How Long Does Sauerkraut Last

December 11, 2020

The information surrounding sauerkraut can be inconsistent with messaging about its longevity, due to its history. Originally, sauerkraut was created as a preserved dish that could last a long time before refrigerators were invented. But why do we need to know the importance of its longevity, and when exactly does it spoil, if ever?

If you are not refrigerating your homemade sauerkraut (with store-bought kraut you should always follow the manufacturer’s recommendation), it should be eaten within a month of opening, because the luke-warm air will cause it to dry out which can cause it to lose some probiotic benefits. If the jar is unopened, you should eat it before the ‘Best By’ date. You can keep homemade or pasteurized sauerkraut at room temperature in a dark cupboard because is tightly sealed and submerged to prevent the growth of microbes. But soon after opening, you will find that this sauerkraut can easily dry up if not used within a short amount of time after opening it.

If you are refrigerating your sauerkraut, it should stay fresh for about four to six months after opening. It’s important to know when you’re using it and sealing it after each use because if new bacteria come in contact with it, it can immediately become spoiled. Refrigerated sauerkraut definitely has a longer shelf life once opened than room temperature kraut with an airtight seal it will stay tasty for up to four to six months. But if you really love the kraut it won’t be in your fridge too long anyway!

Signs That Your Kraut Has Gone Bad

Yes, you could say sauerkraut has already “gone bad” because it is a fermented dish. However, there still is an expiration date and the product can become too ripe to consume. A big red flag when your kraut has gone bad is the smell- a weird off-smelling yeasty or moldy aroma. If it is emitting a strong odor, do not eat it and throw it away.

In addition to the smell, if your kraut has become a different color or texture, throw it away. If you are seeing blue or green fluff it means the product has mold and it is not safe to consume.

When Does My Sauerkraut Go Bad?

Sauerkraut does indeed have a shelf life. This tangy, probiotic-filled dish is made from fermented cabbage that carries high fiber and a great source of vitamins. Normally, sauerkraut has a long storage life, but it doesn’t keep forever. The fermentation process already creates bacteria growth. However, the only reliable way that sauerkraut can be stored is through refrigeration after it is opened. Although the fermentation process creates an environment that is naturally acidic and this tends to prevent unsafe microbial growth, keep an eye on your kraut, and take precautions if it starts to look different than when you first opened it.

Can You Freeze Kraut?

Long story short- yes, you can freeze your sauerkraut, but it will have an effect on the texture and possibly taste of the kraut. If you’ve cooked with the kraut and want to freeze it, that is perfectly fine as well. You are able to re-heat it as well. However, you do not need to freeze it to preserve the product at all. Keeping it chilled is plenty to extend the shelf life.

By choosing to freeze this it can make the sauerkraut taste or look differently. Keep in mind, high cooking temperatures and freezing kraut will diminish all probiotic properties.

How to Store Your Cleveland Kitchen Sauerkraut

Refrigeration helps inhibit bacterial growth and minimizes the risk of it spoiling. Our krauts and marinades should be refrigerated both before and after opening for the best quality and health benefits. Refrigeration keeps our products crunchy, fresh, and vibrant. The cool temperatures slow the fermentation process of the live cultures in the kraut, ensure maximum benefit from the probiotics, extend the shelf-life, and preserve the crunchy texture we love.

Your sauerkraut won’t keep well in hot, humid environments so you have to keep it in cold storage. By keeping the product in the fridge, you can extend the shelf life of sauerkraut even more.

To make sure you are getting the most out of your sauerkraut, get creative with how you can enjoy this tangy, delicious product! You can throw it on your favorite salads, use it as a dip, marinade, sandwiches, rice dishes, tacos, and any proteins - you name it.

In addition, try our new product locator to find the store nearest you that carries the flavor you are looking for. All our products are found in the refrigerated set of the store. If you can’t find it, please ask for it at your local grocery store and contact our customer service team so we can let our sales team know where you want to see our products next!

Here’s one of our favorite recipes to make sure you get the best use out of your kraut. Enjoy!

Stuffed Shells with Beet Red & Classic Caraway Sauerkraut


Beet Red & Ham Stuffed Shells

Classic Caraway & Spinach Stuffed Shells (Vegetarian)






Check out another article

How Can Fermentation Add Umami?


What are Prebiotics?


How To Work More Probiotic Foods Into Your Diet