What Is the Difference Between Kimchi and Sauerkraut?

Kimchi and sauerkraut are fermented dishes that are created by fermenting cabbage leaves and other vegetables with lactobacilluslactic acid bacteria.

They are both gluten-free and high in probiotics. While they seem to be fairly similar, the taste profiles are very different.

These two ingredients may be used interchangeably as long as you understand how the difference will effect the overall taste of your recipe. There are several noticeable distinctions.

Difference Between Kimchi and Sauerkraut

The flavor of kimchi differs from that of sauerkraut. Kimchi has a larger spectrum of tastes, ranging from sour to spicy to salty. Sauerkraut is traditionally sour and pungent.

Other distinctions include:

Seasonings: Kimchi may be seasoned with a variety of spices such as ginger, salt, garlic, spring onions, chili peppers, and jeotgal. Sauerkraut, on the other hand, is made entirely of salt.

The cabbage leaves in kimchi are normally intact or chunked, while sauerkraut is finely shredded cabbage leaves.

Kimchi contains cabbage as well as carrots, radishes, spinach, scallions, celery, and cucumbers. Green or red cabbage is used to make sauerkraut.

Kimchi may be spicy, sweet, or salty, while sauerkraut is acidic and sour.

Kimchi vs Sauerkraut Comparison Table

Originated in Korea Originated in China
Made using whole cabbage leaves or chunks of cabbage, but can also incorporate other vegetables including radishes, cucumbers, carrots, spinach, celery, or scallions Made using only finely shredded cabbage
Ferments for one to two days Ferments for five days to two weeks
Crunchy Crunchy
Can be spicy, sour, or salty based on the ingredients and spices used   Pungent (tart and acidic)
Uses a variety of seasonings including ginger, chili peppers, garlic, salt, jeotgal, and spring onions Uses salt and sometimes caraway seeds

Can You Substitute Kimchi for Sauerkraut?

Sauerkraut, a fermented cabbage meal and condiment, is an excellent replacement for kimchi.

Sauerkraut is also mildly seasoned, making it an ideal substitute for kimchi, which is on the milder side.

Add more vinegar and salt to the sauerkraut to get it closer to the taste profile of kimchi. Kimchi is often saltier than sauerkraut.

If you want to swap sauerkraut for spicier forms of kimchi, add some Korean chili paste or Korean chili flakes to replicate the umami and spice found in true kimchi.

If you don’t have access to Korean chili goods, you may get a similar taste profile using cayenne pepper and Thai fish sauce. Sauerkraut is far more common in European-influenced cuisine cultures, and it is nearly usually less expensive than kimchi.

Thankfully, since kimchi and sauerkraut have similar taste profiles, you may switch one for the other.

Here are some delectable meals to try: Hot Kimchi Slaw, Kimchi Fried Rice, or use as a side or condiment in a stew, on a hot dog, and so forth.

What is Kimchi?

Kimchi is a Korean dish prepared from fermented vegetables. Moreover, the meal is cooked with a variety of ingredients such as ginger, chili peppers, garlic, salt, jeotgal, and spring onions.

When it comes to vegetables, cabbage is the most often utilized; however, cucumber, radish, celery, spinach, scallions, and carrot may also be used.

Moreover, kimchi recipes vary depending on the vegetables, spices, and places in which they are cooked.

Kimchi may be simply made at home. The majority of the time is spent fermenting or pickling. It may take some time to prepare the spices and ingredients, and the fermenting process will take some time as well.

Kimchi contains sour, spicy, and umami tastes in general. Nevertheless, attaining these tastes is heavily dependent on the veggies used and the number of seasons employed, as well as the duration of the fermenting process.

In addition, since kimchi lasts for a long time, it is both affordable and practical to produce.

Kimchi Fermentation Process

The fermentation process occurs when billions of probiotics are given, allowing the lactobacillus bacteria cultures to consume the carbohydrates and produce lactic acid.

Probiotics are beneficial to your gut and assist in the restoration of gut bio balance, which may strengthen your overall immune system.

Additionally, probiotics have been shown to help with both diarrhea and fevers. Keep in mind that the effects are not immediate, so you’ll need to eat kimchi on a regular basis to get the full benefits.

The easiest approach to gain all of the advantages of kimchi is to include it in your diet on a regular basis.

Kimchi includes probiotics, which may help the immune system fight off illnesses. Although kimchi cannot be used as a standalone therapy, it may be part of a nutritious diet that helps to keep your digestive system running smoothly.

How to Use Kimchi

Kimchi is served as a side dish with practically all Korean dinners. It is also sometimes served as an appetizer or as a component of another meal. Koreans, for example, usually serve kimchi with fried rice, sandwiches, noodles, stews, stir-fry, and other dishes.

Kimchi may also be sliced and added to a hotpot meal or soup, or chopped and sprinkled as a garnish. Some individuals choose to make kimchi using entire cabbage leaves to serve as a wrap for shellfish, fish, and other meats.

If you decide to create your own kimchi, consider copying a recipe that calls for bigger cabbage bits or leaves since it produces the most consistent results. Thinly sliced kimchi might be difficult to master at first.

Having difficulty locating Kimchi? Read our post about where to get kimchi in the supermarket.

What is Sauerkraut?

