Pork and Sauerkraut. It’s a PA Dutch favorite and traditional New Years Day meal. This is my Polish grandmom’s recipe. Extra care is given to the onions & sauerkraut – resulting in delicious, flavorful, soulful dish.Jump to Recipe
Pork and Sauerkraut. It’s a traditional New Years Day meal in Lancaster County.
I love pork, I love sauerkraut and I love the combination. I don’t only make this on New Years Day – I make this year round and enjoy it wholeheartedly.
This meal has to be made properly, though. There is nothing worse than tough pork with sauerkraut straight from the can dumped on top of it. Not a fan of the throw it all together in the crockpot version, either.
When a little love and effort is put into it this meal, you’ll find this to be a dish you enjoy eating year round.
The History of This Dish To Me
My grandmother Halina was born in Dzisna, Poland. Difficult circumstances combined with the kindness of others brought her to the United States in her late teens. She arrived in The US without family.
Halina was an amazing woman. Strong, beautiful, hard working, dedicated and an inspiration to me in many ways. She passed away on Valentine’s Day this year. Loss is always difficult, as were the past few years of her life. I try not to think about the past few years so much and instead celebrate her 83 years of life.
Halina was a great cook. She could make something out of anything. She could make something out of almost nothing – hard times had called for it.
I grew up enjoying many of her Polish dishes. Thoughts of her galumpkis and homemade perogies will forever make me smile. She also made the BEST pork and sauerkraut I’ve ever had. A little ‘TLC” made all the difference in the world.
The Sauerkraut Method
Halina’s sauerkraut method was simple – she “dressed up” the sauerkraut.
She preferred the bagged stuff but would make do with whatever if need be so.
She would dump the sauerkraut into a colander, rinse it and squeeze all the liquid out a few times.
Then she would add it to a frying pan filled with buttery golden brown onions and would fry it all together. All that buttery sauerkraut goodness would go on top of a pork roast and into a low oven until fall apart tender.
Her simple method transformed the sauerkraut into far more then just plain “sour cabbage”. The butter and golden brown onions give almost a richness to it. Suddenly you realize you’re not scraping all the sauerkraut off to the side – you actually find yourself wanting more sauerkraut than pork.
Who would have known a Polish immigrant named Halina knew the secret to making greatness of sauerkraut?
This is wonderful served with spaetzle. Pork, sauerkraut and spaetzle – it’s like heaven. Here’s my spaetzle recipe.
Pork and sauerkraut is traditionally served over mashed potatoes but also goes well with buttered noodles or any kind of potatoes.
Not a day goes by that I won’t think of my grandmother. I celebrate her life and the time I had with her. I’m thankful that as I got older I watched and helped her work in the kitchen. Her simplistic approach to food and cooking will always inspire me.
I do hope you love this recipe as much as I do.
Hungry for more pork & sauerkraut goodness? Check out my Pork & Sauerkraut Hungarian Goulash!
Pork and Sauerkraut
- 2 large onions chopped
- 6 tablespoon butter
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 pound bag of sauerkraut if you like lots of kraut you may want to use an additional 1-2 pounds
- 3-4 pound pork shoulder/butt roast
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 250
- Melt butter over medium-high heat in a saute pan.
- Add onions and saute until golden brown, about 10- 15 minutes.
- Empty sauerkraut into a colander. Rinse it and squeeze out all the liquid a few times. Set aside.
- Add garlic to onions, saute for a minute or two.
- Add sauerkraut to saute pan. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for about 15 minutes, mixing often, until everything is well blended. Add a bit more butter if mixture seems too dry.
- Generously salt and pepper all sides of a pork roast. Place into a roasting pan. Spoon sauerkraut over roast. Cover with lid and cook for 5-6 hours or until pork is fork tender. If using a lean roast, check pan after an hour. If everything seems to be drying out, add a cup of water.
- When pork is tender, shred/chunk pork, remove any bones, salt & pepper to taste and mix pork and sauerkraut together.
- Serve over mashed potatoes, spaetzle, noodles or potato chunks. Enjoy : )
Thank you for sharing the story of your Grandmother and this fantastic recipe! I love sauerkraut definitely adding this to my must make list!
Awwww…you’re welcome Meaghan! I’m so glad you enjoyed the story behind the meal : )
Thanks for stopping by!
