Uses for sauerkraut in meals can go as far as your imagination goes, but if you are lacking inspiration when it comes to fermented foods, this post is for you. Learn how to include sauerkraut into just about any kind of meal in ways that your whole family will love.
Tips included here go way beyond topping your next hot dog or Reuben sandwich with sauerkraut! Adding sauerkraut to your daily routine should be a goal because sauerkraut benefits your health in so many ways.
Don’t worry! A tablespoon of fresh sauerkraut a day isn’t going to break anyone’s sodium goal either.
Included are easy ways to use sauerkraut in your meals and how dietitians incorporate this healthy fermented food into their diets too.
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Tips for making the best sauerkraut dishes
In order to get the most out of your sauerkraut, there are some tips you should consider.
- Buy fresh or raw sauerkraut-it not only tastes better than canned sauerkraut, it has lots of live probiotics in it to support healthy immune function and gut health.
- Add sauerkraut at the end of cooking, add into cold dishes, or at the table when possible to preserve the fresh taste and keep the probiotics active. Ideally, the temperature should be at 110 degrees Fahrenheit or less to keep the sauerkraut potent as can be, according to Tejal Pathak, MS, RD, LD, CDCES.
- While sauerkraut is the healthiest raw, using it in cooking helps to tenderize and flavor slow-cooked meals beautifully. Plus, you still retain many of the benefits of fermented foods when cooking with it. I recommend using it both in cold dishes and hot dishes for this reason.
- Save money and get the best-tasting sauerkraut by making your own. Sauerkraut tastes the best of all when it is homemade. Learn how to make sauerkraut in my 22 benefits of raw sauerkraut post.
- For skeptics of sauerkraut, try mincing it up or blending it and then mixing it into foods-most of the time picky eaters won’t even know it is there.
Uses for sauerkraut at breakfast
If you are trying to get more probiotic foods into your breakfast, turn to sauerkraut. It is so easy to add it to just about any breakfast entree!
Here are some favorite ways to use sauerkraut at breakfast:
1. Top your scrambled eggs with sauerkraut.
2. Blend a spoonful of sauerkraut into your morning veggie juice.
3. Sprinkle your breakfast hash with sauerkraut.
4. Add a scoop into your green smoothie.
5. Dice up some sauerkraut and add it to your breakfast casseroles.
6. Make a breakfast sausage with diced sauerkraut in it.
7. Give your avocado toast some tangy flavor by topping it with some minced sauerkraut.
8. Serve up a Cheesy Egg Pita Sandwich by Lindsey Pine, MS, RDN. Serv it on gluten-free toast for a gluten-free version.
9. Make a potato pancake with sauerkraut by adding minced sauerkraut to the batter.
The only breakfast food I can’t envision adding sauerkraut to is maple syrup pancakes, but who knows. Get creative and let me know what you try!
Sauerkraut lunch ideas
There are many uses for sauerkraut in your lunch dishes too. According to Bonnie Nasar, RDN, at Nasar Nutrition, she loves topping salads with fermented cabbage because it adds a satisfying crunch and some tangy flavor, as well as fiber and probiotics.
Another great lunch recipe with sauerkraut? Finely chop up some sauerkraut and add it to deviled eggs or egg salad, according to Jan Patenaude, RDN.
Healthy sauerkraut recipes for lunch often don’t require a recipe at all. Uses for sauerkraut at lunch are endless. Simply add a spoonful to the following meals.
Lunch sauerkraut mix-ins
10. Mix in a tablespoon of diced sauerkraut into tuna salad.
11. Deli Sandwiches are elevated by mincing some sauerkraut, stirring it into mayonnaise, and spreading it on your next ham and cheese sandwich.
12. Add some tangy flavor to chicken wraps by spreading a layer of sauerkraut on it before rolling it up.
13. Don’t forget the classic Reuben sandwich with sauerkraut, swiss cheese, thousand island dressing, and corned beef (I toast it up with gluten-free bread).
14. Dice up some cooked potatoes, onion, and sauerkraut and mix in some avocado mayonnaise for an easy potato sauerkraut salad recipe that has probiotics.
15. Make any soup tasty by turning it into sauerkraut soup. Add a tablespoon of chopped sauerkraut to any type of soup when you are ready to serve it.
16. For a spicy lunch, use kimchi sauerkraut instead of regular sauerkraut in any of the tips above.
Tip: Why hide the flavor of sauerkraut? How about featuring it by making a sauerkraut salad instead. Simply add a jar of fresh sauerkraut, your favorite vegetables, and your favorite dressing. Bring this to a family gathering or pack some in your lunches during the week.
Sauerkraut Dinner Recipes
Typical dinner recipes with sauerkraut involve some type of sausage or pork that is slow-cooked with sauerkraut. According to Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN, she loves it in a salad for everyday enjoyment but also cooks brats or kielbasa with sautéed onions and sauerkraut. “I also love it in the slow cooker with pork chops, maybe with some red potatoes in there.”