Although we connect sauerkraut with Germany and consider it a German delicacy, it was originally used 2,000 years ago in ancient China.

Sauerkraut is a kind of fermented cabbage made with salt and chopped cabbage. The fermenting process takes many weeks, during which the cabbage generates the lactic acid that gives sauerkraut its distinctive sour taste.

Sauerkraut is simple to prepare since you just cut raw cabbage into tiny slices, season with salt, and store it in a jar.

The added flavors used in kimchi are a fundamental difference between it and sauerkraut in terms of ease of preparation. Since you’re using a variety of spices, it might be difficult not to over-season the slices if you make them too thin.

It’s simply salt with sauerkraut, and you have more leeway since the taste profile is rather restricted. As you immerse the cabbage in brine (salt), the beneficial bacteria on the surface start converting the sugar into lactic acid.

Consider it as natural preservation. It might take several days to many weeks, depending on how much cabbage you use, but it progressively becomes more crispy and sour over time.

Washing the cabbage before beginning this procedure will eliminate the germs required to transform it into sauerkraut.

The billions of probiotics in sauerkraut restore intestinal homeostasis, and beneficial bacteria is an excellent barrier against toxins and other bad bacteria. You will instantly notice a decrease in symptoms such as bloating, gas, and other digestive difficulties.

Sauerkraut Benefits

Sauerkraut is high in vitamin C and iron, both of which promote speedier healing and a stronger immune system. Sauerkraut, like kimchi, is best consumed on a daily basis if you want to reap its health advantages.

Sauerkraut is high in dietary fiber, which keeps you fuller for longer. This element reduces the quantity of additional snacks and meals you might eat if you didn’t feel full.

Kraut is also low in carbohydrates, making it an excellent addition to your diet if you are aiming to support your weight reduction objectives. It is also simple to get, since sauerkraut can be found at any grocery shop.

How to Use Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is one of Germany’s most popular side dishes. Depending on where you go in Germany, you’ll discover various types of sauerkraut.

Sauerkraut with apple, caraway seeds, or even shredded carrots are some more ways to prepare this dish.

This component may also be used as a side to a bigger meal, as a guacamole topping, a garnish over scrambled eggs, atop avocado toast, or added to roasted potatoes.

Sauerkraut is delicious as a dip, in a rice bowl, or on a sandwich with bratwurst or sausage, as it is frequently eaten in Germany.

You often eat sauerkraut raw, but that doesn’t mean you can’t boil it before using it in any of the methods indicated above. It will, however, transform the texture from crunchy to soft.

Sauerkraut has a wide range of applications and may be used in a number of recipes, including classic German dishes and certain Asian dishes.

You may freeze sauerkraut for up to 6 months if you need to keep it.


Is kimchi just Korean sauerkraut?

Kimchi is a kind of traditional Korean sauerkraut prepared from fermented vegetables. Its most common veggies are napa cabbage, daikon radish, and carrots. For flavor, garlic, ginger, and Korean chili (gochugaru) are added.

Can sauerkraut be used as kimchi?

This is a traditional, straightforward sauerkraut recipe. You may eat it as sauerkraut or combine it with garlic, chili, and ginger to make ‘fast’ kimchi: a Korean favorite with a zingy, spicy kick.

Do all kimchi have probiotics?

Kimchi is a fermented cuisine that is high in probiotics. Kimchi contains the same lactobacilli bacteria found in yogurt and other fermented dairy products. Eating the “good bacteria” found in kimchi may help you maintain a healthy digestive system.

What is the difference between fermented cabbage and sauerkraut?

Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage with several health advantages. It is believed to have originated in China around 2,000 years ago. Fermentation was one of the strategies employed back then to protect foods from rotting fast ( 1 ).

What’s healthier sauerkraut or kimchi?

Kimchi is healthier than sauerkraut since it contains more probiotics and minerals.

Which fermented foods have the most probiotics?

Probiotic fermented foods

She claims that “dairy products like kefir and yogurt are among the finest carriers for delivering good bacteria to our gastrointestinal system.” “Non-heated kimchi, sauerkraut, and miso also have a high concentration of live bacteria that may offer a probiotic boost.”

Is grocery store sauerkraut fermented?

What Is the Difference Between Store-Bought and Handmade Sauerkraut? Fermentation Time – Store-bought sauerkraut ferments faster than handmade sauerkraut, which takes at least 20 days to ferment. As a consequence, the probiotic count in the sauerkraut is decreased.

Is sauerkraut still probiotic if you cook it?

Does boiling kill the probiotics in sauerkraut? While sauerkraut is excellent in dishes, the heat needed to prepare it kills microorganisms. To get the most out of your sauerkraut, offer a little more uncooked as a side dish or condiment!

How long does it take for sauerkraut to heal gut?

It took me around 6 weeks to complete step 3 of the sauerkraut treatment and roughly 2 months to complete all of the stages. Yet everyone is unique. Probiotics push out harmful bacteria, while anti-bacterials destroy them. Use anti-bacterial herbs to get rid of persistent harmful gut bacteria.

Is Costco kimchi probiotic?

Since the ingredients list includes cabbage, spices, and salted shrimp, this kimchi is not vegetarian. Kimchi is well-known for being high in probiotics and minerals while being low in calories. Probiotics are derived from fermented vegetables, and probiotics aid with intestinal health.

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