Kielbasa and Sauerkraut Recipe


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This skillet kielbasa and sauerkraut is quick, easy, simple, and flavorful. It’s a hearty, comforting dish flavored with apple, brown sugar, garlic, and onion.

Kielbasa And Sauerkraut

This stovetop kielbasa and sauerkraut recipe is simple and so good! It has a lovely combination of sweet and savory flavors. Sauerkraut and kielbasa is made with only a few staple ingredients and some seasonings, but it’s still hearty and packed with flavor.

From the seared smoked Polish sausage rounds, to the sauteed onions, to the tender apple chunks, to the sauerkraut, there’s a variety of delicious textures. It’s seasoned with fresh garlic, caraway seeds, brown sugar, and pepper for just the right flavor balance. Then it all simmers in chicken broth so that the flavors meld together perfectly.

This is such a quick and easy dinner to pull together – it only takes about 30 minutes to get it on the table. The final result is a one-pan comfort food dish that’s tender, juicy, super flavorful, and a total crowd-pleaser that’s bound to have your family asking for seconds.


Kielbasa Sausage: This is a Polish smoked sausage. It has a rich, hearty, smoky flavor.

Butter: This is the fat we’re using to brown the kielbasa sausage. It adds a layer of richness and creamy flavor to this dish.

Onion and Garlic: Onion adds a sweet and savory depth of flavor, and garlic adds a strong aromatic flavor.

Apple: Apple adds a light sweetness and a nice texture change from the sauerkraut. The combination of the sweetness and texture difference really helps balance out the sauerkraut in this recipe.

Sauerkraut: Sauerkraut adds the classic tangy flavor that this dish is known for, which contrasts perfectly with the rich kielbasa.

Caraway Seeds: Caraway seeds have a warm flavor that pairs so well with sauerkraut. The flavor can be described as similar to anise or licorice.

Pepper: Pepper adds a subtle heat and depth of flavor that helps balance the rich flavors of this dish.

Chicken Broth: This adds a layer of savory flavor to this dish, which balances out the sweetness from the apples and brown sugar.

Brown Sugar: Brown sugar adds a sweet, molasses flavor that complements the tangy sauerkraut.

The labeled ingredients for kielbasa and sauerkraut.

Alternative Ingredients

  • Sausage: Even though kielbasa is my favorite sausage in this dish, you can swap it for any smoked sausage.
  • Apple: If you don’t have an apple, you could try using a pear, or you could leave it out.
  • Caraway Seeds: Caraway seeds pair so well with both sauerkraut and apples, so they taste delicious in this dish. If you don’t have any, you could try using fennel seeds.
  • Broth: You can swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth or ham broth.
  • Spice: If you’d like a bit of heat, feel free to add in a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne.

How To Make Kielbasa and Sauerkraut

Melt Butter: In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. (See the recipe card below for the full printable instructions.)

Cook Kielbasa: Add the sliced kielbasa to the skillet and cook until browned. Once browned, set the kielbasa aside.

Adding kielbasa to the heated skillet with butter, and then cooking until browned.

Saute Onion: In the same skillet, saute the finely chopped onion until it starts to soften.

Add Apple and Garlic: Stir the diced apple and minced garlic into the skillet and continue to cook until the onions become translucent.

Adding onions to the hot skillet, and then adding garlic and apples to the pan and mixing.

Mix in Sauerkraut and Spices: Add the rinsed and squeezed sauerkraut, caraway seeds, and black pepper to the skillet. Stir occasionally as it cooks.

Cooking the apples and onions for five minutes until onions are translucent, and then adding sauerkraut and spices.

Add Broth and Sugar: Pour in the chicken broth and light brown sugar, stirring to combine. Allow the mixture to come to a boil before reducing the heat to let it simmer.

Add Kielbasa: Add the browned kielbasa back into the skillet, stirring to combine. Continue to cook until the kielbasa is heated through.

Adding browned kielbasa rounds to the skillet with sauerkraut, and then mixing together.

Season: Taste the dish and adjust the seasoning as necessary. See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts, and helpful tips, etc.

