Pressure cooker, Side dish, Weeknight dinner
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Pressure Cooker Kielbasa and Sauerkraut

Pressure Cooker Kielbasa and Sauerkraut

Pressure Cooker Kielbasa and Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is a love it or hate it vegetable. Me? One of my first solo food experiences was buying a Polish Boy from a hot dog vendor in downtown Cleveland. With everything, of course, including a heap of sauerkraut on top. Treating myself with a Polish Boy every now and again got me through four miserable years of high school.

…I’m sorry, I took a wrong turn down memory lane. Where was I? Oh, right, Kielbasa and Sauerkraut.

Here I’m using a different Polish sausage – Kielbasa, smoked and garlicky – to flavor the sauerkraut. This helps the “hate it” crowd by infusing sauerkraut with pork fat and smoky sausage to cut the sour flavor.

My wife hated the annual taste of sauerkraut that Grandma forced on all the grandchildren. My love of those hot dogs, loaded with sauerkraut, almost derailed our relationship before it started. She couldn’t believe I loved those “stinky dogs”. Luckily for me…she got over it.

The pressure cooker speeds things up – twelve minutes under pressure replaces an hour of simmering. (No pressure cooker? No worries. See the notes for stove top instructions.)

Need some good luck in the new year? Don’t forget your pork and sauerkraut!

Recipe: Pressure Cooker Kielbasa and Sauerkraut



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Pressure Cooker Kielbasa and Sauerkraut

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 1x


Pressure Cooker Kielbasa and Sauerkraut recipe, for good luck in the New Year.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound kielbasa, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and diced (preferably Granny Smith)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon juniper berries
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (preferably Riesling)
  • 2 lb sauerkraut, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)


  1. Brown a batch of kielbasa: Heat the vegetable oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add enough kielbasa, cut side down, to cover the bottom of the pot in a loose layer. (For my instant pot, this was about half the kielbasa.) Brown the kielbasa on both sides, about six minutes, then remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving behind as much of the fat as possible. (Add the rest of the kielbasa to the bowl; don’t worry about browning it – we just needed the one batch browned to flavor the rest of the ingredients.)
  2. Saute the onion, apple, and spices; add everything to the pot: Add the onion and apple to the pressure cooker pot, and sprinkle with the salt, caraway seeds, and juniper berries. Saute, scraping the bottom to loosen the browned pork bits, until the onion and apple soften, about five minutes. Add the wine to the pot, bring to a simmer, and simmer for one minute, scraping the bottom to loosen any stuck onions. Add the sauerkraut, chicken broth, and the bowl of kielbasa plus any accumulated kielbasa juices. Stir until everything is well mixed.
  3. Pressure cook on high for 12 minutes: Lock the lid on the pressure cooker, bring the cooker to high pressure, and pressure cook for 12 minutes for an Electric PC or 10 minutes in a stovetop PC. (On the instant pot, use the Manual setting, and set the cook time for 12 minutes.) When the cooking time is over, remove the pot from the heat and let the pressure come down naturally, about 15 minutes. (On the Instant Pot or other electric cookers, cancel the “keep warm” setting.)
  4. Serve: Transfer the kielbasa and sauerkraut from the pot to a platter with a slotted spoon. Serve.
  • Category: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Eastern European


Brown the kielbasa

Brown the kielbasa

Add the cabbage and pressure cook

Add the cabbage and pressure cook


  • No pressure cooker? No worries. Cook everything in a dutch oven with a lid. Follow the instructions until step 3. For step 3, cover the pot, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for an hour.
  • No juniper berries? Replace it with gin – juniper is one of the major flavors. Skip the juniper berries, and replace the half cup of white wine with a quarter cup of gin.
Ready to serve

Ready to serve

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

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Filed under: Pressure cooker, Side dish, Weeknight dinner


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. Ryguy says

    First recipe comment ever cause uh, this was awesome. I couldn’t find juniper berries and I added a few cloves of garlic in the mix and ITS INSANELY GOOD. Leftovers maybe even better, I don’t know.

  2. Sandi says

    Awesome! I’m going to make this for company in the fall. The apple adds a bit of sweetness. If you don’t like saurkraut before, you’ll like it after this recipe.

  3. Diane says

    Five stars in spite of the juniper berries 😉 not a fan of anything gin so I left them out. Same with the caraway, just don’t have any on hand.
    I used smoked Slovenian sausages and bagged kraut. I prefer it baked, but precooking the sausages approximates the flavor without heating up the kitchen.

  4. WOW, I loved this the first time, fixed it a 2nd time, and am about to fix this a 3rd. No one in my family likes sauerkraut, but they do now. I will say that I tried it the 2nd time with some Andouille sausage instead of kielbasa; I really love the spices; and the family rated it a 9 out of 10….

    THANKS for this recipe. I LOVE my pressure cooker and anytime I can get a recipe that I normally cook for hours that works in the PC, I’m truly happy.

  5. This sounds very good. For my take on it I put in a bag of kraut, some fresh sausage, an apple and some hard cider. High pressure for 15 minutes. Removed the sausage and put in a bag of frozen spaetzle. Set it to slow cook for a few minutes to cook the spaetzle while I cut up the sausage. Served with a generous dollop of sour cream. Which also tames the krautness for the haters.

  6. Michelle says

    I’ve made this recipe 3 times now and my family just loves it! I throw in a few small new potatoes and it doesn’t even affect the cooking time! Thanks so much for the go to easy week night meal!

  7. susanb says

    This recipe was great. The treatment left the sauerkraut really mellowed out. I would serve with a crusty bread to sop up the soupiness of this dish. unexpectedly mellow!

      • Shelley S says

        Our family uses a good seedless Polish rye bread.

        And yes, great recipe!

        I looked up your recipe because I didn’t know the IP cooking time. My family has always made almost the exact same recipe, adding a good bunch of new potatoes, I’d but never used gin or wine. We didn’t have gin in the house, but the wine made a fantastic addition! I do drop the caraway seed because I dislike it.

        I also use a bagged vs jar or canned variety of sauerkraut I find in the refrigerated deli case in my store. It’s near the refrigerated Klausen pickles. Our family used to make sauerkraut from scratch, and this is as close to that as I’ve ever had.

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