Sauerkraut VS Kimchi- 17 Hidden Differences

Sauerkraut and kimchi The two most common fermented products always come under much discussion-that which one is better to taste, healthy, and easy to make…

Although both main and common ingredient is Cabbage, in word kimchi and sauerkraut are mainly cabbage-based fermented food, but the seasoning differs.

It’s time to end both Sauerkraut VS Kimchi’s fight. You’ll know more than 10 major differences between kimchi and sauerkraut. From taste to health – choose your next favorite fermented food with me. You can check other foods fight like- Optavia vs wonderslim

If you’re in a hurry, check a quick table on Kimchi VS Sauerkraut.

DefinitionFermented CabbageFermented Cabbage
Oldmore than 4000 yrs Not as old as Kimchi
Key ingredientCabbage & spring Onion, Korean radishCabbage
Type of cabbageNapa CabbageHead cabbage
Cabbage CutCut into cube or wholeShredded
PopularKorean cuisineGerman & Eastern
European Cuisine
TasteSpicy & umamiSour & salty
SeasoningGochujang, gochujang, Fish sauce, rice flour, Anchovy Paste, salted shrimpsalt, Caraway seeds, Bell Pepper, White wine
Fermenting Time2 days to a week5 days to 8 weeks
Healthierkimchi contains more probiotic than sauerkrautSauerkraut content less sodium than Kimchi
Shelflifemore than 6 months in the fridgeLess than 3 months
UseSide dishes, kimchi fried rice, stirfrysandwich, hotdog, toppings

Continue to more details on this topic…

What are fermented foods? Advantages of taking fermented food?

Fermented foods are food items that have been through a fermentation process. This process can be achieved through different methods but generally involves using microorganisms to break down carbohydrates or proteins in the food. 

Fermentation often results in the production of alcohols, acids, and other by-products that can change the food’s flavor, texture, and appearance. 

Some research has shown that fermented foods have various health benefits, including improved digestion, a boosted immune system, increased levels of healthy gut bacteria, and many more. (source)

There are many delicious options, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, sourdough bread, miso, Skyr, and kefir. Therefore, choosing products made using safe and clean fermentation methods is vital.

What’s the difference between sauerkraut and kimchi?

Although kimchi and sauerkraut both are fermented foods and made with Cabbage but have many significant differences… Like…

About Kimchi and Sauerkraut

What is Sauerkraut?

Sauerkraut is fermented Cabbage with a sour, tangy flavor. It is often used as a condiment or side dish. 

It is a widespread ingredient in German and Eastern European cuisine. 

Sauerkraut is rich in vitamins and minerals and contains beneficial probiotic bacteria that can help improve gut health.

What is Kimchi?

Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made of fermented cabbage and other vegetables. It is typically spicy, tangy, and often served as a side dish or condiment.

Origin: sauerkraut vs kimchi

The word Sauerkraut is derived from German, but it originated in China.

Kimchi originated from Korea; it has been popular in Korean Cuisine since 57 BC means, more than 4000 years ago. 

Although, the original kimchi is not as spicy as traditional kimchi.

Ingredients: sauerkraut vs kimchi

Both Sauerkraut and Kimchi are based on Cabbage. Except for Cabbage, there are other vegetables used to make.

Type of Cabbage uses in Kimchi and Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut traditionally uses head cabbage and finely shredded Cabbage before making the process.

Whereas kimchi mainly uses Napa cabbage cut into a cube and bite-size. Or sometimes whole Cabbage is going to ferment and cut before eating.

Although, kimchi is also made with other Cabbage while napa cabbage is not in hand.

Sauerkraut Ingrediets

  • Juniper berries
  • Shredded carrots
  • Turnips 

Kimchi Ingredients

  • Daikon or Korean radish
  • Onion, Garlic, Ginger
  • Korean wild chive, Cucumber, Carrot
  • Perilla leaves
  • Flavor additives like seaweed, soybean sprouts, spinach, sugar beets, and sometimes sweet potato

Seasoning: sauerkraut vs kimchi

Seasoning is essential while picking any vegetable; it helps the process faster. It determines the taste, and the product outcome is more savory and tasty.

Sauerkraut Seasoning

  • Caraway seeds
  • Salt
  • Add Bell peppers and beets for color
  • Flavor additives like apples, beets, cranberries, and sometimes watermelons
  • white wine 

Kimchi Seasoning

  • Korean red pepper powder (gochugaru)
  • Korean chili paste- Gochujang
  • Fish sauce
  • Saeu-jeot (Salted shrimp)
  • Rice flour
  • White sugar
  • Brining salt
  • Jeotgal (salted seafood)
  • Scallions
  • Garlic
  • Salted anchovies (optional)
  • Spinach, Celery, (optional)

Read More- Best Fish sauce substitute in kimchi

Taste: sauerkraut vs kimchi

Sauerkraut is a simple and tangy tart briny flavor, whereas kimchi has complex, spicy, and salty at the same time. 

