12 Superb Sauerkraut Recipes

Rye swirl sandwich with sauerkraut, meat, and cheese
Rye swirl sandwich with sauerkraut, meat, and cheese - Michelle McGlinn/Mashed

Sauerkraut is a seriously underrated food that is often relegated to playing side to meals like German-style sausages and potatoes. There's nothing wrong with this, of course, but the unique taste of this cabbage dish deserves to be highlighted as a fantastically crunchy, salty, and sour delight that elevates so many other foods.

Did you know that this cheek-tingling cabbage is incredible in a sandwich, cooked in a stew, and even when it's put into service as a pizza topping? Forget the bad rep that cabbage gets and don't be turned off if you're not a fan of fermented foods such as spicy kimchi. For once, it's versatile; Sauerkraut can be eaten raw or added to hot dishes. It's also easy to find or make. You can buy it ready or, in the case of some recipes, whip it up in mere minutes.

You might not have known that what was lacking in your culinary repertoire were some superb sauerkraut recipes. Once you've opened the pickle jar to these dishes though, it's going to be hard to resist them. Here are some of the best of our recipes that center on this delightfully sour side.

Read more: 41 Must Try Hot Sandwich Recipes

Homemade Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut in decorative bowl
Sauerkraut in decorative bowl - Maren Epstein/Mashed

With just 10 minutes of prep time and 40 minutes on the stove, you can easily make this homemade sauerkraut recipe. Make enough to store in the fridge and it will even last a couple of weeks. It's simple, too. Aside from cabbage, you only need four other ingredients: carraway and fennel seeds, kosher salt, and white Champagne vinegar.

The key to successful sauerkraut is to create thin ribbons of cabbage rather than chunky pieces. This chiffonade technique allows for the best texture and taste. Add salted water if the vegetable is looking somewhat dry.

Recipe: Homemade Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut Salad

Sauerkraut with vegetables in salad bowl with serving utensils
Sauerkraut with vegetables in salad bowl with serving utensils - Miriam Hahn/Mashed

Sauerkraut salad is a wonderfully different side to serve at a cookout. It also works well in vegetable-forward mixes like a Buddha bowl. You've got to try it in a pastrami sandwich or as a burger topping, too.

Make the dressing with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, celery seed, and salt. Add more vinegar to highlight the sour taste or add more seasoning to increase the peppery flavor profile. Pour over raw or cooked sauerkraut that you've already mixed with diced red pepper, celery, carrot, and onion.

Recipe: Sauerkraut Salad

Crispy Sauerkraut Balls

Crispy breadcrumb ball snacks on plate
Crispy breadcrumb ball snacks on plate - Erin Johnson/Mashed

If your impression of sauerkraut is as a good-for-you but otherwise sloppy side, then prepare to have your mind changed. These crispy sauerkraut balls deliver the fermented cabbage taste with sausage, onion, and seasonings, plus Gouda and cream cheese.

A panko coating lends crispness to the exterior. Deep-frying turns these spheres soft in the middle and crunchy on the outside. Serve as they are or with a honey mustard dipping sauce. Either way, they are beyond delicious.

Recipe: Crispy Sauerkraut Balls

Instant Pot Pork And Sauerkraut

Meat with sauerkraut in a bowl
Meat with sauerkraut in a bowl - Jamie Monkkonen/Mashed

Sauerkraut, pork, and apples are a trio that's rooted in German culinary tradition. This Instant Pot version creates comfort food that tastes subtly sweet and sour with robust character.

Cut the pork loin into strips so it cooks in unison with the fruit, garlic clove halves, onion, and cabbage. Vegetable broth keeps everything bubbling away without drying out. Strain the brother out or serve the meat and veg dish with the liquid to create a soup or stew.

Recipe: Instant Pot Pork And Sauerkraut

Slow Cooker Pork And Sauerkraut With Apples

Pork slices with sauerkraut on plate
Pork slices with sauerkraut on plate - Kristen Carli/Mashed

Sauerkraut only makes an appearance three hours into the cooking time for this slow cooker recipe. First, cook pork shoulder in apple cider with half-moon slices of onion and wedges of sour Granny Smith apples. Add a can of sauerkraut on top of the meat and cook for another hour.

Serve slices of the succulent meat with the other ingredients. For something to mop up the juices, carbs such as mashed potatoes, rice, or garlic bread are ideal.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Pork And Sauerkraut With Apples

1-Skillet Kielbasa And Potatoes

Potatoes, sauerkraut, and sausage in skillet with sour cream and dill
Potatoes, sauerkraut, and sausage in skillet with sour cream and dill - Michelle McGlinn/Mashed

A single skillet dish makes the list of superb sauerkraut recipes with ease. Fry sliced Polish smoked sausage, then use the oil left behind in the pan to fry par-boiled baby potatoes and onion. Next, you'll build fragrant flavor with carraway seeds and garlic before finally adding the sauerkraut.

