With only 6 ingredients, this Slow Cooker Sauerkraut and Sausage recipe is EASY to throw together! Add everything to the crock pot, set it and forget it!
What's In This Article
Whether you call it sauerkraut and sausage or kielbasa and sauerkraut, this crockpot version simplifies the recipe making it both delicious and easy!
Kielbasa and Sauerkraut to Polish people is kind of like Spaghetti and Sauce to Italians. Everyone’s grandmother had their way of making it, every family recipe is different, but they all have one thing in common: they are delicious.
Before I set out telling you about my recipe, I am not going to claim it is the best. What I will say is that it is darn good and there are A LOT of darn good sauerkraut and sausage recipes out there.
You’ll even seem them called pork and sauerkraut or sausage and sauerkraut. Not all use kielbasa, but I like the smoky flavor and texture best.
PRO TIP: If you can’t find kielbasa, use a different type of smoked sausage or even cooked sweet Italian sausage.
Some even add bell peppers and refer to it as “sausage and peppers” which to me is also a baked Italian dish.
Polish sausage and sauerkraut can be baked, made on the stove top or in this case, in a slow cooker. The slow cooker option really allows flavors to blend, but doesn’t allow any of the liquid to cook off, so your best bet is to use a slotted spoon to ladle out the food to a serving dish.
PRO TIP: Make this dish a day ahead of time to give it even more time to develop flavor!
Alternatively, you can keep it on warm at a party and the liquid will prevent your dish from getting dry or burning.
This recipe for kielbasa and sauerkraut is pretty basic and does not use peppers. Instead it uses:
- Kielbasa- Polish pork sausage
- Brown Sugar
- Apple juice
Which usually brings non-Polish readers to asking the next question…
What is sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut is simply fermented cabbage, basically pickled. It is best to be rinsed and drained before cooking otherwise you might get a super vinegary flavor.
It would be like using pickles and not draining them… which some pickle fanatics probably would do! I won’t judge.
It is also fairly easy to make at home. I made it once a few years ago and the batch was so good that it was gone by the time I went to go take pictures and post the recipe. If you want to give a whirl, this is how to make homemade sauerkraut.
You can also buy store bought sauerkraut, no one here will judge you for not wanting to commit to a week or two of sauerkraut fermenting.
This Slow Cooker Sauerkraut and Sausage is the best, but here are some of our other favorite sauerkraut recipes:
If you liked this sausage and sauerkraut slow cooker version, check out these other easy slow cooker recipes:
- Crock Pot Pork Loin Roast
- Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole
- Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Pulled Pork
- Crock Pot BBQ Chicken
- Slow Cooker Cheesy Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Taco Soup
- Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki
- Crock Pot Beef and Noodles
What is kielbasa?
Kielbasa is a seasoned Polish sausage, so a tubed meat, made from pork. It is generally smoked and contains garlic, among other proprietary blends of seasonings.
What do you serve with kielbasa and sausage?
You can serve it with anything you’d like, but here are the most common items.
- Mashed Potatoes
- Some people say cornbread, but I’m on the fence about this one….
- Apple Sauce
- Boiled Potatoes
- Rye and other types of bread
Can I freeze pork and sausage recipes?
You can, but it tastes best if in vacuum bags. You can use plastic bags, just make sure you get out as much air as possible.
Tools for making sausage and sauerkraut:
Wood cutting board – wood won’t dull your knives like plastic and if treated properly, has natural antimicrobial properties.
Good knife – Global is my favorite! They are worth the price, I promise. I am kind of obsessed with them and store them tucked away so no one else can use them. Including hubby. Hands off my good stuff!
Slow Cooker– You’ll need a slow cooker for a SLOW COOKER recipe, LOL. Crock Pot is great, but there are a lots of other options. And now many Instant Pots and pressure cookers also have the slow cooker feature.
We’d love to hear about how your family makes their sausage and kraut. Leave us a comment and tell us your tips and secrets.
Slow Cooker Sauerkraut and Sausage Recipe
- 1 large Russet potato , peeled and cut into small cubes
- 1 small onion , thinly sliced
- 1 pound kielbasa , sliced in 1/4 inch pieces
- 1 1/2 cups sauerkraut , rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup apple juice
- Freshly ground black pepper & fine sea salt to taste
- Add all ingredients to a slow cooker and stir to combine until sugar has dissolved.
- Heat on low heat for 3-4 hours.
- To serve, ladle out kielbasa and sauerkraut using a slotted spoon or leave on warm to keep moist during a party. Offer tongs or a slotted spoon for your guests.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!
Can I substitute apple cider for apple juice?
Tasty, easy, and delicious. Made this recently using leftover apple juice, small yellow potatoes, jarred sauerkraut with shredded carrots, and added Truvia brown sugar. My husband finished the entire recipe in one sitting it was so great tasting. Thanks for the awesome recipe!
I have Polish heritage so grew up eating kielbasa. We always had both fresh and smoked, straight from the butcher shop, because some people preferred one over the other.
I don’t use our slow cooker often, so my question is that your text mentioned smoked kielbasa – if I’m making this with fresh kielbasa do I need to do any pre-cooking of the kielbasa or is the time in the slow cooker on low heat sufficient to cook it safely?
Hi Keith, yes, we added it already cooked so you’d need to pre-cook it.
I followed the Recipe but in the Photo above it Looks to Me you Pan Fried the Potatoes First.
I didn’t Pan Fry Anything just Throw it all into the Slow Cooker.
I really Hope it Still tries out good and potatoes won’t Be Hard (Due to Not Pan Frying them First) 😬
Hi Lacey! I didn’t pan fry them, I think some had a little skin still left on them. But man, good eye! I literally had to look back super close at the images! The potatoes won’t be super crispy- if you want crispy potatoes then you can pan fry them separate and then toss them in right at the end.
I don’t have apple juice. Is there another liquid that can be substitute.
I would use chicken broth/stock.
I love sauerkraut! Have been trying to include more fermented food into my diet! This sounds perfect!
Easy weeknight meals in the slow cooker are the best! This is so full of flavor. Great spices too!
This looks so delicious. I can’t wait to try it!
What a great way to use sauerkraut. And I love that there’s brown sugar and apple juice to give extra flavor!
Such a classic comforting dish, and it’s awesome that it can be done in the slow cooker.