Easy Sauerkraut Soup

This Is An Easy Sauerkraut Soup Recipe For Those Cold Days – Or Any Day!

Want to make a delicious sauerkraut soup? You’re definitely not alone! Sauerkraut soup – or Sauerkrautsuppe, in German – is a wonderfully warm, flavorful, and hearty dish.

Made from a few simple veggies, some bacon, and a heap of sauerkraut – also known as fermented cabbage – this is a pretty easy soup to make. It goes really well with fresh crusty bread!

bowl of german sauerkraut soup with green pot behind
Our sauerkraut soup always tastes great…

Different Versions of Sauerkraut Soup

To be fair, there are many, many different types and recipes for sauerkraut soup. That’s because sauerkraut isn’t just popular in German – it’s popular across many other countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

Two popular versions are Polish and Ukrainian sauerkraut soups (they are a bit different than this recipe). There are also versions that are more creamy than ours while others feature more of a tomato-based broth.

The soup recipe in this post is similar to the sauerkraut soup that Lisa ate in Germany. It’s for a classic German-style potato sauerkraut soup.

That said, there is also a similar version of this soup in Hungarian cuisine but it tends to utilize more meats than our version. Both the Hungarian version and ours definitely make use of paprika and sour cream, though.

Recipe Tips & Substitutions

Before you get cooking this yummy soup, definitely read through these recipe tips and modifications so that you know what you’re facing!

  • Make sure to check the ingredients label for the sauerkraut you are buying. Knowing how it was prepared (in vinegar or with salt) can help you understand what steps you should to take before cooking. If the sauerkraut contains vinegar, we would recommend squeezing out any excess liquid – or even rinsing it if you don’t like a strong vinegar flavor. If the sauerkraut is just made with salt, there’s no need to do anything.
  • For authentic German recipes, we usually use Schinkenspeck (a type of German bacon). If you can find it at a European deli, feel free to use it. Otherwise, we would recommend using Italian pancetta bacon since it is often widely available in North American grocery stores.
  • If you’d like your sauerkraut soup to contain more meat feel free to add some European-style wiener sauasages, knackwurst, or similar (make sure they don’t need to be cooked first). Add them towards the end when the potatoes are cooked to get hot.
bowl of sauerkraut soup on wooden serving board
Look at all that delicious cabbage.

How to Make Sauerkraut Soup – Step by Step Instructions

If you want to make this sauerkraut soup recipe, you can find the complete recipe card at the bottom of this post.

For those wanting to follow along with the recipe process photos, you can find them in this section.

That way, if you have any questions about how to make it, you can see how we did it.

chopped onions and whole garlic on white plastic cutting board
Chop the onion and garlic.

Fist, peel the onions and chop them into small pieces. Also, peel and cut up the garlic or press it through a garlic press.

potatoes chopped up on wooden cutting board
Cut the potato.

Peel the potato and cut it into small pieces as well.

sauerkraut in metallic strainer in sink
Drain the sauerkraut.

Drain the sauerkraut and squeeze out any excess liquid. This is important if you’re using sauerkraut that is kept in a vinegar-based solution.

If you don’t squeeze out some of the liquid, the soup will taste very vinegary. In case you really like a strong vinegar flavor, then feel free to skip this step.

chopped pancetta bacon in bottom of pot on stove
Fry the pancetta bacon.

If the pancetta bacon isn’t already pre-cut, cut it into small cubes. Then heat oil in a large pot, then add the pancetta bacon and fry it on medium-high heat for around 5 minutes until the fatty pieces appear clear.

chopped onions and pancetta bacon in bottom of pot on stove
Add the onion.

Then add the chopped onion pieces and sauté them on medium heat for around 5-6 minutes until translucent. Stir regularly.

potatoes onions and pancetta in pot on stove
Add the potato and garlic.

Once the onions are soft and the pancetta bacon has browned slightly, add the chopped potato and garlic. Sauté them for 2-3 minutes as well.

wooden spoon in pot with sauerkraut soup
Add the paprika and tomato paste.

Next, add the tomato paste and paprika powder. Stir everything together.

pot of sauerkraut with wooden spoon inside
Add the sauerkraut.

