This is a recipe to cook fermented Sauerkraut with Sausage.
It's an effortless one-pot, low carb, oil-, and gluten-free authentic dinner meal from Austria and Bavaria Germany (we share a food culture).
📕 What is Sauerkraut and Sausage?
Sauerkraut is shredded cabbage fermented with salt and juniper berries over a period of 6 weeks in a clay crock pot.
The word comes from German and means sour cabbage. Kraut is just another German word for cabbage, also Kohl means cabbage (depending on the region).
The word sour is an indication that the cabbage gets to ferment and it does turn a bit sour. This is due to probiotic lactic acid bacteria (the good guys!).
Once your Sauerkraut is done fermenting, it can be used in your food.
The fermented Sauerkraut is then first rinsed and then cooked with sausages and spices.
- sauerkraut - homemade crock pot sauerkraut is the best
- onion - yellow or white
- bay leaf - regular bay leaf
- black peppercorn - whole spice
- caraway seeds - can be substituted with cumin seeds, but the taste will change a bit
- juniper berries - whole
- beer - your favorite beer, we use wheat beer (aka Weißbier in German).
- sausage and/or pork belly slabs
If you can make Sauerkraut from scratch as per our technique, then this is the best option.
Store-bought Sauerkraut is rarely real Sauerkraut. They don't ferment it, they enrich it with acidity to make it appear that it's Sauerkraut.
You can use store-bought Sauerkraut BUT the flavors are just not the same. Restaurants also like to cheat, pretending to serve up real Sauerkraut. This practice is also common in Germany and Austria.
We traditionally add local sausages such as Knacker/Knackwurst, Frankfurter (aka Wiener), St.Johanner sausages, and Käsekrainer to just name a few. Weißwurst sausages need to be cooked separately but are also commonly served along.
You can also use sausages that are available in your country. Pork Sausages are your best choice to flavor your Sauerkraut!
You can use Italian sausages, Kielbasa, Andouille, Bratwurst, or simply hot dog sausages!
Using pork belly slabs is also a common way to flavor cooked Sauerkraut. It can be used instead of the sausages or with the sausages. You choose!
Don't skip on the spices. Every spice adds flavor to your Sauerkraut and together they make it perfect.
We don't add salt to this dish because homemade fermented Sauerkraut is full of salt already. If you use store-bought Sauerkraut, add salt to taste.
Beer adds so much flavor to a Sauerkraut dish! One can also use white wine instead of beer but I think it just tastes better with beer.
🔪 How to make it?
Here is a quick overview of how to make this at home. The full recipe with US and metric measurements is located in the recipe card further below.
If you use homemade Sauerkraut, rinse it in a colander to get rid of excess salt and take out excess water. (you can keep the juniper berries)
If you use store-bought Sauerkraut, check on the label if you need to do anything before it can be cooked.
Keep Sauerkraut in a cooking pot.
Add sliced onions, spices, beer, and water over your Sauerkraut, mix, and heat up.
Add sausages and meats over that.
Cook over a slow to medium heat setting covered for about 25-30 minutes.
Store leftover cooked Sauerkraut with sausages in your fridge for up to 2-3 days in an airtight container. Use up within that time frame.
Reheat in the oven in a baking dish, or in the microwave over a low to medium heat setting. It should reheat gradually so that the Sauerkraut doesn't burn.
🍴 Serving ideas
Sauerkraut and sausage can be served as is, with no extras.
In Bavaria, they like to serve soft Bretzels and a beer with that. Just imagine the Oktoberfest in Munich!
In Tirol, Austria, we tend to even have it like a street food at fairs with a yeast fried "bread" called Germkirchel.
Other meats such as ribs and pork loin roast can be served along with this dish too.
Austrian and Bavarian mustards with horseradish are great as a condiment served along with your Sauerkraut meals. Also, adding some sharp ground horseradish might be a culinary delight to some.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comment section further below!
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Sauerkraut and Sausage Recipe
Additional Instructions for Homemade Sauerkraut
- Open up your fermentation pot and close your nose, because it's going to stink! ^.^ Take out the 2 stone halves and remove any Sauerkraut on them. Rinse the stones well and keep them aside.1 pound Sauerkraut
- Take out the Sauerkraut that you need from your crock and place it into a cooking pan. Before closing back the fermentation pot, place back in the 2 stone halves so that they press down the remaining sauerkraut inside. The Sauerkraut in the crock will keep well for up to 6 months that way.
- Place fermented Sauerkraut into a colander and take it through cold freshwater. Rinse off excess salts. Remove excess water and take back to the cooking pot.
To Cook Sauerkraut
- Keep your cooking pot with the sauerkraut over a low heat setting.1 pound Sauerkraut
- Add in one by one on top of the sauerkraut the sliced onion, bay leaves, black peppercorn, cumin seeds, juniper berries, water, and beer. Don't add any salt, the sauerkraut is salted enough!1 Onion, 2 piece Bay leaves, 5 piece Black Peppercorn, 1 Teaspoon Caraway Seeds, 3 piece Juniper Berries, ½ cup Water, ¾ cup Beer
- Mix it all a bit and place the sausage and/or pork belly slaps over your Sauerkraut.4-6 piece Sausages
- Cook the Sauerkraut and sausages for 30 minutes covered over a slow to medium heat setting. The sausages will crack open which is ok. You can cook the last 10 minutes uncovered to reduce liquids in the pan.
- Take out whole spices and discard. Serve up hot.
- You can use store-bought sauerkraut packages too but be aware that those are usually not fermented. Look out for fermented Sauerkraut.
- In Austria and Germany, people use local sausages such as wiener, st.johanner, knacker, and käsekrainer. You can use kielbasa too and mini wieners. (see post for ideas). Adding pork belly slaps is optional but it adds flavor too.
- If you intend to add the white Bavarian sausage to your Sauerkraut, then please cook that one separately either by boiling it in some water or by frying it with little oil in a pan!
- Vegetarians can omit adding sausages or they can use vegan sausages. We add the meats because they give flavor to the whole Sauerkraut dish, plus you won't need to take out another pot just for cooking the meats.
- Medium Pot with Lid