This Crock Pot Kielbasa and Sauerkraut yields deliciously juicy Polish sausage and is accompanied with a sweet brown sugar and sparkling apple cider sauce tangy sauerkraut. In just 15 minutes or prep you can have the perfect comfort food! Serve the kielbasa and sauerkraut plain or on a hoagie bun. 

Some delicious side dishes for kielbasa and sauerkraut would be Air Fryer Potato Wedges (especially if you are serving the kielbasa on a bun!), Sweet Boiled Corn and Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

A black crock pot filled with cooked kielbasa and sauerkraut.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Juicy kielbasa recipe. This sauerkraut and sausage recipe is so incredibly juicy! Cooking the kielbasa in the crockpot with the yummy brown sugar and apple cider sauce keeps it tender and flavorful. 
  • Easy slow cooker recipe. This slow cooker kielbasa is a quick recipe to put together and then you can let the crock pot do the rest! 
  • Make with Martinelli’s. Plenty of kielbasa recipes on the internet are made with beer. Since I don’t drink beer, I created a recipe that uses delicious Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider! It’s the perfect complement to the brown sugar. 

Ingredient Notes

Crock Pot Kielbasa and Sauerkraut ingredients on a white textured background.
  • Yellow Onion: The cooked yellow onion is a nice addition to the flavor and texture of the dish. 
  • Sparkling Apple Cider: Many kielbasa recipes use beer. I don’t drink beer, so I decided to share a crock pot kielbasa and sauerkraut recipe that is non-alcoholic! The sparkling apple cider is the perfect substitute. 
  • Light Brown Sugar: The brown sugar will get deliciously caramelized while cooking.
  • Polish Kielbasa: Traditional polish kielbasa is a link sausage. 
  • Sauerkraut: I got the jar of sauerkraut and drained it. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Cut the kielbasa. Cut the kielbasa into easy pieces to serve or place in buns (if serving the polish sausage and sauerkraut on buns). Place in the slow cooker. Add the drained sauerkraut.
  2. Make the brown sugar sauce. Add the olive oil to a medium sized saucepan. Warm over medium heat. Once shimmering, add the diced onion and cook until soft and slightly browned. Add the brown sugar, sparkling apple cider, and salt. Stir and cook until the sugar is dissolved, always stirring.
  3. Add sauce to slow cooker. Pour the sauce on into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hour or on high for 4 hours. 
Four images showing the making of Crock Pot Kielbasa and Sauerkraut in a black slow cooker.
  1. Serve! You can serve the crockpot kielbasa and sauerkraut plain or on hoagie buns. 
Two images: left image is Crock Pot Kielbasa and Sauerkraut in a crock pot prior to cooking, right image shows the cooked crock pot kielbasa in the slow cooker.

Recipe Tips

Note, this recipe has been adapted from Brown Eyed Baker. She uses beer in her kielbasa, I don’t drink beer, so I adapted it for those who don’t drink alcohol.

To drain the sauerkraut, I poured a jar of sauerkraut in a strainer and gently pressed on the sauerkraut do help get rid of the liquid. You can use homemade sauerkraut if you have it. 

I use Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider for this recipe. It’s a perfect way to use up the leftover holiday drinks! And what better way to use them then in a kielbasa and sauerkraut crockpot recipe! 

This is a filling meal that very juicy and flavorful! I served my parents this slow cooker kielbasa and sauerkraut dinner when they came by last weekend. My mom’s first comment, “This meat is so moist! It tastes AMAZING!” There you have it friends! And even if you aren’t a big fan of sauerkraut, my mom is right there in that boat, but she loved this meal.

Serving options: 

  • Serve this kielbasa and sauerkraut recipe on a bun
  • Over rice with a side of veggies. 
  • Cut the kielbasa into bite-sized links and serve as an appetizer for a party or sporting event.
  • Add chopped potatoes, diced bell peppers, etc. to make it a heartier meal.
  • Add some apple slices to the crockpot to enhance the apple cider flavor. 

Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing

Store any leftover kielbasa and kraut in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. To warm, reheat in the microwave or warm in a skillet over medium heat. 

If you want to freeze kielbasa, I would probably freeze it prior to cooking it. I have some Polish sausage in my freezer right now! When you’re ready to cook it, remove it and let thaw in the fridge overnight. 

Sauerkraut shouldn’t be frozen. 

Slow cooker kielbasa and sauerkraut on buns.

Recipe FAQs

What is kielbasa?

Kielbasa is a Polish type of sausage that has been seasoned and has a smoky flavor. Kielbasa sausage is typically seasoned with black pepper and garlic. Polish kielbasa is traditionally made from ground pork. 

Is kielbasa precooked?

Yes! Prior to packaging the polish sausage is cooked. It is a smoked sausage that is cooked through.  

Can kielbasa be eaten cold?

Yes it can. However, I love eating this crock pot kielbasa and sauerkraut hot on a bun! It’s so yummy. 

Where do you buy kielbasa?

You can find kielbasa at your local grocery store. It’s typically located by the packaged deli meats, sausages, and pepperoni. 

Three buns filled with kielbasa and sauerkraut on a brass plate.

More Recipes Using Sausage

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A black crock pot filled with cooked kielbasa and sauerkraut.
Print Text Recipe Review
5 from 2 votes

Crock Pot Kielbasa and Sauerkraut

This Slow Cooker Kielbasa recipe takes minutes to assemble. The kielbasa stays moist and becomes so flavorful as it’s marinated in the brown sugar, apple cider, and onion mixture. Topped with a generous serving of sauerkraut and you have a delicious sandwich!
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 4 hrs
Total Time: 4 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 8

Ingredients
 

  • 1/2 yellow onion - diced
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 2/3 cup sparkling apple cider - can use beer in place of the apple cider
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon light brown sugar - packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 pounds polish kielbasa
  • 32 oz sauerkraut - drained

Instructions
 

  • Cut the kielbasa into links. Place in a slow cooker.
  • Add the drained sauerkraut to the slower cooker. 
  • In a medium sized saucepan over medium low heat add the olive oil. Once shimmering, add the diced onion. Cook for 10 minutes or until soft and lightly browning. 
  • Add the brown sugar, apple cider, and salt to the saucepan. Stir and continue cooking over medium low heat until the sugar is dissolved. 
  • Remove from heat and pour the sauce into the slow cooker overtop the kielbasa and sauerkraut. 
  • Cover. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Serve on hoagie buns. 

Notes

Variations: Add chopped potatoes, diced bell peppers, apple slices.
Use a strainer to drain the sauerkraut. 
Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Nutrition

Calories: 614kcal (31%)Carbohydrates: 13g (4%)Protein: 25g (50%)Fat: 50g (77%)Saturated Fat: 17g (85%)Cholesterol: 119mg (40%)Sodium: 2314mg (96%)Potassium: 655mg (19%)Fiber: 3g (12%)Sugar: 7g (8%)Vitamin A: 20IUVitamin C: 19.3mg (23%)Calcium: 60mg (6%)Iron: 4.2mg (23%)
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
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