Polish Kapusta – Breaking the Sauerkraut Stigma

Kapusta is a Polish dish of braised or stewed sauerkraut or cabbage, with bacon, mushroom and onion or garlic. Although I have made this the traditional way with bacon and mushroom, most of the time we prefer to have it with smoked kielbasa in place of the bacon and no mushroom. It’s not that we don’t like the original version, it’s just the kielbasa really takes the flavor meter up a notch whereas the bacon can sometimes get lost in the flavor of the sauerkraut.

Using sauerkraut in any dish can be scary. A lot of people think sauerkraut is too sour or something that you need to “aquire” a taste for. Honestly, growing up, I never liked sauerkraut — until I tasted my Little Grandma’s sauerkraut pierogi. The sauerkraut in these was so sweet and mild, that I couldn’t get enough of them. My version of kapusta calls for the sauerkraut to be prepared the same way my grandmother prepared her sauerkraut for her pierogi.  By boiling the sauerkraut and then frying it in plenty of butter, the flavor becomes mild with almost a melt-in-your-mouth quality.  For the most part, this is the only way I ever use sauerkraut.

Additionally, for the past five or so years I have only used my Homemade Sauerkraut. It is by far a better quality sauerkraut than any I have found on the market. Plus, depending on how sour your like your kraut, you can have fresh sauerkraut in anywhere from 10-30 days. The longer you let it ferment, the more sour it becomes.

If you prefer a quick, more traditional kapusta, you can drain and rinse jarred sauerkraut and mix into the other ingredients prior to baking. However you prepare sauerkraut for eating would work.


  • Servings: 6-10 Servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 1 lb. Smoke Kielbasa Sausage, grilled and sliced into bite size pieces
  • 3-4 Cups Prepared Sauerkraut (see note below)
  • Salt and Pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine prepared sauerkraut, sliced smoked kielbasa in a 2-quart casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Stir to combine.
  4. Salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Bake uncovered 30 minutes.

Cooking Note

To prepare the sauerkraut, boil 1 quart of sauerkraut in 6-8 cups water for 2 hours. If you are using store-bought sauerkraut, rinse before adding to pan. Drain sauerkraut in colander, set aside. In a large fry pan, melt 4 tbsp. butter. Saute 1 large diced onion until tender. Squeeze any excess water from the sauerkraut with your hands and add to pan.  Fry until slightly brown. Add more butter to pan as needed to keep sauerkraut from sticking. Salt and pepper to taste. This sauerkraut is perfect for use in pierogi, eating as a side dish or our favorite, on hot dogs or polish sausage hot off the grill. It is mild and buttery.

Although we don’t use mushrooms in our version, they could be added when preparing the sauerkraut. After the onion has cooked for 3-4 minutes, add 8 ounces of diced mushrooms. Continue cooking until onion is tender. 

Recipe by:  Tilly Frueh – Simply Grateful Cooking 2018

This is one of those sides that screams — “Comfort Food,” and for this I am — Simply Grateful.


One thought on “Polish Kapusta – Breaking the Sauerkraut Stigma

  1. Pingback: Kapusta Overload – Everything But The Kitchen Sink | Simply Grateful Cooking

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s