German Sauerkraut Recipe

German Sauerkraut Recipe a famous side dish known worldwide

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German Sauerkraut Recipe

In America, German Sauerkraut is often thought of as a condiment on top of their hot dog or brat. And by all means, there’s nothing wrong with that. But in Germany, the Alsace region of France, and several eastern European countries, the German Sauerkraut recipe is more than a side dish—it’s the main dish! The first step into taking your sauerkraut seriously is the use of its secret ingredient: juniper berries. Get ready to dig in to this easy and amazing recipe!

Ingredients for German Sauerkraut recipe:

  • 800 g (1.7 lb.) of American Sauerkraut OR 810 g (28.6 oz) of Hengstenberg Mildessa Sauerkraut
  • 200 g (7 oz) of salt pork OR 2 tablespoons of lark
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons of white wine
  • 1 medium-size onion (about 160 g – 5.64 oz)
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 5-6 juniper berries
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 to 2 apples depending on size

Ingredients German Sauerkraut Recipe

Preparation of German Sauerkraut recipe using American Sauerkraut:

Place Sauerkraut in a bowl and add cold water. Drain. Cut the salt pork into small pieces and roast it in a pot until the fat is melted.  If you use the lark, melt it until liquid. Dice or chop the onions and roast them in the melted salt pork until they are transparent. Peel the apples, take the core out and cut into quarters. Cut the quarters about three times lengthwise and then into small slices. Add the apples with the drained sauerkraut to the onions and mix well. Pour the wine and just enough water to cover the Sauerkraut. Add bay leaves, juniper berries and cloves and bring to a boil. turn the heat down to medium-low and let it cook for about 45 minutes. If the water level goes down, do not refill. Instead, stir the Sauerkraut every once in a while so that the kraut won’t burn. When finished cooking, take it off the stove and remove cloves, bay leaves, and juniper berries using a fork.

Preparation of German Sauerkraut Recipe  

Preparation of the German Sauerkraut:

If you are using the German Sauerkraut, do not wash it. Just put the contents into the pot straight from the can. Also, do not add wine, since the German Sauerkraut is already made with wine. Besides that, the preparation for the German Sauerkraut is the same as the American Sauerkraut starting with the roasting of the salt pork OR lard.

Serve it with bratwurst, franks, winers or Oma’s homemade pork roast.

German Sauerkraut Recipe

  • cm wilson

    It is so refreshing to read your instructions. My mother told us to rinse off the sauerkraut too. She would do similar to your instructions but would continue to cook it and ‘brown’ it a little. Perhaps that is a Bavarian flare?

    • The Oma Way

      cm wilson, thank you for your nice comment. The level of browning of the sauerkraut has something to do of what kind of meat you cook it with. In a Szegediner Goulash, also a sauerkraut dish, the sauerkraut is more brown. I still need to cook and post that dish on my website. One of my mother’s specialties and one of my favorites. Yours, Oma

  • Michaela

    I have never seen anyone else use juniper berries in their kraut… nor the apple.
    That is how my Oma and mother always made it! I am not fond of the more common caraway recipe. Are you from the Koln area by any chance?

    • The Oma Way

      Michaela, I am not from the Koeln area, but close enough, from Hesse. My grandmother on my father’s side was an old farmer, and she used the juniper berries and apples for the homemade sauerkraut, stored over the winter in a ceramic pot in the dark barn. She never used caraway either, only in the white cabbage vegetable and cole slaw.

  • Jane

    My grandmother used to make sauerkraut by cooking bacon saving some of the grease a little water and grating a potato in the mixture heating that all up. Then she would put the kraut in with the bacon.We would always have it with pork roast or hotdogs. I don’t think it came from the german side, maybe the polish.

    • The Oma Way

      Jane, thank you for your comment. There are many different ways of making sauerkraut, depending on the regions. I like the sauerkraut mostly with cured spare ribs, but also serve it with pork roast or sausages. Sometimes I make the Szegediner goulash, which is a mix of goulash and sauerkraut made in one pot. In any way I love sauerkraut, especially in winter.