Kimchi is saltier and less acidic than sauerkraut.

Appearence: kimchi vs sauerkraut

Kimchi has a crunchy texture and a vibrant reddish hue making it more mouth watery. In contrast, Sauerkraut is soggy with a white to greenish tint.

Nutritional Facts: sauerkraut vs kimchi

A one-cup serving of kimchi containsA one-cup serving of sauerkraut contains
· Calories: 23 
· Protein: 1 gram
· Fat: Less than 1 gram
· Carbohydrates: 4 grams
· Fiber: 2 grams
· Sugar: 2 grams
· Calories: 72 
· Protein: 1.4g
· Fat: 0.2g of fat
· Carbohydrates: 18g 
· Fiber: 3.9g
· Sugar: 2.4g

Distinguise of Making process of sauerkraut and kimchi

Ideal Fermented vessels: Kimchi VS Sauerkraut

Kimchi starts the process on a large earthenware fermentation vessel called onggi.

Onggi pots are a type of traditional Korean earthenware that has been used for centuries to store and cook food. 

Onggi pot is made from clay called onggi, found in the Joseon dynasty-era city of Gwangju. The pots are burned in a kiln before being coated with a natural glaze that gives them their unique red color.

Onggi pots store everything from rice and other grains to water and pickled vegetables. They can also be used for cooking, such as boiling rice or stewing meats and vegetables. 

Because they are made from natural materials, onggi pots help to retain the nutrients in food and improve its flavor.

In the past, sauerkraut was traditionally aged in exposed stoneware crocks. Now have quick and easy accessibility to water-sealed crocks that include a cover and a ditch to provide an airtight barrier and stave against mold growth.

Fermented Time:

Sauerkraut is left for fermenting for about 5 days to 8 weeks and at a warmer temperature: 65F–75F. Sauerkraut ferments in 3 phases.

Kimchi is left for fermenting for about 2 days to 1 week and at room temperature. You can eat kimchi freshly after one day.

Fermented Process:

Kimchi: Throughout the 2 days to a week or more fermentation phase, automatically existing bacteria, and yeast cultures eventually break down the carbohydrates in the vegetables, releasing lactic acid that provides kimchi its distinctive flavor.

kimchi and sauerkraut are popular in many recipes mainly made with cabbage.

Sauerkraut: The finely shredded Cabbage is stacked in layers with salt distributed between them and fermented in an airtight and sterile container for 5 days to 6 weeks.

After adding weights to keep the mixture below the brine, it is let to mature for 6 to 8 weeks in a cold shed.

This is the major dissimilarity between sauerkraut and kimchi, the making process, time to ferment, and the vessels used.

How to make: Kimchi VS Sauerkraut

Making kimchi at home way simple process. To make kimchi, 

you’ll need:

  • 1 head of napa cabbage
  • 1 Korean radish (or daikon radish), peeled and grated
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 peeled and a minced thumb-sized piece of ginger 
  • 1/2 cup gochugaru (Korean red chili powder)
  • 1/2-1 Tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water


  1. Start by Washing the napa cabbage, then add salt to coat the Cabbage well. Set it aside for 30 mins.
  2. Then mix the gochugaru, salt, sugar, and water in a bowl. Set this aside for now. Then wash the salt-coated Cabbage 3 to 4 times thoroughly so it washes well and the cabbage leaves have a good amount of salty and crunchiness.
  3. Next, cut the Cabbage into 2 pieces and add it to a large container or jar. Add the radish, carrot, green onion, garlic, and ginger on top of the Cabbage. Pour the gochugaru mixture over top of everything, making sure all of the vegetables are coated.
  4. Cover the container or jar tightly and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours. This will allow the Cabbage to start fermenting. 
  5. You can take it fresh after 24 hours to enjoy the best result and traditional taste; Place the kimchi in the refrigerator and leave it to ferment for another 1-2 weeks.
  6. Serve chilled or at room temperature. 
How to make sauerkraut? 


  • 1 cabbage head, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons kosher or pickling salt 
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional)


1. Take the cabbage in a large mixing dish and season with salt and caraway seeds if used. Rub the salt into the cabbage with your hands until it starts to release moisture.

2. Pack the Cabbage tightly into a clean 1-quart Mason jar or other wide-mouth glass jars. Pour any liquid released from the cabbage into the jar. The liquid should cover the Cabbage; if it doesn’t, add filtered water until it does. Screw on the lid.

3. Allow the jar to settle at room temp for 3 to 5 days or until the cabbage is fermented entirely. Check on it daily, opening the jar to release any built-up pressure.

4. After 3 to 5 days, transfer the jar to the refrigerator and enjoy your sauerkraut! It will keep for several months.

Which is healthier kimchi or sauerkraut?

It is dependent on personal preferences and dietary requirements.

Some people may find kimchi healthier because it is a fermented food containing beneficial probiotics. Sauerkraut is also a fermented food but does not contain as many live and active cultures as kimchi.