Made your Grandma’s sauerkraut and pork recipe the other day. Everybody really enjoyed it. My grandma was also from Poland and we can’t find many of her recipes. Don’t think she ever wrote them down. Miss her gaulumkis and real cheese cake (didn’t use cream cheese in her cake recipe – she used Dry Cottage Cheese). I know you mentioned Grandmother’s recipe for Stuffed Cabbage, but I couldn’t find it on line. Anyway, thanks providing her recipe.
PS. I tried to hit the 5 stars rating but the system wouldn’t let me
Hi Ron. That’s wonderful! I’m so glad to hear you loved my grandmothers pork & sauerkraut – she would be delighted to see her recipe enjoyed by so many! I do want to share more Polish recipes, it’s definitely on my winter to do list. I don’t have a recipe up yet for galumpkis, but I do have one for Hungarian Goulash. It’s sooooo good – it’s one of my family’s favorite meals. I have a German cheesecake recipe you might be interested in, it’s made with quark, which is more similar to a Greek yogurt. It’s a much different textured cheesecake.
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Hi! Maybe Czesc .. 🙂 Polish for Hello! To Ron, Gaulumki’s is spelled GOLABKI’S… This is why you can not find any recipe online or any engine search unless the spelling is correct. Hungarian goulash is Hunter’s Stew in english or known in Poland, as Bigos and in Hungry, as Vadas Hus. Unless you have the correct spelling you will receive many versions of the recipe; thinking your not looking for that! We are Polish & Hungarian here in America and are asked many times about our authentic recipes we have served to friends. Stating this, recipes vary by region…
Please try to keep these recipes going for future generations as many are lost in translations and/or ignorance.
I thought it was golumki.
im going to try this with cut pork chop. obviously cook alot less. try barefoot contessa stuff cabbage .best ive ever made !!
bel @ Mums Take Five
ingenious! I would love to try granny’s sauerkraut bet that is good! Thanks for sharing with us for Sunday Brunch, we look forward to sharing your work. Bel & Eliza x
Thanks so much for having me as a contributor – I love the magazine!
Hi Amanda, I’m Polish. My grandparents came from Poland. Do you have any good traditional Polish receipts? I’m not a good cook, but love to make something different that tastes great and is easy. I love pork dishes, cabbage , noodles, beef & gravy, stuffed cabbage and peppers, Pierogies, Stugalina (spelling) I love a good chicken dinner and steak and sausage. Any help will be appreciated. I’m tired of the same old stuff we eat.
Hi Tom! I do have some more Polish recipes to share & I hope to get working on them this Fall & Winter. My grandmother was from Poland, but spent some time in a few other countries as a refugee, so I’m sure many of her recipes that I know & love are fusions. Lol – plus my grandfather was Ukrainian – so I’m sure things might have also been altered to his tastes. So maybe not so traditional Polish – but there will be some more Polish recipes as I know & love. Oh – also check out my Hungarian Goulash recipe. This is one of my family’s favorite dinners ever. Serve it over spaetzle – it’s out of this world. Thanks for stopping by, Tom. Check back soon 🙂
I will definitely try this as I love all the ingredients but have never cooked them all together
And as good as this sounds I enjoyed the story of your Granmother more
The flavors in this are out of this world – you’ll love it!
Thank you so much, I’m glad you enjoyed the story of my grandmother. Memories of her inspire me in so many ways 🙂
What a sweet story. This recipe looks like food for the soul. I am certain I will love it. Thank you for sharing your family recipe. They are always the best. xoxo
Thanks so much Katie 🙂 My grandmother did a lot of cooking, but this was always my favorite recipe of hers.
Thank you so much for your pickled eggs and beet recipe. It is the best. I lived in Scotland Pennsylvania as a child and had them until moving to Upstate New York, back in 1966.
Might you know how to make cucumber and onion salad with vinegar and sugar? I can’t seem to get the right balance of vinegar and sugar. Could ths same dressing be used on cabbage salad?
Your site has been bookmarked, as you are one talented young lady.
Hi Bonnie! So glad to hear you enjoyed the red beet egg recipe. It’s definitely a Pennsylvania favorite and something people miss when they move out of the area. Luckily they’re so easy to make!
