I’ve been in love with this soup for as long as I remember :) The intense flavor of quality sauerkraut combined with the smoked sausages and pork knuckle gives this soup a very specific flavor that’s impossible to substitute with anything else.
Proper sauerkraut soup must be thick, it’s basically a main dish on its own and it’s oven served at gatherings or parties. This soup is your friend when you need to feed lots of people at the same time, since it’s easy to cook in large quantities.
Sauerkraut soup is very popular in my country and all over central Europe. Basically every family has their own recipe, using some signature ingredient to make their version unique. It might be a specific meat type, some seasoning, some people add dried mushrooms or a specific sausage type… there are no limits so to speak.
I have my own version too and that’s what I’d like to show you today. Let’s start cooking 🙂
My Sauerkraut Soup Ingredients
This soup requires quite a bit of ingredients, but don’t get scared by it, the recipe is actually very easy to follow.
1kg (2 lbs) sauerkraut
0.5kg (1lb) smoked pork knuckle
100g (3.5oz) pork lard
150g (5oz) bacon
200g (7oz) smoked sausage
6-8 cloves garlic
2 tsp red paprika
2 tbsp. flour (all purpose / finely grained)
3 bay leaves
5 allspice corns
1 tsp caraway
handful of chopped parsley
10 prunes or dried plums
2 bouillon cubes
1-2 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried marjoram
chives and sour cream for garnish
water or broth/stock
salt & pepper to taste
How To Cook This Sauerkraut Soup
Watch the video or scroll down for step-by-step instructions:
TIP: Soups are generally very forgiving and this sauerkraut soup recipe is no different, so take the instructions for what they are. It doesn’t really matter if you do not follow the cooking times to the T, for example. You don’t need to measure the ingredients exactly either, a bit more or less of the bacon, sausages or meat won’t make any significant difference.
1. Dice 3-4 medium sized onions and sautee these on pork lard. You can also use vegetable oil, but lard gives this sauerkraut soup the right flavor. Once the onions become translucent, add sliced garlic (3-4 cloves), about 150g (5oz) diced bacon and 200g (7oz) sliced smoked sausage. Sautee for about 10 minutes.
2. In with about 2 tsp of red paprika and 2 tbsp of flour, all purpose or any finely grained type is fine. Keep stirring and add a cup of water. Stir some more to make sure no lumps have formed from the flour.
3. Add the sauerkraut now, I’ve used 1kg (about 2lbs) which is about right for this 4L (4 quarts) pot. Add about 2 liters (8 cups) of water, make sure the kraut is fully submerged. Season with salt and black pepper, add the allspice corns and crushed caraway seeds. Cover the pot and cook for about 30 minutes.
Tip: Since I’m using water, I will be adding 2 bouillon cubes later on. If you have broth or stock at hand, you can use that and skip the bouillon cubes.
4. It’s time to add some meat to give our sauerkraut soup the right texture. I’m using smoked pork knuckle, but some people prefer pork shoulder or even some type of beef. Smoked pork is my favorite, because it adds the extra smoky flavor and it’s already “done” which shortens the overall cooking time of the soup significantly.
We also need to add about a handful of chopped flat leaf parsley, 3 bay leaves and about 10 prunes. Cover the pot again and simmer for another 30 minutes.
5. The next step is to add the bouillon cubes and crushed garlic, about 3 cloves. And again, cover and simmer for 30 more minutes.
6. It’s time to give our sauerkraut soup a taste. It’s quite likely more salt will be needed, don’t be shy with it, this type of soup has to be intense in flavor. Depending on what sauerkraut type you have used, you might need to add sugar. I added 1 tablespoon, but definitely feel free to add more if you find the soup too sour.
7. Simmer the soup for a few minutes, to make sure the salt and sugar have had a chance to dissolve fully. Taste the soup again and if you like the taste it’s time for one last thing: dried crushed marjoram. This is a pretty important ingredient as it gives the soup a nice fragrant touch.
Once the marjoram is in, cook for just 10 more minutes or it might turn bitter. We are done and it’s time to serve. This is optional, but I like to garnish the soup with chopped chives or parsley and a big tablespoon of sour cream on top. Enjoy.
- Don’t want to use bouillon cubes but you don’t have any broth or stock at hand? Cook the pork knuckle in salted water for about an hour separately. You will make your own broth this way.
- It’s totally fine to make this sauerkraut soup as spicy as you prefer. Hot paprika or chilli is your friend.
- Some sauerkraut types are VERY sour and that’s not for everyone. If you happen to buy such a brand, simply rinse the kraut with water gently. Just do not overdo this, you need some sourness in the soup.
- Not sure how to choose the right sauerkraut? Check out my baked chicken legs with sauerkraut recipe for instructions.
- Dried mushrooms are a great addition and they go really well with this sauerkraut soup. You can use pretty much any type, just keep in mind some types (such as shiitake) need to be soaked in water before use. Add them at the same time as the water.
Sauerkraut Soup Recipe
- 1 kg sauerkraut
- 0.5 kg smoked pork knuckle
- 100 g pork lard
- 150 g bacon
- 200 g smoked sausage
- 3-4 onions
- 6-8 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp red paprika
- 2 tbsp. flour all purpose / finely grained
- 3 bay leaves
- 5 allspice corns
- 1 tsp caraway
- handful of chopped parsley
- 10 prunes or dried plums
- 2 bouillon cubes
- 1-2 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tsp dried marjoram
- chives and sour cream for garnish
- water or broth/stock
- salt & pepper to taste
- Dice 3-4 medium sized onions and sautee these on pork lard. Once the onions become translucent, add sliced garlic (3-4 cloves), about 150g (5oz) diced bacon and 200g (7oz) sliced smoked sausage. Sautee for a few more minutes.
- Add 2 tsp of red paprika and 2 tbsp of flour. Keep stirring and add a cup of water. Stir some more to make sure no lumps have formed.
- Add 1kg (about 2lbs) sauerkraut now. Add about 2 liters (8 cups) of water, make sure the kraut is fully submerged. Season with salt and black pepper, add the allspice corns and crushed caraway seeds. Cook for 30 minutes.
- Add about 500g (1lb) smoked pork knuckle and a handful of chopped flat leaf parsley, 3 bay leaves and about 10 prunes. Simmer for another 30 minutes.
- Add the bouillon cubes and crushed garlic, about 3 cloves. And again, cover and simmer for 30 more minutes.
- Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper if needed. In case the soup is too sour for your likings, add 1-2 tablespoons of sugar. Cook for a few minutes to make sure the salt and sugar have dissolved.
- Add the last ingredient: dried marjoram (2 tsp). Cook for 10 more minutes and we are done.