Most people associate fermentation with alcohol – beer, wine, and spirits. But what about vegetables, fruit, dairy, or protein? Did you know you can ferment almost anything?
Fermentation is a great way to preserve fresh foods, in addition to providing some amazing benefits to our guts and digestive system. It is especially popular with homesteaders because of its ease and effectiveness at preserving the harvest throughout winter.
In this recipe list, we focus on lacto-fermentation because it is definitely the easiest method of fermentation. Additionally, we’ve only included vegetables and fruits as ferment recipients.
Fresh produce is extremely easy to ferment, and the best way to learn just how it works before moving onto more complicated ingredients, such as dairy. For these reasons, these 28 recipes are perfect for beginners!
If you’re new to fermentation, check out our Intro To Fermenting For Beginners to learn more before trying out these recipes.
Otherwise, proceed forward to find 28 Easy Lacto-Fermentation Recipes to ferment your favorite foods! The simplest recipes are near the top, and then the list progresses to more involved recipes (sauces and salsas) toward the bottom.
1. Fermented Dill Pickles
Instead of simply pickling your pickles, why not add some extra gut-healthy probiotics by fermenting them? These require no starter culture, no canning or cooking, and are extremely easy for beginners.
The end result is some crunchy, delicious, and still raw pickles that make the perfect addition to any sandwich or cookout. Or just enjoy these pickles by themselves for a healthy, tangy snack!
Here is the recipe for these Fermented Dill Pickles.
2. Easy Sauerkraut
Apart from being one of the absolute easiest lacto-fermented dishes, sauerkraut is also one of the most famous! This German condiment is most commonly used on sausages and brats but has many other uses as well.
The best part about making your own sauerkraut is being able to control the amount of funk! If you prefer a milder kraut, put it in the fridge shortly after starting the ferment. However, the longer you let it ferment, the funkier it gets!
This recipe only has two ingredients – cabbage and salt.
Here is the recipe for this Easy Sauerkraut.
3. Easy Fermented Radishes
I enjoy radishes in the summer, but there are really only so many salads you can make to use them up. If you have an abundance of radishes, why not ferment them?
This recipe only takes a few minutes to put together and is incredibly easy. After a few days, you’re left with a healthy snack the whole family can enjoy! Lacto-fermented radishes are not as “sharp” as raw radishes, so even kids will like them.
Here is the recipe for these Easy Fermented Radishes.
4. Lacto-Fermented Jalapeno Peppers
This is my absolute favorite lacto-fermentation recipe on this list! If you like spicy, you NEED to try fermented jalapenos. I usually use pickled jalapenos on everything, but once I discovered fermented jalapenos, I’m never going back.
Not only are these pepper slices spicy, but they are deliciously fizzy as well. Put these puppies on nachos, tacos, sandwiches, burritos, eggs, or salads to get a nice fiery kick of heat.
Here is the recipe for these Lacto-Fermented Jalapeno Peppers.
5. Fermented Carrot Sticks
This fermented carrot recipe includes 5 different delicious flavors. Our favorite is the spicy version – it’s a nice healthy snack to grab whenever you need a little flavor in your life! In addition to spicy, the flavors are dill, curry, sweet beet, and caraway mustard.
Here is the recipe for these Fermented Carrot Sticks.
6. Probiotic Rich Asparagus Pickles
Mmmm asparagus is one of our favorite springtime vegetables. Fermenting them is a great way to ensure you can enjoy their lovely crunch throughout the whole year.
Don’t ignore this snack that offers a big probiotic boost and turns your fresh spring asparagus into a delicious salty, sour bite! In fact, asparagus is one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there!
Here is the recipe for these Asparagus Pickles.
7. Fermented Brussels Sprouts With Garlic & Ginger
Fermented brussels sprouts? That’s right! You can ferment pretty much any vegetable you want. This particular recipe calls for garlic and ginger, which gives these “little cabbages” a nice flavor.
Apart from just eating these brussels by themselves, I imagine they would taste good in similar dishes that sauerkraut is used in like sausages, meat, and potatoes. The garlic and ginger flavors also make me want to try them in some kind of Asian dish! The possibilities are endless.
Here is the recipe for these Fermented Brussels Sprouts.
8. Lacto-Fermented Rainbow Chard
Unfortunately, a lot of recipes for rainbow chard only call for their leaves. This is a huge waste of nutritious, colorful vegetable!