According to Kathery Castner, RDN, the traditional way to serve sauerkraut in Germany as the main dish is stewed in chicken broth (or the drippings of a meat roast) until tender and serve warm. Can’t beat the original! She uses this recipe for Bavarian Sauerkraut from Allrecipes.com.
While those two types of main dishes are tasty, most people only have these types of meals occasionally. For sauerkraut health benefits, you are going to want to include it regularly in your diet.
Here is where you can get really creative with recipes using sauerkraut.
Cooking with sauerkraut is almost foolproof. Not only does the sauerkraut enhance the flavor of all of these dishes, but it also helps enhance your digestive health when you eat them.
Dinner sauerkraut mix-ins
17. Take sauerkraut to any type of cuisine. Why not dice up some sauerkraut and add it to a chicken stir fry or a vegetable stir fry? It adds extra flavor and complements the texture.
18. Top any potato dish with sauerkraut. It goes especially well with mashed potatoes but also is tasty on baked potatoes or sweet potatoes.
19. My favorite way to use sauerkraut is to add it as a topping on tacos. It is really yummy.
20. Dice it up and add it to sour cream next time you make enchiladas.
21. Make a savory meatloaf by mixing in some chopped sauerkraut before you bake it.
22. Top a burger with it, but also try mincing it up and cooking it in the burger too.
23. Indian curries taste great with sauerkraut as a condiment.
24. Make your chili a little more savory by adding some chopped sauerkraut to your bowl of chili at the table.
25. It’s also easy to make Italian meals with sauerkraut. Mix in about a half cup of minced sauerkraut into your next batch of marinara or meat sauce right before serving it.
26. Many sauerkraut recipes add it to slow cooker pork or chicken while cooking but also try adding it after cooking for a fresher taste.
27. Add a scoopful of chopped sauerkraut to chili-it’s delicious.
28. Make any comfort food truly more comforting to the belly by topping it with sauerkraut.
Sauerkraut in dressings and condiments
Try making salad dressings and condiments even tastier and healthier by blending in a tablespoon or so of sauerkraut.
Here are some ways to incorporate sauerkraut recipes into everyday toppings in your diet:
29. Give your thousand island dressing some extra flavor by adding in some minced sauerkraut.
30. Italian dressing tastes great if you blend in some sauerkraut too using a blender.
31. Mix some chopped sauerkraut and sour cream together and top a sweet potato or baked potato with it.
32. For savory cream cheese, mix in some minced sauerkraut and chives, then top with some smoked salmon if you wish.
33. Puree into ketchup and mustard- elevate your burger toppings by blending them together with sauerkraut.
34. Steak sauces get an extra zing with pureed sauerkraut by simply blending them together and serving on your next grilled sirloin. Add it to some horseradish too!
35. Make any condiment extra gut-friendly by adding some caraway seeds and sauerkraut.
Sauerkraut Appetizer Ideas
A popular way to add sauerkraut to your plate is by adding it to appetizers. There are infinite ways to fit in some fermented vegetables like sauerkraut such as:
36. Make a jalapeno kraut popper like this one.
37. Have a warm and gluten-Free Sauerkraut bun Hors d’oeuvres.
38. Make a tasty Reuben dip from Taste of Home website recipes.
39. Mix up sauerkraut spread with cream cheese, gorgonzola, bacon, and tomato.
40. Sauerkraut and Kielbasa Nachos are a new twist on classic nachos.
41. Dish up some crackers and cheese; top it off with a little bit of sauerkraut and diced red pepper.
42. Make your next plate of traditional nachos topped with some savory sauerkraut.
Last, but not least, you can add some sauerkraut juice to drinks.
43. These include drinks like cocktails, such as dirty martinis, bloody mary drinks, or Caesars. It complements the flavors of savory drinks quite nicely.
- Just make sure to drink moderately and responsibly.
44. Add a couple of ounces to some carrot juice or celery juice too for a healthier option.
45. Use sauerkraut juice instead of juice in a smoothie.
46. Drink it as a healthy gut shot-2 ounces of sauerkraut brine for a healthy probiotic drink. You might be surprised to find out that sauerkraut juice is also a calming drink.
Uses for sauerkraut in meals, appetizers, and snacks are really exciting and surprisingly tasty. Don’t limit yourself to a hot dog or bratwurst; add sauerkraut into dishes daily for the best health benefits.
Heidi Moretti, MS, RD is The Healthy RD. A registered dietitian for 23 years as well as a book author of the new book Gut Fix and The Whole Body Guide to Gut Health, Heidi has a passion for functional nutrition and natural medicine. She has researched supplements and natural medicine throughout her career. One of her biggest loves is helping people gain function and vitality by tackling the root causes of illness.