I don’t have a recipe written down for a cucumber & onion salad – I’ll have to take measurements the next time I make it. It really is just to taste. I usually use white wine vinegar – but most local recipes call for white or apple. Not sure about cabbage salad – I haven’t ate it locally in quite some time. I love pepper cabbage but it’s grated much smaller than most slaws or salads.
Awwwww….it makes me so happy when my readers tell me they enjoy my blog! Thank you! Thanks so much for stopping by & I hope you find more recipes you like 🙂
Hi Amanda—Stumbled onto you somehow here looking for my mom’s sauerkraut recipe…I will use your GMA’s for the time being—Nice tribute to her. My mom born and raised on GPA’s farm near the 4 home town of Downey, where his cow pasture was.. Near Berlin and Freidens and Stoystown and Reels Corner, If you happen to know where a lot of us German immigrants lived, really Pa. Dutch. Names like KIMMEL—STUTZMAN—YOU GET THE IDEA….I AM 86 NOW AND TRYING TO LEARN TO COOK…I DO LIKE THE CHALLENGE…MY MOM WAS ONE OF 7 GIRLS AND THEY ALL WERE GREAT COOKS. I KNOW HOW TO MAKE PIES BEST, MOM LET ME HANG OUT WITH HER IN THE KITCH WHEN LITTLE KID AND TAUGHT ME HOW TO DO PIE CRUST WITH REAL LARD—COOKIES—CAKES—-I ALWAYS LIKE HER SAUERKRAUT AND STUFFED THICK PORK CHOPS…ENOUGH NOW….ARTHUR
I come from a Polish background. I wouldn’t t trade the memories I had growing up in upstate NY for all the money in the world. My parents are gone, the parish we attended was Polish and is now closed, but the memories can never be erased. My uncle had a small grocery/meat store. He made kielbasa for Christmas and above all, for Easter. The recipe came from my grandmother. The golupki, babka, Christmas cookies…I’m hoping you will continue to post more of your grandmother’s recipes.
Wonderful memories you have!
Wow. I almost forgot about the homemade kielbasa we always had during the holidays. No one in my family made it – but my grandmother went to this tiny Polish deli/bakery that was in someones house. It was so common for foods to sell out during the holidays so everyone would have to preorder.
I definitely will share more of my grandmother’s recipes, or at least try. Nothing was written down. The recipes I’ve shared so far were ones I watched her make often enough. The rest will be a cooking adventure of trial & error 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping by Mike!
Thank you for the recipe. I just made this for our traditional New Year’s pork and Sauerkraut meal. It was a nice change from the boiled version we typically make, though I love the very tangy Sauerkraut of the boiled version too.
Draining and rinsing the Sauerkraut is something I really like. I like that it probably reduces the sodium content of the Sauerkraut quite a bit. I found the butter in the recipe a little overwhelming and I’ll probably reduce it next time.
Thank you, and I hope everyone has a happy 2017
Glad to hear you enjoyed it! It’s definitely a milder & richer version than the boiled version – which I love as well!
Hope you have a wonderful New Year as well. Thanks for stopping by Todd 🙂
I loved this recipe! I had it in a roast pan for the better part of 6 hours with my pork and it got so flavorful. The only thing I had to do was add more sauerkraut because 2+ pounds I put in cooked down so much. The newly added sauerkraut easily mingled with the other cooked kraut and juices and the end result was just delicious. Our NY Day company loved it, too. I won’t go back to my old way! Thank you 🙂
Awesome! So happy to hear you loved it! You’re right about the sauerkraut and thanks for mentioning it – I found myself adding some more this year as well. I’ll edit the recipe to up the amount of sauerkraut.
Thanks for stopping by – hope you have a wonderful New Year Deb 🙂
Amanda, I just have one question. Did you use a pork butt roast or pork loin roast. Please respond by e-mail.
I’ve updated the recipe. It’s a pork butt / shoulder roast.
I cannot wait to try this recipe being of polish descent we always ate pork and kraut and my mom cooked it similar but I realize now I may have omitted the rinse of the kraut in past attempts. Just curious what you think if I sear the roast and use the pressure cooker or will that be too aggressive for kraut?
