German Sauerkraut Recipe

German Sauerkraut Recipe a famous side dish known worldwide


German Sauerkraut Recipe

In America, German Sauerkraut is often thought of as a condiment on top of hot dogs or bratwurst. In Germany however, in the Alsace Region of France, and in several Eastern European countries, the Sauerkraut is more than a condiment or side dish, it is the main dish! The first step into taking the German Sauerkraut Recipe seriously is the use of its secret ingredient, the juniper berries. Get ready to prepare 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 (available in select grocery stores)
  • 200 g (7 oz) of salt pork OR 2 tablespoons of lard
  • 3-4 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
  • 1-2 apples depending on size

Ingredients German Sauerkraut Recipe

Preparation of American Sauerkraut for German Sauerkraut Recipe:

Place the Sauerkraut in a bowl. Add cold water and drain. Cut the salt pork in small pieces and roast them in a roasting pot until the fat has melted. If you use the lard, melt it until it becomes liquid. Dice or chop the onion and roast it in the melted salt pork or lard until they are transparent. Add the drained sauerkraut and the wine to the onions and mix well. Add just enough water to cover the sauerkraut.

Peel the apple(s), cut in quarters and take the core out. Cut the quarters three times lengthwise and then into slices. Add the apples, bay leaves, juniper berries and cloves to the Sauerkraut, mix well and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium medium-low and let the Sauerkraut simmer 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 Sauerkraut 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 “Henstenberg” Sauerkraut, you do not need to wash it. Once you have roasted the onions in the melted pork fat or lard, as described above, place the content of the can with German Sauerkraut into the roasting pan. As the German Sauerkraut is already made with wine, you do not need to add wine. Apart from this, the preparation for the German Sauerkraut is the same as for the American Sauerkraut.

Serve the Sauerkraut 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.

      • Ursula Friederich

        As an Hesse,did you not cooked the sauerkraut with Kassler Rippchen?

        • The Oma Way

          Ursula, we don’t get the Kassler Rippchen here, but I wish we could. Some German butchers in the States might have it, but if one is not close to them, there is no other place to get the Kasseler.

          • Ursula Friederich

            You won’t believe it, but I found Kasseler Rippchen at Walmart, they are sold as “Smoked Porkchops”

          • The Oma Way

            Ursula, you are right, I can not believe it. Besides, my Walmart is also a little further away and I almost never shop there for groceries. The only exception is late summer, when they offer the fresh plums/prunes. Thanks for the tip.

  • 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.

    • Susan

      Yes, I also put in grated potato. So good.

  • Charles Rosenberger

    Where do you get your brats?…Binkerts?

    • The Oma Way

      Charles, yes I get my brats from Binker’s. He delivers a deli store close by, which makes it very convenient for me.

  • Trumbull Desi

    We have some bratwurst in our freezer from a Swiss butcher that we go to when we visit my sister in NJ. They are amazing. We dole them out sparingly because we only go a few times a year. When next we make them, I will be serving your sauerkraut. Mmm, mmm, good!

    • The Oma Way

      Trumbull Desi, thank you for your nice comment. I can assure you, that the sauerkraut with bratwurst is very tasty. Your Swiss butcher might have the “Hengstenberg” sauerkraut in cans. Yours, Oma