A close up image showing the texture of the cooked kielbasa rounds.

Pro Tips

  • Rinse the Sauerkraut: This dish can taste overly tangy if you don’t rinse the sauerkraut well first. If you love a strong sauerkraut flavor, you can skip this step, but if you prefer a more mild flavor, be sure to rinse it. Even if you choose not to rinse it, be sure to squeeze it dry before adding it to the skillet.
  • Adjust to Taste: This recipe is super adaptable, so you can change it a bit to match your taste preference. If you like it a little sweeter, try adding in some more sugar or apple. If you like it more tangy, you can reduce the sugar.
  • Taste Before Adding Salt: Since kielbasa and sauerkraut can both be pretty salty, it’s important to taste the finished dish before adding in any salt.

Is Kielbasa Better Boiled or Fried?

I prefer pan-frying slices of smoked kielbasa because it adds a crispy, caramelized texture and more depth of flavor thanks to the Maillard reaction when it browns.

A side image of kielbasa being lifted out of the skillet on a serving spoon.

Do You Have to Boil Kielbasa First?

No, you don’t have to boil smoked Kielbasa first. Since smoked kielbasa is labeled as ready-to-eat because it’s already cooked through, it doesn’t need to be boiled before sauteing. If you’re using fresh kielbasa, I would recommend boiling it until it’s fully cooked to an internal temperature of 160F, and then sauteing slices until they’re browned.

How Do You Know When Kielbasa Is Fully Cooked?

Most kielbasa you buy in the store is already cooked or smoked and is ready-to-eat. Cooking it is just to add extra flavor and heat it up. If you buy fresh kielbasa, it does need to be cooked until it reaches an internal temperature of 160F on an instant read meat thermometer and the juices run clear.

An overhead image of a serving of kielbasa with sauerkraut on a dinner plate.

Do You Take the Casing Off Kielbasa Before Cooking?

No, you don’t need to remove the kielbasa casing before cooking. In fact, it helps the sausage hold its shape after you cut it into slices.

What to Eat with Kielbasa and Sauerkraut

Kielbasa and Sauerkraut pairs well with a side of crusty soda bread or rye bread, a serving of mashed potatoes without milk, some pierogies, or even with seasoned rice. For a lighter dish, try serving it with a simple green salad or some sauteed vegetables.

Storing And Reheating Leftovers

Cool leftovers, then transfer them to an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, heat them on the stove over medium heat until warmed through.

A side image of fully cooked sauerkraut dish garnished with fresh parsley.

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A Pinterest pin image with a picture of kielbasa and sauerkraut with title text at the top.

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The best kielbasa and sauerkraut recipe.

BEST Kielbasa and Sauerkraut Skillet (Easy One-Pan Meal)

Skillet kielbasa and sauerkraut is quick, easy, and flavorful. A hearty, comforting dish flavored with apple, brown sugar, garlic, and onion.
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Servings: 4
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
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  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound smoked kielbasa sausage sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 apple peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 28 ounce jar sauerkraut rinsed and squeezed dry
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar


  • In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the kielbasa slices and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the kielbasa from the skillet and set aside.
  • In the same skillet, add the chopped onion and mix with the butter and saute for 2-3 minutes. Next, add the apple and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Mix in the sauerkraut (make sure you squeeze it dry first), caraway seeds, and black pepper. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour in the chicken broth and brown sugar, and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Return the kielbasa to the skillet. Stir to combine and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the kielbasa is heated through.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.


  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Gently reheat on the stove over medium heat until warmed through.
  • Rinsing the sauerkraut helps to reduce its tartness, but you can skip this step if you prefer a stronger flavor. I still recommend squeezing out the extra liquid.
  • I love serving this with mashed potatoes or a slice of crusty bread.


Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 32.5g | Protein: 19.1g | Fat: 29.8g | Fiber: 8.1g | Sugar: 16.8g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

Try making this easy kielbasa and sauerkraut recipe the next time you’re looking for a quick and delicious weeknight meal!

The best kielbasa and sauerkraut recipe.

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