Hi Theresa! I’ve never tried this dish in the pressure cooker – but I’m pretty sure it will turn out well! I think sauerkraut can handle just about any cooking method you throw at it. Fermented stuff is tough 🙂
I’d love to hear how it turns out for you! Thanks for stopping by ♥
This sounds wonderful. My mom used to make something very similar. Did your grandmother ever use fresh Polish sausage instead of a pork roast?
Hi Denise. Yes, she did! She often made sauerkraut & fresh kielbasa – it was on her normal mealtime rotation. She always got the best kielbasa – it was made at a small Polish food & pastry shop that was run out of someones home.
I’ve never found kielbasa that good….
You’ve brought back fond memories! Thanks for stopping by ♥
My very discerning (finicky) husband LOVED this recipe. He said, “Nailed it…keep this recipe!” I halved it for just the two of us and he has enough left for lunch today. It was very good. The only thing I’d do differently is not quite halve the sauerkraut. Our Sunday dinner was YUMMY! And I enjoyed reading about your grandmother. Loving memories make meals even better.
So glad you and your husband enjoyed the recipe! This will forever be one of my favorite meals. You’re so right, loving memories do make meals even better ♥
Thanks so much for stopping by Cathy 🙂
This recipe is so tasteful and healthy. I am using a fresh crock of sauerkraut that I made. My Ukrainian grandmother was a
wonderful cook and I was always at her elbow when she was cooking.
Glad you enjoy the recipe, Beverly 🙂
I remember both my mother and grandmother making this. My grandmother often made it in an electric roaster outside to avoid the smell of cabbage in the house. One day when I was about 6 a neighbor kid and I found it cooking in the backyard–thankfully it was entirely cooked by then when we ate all the cabbage out of the pot and got such bellyaches. That was punishment enough. But I still love it today and make it often especially in the fall and winter.
I just found your website and am glad I did! My husbands family is first generation Hungarian and Pennsylvanian Dutch. I married into a smorgasbord of interesting food. I was shown how to make some receipes that my my husband‘s grandmother made. She hasn’t been with us since 1978 but her receipes have been enjoyed by the next generation of eager followers! Thanks for the information AND the memories.
Hi, my name is Myrna. My husband and I both are Pennsylvania Dutch. My Great grand father came from Germany. His wife, who was also German did not cook any meals or dishes from there heiratage. Could you send me some recipe
s ? I would just love it.
I am polish too, My mother use to make a zapraska, Here is how Melt leftover bacon grease in pan and add flour, to brown , and add water to make a gravy, I use this, over stuffed cabbage when done, and also sauerkraut. everyone wants to know why these things taste so good… Enjoy.
Sounds delicious Patricia! Thanks for sharing ♥
Can’t wait to try this for New Year’s Day!!
Mary Ann Walker
The only thing I did different was to add sliced mushroons and a dash of Rosemary Powder. Soooo good! I received a recipe similar recipe from my Polish Aunt. She is a great good! We always have it for Christmas Eve dinner with homemade pierogi and fresh and smoked kielbasa. Your recipe is wonderful!
Amanda… thank you for sharing your recipe. My Mom & Grandma used to make a very similar dish and they called it “Dutch Mess”. They would put sauerkraut, pork chops, quartered potatoes and plain macaroni pasta in a casserole dish and bake it. It was soooo gooood. The pork was so tender. I do miss their cooking! We’re from Cincinnati, OH and this area is also known for its “Goetta”. My Grandma used to make it from scratch, but I didn’t dare eat it. It always seemed gross to me, but now I love it! I believe my great grandparents were from the Bavaria / Bayern area of Germany.
Thanks for the recipe. Just made it this weekend, so easy, soooo delicious!!! can’t get enough of it!!
Hi Amanda, thank you for this delicious recipe. I made it yesterday and as it was roasting in the oven all day I was thinking about my Hungarian Grandmother and her “Stuffed Cabbage Rolls” that she made when I was a child. My Grandmother, Helen, was born in a small village near the Hungarian/Polish boarder in the late 1800’s and immigrated to America when she was 13. She had a tough life too. She taught my mother, her daughter-in-law, how to make her stuffed cabbage rolls and my mother taught me. I will make this recipe often and will definitely try your Goulash recipe. Again, thank you for sharing your dear grandmother’s recipe and story. Sincerely, Ginny.