If you ever have extra chard stalks that you just don’t know what to do with, ferment them! It’s an easy and delicious way to up chard’s nutritional value and enjoy its goodness.
Here is the recipe for this Lacto-Fermentated Rainbow Chard.
9. Tangy Fermented Red Onions
Red onions are the perfect topping for almost any dish, in my opinion! Fermenting them is a great way to tone down their strong “spicy” taste that can oftentimes overpower a dish.
Ferment your red onions for two weeks with your favorite spices, and then you have a deliciously gut-healthy addition to top any salad, sandwich, or taco with!
Here is the recipe for these Fermented Red Onions.
10. Fermented Spicy Daikon Radish Spears
You know that section of the produce section that you never go to because what the heck do you do with daikon radishes? That’s been me. Daikon radishes are one of those vegetables that I’ve simply never had a reason to try. But that all changes with this recipe!
Fermented daikon radishes tend to acquire a very nice sourness, but keep their crunch. For a little more flavor or heat, try adding red pepper flakes or hot Korean chili paste! They’re a lovely, crunchy addition to any Asian flavored dishes.
Here is the recipe for these Spicy Daikon Radish Spears.
11. Fermented Garlic
Fermented garlic adds a refined garlic flavor to any dish. Lacto-fermentation is a great way to enjoy garlic with all its healthy enzymes and nutrients intact. We love lacto-fermenting garlic because it mellows out raw garlic’s acrid flavor and aroma. The resulting flavor profile is a cross between raw and roasted garlic.
Here is the recipe for this Fermented Garlic.
12. Fermented Baby Bok Choy
Who else loves bok choy?! Cruciferous vegetables are some of our favorite vegetables to ferment, so we’re excited to share this fermented baby bok choy recipe on this list. Basil and lemon are added in this recipe, but you can use any type of spices you’d like. Try it with spicy red pepper or savory garlic and sesame.
Here is the recipe for this Fermented Baby Bok Choy.
13. Easy Fermented Zucchini
Zucchini usually ferments a little faster than other vegetables due to the naturally high amount of Lactobacillus Plantarum (the bacteria required to lacto-ferment!) on their surface.
While cabbage might take four weeks to ferment, zucchini takes about two weeks, in comparison. For extra sour flavor, however, let your zucchini ferment as long as everything else! Due to the extra bacteria, fermented zucchini is especially good fo gut health.
Here is the recipe for this Easy Fermented Zucchini.
14. Fermented Raspberries
We’ve personally never tried to ferment berries, but after finding this recipe, it’s at the top of our “to-make” list! The trick here is to stop the fermentation at 48 hours, otherwise the berries will start turning alcoholic. Simply put them in the fridge before 2 days is up, and you will have deliciously preserved berries to last for a few months.
This recipe is for raspberries, however, you can substitute almost any other berry, and it will work just the same.
Here is the recipe for these Fermented Raspberries.
15. Fermented Cinnamon Apples
These probiotic-rich fermented cinnamon apples taste like apple pie and they are so healthy! Yum!
These apples are great for breakfast, a snack, or as part of a dessert. This is the perfect recipe for those who are interested in fermented foods because the recipe is simple and the flavor is great.
Here is the recipe for these Cinnamon Apples.
16. Fermented Cherry Tomatoes
I don’t know about you, but my favorite part of the summer harvest is the cherry tomatoes. I literally cannot get enough of them! Although I would eat all of them fresh right off the vine, it’s smart to preserve the harvest so I can enjoy these flavorful nuggets for a little bit longer into the fall.
The main trick to this recipe is to use cherry tomatoes, or other small tomatoes, that are not fully ripe. The problem with fermenting ripe tomatoes is that the sugars in them want to turn to alcohol. Now you know!
Here is the recipe for these Cherry Tomatoes.
17. Fermented Green Tomatoes
Green tomatoes are an inevitable part of homegrown tomato plants, as there always seem to be some that haven’t quite ripened before it gets too cold. While you can pick them green and bring them inside to ripen, sometimes there are so many green ones it makes sense to utilize them as they are.
Of course, fried green tomatoes are an option that everyone should try at least once, as they are totally amazing. But, these fermented green tomatoes are pretty darn good as well!
Here is the recipe for these Fermented Green Tomatoes.
