbsp


Finely chop the onion, green chili pepper, and cilantro. Remove the leafy outer layer from the tomatillos before searing it on the cooking pan. Pour cooking oil into the pan and sear each side for 2-3 minutes. Blend the tomatillos in a food processor. Put chopped ingredients and other condiments in the food processor. Stir it nice to get a slightly chunky consistency. Put this paste in a jar and refrigerate it for 2 hours before serving.

Health benefits

Fermented food like Sauerkraut has high nutritional value. The ingredients are left for a long to bring out their natural qualities as well as flavor.

  • Good for gut health: Sauerkraut contains a high amount of probiotics which are good for digestion and the immune system as well.
  • High in Vitamins: It contains some Vitamin C and also provides a good amount of B vitamins like pyridoxine, thiamine, and riboflavin.
  • Contain potential minerals: It has some potential minerals like iron and potassium in it.
  • Cancer Prevention: Sauerkraut consumption might show a decreased incidence of cancer particularly breast cancer in women.
a bowl full of Sauerkraut

7 Best Substitutes for Sauerkraut

Seasonal and Savory
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 2


  • Kimchi
  • Dill Pickle Relish
  • Fresh cabbage and Onions
  • Fast-Pickled Cabbage
  • Homemade Flash Sauerkraut
  • Homemade Pickled vegetables
  • Salsa Verde


  • From the list of substitutes above, pick your favorite to use in its place.
  • Use your imagination and be creative with these substitute recipes!

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