My Polish grandfather taught my Italian mother and I learned from her to make pork and sauerkraut just like yours. Not may people cook the sauerkraut the way we do. Mellows out the flavor so much. Thanks for putting this recipe out there for others to enjoy.
Loved reading all the reviews and stories of ancestors. My family is from Ireland but now live in PA and I will be making soda bread today to take to Christmas dinner! But for New Year’s Day I will make this recipe for family-in-law. I want to verify no liquid is added to vessel at the beginning and only while cooking if it seems dry. Is that correct? Does the roast and onion sauerkraut provide enough liquid? Thank you and Happy Christmas
I’m a Lebanon County guy retired in South Carolina and just can’t bring in the New Year with blackeyed peas and collard greens……..I am so going to make your grandmothers recipe. But, mine will go over mashed potatoes with a mustard topping…..lol!
I make lot’s of red beat eggs and wet bottom shoofly pies. I miss the German pot pie and farm made scrapple.
thanks for sharing both the story and recipe,
Hi there, I was just reading through the comments and saw everyone talking about homemade kielbasa…if you’re ever in the area, check out the Bloss Holiday Market in Blossburg, PA. The town was once primarily Polish and lots of the food is still around. The kielbasa at the Bloss Holiday is amazing and is supposedly from an old Polish family recipe that was once sold at the Polish meat market that used to be in town. That same family runs the grocery store that makes/sells this kielbasa. Call ahead, especially around holidays, because it is VERY popular!
Made this last year and finally found the recipe again. It was awesome. Going to make it with the spatzel instead of potatoes this year though.
I don’t comment on recipes but I had to post that this is THE BEST pork and sauerkraut I have ever made. I am not a fan of sauerkraut but the flavor in this recipe puts it to another level! I wouldn’t change a thing and the amount of butter makes this absolutely luscious! I used my instant pot multi-cooker (not the pressure cooker one) and sautéed the onions and garlic and sauerkraut as described then added the pork butt roast into the cooker, set it to bake at 250 degrees and within 4 hours we enjoyed our New Years meal! Thanks for posting this recipe and I would recommend this to everyone!!
Absolutely love this dish. Thank you for sharing. 🙂
OMG, THIS RECIPE IS AWESOME! This is the 2nd time I have made it, this time I’m doubling the recipe as it didn’t make enough to suit ME!!
Thanks so much for sharing your grandmothers recipe…it’s just like my mom’s! I was looking for a recipe that used a pork butt cuz I wanted the pork to fall apart. So many add brown sugar and that’s not something we ever did so it was good to see you didn’t. Confirmed that this was exactly what I needed! Happy New Year!
I am a Pennsylvania Dutch gal and I can attest to the fact that this is THE way to make pork and sauer kraut! I am making this recipe today (New Year’s Day 2020). The only small changes I will make are: 1) I will not rinse the sauer kraut – we like sour sauer kraut, and 2) I will salt and pepper and sear the pork loin roast before I cover it with the kraut. Searing the meat adds one more layer of flavor to this delicious dish.. I might add a few caraway seeds to the pot, too, but that is optional. Your beloved grandmother certainly knew what she was “cooking” about!
I’m just saying….I’ve made this on New Years day for the past 4 years (admitting I use more butter than what is called for but also more kraut) and it is absolutely the best pork and kraut dish I have ever had in my life! So glad I found your recipe online. I’m passing it down to my girls this year since we can’t be together. Your grandmother lives on! Thank you for sharing a part of her with us! Happy New Year!!
Kraut was amazing! Thank you for the recipe.
This pork and sauer kraut is cooking in my oven right now and it smells delish! The only things I changed were to add about 2 tbsp of caraway seeds, and I didn’t drain the kraut. I used canned sauer kraut made with white wine. Umm umm good!
Amanda, I enjoyed the back story as my Grandma was from Poland also! I tried the recipe yesterday and it was great. You were right about the kraut it was delicious, it made the dish! This recipe is certainly a keeper and I will make it again for sure. Thanks, Jim
My family just enjoyed your delicious pork and sauerkraut recipe for New Years Eve. It was the BEST I have ever made. Thank You for sharing this wonderful recipe and story of your Polish Grandmother.