Sausage and Sauerkraut Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Sausage and Sauerkraut

Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
Sausage and sauerkraut is an easy 30-minute recipe that the whole family will love. We make this meat and potatoes dish in a single skillet, but you could easily bake it in the oven or use a slow cooker.

Updated: May 14, 2024

Sausage and sauerkraut is a one-skillet dish that brings back a lot of memories for me. After a single bite of this hearty, warming dish, I’m transported to the Alsace region of France where I spent my honeymoon. The region shares its eastern border with Germany, and the cuisine features a lot of sauerkraut, pork and potatoes. One of my favorite dishes was choucroute garnie, a slow-cooked dish that’s strikingly similar to this sauerkraut sausage recipe.

When I returned from vacation, I wanted to share my experience of old-world foods, but I didn’t want to spend all day making them! So, I made a skillet version of the sauerkraut and sausage recipe as a family meal at my restaurant. Everyone loved it—even the sauerkraut haters.

In this recipe, the potatoes soak in the flavors from the smoked sausage and tangy sauerkraut, the onions bring sweetness for balance and the black pepper adds a little heat. The simplified dish captures everything that drew me to the original, but it comes together in only 30 minutes.

Ingredients for Sausage and Sauerkraut

  • Smoked sausage: Look for a smoked Polish-style sausage like kielbasa. You can use traditional pork kielbasa or turkey kielbasa, which has less fat and fewer calories.
  • Sauerkraut: Homemade sauerkraut makes this dish really special, but we get that not everyone has time for that. The best alternative is a raw, naturally fermented sauerkraut found in a grocery store’s refrigerator section. Jarred sauerkraut works in a pinch, but the pasteurization process that makes it shelf-stable affects the product’s flavor and texture.
  • Potatoes: You can use any type of potato in this recipe. We love the look of skin-on red potatoes, which are waxy with a creamy texture. Yukon Gold potatoes are an excellent choice for their naturally buttery character, and starchy russet potatoes will wonderfully absorb the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Onion: Use sweet onions to add a touch of sweetness to this recipe for sausage and sauerkraut, or try red onions for a sharper, more intense flavor.

Directions

Step 1: Saute the potatoes

In a large skillet, saute the potatoes in oil until lightly browned, five to six minutes.

Editor’s Tip: If desired, you can parboil the potatoes (similar to how we treat them in this skillet red potatoes recipe). Precooking ensures that the potatoes become tender on the inside and crisp on the outside.

Step 2: Add the onion

Stir in the onion, and saute until tender, three to four minutes.

Step 3: Finish with the sausage and sauerkraut

Add the sausage, sauerkraut and pepper. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat until heated through, four to five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Editor’s Tip: Some sauerkraut is juicier than others. If the mixture looks dry, add a splash of water, chicken broth, beer or apple juice. Our Test Kitchen found the dish to be well-seasoned between the smoked sausage and sauerkraut, but you can add salt to taste if desired.

Sausage And Sauerkraut in bowls with fork on side on wooden baseTMB Studio

Recipe Variations

  • Change up the seasoning: Perk up the sauerkraut’s flavor with spices like caraway seeds, ground coriander or smoked paprika.
  • Make it sweet and savory: Include naturally sweet ingredients like apples or carrots, or add a touch of brown sugar to the skillet when you add the sauerkraut.
  • Use another type of meat: You can use fresh sausage like bratwurst or a cured meat like bacon. Cook the meat in the skillet until it’s browned and cooked through. Then, set it aside as you proceed with the recipe. Return the cooked meat to the pan at the end, and cook it until warmed through.
  • Make it in the slow cooker: For slow-cooker sausage and sauerkraut, layer the sauerkraut, onions, potatoes and kielbasa in the slow cooker, similar to the method used in pork and sauerkraut with potatoes. Then, cook on low for four to five hours or until heated through.
  • Bake it in the oven: Turn this skillet dinner into a sauerkraut casserole by combining the ingredients in a baking dish. Bake at 350°F for one hour or until the potatoes are tender.

How to Store Sausage and Sauerkraut

Store leftovers of this sauerkraut sausage recipe in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat the leftovers in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through.

Sausage and Sauerkraut Tips

Sausage And Sauerkraut in cooking potTMB Studio

What goes well with this recipe for sausage and sauerkraut?

The simplest way to serve this sauerkraut and sausage recipe is with a dollop of mustard and a piece of dark rye bread. To turn this skillet dinner into a German beer hall supper, pair it with soft giant pretzels alongside mustard pretzel dip and side dishes like German noodle bake, spaetzle and potato dumplings. Complete the meal with popular German drinks and German desserts like classic apfelkuchen (apple cake).

Should you rinse sauerkraut before using it?

If you’re fond of sauerkraut’s powerful, punchy flavor, you can skip the rinse. Rising will remove some flavor and some of the sodium content.

What is the difference between smoked sausage and kielbasa?

Unlike fresh sausage, smoked sausage is fully cooked and can be eaten straight out of the package. There are many types of smoked sausage, including andouille, linguica and Spanish chorizo. Kielbasa is the Polish word for sausage and can refer to fresh or smoked sausage. Many types of kielbasa are smoked and feature a bold garlic flavor. Check the product’s packaging before leaving the store to determine if the kielbasa is fully cooked.

Watch how to Make Sausage and Sauerkraut

Sausage and Sauerkraut

Prep Time 30 min
Yield 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 6 medium red potatoes, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 small onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 package (16 ounces) sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, saute the potatoes in oil until lightly browned, 5-6 minutes. Stir in onion; saute until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add the sausage, sauerkraut and pepper. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat until heated through, 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Nutrition Facts

1-1/2 cups: 567 calories, 38g fat (14g saturated fat), 76mg cholesterol, 2043mg sodium, 36g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 6g fiber), 20g protein.

I created this tasty, quick and easy sauerkraut and sausage dish so I can throw it together in no time on those extra-busy nights. — Mary Lyon, Spotsylvania, Virginia