Oma's German Sauerkraut Casserole with Ham or Kielbasa

➤ by Gerhild Fulson

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Here's a German sauerkraut casserole, Sauerkrautauflauf, that uses up some leftovers and makes them into a marvelous quick and easy dinner. And what's most important, it's not just a boring leftover dinner.

If you have some leftover kielbasa or ham and potatoes, just add some tangy sauerkraut and cheese along with some staple items already in the cupboard, put it in the oven and turn up the polka music. 

Dinner's almost ready! German food at its best!

For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important & interesting stuff to know right below.

German Sauerkraut Casserole ... perfect for using up leftovers

Recipes using leftovers can be boring, but turning those leftovers into something totally different is fantastic.

In fact, you'll PLAN on making extras so that you end up with leftovers just so you can make this easy kielbasa recipe.

Don't have any leftover potatoes? Check Oma Says below.

Sauerkraut recipes are great to have in your recipe file. Often, in Germany, sauerkraut is flavored with juniper berries and served alongside of pork, smoked sausages, or kasseler.

That's why using pork kielbasa or ham in this simple recipe is so great. However, if you have any other type of smoked meat left over, use that instead.

For the cheese, I use whatever I happen to have in the fridge. Use one that melts nicely. If you enjoy it as an eating cheese, it will be fabulous in here as well. :)

Celebrate Oktoberfest right at home with these German recipes found right here in Oma's Oktoberfest e-Cookbook.  

Take a look at Just like Oma’s eCookbook and enjoy the traditional taste of German cuisine!

Take a peek at all Oma's eCookbooks. They make sharing your German heritage a delicious adventure!

A Little Cabbage History in Germany

Everyone knows we Germans LOVE sauerkraut! Not just because of its health benefits and versatility, but it is always such a treat... even if we have it all the time!

Do you know about the New Year's Eve sauerkraut tradition? Now, there are some strange and peculiar traditions out there, but this one tradition is known for being the most popular one on New Year's Eve night, just before the clock strikes twelve.

A big bowl of fermented sauerkraut is shared among loved ones, and once midnight hits, everyone takes and enjoys their own bowl of it as a way of symbolizing good fortune and abundance in the year ahead.

Some believe that the number of shreds consumed will be the same amount of positive things that are to happen in the new year. 

Why is this you ask?

Well, it is supposedly because of the harvesting times for the cabbages in Germany. Once the cabbages are good and ready, they go through the process of being made into our beloved sauerkraut, though this takes a few weeks time.

By the time the first batch of sauerkraut is ready for eating, it is near December 31st, New Year's Eve! The first batch is always the "luckiest" and will bring good fortune. 

Though some families just enjoy the sour sauerkraut on special days like this simply for a yummy treat! It is a very popular dish to serve during Christmas time as well.

Seeing as it holds so much history and tradition, it has become a staple to serve in homes, not only in Germany but in lots of other places in Europe too!

Many celebrate the start to a new year with a hug, a kiss, a glass of wine, party hats, and lots of cheering, maybe by shouting "Woohoo!" out the window... but Germans?

We celebrate with sauerkraut! Yum! ;)

How to make your own Sauerkraut!

It really is easy to make your own homemade sauerkraut! There's almost no work involved. All you need, though, is time. Time for the cabbage to ferment to the degree of sourness that you like. 

That's one of the most awesome things about making one's own sauerkraut. You get to make it just how you like it. 

All you need is cabbage and salt. That's it. And time. 

I use an E-Jen container because it keeps the 'smell' out of the kitchen as its fermenting. It's also a perfect way to store your homemade sauerkraut in the fridge when it's at it right stage of sourness.

Is Sauerkraut healthy?

There are many health benefits associated with eating this fermented cabbage, sauerkraut. It is high in vitamin C, vitamin B, and vitamin K, low in calories, and high in calcium, magnesium, and fiber.

It's even healthier eaten raw. Try it in a salad!

If you can find sauerkraut that is unpasteurized and uncooked, it will contain live lactobacilli and is rich in enzymes. You may need to go to a health food store or the health food section of most grocery stores to find it, but it's fantastic in this sauerkraut salad shown below. Healthy eating never tasted so good!

Yummy Sauerkraut Salad

Then, of course, there's just plain sauerkraut as a side dish that's so popular with many meals in Germany. Just plain doesn't mean boring either. 

Take a look at how this Oma makes her sauerkraut so that everyone always wants seconds!

German Sauerkraut, such delicious, and traditional food. Try this on top of a nice  bratwurst sausage

Ready to make this Sauerkraut Casserole? But, you don't have any leftover potatoes. What to do?

Oma Says:

Don't have any leftover potatoes? 

Peel (if necessary) and thickly slice raw potatoes, cover with water and bring to boil. Simmer until tender which will take about 10 minutes.

During that time you can be frying up the kielbasa/ham and onion.


Ready to make this kielbasa and sauerkraut recipe?

Oma's German Kielbasa Sauerkraut Casserole

Here's an easy recipe for a delicious German sauerkraut dinner that uses up some leftover sauerkraut, smoked kielbasa or ham, and potatoes and makes them into a marvelous dinner that the whole family will love. Add a few extra items, put it in the oven, and turn up the polka music.

Is it dinner time yet??

Prep Time

10 minutes

Cook Time

35 minutes

Total Time

45 minutes

Servings:

Makes 4 - 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • 2 cups sliced kielbasa sausage or cubed cooked ham
  • 1 medium onion, sliced or chopped
  • 28-ounce can sauerkraut, drained
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 pounds potatoes, cooked and sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • approx. 2 cups grated cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  2. Heat oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the kielbasa and sliced onion until onion is translucent. Add drained sauerkraut and paprika and mix well. 
  3. Arrange half of the potatoes in an even layer on the bottom of a greased 9x13-inch casserole dish. Season top of potatoes with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread the sauerkraut mixture on top. Cover with the remaining potatoes. Season again with salt and pepper.
  5. Beat eggs and milk together in a small bowl. Pour over potatoes. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
  6. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Notes/Hints:

  • The most popular cheese to use for this are cheddar, Emmental, or Swiss. Or, use your favorite melting cheese.
  • Use your leftover sauerkraut from the night before or just open a new jar/can and use it.
  • Use your favorite smoked sausage for this or some knackwurst.
  • You can use low-fat milk or skim milk.
  • Try adding bell peppers and caraway seeds with the kielbasa and onion. Or perhaps add a splash of beer for a wonderful combination of savory flavors.
  • Add 2 peeled and diced sweet apples to the kielbasa/onion mixture for some natural sweetness, and fry for an additional minute before adding the sauerkraut. Granny Smith apples are also delicious. Some prefer to add a little bit of brown sugar to the sauerkraut.
  • Delicious served with a dollop of sour cream and a fresh salad and/or steamed green beans on the side.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container. Tastes great the next day. Simply reheat and serve.
  • If you have fresh/homemade sauerkraut, use 2 to 3 cups and either use it as is (your final dish will have more bite to it) or precook the sauerkraut until it is tender and then use it.

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Unless otherwise noted recipe, images and content © Just like Oma | www.quick-german-recipes.com

03.18.2022 revision update

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Scrumptious German Sauerkraut Casserole ... perfect for using up leftovers

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