8 Best Sauerkraut Recipes

kielbasa and sauerkraut
kielbasa and sauerkraut - Leah Maroney/Tasting Table

Whether you're already a lover of fermented foods or you're just curious about including more healthy probiotic vegetables in your diet, sauerkraut is the superfood you should know more about. Traditionally made from salted cabbage left to naturally lacto-ferment, you might find some jars that include a wider variety of vegetables and spices, too. Lacto-fermentation is what gives sauerkraut its acidic, tangy taste — it's the by-product of naturally occurring microbes that also give yogurt and buttermilk their characteristic flavors.

Many recipes that include sauerkraut have an Eastern European flair to them because fermentation was commonly used in that part of the world to preserve vegetables in the long winter months when fresh foods were hard to come by. In fact, many people are surprised to learn that the tradition of preserving cabbage has ties to the Great Wall of China because sauerkraut is so closely associated with Germanic foods. So, whether you want to make a juicy sandwich or simmer a cozy dinner, these recipes will give you plenty of inspiration for including more sauerkraut in your cooking.

Read more: 23 Types Of Potatoes And When To Use Them

pierogi, sour cream, and sauerkraut
pierogi, sour cream, and sauerkraut - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Stuffed dough might make you think of Italian ravioli or Asian dumplings, but Poland has a version of homey dough pockets stuffed with potato and seasonings called pierogi. The dumplings are traditionally served with a dollop of tangy sour cream and salty fermented sauerkraut for balance.

Making pierogi is a labor of love that's fun to share with friends or family in the kitchen. After rolling out circles of soft dough, a spoonful of seasoned filling is folded into a plump half-moon shape. Next, the dumplings are boiled or steamed in a pan until the dough is cooked and then finished by lightly browning in a hot, buttered skillet. These savory dumplings are the perfect foil for enjoying sauerkraut!

Recipe: Homemade Pierogi

classic Reuben sandwich cut crosswise
classic Reuben sandwich cut crosswise - Cecilia Ryu/Tasting Table

Although this well-known combination of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing may have disputed origins, the popularity of a toasted Reuben sandwich is nothing to argue about. There may be no tastier way to include a healthy portion of sauerkraut in your day than layering it in this classic. The fermented cabbage adds a fresh contrast to all the melty cheese and dressing that makes a Reuben so crave-able and the tanginess helps cut through the salty, fatty corned beef. And because properly fermented sauerkraut is always ready and waiting for you in the fridge, it's easy to put a Reuben together when the craving strikes.

Recipe: Classic Reuben Sandwich

sauerkraut soup being ladled
sauerkraut soup being ladled - Dave Katz/Tasting Table

This traditional Eastern European celebration soup from the chefs at Bar Tartine in San Francisco makes a warm and filling meal that can be simmered ahead of time and kept waiting in the refrigerator. The sweet and sour soup makes use of not only the fermented cabbage but also some of the sauerkraut brine that's packed with probiotics. With the smoky flavors of chorizo and bacon and the background sweetness of dried apricots, this soup hits all the major flavor highlights, making any day you serve it a celebration. The addition of bell peppers, potatoes, and button mushrooms pumps up the soup's heartiness ensuring you'll be satisfied and warm from the inside out.

Recipe: How To Make A Sauerkraut Soup

brats and sauerkraut on plate
brats and sauerkraut on plate - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Savory bratwurst is great on the grill, but not every day is perfect for breaking out the barbecue. This slowly simmered brats recipe includes the flavors of sauerkraut, beer, and mustard cooked right on your counter for a German treat any day of the year. If you don't like the bright acidity of sauerkraut, you'll be surprised at how this cooking method changes the flavor. With potatoes cooked right in the pot, this dinner needs nothing else to make a filling meal, but you could spoon the juicy sauce over buttered German spaetzle which would soak up all the earthy flavors.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Beer Brats

choucroute garnie on cutting board
choucroute garnie on cutting board - Dave Katz/Tasting Table

Turn your sauerkraut into a meat lover's dream with this Alsatian braised dish. Choucroute is the French word for sauerkraut, and the garnish promised in the name is a delicious assortment of cured meats simmered to perfection. The long, slow cooking time tames any harsh flavors you might associate with sauerkraut, giving you a mellow combination of tender cabbage that nearly melts into the braised pork and sausages. Be sure to have a crusty loaf of bread on hand for serving this, you'll want to soak up every ounce of the umami-packed broth.

Recipe: Choucroute Garnie

kielbasa, potatoes, and sauerkraut
kielbasa, potatoes, and sauerkraut - Leah Maroney/Tasting Table

Savory browned kielbasa and sauteed onions turn sauerkraut into a softer version of itself in this easy weeknight one-pot dinner. The smoked sausage adds all the seasoning to the dish, which has a remarkably short list of ingredients. This adaptable recipe can be simmered on the stovetop, or layered in your slow cooker — or you could even get it to the table faster with an Instant Pot. No matter which cooking method you choose, searing the kielbasa first to add flavor is key. A dish this easy and flavorful makes it easy to serve up sauerkraut any day of the week.

Recipe: Kielbasa And Sauerkraut Skillet

colorful mixed vegetable sauerkraut
colorful mixed vegetable sauerkraut - Dave Katz/Tasting Table

One of the best ways to have sauerkraut on hand for your brats and other recipe cravings is to make a batch for yourself. We have all the tips you need from none other than fermentation guru Sandor Katz, who literally wrote the book on all things fermented. The process is remarkably simple — nature knows exactly what to do with just a little help from you.

You'll want a clean quart-sized mason jar to hold a pound and a half of fermenting vegetables. Fermentation containers are usually tall and narrow (like a jar) since keeping the vegetables below the level of liquid is essential, and that's easier to do with a smaller container opening. After just three or four days at room temperature, you'll have a homemade batch of sauerkraut ready to enjoy as is or include in any of your new favorite recipes

Recipe: How To Make Sauerkraut

Read the original article on Tasting Table