This skillet kielbasa and sauerkraut is a quick and versatile dinner option, ready in 20 minutes. It can be made on the stovetop, slow cooker, instant pot, or air fryer!
Kielbasa and sauerkraut recipe
- Versatility: This dish can be prepared using a stovetop, slow cooker, instant pot, or air fryer.
- Time-Saver: Ready in about 20 minutes, it's an ideal choice for busy weeknights.
- Customizable: While kielbasa and sauerkraut form the core, you can add sweetness with brown sugar or apples, or spice it up with peppers.
Kielbasa and sauerkraut is an easy, versatile recipe. We are all about an easy dinner around here, so keeping some smoky kielbasa, a type of Polish sausage, on hand means we can cook up a family favorite in no time.
Smoked kielbasa is a great ingredient to use when you don't have a lot of time because it's precooked. It reheats fast and can be used in recipes like my creamy smoked sausage and pasta, and my easy southern baked beans, and these sausage skewers.
Cooking kielbasa to a golden brown and pairing with sauerkraut creates a delightful combination. Enhance the flavor with brown sugar, sweet apple pieces, or apple juice for added sweetness.
If you like savory flavors, why not add some chopped bell peppers, some jalapeño, or some crushed red pepper for a spicy kick.
This smoked sausage and sauerkraut skillet dinner is perfect on its own, but it pairs well with my favorite side dishes like Popeyes mashed potatoes copycat recipe, homemade baked mac and cheese, or my loaded mashed potatoes. Now that's a hearty meal!
This recipe pairs well with a fresh salad for a light dinner.
Tips to know ahead
This is a simple, easy recipe, but here are a few tips to know before you get started.
How to cut smoked sausages/kielbasa for this recipe
Slice the kielbasa into half-inch coin-like pieces using a sturdy cutting board and a sharp knife. These bite-sized pieces are kid-friendly. If short on time, opt for larger slices.
How to prepare the sauerkraut
Drain all the liquid before adding it to the skillet. Sauerkraut has a sour flavor so adding something sweet like brown sugar is a delicious way of taming that tangy flavor. Adding sugar isn't required so you can skip that ingredient if it doesn't work for you. Season with salt and black pepper.
Scroll to the bottom of the post for precise amounts and a printable recipe card.
- Fully cooked kielbasa smoked sausage - use pork kielbasa for the most authentic version of this dish. Try a different type of sausage and get similar results such as all-beef or turkey. You can also use a spicy sausage. We like Hillshire farm brand because it's easy to find at the grocery store. You can substitute with raw sausage, just be sure to cook it completely.
- Sauerkraut - sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. It is sold in cans, jars, or can be homemade.
- Butter - butter helps brown the kielbasa. Cooking spray can also be used.
- Garlic - garlic adds nice flavor. You can use ½ teaspoon garlic powder if that’s what you have on hand. Or try some chopped shallots.
- Brown sugar - brown sugar gives the dish a touch of sweetness to balance the brightness of the sauerkraut. It is optional.
- Apple slices - apple slices are a common ingredient that is often added to kielbasa and sauerkraut. Granny Smith apples are the best choice because they are tart and hold up well when cooked. This is optional.
- Sliced onions - sliced onions add more flavor. Making sautéed onions in the skillet after cooking the kielbasa is a great way to enhance this skillet meal.
- Salt and black pepper to taste
How to make kielbasa and sauerkraut in a skillet
Step 1: Drain sauerkraut with a fine mesh strainer over a bowl or the sink. Discard liquid. Slice kielbasa into half inch slices, similar to coins.
Step 2: Melt some butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sliced sausage and cook until well browned. Remove from the skillet and set aside on a plate.
Step 3: Add garlic to the pan and cook for 30 seconds (don’t let it burn). Add sauerkraut to the skillet and stir to combine with garlic. If the sauerkraut is on the wet side, let it simmer until it dries out a bit. Once hot, top with brown sugar and mix in until dissolved.
Step 4: Return sausage slices to sauerkraut mixture. Mix and cook over medium heat until sausage is hot.
Try these cooking variations for delicious results.
Crockpot and slow cooker version
For best results, brown sliced kielbasa first in some olive or vegetable oil. Layer the bottom of the crock pot with sauerkraut along with about half a cup of the sauerkraut liquid or some apple juice or apple cider. Place the sliced kielbasa on top. Cook on low for 2-3 hours or on high 2 hours. Stir occasionally.
Sheet pan version in the oven
Preheat your oven to 400°F (205°C). Spread sauerkraut on a baking sheet and lay kielbasa slices on top. Roast for 20-25 minutes, turning the kielbasa halfway through, until browned.
Air fryer version
Place kielbasa slices in the air fryer basket, ensuring they don't overlap. Cook at 370°F (185°C) for 10 minutes. Add sauerkraut and cook for another 5 minutes.
Instant pot version
Place sauerkraut at the bottom of the Instant Pot. Add kielbasa slices on top. Seal the lid and set the pot to "Manual" for 8 minutes. Quick release the pressure once done.
Baked potatoes: if you like potatoes, try kielbasa and sauerkraut on top of baked potatoes. Add sour cream and butter and some sliced green onions. Delicious!
Subs: split hoagie rolls or pretzel bread and stuff with kielbasa and sauerkraut. Top with cheese whiz, queso, or a good melting cheese like Monterrey Jack, and toast for a few minutes in the oven. Don't forget the spicy brown mustard!
Caraway seeds: add 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds to the sauerkraut. Caraway seeds will add a mild licorice and slight bitterness flavor (like what you taste in rye bread). Use more if you love it!
Storage and reheating
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days.
Reheat in the microwave until warmed through, or in a skillet over medium heat with some butter.
For longer storage, freeze in freezer safe containers or storage bags for up to three months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave or a skillet.
People also ask
Drain sauerkraut before cooking when making kielbasa and sauerkraut in a skillet.
Smoked sausage is a general term referring to any sausage that's been smoked. Kielbasa, on the other hand, is a specific type of Polish sausage, often made with pork and seasoned with garlic, marjoram, and other spices.
Here in the United States, most packaged kielbasa at the grocery store is already cooked and just needs to be browned and reheated.
Potatoes go well with kielbasa and sauerkraut. They are a classic pairing. Green beans, sweet potatoes, and Eastern European egg noodles such as Haluski are a delicious addition.
More easy and delicious recipes made with sausage
- Juicy Air Fryer Bratwursts
- Creamy Sausage and Mushroom Pasta Dish
- Air Fryer Breakfast Sausage Patties
- Irish Bangers and Mash
Kielbasa and Sauerkraut
- 2 -14 ounce packages kielbasa smoked sausage
- 32 ounces jarred sauerkraut drained; rinse if desired
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar white sugar, optional
- Slice kielbasa into ½ inch pieces, similar to coins.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add one tablespoon of the butter. When it’s melted, toss in the sausage and cook until the pieces are well browned on both sides. Remove to a plate and keep warm.
- Add another tablespoon of butter to the skillet. Once melted, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently to keep it from burning. Add the sauerkraut and mix it with the garlic. If the sauerkraut is wet, let it simmer until it dries out.
- Add brown sugar to the sauerkraut mixture, tossing to combine. Add the cooked sausage and mix with sauerkraut until heated through.