I recently finished my first batch of sauerkraut and tasted it only to find that it's way too salty. In referencing the original recipe, I realized that I used the amount of salt recommended for 5lbs of cabbage but I only had 2.5lbs.

What, if anything, can I do to salvage the sauerkraut? Because of the way it's made, I wasn't sure that just adding the missing cabbage is a viable solution and part of me wonders if the salt is just part of the food now.

6 Answers 6


Rinsing the sauerkraut absolutely does work - we do it all the time, both with store-bought and homemade sauerkraut. Every batch of sauerkraut is different, so rinsing & tasting is the only way to ensure that your dishes turn out appropriately salted. Yes, some of the salt has entered the cabbage itself, but most of it will be in the brine/on the surface.

If rinsing in a colander isn't enough (and if you used twice the recommended amount of salt it's likely not to be), then you can drain the liquid as best you can, then add clean water to cover, and let it soak. Rinse and repeat until the salt level tastes more acceptable.

Adding more cabbage and letting it ferment some more is also an option, although the twice-fermented parts can end up rather mushy.

  • 6
    I rinsed, soaked, and then rinsed again. Now it tastes good. Commented Jan 22, 2011 at 0:16
  • @Jonathan Campbell: glad it worked! Homemade sauerkraut is good stuff. :)
    – Marti
    Commented Jan 22, 2011 at 20:09

Adding the missing cabbage is a viable solution. You could also just remove some of the brine and replace it with water, until it's salty to your taste. Finally, you could just rinse some of the brine off of it before eating it.

  • I don't think rinsing the cabbage will work well since the salt will have entered the cabbage itself. Replacing some of the brine with water should work though.
    – yacomink
    Commented Jan 21, 2011 at 17:44
  • 2
    @yacomink Rinsing the cabbage doesn't completely remove the salt, but it does remove a good deal of the salt. Sadly, it also removes some of the other flavours and some of the beneficial microörganisms. It's easy, though, and I think it's worth a shot.
    – Nick
    Commented Jan 21, 2011 at 19:06

I too made sauerkraut that was too salty, by adding more water and salt when the level of liquid dropped. Fortunately the too salty part was mostly on top, but the kraut by itself was still too salty. I drained the liquid from each jar onto a glass measuring cup (or bowl) and rinsed the kraut in a colander with cold water, squeezing the kraut throughout the process. Once done, I put the kraut back into the jars and added back the fermentation water (has salt) and the result was good kraut. Just don't add salt if you are cooking sausages or ribs with your kraut and it too will taste good. Next time, I will just add more water when the liquid level drops down and no additional salt.

  • An excellent point -- it's the water that evaporates ... the salt remains the same.
    – Joe
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 21:36

Unfortunatly, the amount of salt you used will not allow the fermentation process to occur. It will preserve the cabbage and is perfectly safe to eat, but it will not be fermented, therefor not saurkraut.

I would advise just tossing it and making some more.

After it has fermented it will be tasty, and if you want you can rinse some salt off then but it will affect the taste somewhat but still be tasty.


  • 1
    Based on local experimentation, this is incorrect. 2% salt (by weight of veg) being "right" doubling to 4% slows things down, but does not stop them. 8% is looking like it probably stops (or excessively slows) the right bacteria, but that would be 4 times the generally recommended amount.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Oct 18, 2015 at 21:18

Since I didn't want to wash off the good bugs along with the salt, I solved the too salty by adding some of my kraut to another recipe from which I had omitted the salt. In this case, I added two teaspoons of kraut to a bowl of made from scratch coleslaw. It was delicious. I think you could also add it to unsalted potato salad, but I haven't tried that one yet.


I dechlorinated a small pot of tap water by boiling for 20 minutes, let cool and added enough to double up the amount of brine above the kraut once weighted down. I massaged the solution into the kraut then let it sit.

It was 2 weeks until I noticed I'd doubled the amount of salt and 2 weeks until I checked it and I found it still a bit salty but I'm leaving it because it was good and I think the fermentation has slowed but not stopped. I don't see bubbling anymore, but I think it's still working... time will tell!

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