Sauerkraut out of a jar is kind of boring. In fact, plain like that is rarely how people eat it in Germany. This easy German sauerkraut recipe with bacon and apple is traditional and super delicious, and helps you eat more of this healthy cabbage. Fall in love with a new way of how to eat sauerkraut.
Curious what people eat at Oktoberfest? Check out my favorite Oktoberfest recipes (this sauerkraut recipe made the list).
How to cook Sauerkraut the German way
I have tried many different sauerkraut recipes and eventually came up with this version that I love so much that I could eat it on its own.
In Germany, you can buy sauerkraut that already has other flavorful ingredients like bacon or apples, or onions added. In America, not so much.
So to get more flavor into your sauerkraut, here is how I LOVE making it. And this is one way how many Germans like to cook their sauerkraut as well.
After crisping my bacon and sauteeing my onions and garlic, I am simmering the canned or jarred sauerkraut with some of the bacon, onion, garlic, apple, spices and broth.
I then thicken the mixture to achieve a smooth, velvety broth. At the very end, I season it to taste with salt, pepper and sugar and top it with reserved, crisped bacon bits.
My sauerkraut recipe with meat only takes a few, simple ingredients.
- Sauerkraut. Use a simple canned or jarred sauerkraut like this one from Schaller & Weber. The only ingredients should ideally be cabbage and salt (that's what you use to make sauerkraut from scratch).
- Bacon. I crisp my bacon first, then cook the other ingredients in the bacon grease. It gives so much flavor. I love using Schaller & Weber's double smoked bacon, which tastes just like the Speck my Oma used. It comes in a slab, so that's perfect for cutting it into small dice for this recipe. If you'd like to make a vegetarian version, leave out the bacon and use butter or avocado oil instead.
- Onion. Onion and sauerkraut go together so well, you'll love it.
- Garlic. I add a touch of garlic, adding more umami and rich flavor.
- Apple. The apple adds a refreshing flavor and a tad of natural sweetness to balance out the sour.
- Butter. I use grass-fed butter. Not much is needed in this recipe and if you want to, you could even leave it out.
- Flour. The flour is used to help thicken the broth in this sauerkraut recipe, which helps it become velvety and delicious. You could also use cornstarch to thicken as a gluten-free alternative.
- Broth. I use beef broth in my recipe, which gives this cooked sauerkraut a darker color. If you prefer a lighter color, use veggie or chicken broth.
- Bay leaf. I use whole bay leaf, which simmers with the broth.
- Juniper berries. I use whole berries, which simmer with the broth.
What to eat with sauerkraut
This sauerkraut recipe is a super flavorful and delicious side dish to go with your favorite Bratwurst like the pictured Knackwurst from Schaller & Weber. This pork and beef sausage is made using a German recipe and tastes super authentic.
I also love that the ingredient list is short and doesn't contain anything I would not want to feed to my kids.
Check out Schaller & Weber's famous cooked Bratwurst and their other delicious sausage varieties (Cheddar Bratwurst, Nürnberger Bratwurst, Truffle Bratwurst). Perfect for grilling or cooking in a skillet as a quick companion for this sauerkraut recipe.
And don't forget the pretzels! I know you will love my authentic German pretzel recipe.
Is sauerkraut healthy?
Sauerkraut is a real power food and we all should consider sneaking it into our meals more often.
I stumbled across this simple article describing the benefits of sauerkraut and am now convinced that we all need to eat more of it, especially going into the colder months with our immune systems weakening.
Sauerkraut (even when canned or jarred) is high in vitamin C, folic acid and lactic acid. It can help boost your immune system and digestion. Sauerkraut can ALSO help reduce stress and may minimize the risk for certain cancers AND promotes good heart health and stronger bones.
What else could you ask from a food? Especially Sauerkaut, which is just made from ONE INGREDIENT, cabbage. You will reap the highest health benefits from sauerkraut when you make it yourself.
Cooking sauerkraut will indeed kill most of the beneficial lactic acid. For this reason, I will sometimes add uncooked sauerkraut to this recipe at the end and stir it in right before serving. Then you have the best of both worlds.
But even cooked sauerkraut still has those vitamins left (and gentle heating may even increase the amount of vitamin C in Sauerkraut).
Watch me cook sauerkraut the German way. It's so easy and I can't wait for you to make it at home!
Easy German Sauerkraut Recipe
- 100 grams bacon
- 1 yellow onion small
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 apple any kind of apple
- 30 grams butter
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- 500 grams sauerkraut drained
- 500 milliliters broth I used beef broth, but you can use veggie broth as well
- 2 bay leaves whole
- 4 juniper berries whole, you can leave them out if you can't find them. I also use them in my Schwenkbraten recipe and Böfflamott beef roast recipe.
- salt, pepper & sugar season to taste at the end
- Cut up bacon into pieces (it's best to use thick cut bacon like this amazing double cured bacon from Schaller & Weber).Peel the onion and garlic and finely mince. Peel and core the apple and medium dice.
- Heat a large pot or a deep skillet over medium high heat and allow the butter to melt. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove half of the bacon and let drain on a piece of paper towel. Leave the bacon grease in the pan30 grams butter, 100 grams bacon
- Add the garlic, onion and apple and sauté for one to two minutes. Add in the flour and the drained sauerkraut.1 yellow onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 apple, 1 Tablespoon flour, 500 grams sauerkraut
- Add the broth, juniper berries and bay leaf. Turn to low heat, cover with a lid and let simmer for 30 minutes to one hour. Stir occasionally, so you don't burn your sauerkraut. Add more broth if needed.500 milliliters broth, 2 bay leaves, 4 juniper berries
- Season to taste with sugar, salt and pepper. Top with reserved cooked bacon bits.salt, pepper & sugar
- Serve with some delicious bratwurst or with my Oma's pea and potato puree and warmed Wiener sausages or hot dogs.