How long can you keep sauerkraut in the refrigerator?

How long can you keep sauerkraut in the refrigerator?


Sauerkraut, a fermented cabbage dish, is a popular addition to many meals. Its tangy flavor and probiotic benefits make it a favorite among health-conscious individuals. But how long can you keep sauerkraut in the refrigerator before it goes bad? In this article, we will delve into the topic and provide you with all the information you need to know about the shelf life of sauerkraut.

How is sauerkraut made?

Before we discuss its shelf life, let’s briefly understand how sauerkraut is made. Sauerkraut is created through a process called lacto-fermentation. Cabbage is shredded and mixed with salt, which draws out the water from the cabbage. This creates an environment where beneficial bacteria, such as lactobacillus, can thrive. Over time, these bacteria convert the natural sugars in the cabbage into lactic acid, giving sauerkraut its distinctive flavor and preserving it.

How long does sauerkraut last in the refrigerator?

When properly stored, sauerkraut can last for several months in the refrigerator. The high acidity and low pH of sauerkraut create an inhospitable environment for harmful bacteria, allowing it to stay fresh for an extended period. However, the quality and taste of sauerkraut may deteriorate over time.

Factors affecting sauerkraut’s shelf life

Several factors can influence how long sauerkraut remains fresh in the refrigerator:

1. Quality of fermentation: Sauerkraut that has been fermented for a longer period tends to have a better shelf life. The longer fermentation allows the beneficial bacteria to develop fully, enhancing its preservation properties.

2. Storage conditions: Proper storage is crucial for extending the shelf life of sauerkraut. It should be stored in an airtight container to prevent exposure to air and moisture, which can lead to spoilage. Additionally, keeping sauerkraut at a consistent temperature, ideally below 40°F (4°C), helps maintain its quality.

3. Contamination: Avoid using dirty utensils or hands when handling sauerkraut, as this can introduce harmful bacteria that may accelerate spoilage. Always use clean tools and ensure your hands are washed thoroughly before handling sauerkraut.

Signs of spoilage

While sauerkraut has a long shelf life, it is essential to be aware of signs that indicate spoilage. If you notice any of the following, it’s best to discard the sauerkraut:

– Foul or off-putting odor
– Mold growth
– Slimy texture
– Change in color, particularly darkening or browning


In conclusion, sauerkraut can be stored in the refrigerator for several months if properly handled and stored. Factors such as the quality of fermentation, storage conditions, and the risk of contamination can affect its shelf life. It is important to be vigilant and discard sauerkraut that shows signs of spoilage to avoid any potential health risks.


– The Kitchn:
– Healthline: