Whether you’re hosting an Oktoberfest celebration or you want an easy, hearty meal for a night in, pork chops and sauerkraut fits the bill. This recipe uses a slow cooker to make your dinner or Oktoberfest party fuss-free and convenient.
Ingredients for Pork Chops and Sauerkraut
- Bone-in pork chops: For this recipe, opt for bone-in chops, a cut of pork that takes longer to cook than its boneless counterpart but isn’t as prone to drying out.
- Sauerkraut: Have a homemade sauerkraut recipe you enjoy? Or is there a store-bought option you love? Either will work here! Pick your favorite (or what’s ready and convenient) for this dinner.
- Brown sugar: You might not think of adding brown sugar to a pork recipe, but this recipe really benefits from a little sweetness. A bit of brown sugar helps to balance the acidic notes of the other ingredients in this recipe like green peppers and sauerkraut.
Step 1: Brown the pork chops
Before you head to the slow cooker, heat a bit of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. This is the perfect time to break out your classic cast-iron skillet. Add the pork chops to the skillet, and cook on each side for three to four minutes. You’re looking for a golden-brown color.
Editor’s Tip: Don’t skip this step! Browning the pork before adding it to the slow cooker gives the pork color and flavor. It also helps to keep the pork juicy as it cooks.
Step 2: Layer ingredients in a slow cooker
After browning the chops, get the slow cooker ready. Add the sauerkraut and brown sugar to the slow cooker. Then layer the pork over the top. Lastly, add in the green pepper and onion.
Editor’s Tip: There’s no need to drain the sauerkraut for this recipe. To keep the pork moist, you’ll want the liquid that comes along with the kraut.
Step 3: Cook
Cover and cook on low until the meat is fully cooked (that’s 145°F for pork) and tender, three to four hours. Serve with a slotted spoon.
This pork chop recipe is a great basic German dinner. If you want to customize it to suit your tastes or menu, take these tips as inspiration:
- Add spices: When you look at many traditional German recipes, you’ll find that many include spices like caraway seed, mustard seed and paprika. Add a teaspoon or two of these to the sauerkraut and brown sugar mix at the base of this recipe to imbue more flavor.
- Try kimchi: If you want to shift this recipe’s flavor profile, try using kimchi in place of sauerkraut. It’ll give the dish a similar tang but with Korean flavors rather than German.
How to Store Leftover Pork Chops and Sauerkraut
Place any leftovers in a covered airtight container, and store in the refrigerator for up to three or four days. You can reheat in the microwave or in the oven. If needed, you can add more sauerkraut to the leftovers when you reheat.
Pork Chops and Sauerkraut Tips
Can you bake pork chops with sauerkraut in the oven?
If you’d rather make this recipe in the oven, you can make a few simple adjustments. Start the recipe the same way, by browning the chops in a skillet. Transfer the chops to a baking dish (or keep them in a cast-iron skillet); be sure to keep them in a single layer. Then, combine the remaining ingredients, and layer over the top.
Bake this dish at 375° for 40 to 45 minutes, until the pork is 145° inside.
How can you make sure the pork chops stay juicy?
One way to be sure the pork chops stay juicy is to sear them before adding them to the slow cooker. Searing them on the stovetop for three to four minutes will ensure the meat stays tender—with the added benefit of amping up the flavor, too. The moist heat from the slow cooker will also keep the chops juicy. Just be sure to follow the timing of the recipe to prevent overcooking.
What can you serve with pork chops with sauerkraut?
Pork chops and sauerkraut would be delicious with homemade bread or a side salad. If you’re gathering Oktoberfest recipes or you enjoy other German foods, look to these delicious German recipes to round out your meal.