Now add the sauerkraut to the pot and give everything a stir.

broth added to sauerkraut soup in large pot on stove
Add the broth.

Then pour in enough vegetable broth so that it covers the contents in the pot.

In our case, this is 4 cups of broth but it might be slightly more or less for you.

Bring the broth to a boil, then place the lid on the pot and turn down the heat. Let the soup simmer for around 25-30 minutes or until the potato pieces are soft.

sour cream on top of sauerkraut soup in large pot
Add salt, peper, and sour cream.

Add salt and pepper to taste and remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the sour cream.

white bowl of sauerkraut soup on wooden board
A delicious bowl of sauerkraut soup!

Serve the soup hot with some fresh crusty bread.

Storage Tips

You can keep any leftovers of the sauerkraut soup in a sealed container in the fridge after it has cooled off. Consume it within 2-3 days.

To reheat the soup, you can microwave small portions or place it back in a pot and reheat it on the stove on low.

FAQ

When making sauerkraut soup do you use canned kraut?

Yes, you can use canned kraut. Sauerkraut soup can be made with any type of sauerkraut – jarred, bagged, fresh, etc.

Do you drain bagged sauerkraut before cooking?

Usually, yes. This is especially true if the bagged sauerkraut is kept in a vinegar-based solution (as opposed to a salty one). Leaving the liquid in might throw off the flavors of the soup.

What to serve with sauerkraut soup for dinner?

Sauerkraut soup can be served with some thick-cut crusty bread. You can also pair it with meat (like pork loin) as these two flavors (fermented cabbage and roast pork) go well together.

How do you make sauerkraut soup?

There are lots of different ways to make sauerkraut soup. It’s as simple as chopping and cooking vegetables and meat, adding in sauerkraut and broth, and simmering until everything is soft. You can find our German sauerkraut soup recipe below.

Related Recipes

For more great German soup recipes, check out these classics below:

white bowl of sauerkraut soup on wooden board

Easy Sauerkraut Soup

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

This easy Sauerkraut soup is simply delicious. Made with lots of sauerkraut, potatoes, onions, bits of pancetta bacon, and a bunch of yummy spices, it's a warm, hearty soup for any cabbage lover!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized yellow onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium-large potato
  • 5 ounces pancetta bacon
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 4 cups sauerkraut
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons sour cream

Instructions

  1. First, peel the onions and the potato and chop both into small pieces. Also, peel and cut up the garlic or press it through a garlic press.
  2. Drain the sauerkraut and squeeze out any excess liquid. This is especially important if you're using sauerkraut that is kept in a vinegar-based solution. If you don't squeeze out some of the liquid, the soup will taste very vinegary.
  3. Cut the pancetta bacon into small pieces if it's not already pre-cut.
  4. Heat oil in a large pot, then add the pancetta bacon and fry it on medium-high heat for around 5 minutes until the fatty pieces appear clear. Then add the chopped onion pieces and sauté them on medium heat for around 5-6 minutes until translucent. Stir regularly.
  5. Once the onions are soft and the pancetta bacon has browned slightly, add the chopped potato and garlic. Sauté them for 2-3 minutes as well.
  6. Next, add the tomato paste and paprika powder. Stir everything together.
  7. Now add the sauerkraut to the pot and give everything a stir. Then pour in enough vegetable broth so that it covers the contents in the pot. In our case, this is 4 cups of broth but it might be slightly more or less for you.
  8. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil, then place the lid on the pot and turn down the heat. Let the soup simmer for around 25-30 minutes or until the potato pieces are soft.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste and remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the sour cream.
  10. Serve the soup hot with some fresh crusty bread.

Notes

  • In Germany, sauerkraut is usually only made with salt and in some cases, wine is added. In North America, jarred sauerkraut often also has vinegar and other ingredients added to it - that can make it quite strongly flavored. If you want a milder - and more authentically German flavor - try buying German sauerkraut in the international section of your grocery store. Hengstenberg Mildessa and Kuehe are two popular brands that are often available in North America.
  • We traditionally use Schinkenspeck for this recipe. However, since this can be hard to find in North America, we often substitute it with pancetta bacon and it works well.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 366Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 2161mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 8gSugar: 9gProtein: 11g

This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice.

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