Make sure the sour cabbage is fully mixed in and on the stove long enough to heat through.Now, all that's left is to return the fried kielbasa to the skillet and serve. With its Slavic influence, what better way to savor this dish than with a dollop of sour cream and fresh dill frond?

Recipe: 1-Skillet Kielbasa And Potatoes

Hearty Bigos (Polish Hunter's Stew)

Meat and sausage sauerkraut stew with pumpernickel bread
Meat and sausage sauerkraut stew with pumpernickel bread - Patterson Watkins/Mashed

Sauerkraut features prominently in Polish food. A culinary classic from this part of the world has to be bigos. It's hearty, peasant-style fare that's such a favorite that it's served just about everywhere in Poland. Here, supplement the sauerkraut with extra cabbage to create a stew. Mushrooms, prunes, and diced tomatoes add to the richness, with fried kielbasa, caraway seeds, and allspice picking up the seasonings.

Simmer after adding seared stewing pork for 90 minutes so that the meat is tender. Serve with buttered pumpernickel bread.

Recipe: Hearty Bigos (Polish Hunter's Stew)

Slow Cooker Brats

Bradwurst in hot dog buns with sauerkraut and mustard
Bradwurst in hot dog buns with sauerkraut and mustard - Angela Latimer/Mashed

What toppings do you add to a hot dog? If you're cooking German bratwurst, slam those brats into a bun and top with sauerkraut and mustard. If you are going bun-free, add the sour cabbage on the side.

To cook the sausages on low in your slow cooker, set aside six hours. Up the heat to shorten the time they simmer in a bath of beer, onion, garlic, and butter. Brown them on a grill pan either before or after cooking to give them attractive sear marks.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Brats

Easy Reuben Sandwich

Rye swirl bread with sauerkraut, beef, and cheese
Rye swirl bread with sauerkraut, beef, and cheese - Michelle McGlinn/Mashed

Every ingredient counts when making this Reuben sandwich and, without sauerkraut, it just isn't anywhere near as good. First, butter the pumpernickel swirl bread, which looks incredible. Then, add the fillings, including slices of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing. Next, it's time to toast the buttery bottom in the pan. Add the other slice on top and flip to toast the other side before enjoying.

Recipe: Easy Reuben Sandwich

Pastrami Reuben Pizza

Pizza with sauerkraut, meat, and dill pickles with dressing
Pizza with sauerkraut, meat, and dill pickles with dressing - Patterson Watkins/Mashed

Out of all the superb sauerkraut recipes of ours that you'll want to try, this pastrami Reuben pizza is both a surprising and tasty idea. For this recipe, you will turn the popular hot sandwich filling into a topping for a doughy crust. While sauerkraut might not be an obvious ingredient to add to a pizza, it works due to its sour, crunchy nature.

To mimic the experience of eating a classic Reuben sandwich, top rye pizza dough with pastrami, shredded Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and dill pickle slices. After baking, slice and drizzle homemade Russian dressing on top, followed by a sprinkle of chopped chives.

Recipe: Pastrami Reuben Pizza

Easy Tofu Burger

Black bean veggie burger with tsalad oppings
Black bean veggie burger with tsalad oppings - Miriam Hahn/Mashed

If you think tofu dishes are bland, think again. These burgers are full of flavor thanks to the addition of savory nutritional yeast and umami-rich soy sauce. Garlic powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and onion powder guide the fragrant, spicy notes along. Black beans and mushrooms add extra substance and flavor.  What else do you need? Sauerkraut, of course.

Just as you might add pickles to a regular burger, top these meat-free patties with sauerkraut. Pair with lettuce, red onion, tomatoes, and ketchup, and mustard.

Recipe: Easy Tofu Burger

Authentic German Bierocks

Buns stuffed with meat, sauerkraut, and onion
Buns stuffed with meat, sauerkraut, and onion - Sophie Putka/Mashed

German bierocks are essentially bread rolls that have been stuffed with ground beef, sauerkraut, and onion. For this recipe, you'll first brown the meat and season it with caraway seeds, nutmeg, and paprika. Remove that mixture from the pan and caramelize chopped cabbage and onions in the remaining fat. Add the seared beef back into the pan and add a dose of red wine vinegar. Warm through and let it cool.

Add the mixture to the middle of flattened discs of dough. Pinch the edges together, let the rolls rise, and bake.

Recipe: Authentic German Bierocks

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