Slow Cooker Kielbasa and Sauerkraut

This Slow Cooker Kielbasa and Sauerkraut is such a hearty comfort food dinner. It's budget friendly, quick to prep and the crock pot does all the work for you!

Kielbasa and Sauerkraut in a black slow cooker with a blue napkin on the side.

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Kielbasa and Sauerkraut on a blue and gray floral plate with spinach on the side.

This recipe was photographed and updated 2/2023.

When researching about kielbasa, I came across a number of conflicting bits of information. What I do know is that even though it has been around for ages, it wasn't until approximately 200 years ago that the word kielbasa was even introduced by the Polish. 

Because it translates into 'sausage', and with there being over 100 different types of kielbasa (breakfast sausage, Italian sausage, hunter's sausage, etc...), America is one of the few places that a person can walk into a store and say they are looking for kielbasa or polish kielbasa and get the same thing. Almost anywhere else, especially in Poland, the request for kielbasa is like asking for sausage in general and has to include descriptive terms to help identify which of the different types is wanted.

Just like kielbasa, sauerkraut has been around much longer than it's name. 

While the term is German, this 'sour cabbage' actually originated more than 2,000 years ago in China. Thanks to the travels of Mongolian soldiers, the recipe found its way to eastern Europe. Lacking the supplies for the exact ingredients taught by Mongolian soldiers, substitutions were made. 

Those substitutions lead to the version we have today. A version that is rich in vitamins and fiber and considered a superfood. It has been known to improve digestion, skin, immune systems, heart health, and even boost energy levels.

With both kielbasa and sauerkraut having a longer shelf life than their raw counterparts, it's no wonder the two were put together and enjoyed in this Slow Cooker Kielbasa dinner. It's budget friendly, quick to prep, and the crock pot does all the work for you. With simple ingredients like apple juice and brown sugar, this sausage and sauerkraut meal is great for busy weeknights.

This stuff is amazing! During the fall, we prefer to use beef kielbasa rather than pork. Either way, it is such a hearty meal when served with some buttery mashed potatoes. When I photographed this recipe, we served it with a spinach salad, which was a perfect pair as well.

With it's savory, smoky, and tangy flavors; mixed with a touch of sweetness from the apple juice and brown sugar. It's hard to believe that this meal only takes 5 minutes to prep and is so easy to throw in the slow cooker. 

It's one of the most simple comfort food meals especially during the cold winter days when you want to feel warm and full. If you're looking for another slow cooker sausage recipe, try these delicious Slow Cooker Curried Sausages!

Keep scrolling for tips, additional sauerkraut recipes and more! 

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Shopping list:

Scroll down to the printable recipe card for measurements and instructions!

Recipe tips:

  • Our apple juice was not sweet, so we added 2 tablespoons brown sugar. If you have a sweet apple juice, you may want to reduce it to 1 tablespoon.

kielbasa and sauerkraut in a black slow cooker with a tongs grabbing some.

More sauerkraut recipes you might like:

You can add or substitute with these ingredients:

  • use beer instead of apple juice
  • use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic
  • use maple syrup instead of brown sugar
  • add thinly sliced apples
  • add diced bell pepper

Kielbasa and Sauerkraut on a plate with spinach on the side.

Our favorite kitchen equipment and supplies used with this recipe:

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

close up of kielbasa and sauerkraut with a blue background.
Yield 6 servings
Author Hot Eats and Cool Reads
Prep time
5 Min
Cook time
6 Hour
Total time
6 H & 5 M

Slow Cooker Kielbasa and Sauerkraut


  • 2 - 12 ounce packages kielbasa sausage, cut into 2 inch pieces (we used beef)
  • 1 - 14.5 ounce can sauerkraut with juices
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup apple juice


  1. Place all ingredients into the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cook on low for 5-6 hours, stirring halfway through to combine.


Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days.

Our apple juice was not very sweet, so we added 2 tablespoons brown sugar. If you have a sweet apple juice, you may want to reduce it to 1 tablespoon.

Nutrition Facts




28.09 g

Sat. Fat

12.02 g


21.25 g


2.46 g

Net carbs

18.79 g


12.98 g


12.36 g


1590.45 mg


60 mg

Hot Eats and Cool Reads is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe you try from this blog/website. You may not always have the same results I do due to variations in ingredients, humidity, altitude, cooking temperatures, typos, errors, omissions, or individual cooking abilities. 

You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful. I am not a certified nutritionist and make no claims to the contrary. Each individual's dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual.

kielbasa and sauerkraut in a black slow cooker with recipe title text overlay.

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  1. Yum! I love to throw this on a nice big bun with some mustard! And it's so easy to throw in the crockpot!

  2. My mom used to make this all the time. I'd love it if you shared it with is at Keep It Cozy Crock Pot Week.


  3. This sounds like a great comfort food dish!

  4. Having lived in Wisconsin for 7 years, this reminds me of there so much!

  5. I should make this for my aunt - she would LOVE it!!

  6. My husband would looooove if I made him this - great recipe!

  7. yup, that's NE Ohio comfort food too! So good. I usually add a little brown sugar to the kraut.

  8. I know my husband would love this dish! you are right, great comfort food!

  9. My husband has German heritage and he grew up eating sausage and sauerkraut. We've got a local German deli that has some really good, house made sauerkraut so now I'm inspired to give it a whirl. Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Looks so good! I have some sauerkraut I need to use up, thanks for the great idea!

  11. Oh yum - I'm a huge sauerkraut fan! This looks delicious!

  12. What a great idea. I would put this on a bun with mustard. Seriously drooling over here. :)

  13. I agree with Sarah. I would put it on a bun with mustard also. Yum!

  14. I will have to show my mom this recipe. :) Growing up, she used to force me to eat this, so I am not a fan to this day. But she would love this slow cooker version!

  15. I love kielbasa and mom makes it all the time! :)

  16. I keep reading how great sauerkraut is for you. This is simple and looks tasty. Trying this recipe. Thanks!

  17. Sounds simple. I don't usually eat sauerkraut, but had it in Poland this past year and really enjoyed it! I may have to try this.

  18. You can't beat a 2-ingredient recipe. This looks perfect for busy days, Sheena!

  19. Looks yummy Sheena!! Hope you had a great lazy Saturday :)

  20. Can you use any kind of kielbasa or is there one that is recommended.

  21. Stupid question am I using precooked kielbasa or fresh as I will be going to the polish store to purchase the kielbasa. Thanks.


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