Sausage Sauerkraut Soup Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 25 min. Cook: 8 hours
Sausage sauerkraut soup is the hands-off, flavorful slow cooker soup you didn't know you were missing. Serve it with a hunk of bread and a fresh green salad for a perfect meal.

Updated: Jun. 18, 2024

We all know what to do with sauerkraut, right? You enjoy a serving of it with some German sausages and mashed potatoes one night, and then you forget that you put it on the top shelf of the fridge for two years until it’s time for a whole fridge cleaning or a move. Sound about right? Well, that’s all going to change once you try this recipe for sausage sauerkraut soup, which is filling and satisfying, bursting with flavor and almost entirely hands-off, too!

Sauerkraut, which is finely-shredded raw cabbage that’s fermented in salty water, sometimes with some spices added, is a great source of fiber and of vitamin C, vitamin K, iron and several other vitamins and minerals, is remarkably shelf-stable, especially in the fridge, so you can always keep some on hand (but not forgotten) and you can make batches of this sauerkraut soup any time you want something tasty and comforting. This sausage and sauerkraut soup is also a great choice for large gatherings, such as church potlucks or holiday dinners, as it’s very easy to scale up.

Ingredients for Sausage Sauerkraut Soup

  • Red potatoes: Red potatoes are ideal for this recipe because of their texture and because, when quartered, they are the perfect size for soup. However, if all you have are russets or Yukons, by all means, use those.
  • Carrots: Peel and cut the carrots into bite-sized pieces, each about a quarter of an inch thick. If the carrots are quite thick, halve them first.
  • Onion: Use a yellow or white onion for this sauerkraut soup and cut it into thin wedges.
  • Sauerkraut: Here we have it—the main event! Make sure it is rinsed and well drained because you don’t want that potent sauerkraut fermentation liquid getting into and overpowering the soup.
  • Brown sugar: A tablespoon of rich brown sugar brings some sweetness to the soup and balances out the salty bitterness of the sauerkraut. (We say “salty bitterness” in the best possible way, for the record.)
  • Spicy brown mustard: Mustard pairs with German-style foods so well, doesn’t it?
  • Caraway seeds: A little goes a long way when it comes to flavorful caraway seeds, so don’t make this a heaping dose.
  • Sausage: You can use smoked kielbasa or Polish sausage (or a different sausage in a pinch, but these are the ideal choices) cut into one-inch slices.
  • Chicken broth: Go for a low-sodium chicken broth for this recipe, as the soup already gets plenty of saltiness from other ingredients.

Directions

Step 1: Add all ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on low for eight to nine hours

This recipe comes with some chopping, measuring and other prep, but virtually no hands-0n cooking. Just set your 3- or 4-quart slow cooker to low, then add the potatoes, carrots and onions. Next, in a separate bowl, combine the sauerkraut, brown sugar, mustard and caraway seeds, then spoon this mixture over the veggies. Then add the sliced sausage and the broth and let everything cook, still on low and covered, for between eight and nine hours.

Step 2: Serve and enjoy!

No, really, that’s it!

Sausage Sauerkraut Soup Variations

  • Step up the veggies: To make this soup a healthy all-in-one meal in a bowl, just step up the vegetable content. Consider adding sliced celery at the start of the cooking process and toss in some chopped kale when about half an hour of slow cooking is left to be done. Or add any other veggies you want, of course—just be sure to gently submerge them in the broth and add about a quarter cup more broth for each additional serving of vegetables.
  • Try it with chicken: This soup would be delicious with pieces of chicken added instead of the sausage, though the chicken will take on the taste of the other ingredients and won’t add as much of its own flavor to the mix, so consider upping the amount of mustard and caraway seeds a bit.
  • Make it vegetarian: You can make a vegetarian friendly version of this soup by using vegetable broth and using veggie sausages, tempeh or another meat substitute in place of the meat sausage. Don’t try tofu, though, as it tends to fall apart during a slow cook in liquid.

How to Store Sausage Sauerkraut Soup

This soup will keep well in the fridge for four or even five days, as sauerkraut is already so stable and no dairy is present here. Seal it in an airtight container and reheat it on the stove for ideal results, though microwaving batches in bowls works, too.

Can you freeze sausage sauerkraut soup?

Yes, this soup can be frozen for up to three months. Seal it in airtight containers with as much air removed as possible, and thaw it in the fridge overnight or from morning until evening before reheating.

Sausage Sauerkraut Soup Tips

Do I need to stir this sausage and sauerkraut soup while it cooks?

No. In fact, you need to be sure to not stir this soup as it cooks, as doing so will break apart the potatoes, which compromises the consistency and taste of the soup. Just let it slowly cook away in that trusty crock pot.

Can I cook this soup on the stove?

If you don’t have or don’t want to use a slow cooker, then a large pot or a Dutch oven set over a stove burner will work fine for this soup. Just make sure to keep the burner on a low setting and periodically check the internal temperature of the soup with a thermometer. For reference, most slow cookers cook at between 165º and 200ºF on a low setting.

Is it OK to leave out the caraway seeds?

Yes, you can skip the caraway seeds, which have a bittersweet flavor with citrus and licorice notes. While a welcome addition in the opinion of many eaters, they are a no-go for other people, and this sauerkraut soup recipe will be just fine without them.

Sausage Sauerkraut Soup

Prep Time 25 min
Yield 6 servings.

Ingredients

  • 6 small red potatoes, quartered
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 pound smoked kielbasa or Polish sausage, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth

Directions

  1. In a 3- or 4-qt. slow cooker, combine the potatoes, carrots and onion. Combine the sauerkraut, brown sugar, mustard and caraway seeds; spoon over vegetables. Top with sausage and broth. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until vegetables are tender.

Nutrition Facts

1-1/4 cups: 373 calories, 21g fat (8g saturated fat), 51mg cholesterol, 1707mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 5g fiber), 16g protein.

I've taken this satisfying soup to church gatherings and family reunions, and it always receives wonderful compliments. Everyone loves it! —Elizabeth Goetzinger, Lewiston, Idaho