Skip to Content
I may earn a commission if you click on links in this post and make a purchase.

Easy Apple Sauerkraut Side Dish

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.

Cooking Sauerkraut

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.

Simple Ingredients

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.

A bowl of sauerkraut sitting in front of a cutting board with a knife and fresh head of cabbage.

Scoop the sauerkraut out of the jar with a slotted spoon. There is no reason to squeeze it dry for this recipe.

The Apples

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.

Fresh red and green apples as seen from above.

Caraway Seeds

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.

A bowl of cooked sauerkraut and apples with a spoon in it as seen from above. A wooden mallet, fresh apple, jar of seeds, and napkin surround the bowl.

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

A bowl of cooked sauerkraut and apples with a spoon in it. A wooden mallet, fresh apple,  and napkin surround the bowl.

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.

Optional Additions

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.

A bowl of cooked sauerkraut and apples with a spoon in it. A wooden mallet, fresh apple, and napkin surround the bowl.

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.

Serving Ideas

Serve it hot alongside a main dish. It would be excellent with pork chops or smoked turkey. 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 bowl of cooked sauerkraut and apples with a spoon in it as seen from above. A wooden mallet, fresh apple, and napkin surround the bowl.

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.

Yield: 4 Servings

Cooked Apple Sauerkraut Side Dish

A bowl of cooked sauerkraut and apples with a spoon in it as seen from above.

Tart and tangy, this cooked apple and sauerkraut side dish is ideal served alongside pork but also makes a delightful warm salad for lunch.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 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


  1. Layer the sauerkraut and apples in a large saucepan.
  2. Add water to the pan just to the top of the sauerkraut and apples.
  3. Place over medium high heat. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add the caraway seeds.
  5. Cover the pan and reduce heat to low-medium. Cook until the apples are soft, approximately 20-25 minutes.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Serve hot.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


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.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Sharing is caring!

R. Lyles

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.

Kathie Lapcevic

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?

Kathie Lapcevic

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...

Skip to Recipe