Cooking sauerkraut with apples is an old-fashioned idea that never goes out of style. This simple apple sauerkraut side dish is the perfect modern recipe that pairs well with a number of meals.
How to cook sauerkraut or whether to cook it all is often debated. If you’ve only ever eaten sauerkraut raw, give this easy recipe for a cooked dish a try as a tangy change.
While this is definitely healthy side dish, it’s also a kind of comfort food perfect for most any meal.
Admittedly, raw sauerkraut is full of healthy and healing probiotics which is great for our gut health. We should continue to eat it raw and often at that to gain all the health benefits of sauerkraut.
The heating of fresh sauerkraut definitely kills the probiotics but sometimes eating it can simply be about the flavor and not the probiotics.
At least it can for me. Life and healthy eating are about balance after all.
The flavor and use of sauerkraut is incredible in cooked dishes. It adds a pleasant tang that is more mellow than its raw counterpart and is worth including in the meal plan now and then.
This easy sauerkraut recipe like all good food is nothing fancy. These are simple, seasonal ingredients combined for a kind of simple food that is flavorful and filling. Because it is so simple, it’s important that we focus a bit on the ingredients to make sure we do indeed get a very tasty dish.
Type of Sauerkraut
I used a homemade plain sauerkraut, fermented in a crock for testing this recipe. However, use whatever sauerkraut you have on hand.
Something purchased from the grocery store will work as well as homemade sauerkraut. Do use something you would eat raw, however. If you don’t enjoy the canned sauerkraut from the store plain, for example, it’s unlikely you’ll like it here either. Generally the refrigerated section has some options from which to choose.
A red cabbage sauerkraut will be a pleasant color. You could use a mix of fermented cabbage and carrots too.
Scoop the sauerkraut out of the jar with a slotted spoon. There is no reason to squeeze it dry for this recipe.
I firmly believe in just using whatever apples you have on hand. However, if you need to buy something choose something tart. I use McIntosh simply because those are what grow on our homestead.
Simply core the apples and cut into uniform slices. Skip the peeling, unless the peels are just too objectionable to you or your family.
Caraway isn’t always a welcome flavor. One could skip it or substitute another small seed instead. Celery seed or whole cumin seeds would also be delightful. The bits of small seeds do add some flavor and just a hint of crunch that is welcome in an otherwise very soft dish.
The Cooking Liquid
Plain old water works well for softening the apples and getting all the flavors together well. I default to it most of the time, myself. It’s easy after all.
And you don’t need much, just enough liquid to barely cover the ingredients as they simmer.
However, other flavorful choices abound:
- Beer works great and will have a unique flavor.
- Apple cider will also work but will admittedly make the dish sweeter.
- Vegetable or chicken broth can be used.
- Use a mixture of any liquids you desire. For example, beer and water, apple cider and vegetable broth, etc.
Salt and Pepper
The amount of salt and pepper is going to depend on personal taste and how salty the sauerkraut is on its own.
Taste is your best friend, taste the sauerkraut and add additional salt slowly, tasting as you go
In our house we like a good bit of pepper, so I tend to be heavy handed with it by adding a good bit of freshly cracked pepper but again follow your own preferences here.
A Bit of Fat
Adding just a touch of fat at the end of cooking adds flavor that is missed when skipped. Butter is a great choice.
Some coconut oil or olive oil would work as would some kind of vegan spread like earth balance for vegans or those skipping dairy.
To switch up the dish a bit, there are a number of options.
Use a cup or two (to taste) of chopped onion, sauteed in a bit of oil first. Then layer with the apples and sauerkraut in the cooking pot.
Toss a bay leaf or two in with the dish as it simmers.
Mix the final cooked sauerkraut and apples with some cooked sausage links and cook together for just a few minutes before serving as a hearty main dish.
Sprinkle the dish with some crispy bacon on the finished dish just before serving for a wonderful crunch.
A bit of fresh dill instead of the caraway seeds will add a different flavor that might be preferable.
Serve it hot alongside a main dish. It would be excellent with pork chops or roasted chicken. It would also be delightful with pierogies.
I quite like it served on top of a piece of polish kielbasa in a crusty bun for a messy but delicious hoagie.
A dollop of sour cream on top the sauerkraut mixture is quite nice and rich alongside your main dish choice.
Tuck some inside a sharp cheddar cheese sandwich. Also good as a grilled cheese.
Put leftovers inside a lunch box as a kind of sauerkraut salad. While it is especially delicious served hot it is equally good cold or at room temperature.
Cooked Apple Sauerkraut Side Dish
Tart and tangy, this cooked apple and sauerkraut side dish is ideal served alongside pork but also makes a delightful warm salad for lunch.
- 4 Cups Sliced Apples, cored (about 1 pound)
- 4 Cups Sauerkraut, drained slightly
- 1 teaspoon Caraway Seeds
- 3 Tablespoons Butter (or vegan alternative)
- Salt & Pepper, taste
- Layer the sauerkraut and apples in a large saucepan.
- Add water to the pan just to the top of the sauerkraut and apples.
- Place over medium high heat. Bring to a boil.
- Add the caraway seeds.
- Cover the pan and reduce heat to low-medium. Cook until the apples are soft, approximately 20-25 minutes.
- Remove cover, stir well. Increase heat to high and cook until the water is almost completely evaporated. Keep a close watch and stir to avoid scorching.
- Stir the butter into the cabbage mixture and let it melt. Remove from heat when all of the water has evaporated. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve hot.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 175Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 1393mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 9gSugar: 16gProtein: 2g
We try our best but cannot guarantee that nutrition information is 100% accurate.
Saturday 10th of April 2021
Could you just cook the apples in the juice from the sauerkraut, then barely warm the sauerkraut adding the seeds, then combine them. That way one could preserve some of the good enzymes? Maybe? I love both and never thought of combining. Thanks for the idea.
Saturday 10th of April 2021
Maybe, probably, but I haven't tried it. The thing about cooking it is that it really mellows out the flavor but I'd sure give your idea a try.
Thursday 10th of October 2019
ok but what is the point of fermenting stuff when you are going to cook them? is it not that all the enzymes will be destroyed? is it just for the taste of sour or there is more to it?
Thursday 10th of October 2019
We should still eat it raw most of the time. But the flavor of it cooked is quite amazing and a nice switch now and then...