18. Vegan Kimchi
Mhmmm kimchi. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Kimchi is what originally turned me on to fermented foods. The “funkiness” that comes from the fermentation process is certainly an acquired taste and took me a while to come around to. However, once I tried kimchi I discovered that the flavor and spiciness were just too good to resist!
There are many different kinds of kimchi, but the most popular is made with Napa cabbage and bok choy. It’s a traditional Korean condiment that is spicy, tangy, and delicious.
Here is the recipe for this Vegan Kimchi.
19. Fermented Giardiniera
Giardiniera is an Italian pickle made of mixed vegetables that are typically preserved in oil or vinegar. This recipe for fermented giardiniera uses fermentation to preserve the vegetables instead. It is an easy, no-cook and zero-waste recipe.
This savory blend of vegetables can be spicy (with chilli peppers) or mild (without). However you like it, fermented giardiniera looks beautiful, sounds sophisticated, and tastes delizioso!
Here is the recipe for this Fermented Giardiniera.
20. Fermented Carolina Coleslaw
Carolina-style slaw is a type of coleslaw traditional to the southeastern United States. This slaw has cabbage, carrots, onions, green pepper, and apple! It has a little more bulk than the regular cabbage/carrot combination slaw you usually find in the store.
Like all coleslaw, this fermented version goes great with barbecued meat and as a side to summer dinners, but with a little extra boost for your gut.
Here is the recipe for this Carolina Coleslaw.
21. Fermented Hot Sauce
Hot sauce made with fermented peppers has more depth than hot sauces that are made with fresh peppers. Lacto-fermented peppers are extremely easy to make, but do take some time to age.
The author of the recipes lets their peppers ferment for about 4 months, but many let them ferment for only weeks.
Here is the recipe for this Fermented Hot Sauce.
22. Fermented Pico de Gallo Salsa
All that’s required for this salsa recipe is tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice and sea salt. The ingredients sit in a jar for two days in the pantry. After 48 hours you’ll have fermented salsa that you can use for dipping or to serve with grilled meats, eggs, vegetables, etc. Yum!
Here is the recipe for this Fermented Pico de Gallo Salsa.
23. Fermented Beets & Cabbage
Looking for a fermented beet recipe? This fermented beet and cabbage mixture uses a combination of raw beetroot, cabbage (white or red), apple, ginger and garlic.
This versatile and delicious sauerkraut can be tossed through salads and piled on top of your avocado toasts or even served ontop of roasted meats and fish.
Here is the recipe for this Beet & Cabbage Kraut.
24. Fermented Cranberry Sauce
This chunky condiment is not only one to make for your holiday tables, but also one to eat from the moment cranberries appear to the moment they disappear from the markets.
Fermented cranberry sauce with maple, figs, citrus and cloves is great on sandwiches, with all meats, including salmon, and with salads!
Here is the recipe for this Fermented Cranberry Sauce.
25. Fermented Mango Habanero Hot Sauce
Salsas with fruit in them are truly something else, and this fermented version takes this hot sauce to the next level. It’s sweet and spicy with a healthy, fermented, probiotic kick. After you have it once, you’ll want to put this fermented mango habanero hot sauce on everything!
Here is the recipe for this Mango Habanero Hot Sauce.
26. Honey Fermented Ginger
With this recipe, you’ll take two incredibly nutritious foods with incredibly wonderful flavors and ferment them together to make honey-fermented ginger.
The result is a delectable and zippy fermented syrup that you’ll find yourself drizzling on anything that needs a sweet little kick. And once you’ve had honey-fermented ginger in your tea, you won’t want a cup without it.
Here is the recipe for this Honey Fermented Ginger.
27. Fermented Radish and Carrot Slaw
Prep, flavor, and ferment this recipe for Vietnamese-style radish and carrots slaw and store it in your fridge. Then, when you go to make a salad, put together a sandwich, build a Buddha bowl, or whatever else you’re getting ready to eat, grab that beautiful jar that is teeming with beneficial bacteria and slop some on.
Here is the recipe for this Radish and Carrot Slaw.
28. Spicy Fermented Tomato Salsa
We love chips and salsa, there’s just something addicting about the snack. But this fiery fermented tomato salsa takes it to a whole new level!
Make this when you have tomatoes and onions about to go bad. There’s nothing better than preserving food when you know you’ll save money and waste in the trash from spoiled food. Why salsa? Why not!
Here is the recipe for this Spicy Tomato Salsa.