This skillet kielbasa and sauerkraut is an easy weeknight dinner idea you will love. It’s made on the stovetop with precooked smoked sausage and served with your favorite sauerkraut for a fast meal you can have ready in about 20 minutes.
Why it’s so good
- This main dish is fast - you’ll have dinner on the table in about 20 minutes. Using precooked sausage keeps the cook time to a minimum.
- Filling and family friendly - kids will eat this up (mine sure do). I love to pair this with potatoes (all kinds) and a veggie or salad. This kielbasa and sauerkraut pairs well with side dishes like my Baked Mac and Cheese!
- If there are any leftovers, they will keep well for lunch the next day.
Fully cooked kielbasa smoked sausage - you can vary the type of sausage, just use your favorite. I used an all beef version here, but I like turkey too. Sometimes I like to use jalapeno flavor. You can substitute with fresh sausage, just be sure to cook it completely.
Sauerkraut - I really like to try different sauerkrauts. You may live in an area where there are several brands and varieties to experiment with. I usually use Libby’s jarred sauerkraut because it's easy to find and inexpensive.
Butter - for browning the kielbasa. You can use butter flavor cooking spray if you want to go lighter. Also mellows the flavor of the sauerkraut.
Garlic - adds some nice flavor. You can use ½ teaspoon garlic powder if that’s what you have on hand. Or try some chopped shallots.
Brown sugar - this is optional, but I highly recommend it. It just gives the dish a touch of sweetness to balance the brightness of the sauerkraut and the savory flavor of the kielbasa. Skip this ingredient if you are watching sugar or carbs.
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.
This dish is best cooked up in a large skillet so the sausage can evenly brown. I love using this non-stick skillet for even cooking and easy cleanup!
Slow Cooker/Crockpot: You can prepare this recipe as written and hold it in the slow cooker (on warm) until needed.
To make kielbasa and sauerkraut in the slow cooker, you simply put everything into the insert and cook on low heat for 4 hours or high heat for 2 hours. You will need to keep about ½ cup of the sauerkraut liquid, or add ½ cup of apple cider or juice (or even water). Slow cooker times may vary so always use a meat thermometer to see if it’s safe to eat.
Baked potatoes: if you like potatoes, try it 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.
Spicy: add some crushed red pepper, chopped jalapeño, or hot pepper sauce to the sauerkraut - to your taste. Or use jalepeño flavored sausage.
Apples: add thinly sliced apples to the pan (after cooking sausage) and cook until crisp tender.
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!
Onion: after removing sausage from the pan, add some sliced onions and cook until lightly browned and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Continue with recipe as written.
Store leftovers in a covered 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
It’s really a matter of personal preference and the recipe. This recipe calls for it to be drained so the kielbasa will not get soggy once it’s added back in.
Kielbasa is a good source of protein and sauerkraut is low in carbs. Some versions of sauerkraut are good sources of probiotics. However, always check the labels of your ingredients if you have certain dietary requirements.
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.