Fermented Curtido

Fermented curtido is made from cabbage, carrots, onion, oregano and hot pepper

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5 from 3 reviews

Curtido is a fermented sauerkraut-like condiment from El Salvador.  It is traditionally served with pupusas, but it is delicious on everything from tacos to hot dogs.


  • 1 medium-sized head of cabbage
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 Tbsp oregano (Mexican oregano if you have it)
  • 1 hot pepper or 1 tsp hot pepper flakes
  • 4 tsp pickling salt


  1. Grate or finely chop the cabbage, onion, and carrots. Toss the grated vegetables in a large bowl with the oregano, hot pepper, and salt.
  2. Pack the mixture into two quart-sized jars (or one 2-quart jar) for fermentation leaving at least 1 inch of headroom (for bubbling.) Use a spoon to really press the vegetables into the jars so that there are no air bubbles.
  3. If the cabbage hasn’t released enough liquid to completely submerge the vegetables, then leave it for 4-12 hours, and press again. If it still hasn’t released enough liquid, then add a bit of purified water. The goal is to make sure the vegetables are kept under the liquid.
  4. Cover the ferment to keep fruit flies out and place the jar somewhere cool and dark to ferment. (See notes for more details). The curtido will bubble for the first three days. It is usually eaten fresh, so it will be ready after 3 days. Move the jar(s) to the refrigerator to slow down the fermentation.


  • If you want to ferment your curtido for longer than 3 days, it’s important to make sure that the vegetables aren’t exposed to air. Either use Fido jars or a mason jar with a weight to keep the vegetables below the brine.
  • Field-grown cabbage naturally has the bacterial cultures needed for fermenting. There’s no need to use a starter with this simple recipe.