However, sauerkraut is generally lower in sodium than kimchi. So, if you are watching your salt intake, sauerkraut may be the better choice.

Finally, the best way to know which of these two options is better for you is to try them both and discover which one you prefer.

Uses: sauerkraut vs kimchi

Sauerkraut is a shredded cabbage dish that is popular in many cultures. It is frequently employed as a topping on sandwiches and hot dogs or as a side dish. Sauerkraut is also used in recipes for slaws, salads, and stews.

Kimchi is often used as a side dish in Korean cuisine. It can also be used in stir-fries, stews, and soups, rice dishes. 

Kimchi is also famous in other Asian countries such as China and Japan. The possibilities are endless.

How to store: sauerkraut vs kimchi

After fermentation, the kimchi can be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to six months.

You can store sauerkraut in various ways, depending on your preferences. Keep it in an airtight container, canned or frozen. 

You can also store sauerkraut in a cool, dark place such as a cellar or pantry. Consume refrigerated sauerkraut within a few months.

What to eat with Kimchi and Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut: There are many different ways that you can enjoy sauerkraut. It can be eaten alone or served with other foods. One famous way is to eat it with sausage. 

This combination is commonly found in Germany and other parts of Europe. 

Also, serve sauerkraut with -Rice, Potatoes, Pork chops, Bratwurst, and Hot dogs.

Other ways to enjoy sauerkraut include eating it with pork, beef, or chicken. Whatever way you choose to eat sauerkraut, it is sure to be a delicious and healthy option.

Kimchi: There are many different ways that you can enjoy kimchi. Here are just a few ideas:

-Kimchi is often eaten as a side dish but can also be enjoyed as a main course. Try pairing kimchi with rice and vegetables, ramen, and noodles for a tasty and filling meal.

-Kimchi can also be used as an ingredient in other dishes. Try adding it to soups, stews, or stir-fries for extra flavor.

-If you’re looking for a quick and easy snack, try eating kimchi on its own. Enjoy it straight from the jar or add it to crackers or bread for a tasty treat.

What are some similarities between kimchi and sauerkraut?

-Both kimchi and sauerkraut are made through a process of fermentation.

-This process makes kimchi and sauerkraut rich in probiotics, promoting gut health.

-Kimchi and sauerkraut also have a distinctive sour taste due to fermentation.

-Finally, kimchi and sauerkraut are traditionally made with Cabbage as the main ingredient.

Read More- Best Kimchi substitutes

What are the benefits of sauerkraut? 

Sauerkraut is rich in probiotics and vitamins. Probiotics are live bacteria useful for gut health and can be found in fermented foods like sauerkraut. 

Sauerkraut is high in vitamins C and K. It has been shown to help improve digestion, boost immunity, and promote weight loss.

What are the benefits of kimchi?

Kimchi is a probiotic food containing live and active bacteria cultures that are beneficial to our health. These live bacteria, or probiotics, help maintain a healthy balance of microorganisms in our intestines, improving our overall health and well-being. 

Kimchi is also a valuable source of vitamins A, B, and C and minerals like calcium and iron. Additionally, kimchi has been shown to boost the immune system, aid digestion, etc.

Can I use leftover canned sauerkraut to make homemade kimchi?

Yes, you can use leftover canned sauerkraut to make homemade kimchi. The process is simple; just follow the below-mentioned steps.

1. Rinse the sauerkraut in cold water to remove any excess salt.

2. Mix the sauerkraut, ginger, garlic, green onion, and red pepper flakes in a bowl.

3. Pack the mixture into a clean glass jar, pressing down gently to release air bubbles.

4. Cover the jar tightly and let it ferment at room temperature for 3-5 days before transferring it to the fridge.

5. Enjoy your homemade kimchi!

Homemade kimchi will taste fresher and have more probiotic benefits than store-bought kimchi. Plus, it’s easy to customize the flavor of your kimchi by adding different vegetables or spices.


Q1. Why does kimchi have more probiotics than sauerkraut?

The answer lies in the fermentation process. Kimchi undergoes a Lacto-fermentation process, while sauerkraut goes through a different type of fermentation (using different bacteria). 

Lacto-fermentation is known to produce more probiotics than other types of fermentation. Therefore, kimchi contains more probiotics than sauerkraut.

In addition, kimchi is usually made with a variety of vegetables, gochujang, while sauerkraut is typically just made with Cabbage.

The different vegetables in kimchi provide a diverse range of nutrients and probiotics, which contribute to the overall health benefits of kimchi.

Q2. Should you eat sauerkraut every day?

There’s no need to eat sauerkraut every day; including it as part of a healthy diet can offer impressive health benefits. 

If you’re looking to add more sauerkraut to your diet, try incorporating it into meals like salads, sandwiches, and grain bowls. 

You can also relish it as a side dish or snack. 

Just be sure to choose sauerkraut that’s been appropriately fermented to ensure that it contains live and active cultures.

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