The best sauerkraut transports you directly to a charming German restaurant with a biergarten and every sausage known to man. The tangy, fermented, cabbage-based condiment is a beloved hot dog topping, but when it’s good, it’s good for so much more than that. I’ve been known to eat it directly out of the can as a snack—and that wasn’t even the good stuff.
When we set out to find the best tasting sauerkraut at the grocery store we were looking for serious tang—sauerkraut should taste fermented, not just vinegary—and a bold, satisfying crunch. You should know it’s there when you take a bite of a brat that’s piled high with it. Oktoberfest is still a few months away, but no harm in preparing now. Here is the best tasting sauerkraut you can buy at the grocery store.
- Cleveland Kraut Classic Caraway
If you can forget what you currently know about sauerkraut, Cleveland Kraut makes a pretty enjoyable version. Remember when I said the best sauerkraut should have crunch? You’re not going to find a kraut that’s crunchier than this. Spiritually, it’s more like a coleslaw than a kraut—very fresh and very cabbage forward. Honestly, my first thought when I opened the package was that if I wanted sauerkraut on a hot dog or sausage and someone served this to me, I would call the police. But the more I ate it, the more I liked it. Cleveland Kraut has a milder acidity than other krauts which lets the earthy flavor of the caraway seeds shine. It reminds me of a homemade kraut you’d get on a Reuben at a really nice, artisanal sandwich place. If nothing else, it’s the best store bought sauerkraut to buy for sauerkraut newbies.
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- Claussen Premium Crisp Sauerkraut
Claussen makes a dang good dill pickle—crunchy and super garlicky—and the brand knows its way around a jar of sauerkraut, too. The fermented flavor is powerful; my colleague Jordan Myrick described it as “footy,” in a good way. Still, this isn’t a challenging kraut, unless, that is, you can’t handle a ton of salt. If you tasted Claussen sauerkraut on its own, I think the salinity would seem normal, but alongside other sauerkraut brands, it is salty as hell. Still good, though. I’d say this is the best sauerkraut to pair with a dish that could really use some punching up.
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- Deutsche Küche German Style Sauerkraut
I thought that Aldi would sell one of the best brands of sauerkraut (by virtue of being a German grocery chain), and I was correct. Their proprietary brand of German specialty foods, Deutsche Küche, makes great mustard and red cabbage, and their sauerkraut is a trip to Munich in a jar. It has an excellent crunch (slightly better than Claussen) and a nice tang that really hits the sides of your tongue without being overwhelmingly acidic. It’s a great sauerkraut and it comes in a big ol’ jar that costs less than two dollars. Danke, Aldi.
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- Saverne Classic Organic Kraut
This Saverne sauerkraut came in second in our taste test, but I’d like to stress that it was a very close second. It’s so, so good—it fills your mouth with so much fermented flavor and funk, but it isn’t overly astringent or too acidic. Also, hot tip: I’d say there’s a hierarchy of sauerkraut packaging. Bagged krauts are crisper than jarred, but jarred krauts are so much tastier and better than canned sauerkrauts. After this taste test, I won’t be buying canned kraut ever again.
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- Boar’s Head Sauerkraut
Boar’s Head is a reliably great brand, and their sauerkraut doesn’t disappoint. Sold in a bag in the deli section, this stuff is as comforting and familiar as Claussen with a more complex fermented flavor. Jordan even thought it seemed a little carbonated from the fermentation, but not off-puttingly so. It’s complex, like sauerkraut you’d get at a good German restaurant. It basically tied with Saverne in terms of overall flavor, but Boar’s Head won on crunch, taking the title of best sauerkraut. I am dying to eat this on a Boar’s Head natural casing hot dog (one of the best hot dogs we taste tested). Seriously, that snap plus this crunch? I’m going to have to get my lederhosen taken out.
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Best Extra Crunchy
Best of the Best
Other products we tasted: Libby’s Crispy Sauerkraut, Silver Floss, Great Value, Bubbie’s, Kroger, Signature Select, Dietz & Watson