Beer and Brown Sugar Kielbasa & Sauerkraut

Two major disclaimers right off the bat:

#1: I have never been a fan of kielbasa.
#2: I am even less of a fan of sauerkraut.

Yet, I am hopelessly in love with this recipe. It doesn’t make logical sense. And yet, the stars somehow aligned. Could it be that beer and brown sugar make all the difference? Given the magical powers of both, it’s certainly possible. Back on the 4th of July, my Chief Culinary Consultant and I went to his friend’s house for a cookout. He mentioned there was kielbasa and sauerkraut (which I typically pass right over), and as a footnote said that they were cooked in beer and brown sugar. My ears shot up faster than a dog who hears a bread bag being rustled (or a peanut butter jar open, or a banana being peeled. Okay, my dog is weird!). I had to try it, even though I still kind of thought I wouldn’t really be crazy about it. Forget being crazy about it, or even liking it, I loved it. Afterward, I was sorry that I had filled up on so many side dishes because I was dying for another sandwich but was too full.

Over the last few months we reminisced about how great those kielbasa sandwiches were and how we needed to get the recipe from his friend. Finally last weekend we scored the recipe, and within hours had it simmering away in the crock-pot. This recipe honestly couldn’t be any easier to make – less than 10 minutes to get everything into your slow cooker, and then let it do the work. As with most things like this, the longer you let it cook the better it will taste. The kielbasa becomes so tender that it melts in your mouth, and the sauerkraut takes on a sweet flavor – delicious! If you’re a kielbasa and/or sauerkraut-averse person, take it from one of your brethren – you NEED to give this a shot!

This is perfect for football game days, and even for late Oktoberfest celebrations. Enjoy!

One year ago: The Baked Brownie
Two years ago: Black Bean Mushroom Burgers
Three years ago:  Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake
Four years ago: Sweet Dinner Rolls

Beer and Brown Sugar Kielbasa & Sauerkraut

Yield: About 10 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 to 10 hours

Total Time: 4 to 10 hours


12 ounces beer (can or bottle)
1 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
3 pounds polish kielbasa
1 bag (or jar) sauerkraut (32 ounces), drained


1. Combine the beer and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, until the sugar melts and the mixture is slightly thickened; set aside.

2. Cut the kielbasa into links and place in a slow cooker. Cover with the drained sauerkraut. Pour the beer and brown sugar mixture over top. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours, or on low for 8 to 10 hours. (We ended up doing a combination - high for 3 hours and then low for another 3 or so. Definitely the longer it cooks the better it tastes!)

3. Serve on its own or on your favorite sandwich roll.

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158 Responses to “Beer and Brown Sugar Kielbasa & Sauerkraut”

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  1. Linda on January 21, 2014 at 3:17 am

    This looks so good, but I live in China and can’t find kiebasa or kraut. It will go in my “Recipes to Try” file.


  2. Kathy on February 24, 2014 at 12:43 am

    I love love love this recipe! The only thing I change is the way I eat it. I like it on a plate with cornbread and fresh sliced sweet onion as sides. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!


  3. Andrea on May 30, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    I made this for dinner last night and it was amazing! 5 stars!


  4. Nancy Long on July 7, 2014 at 10:02 am

    oh my, hubby will love me forever and I just happen to have everything on hand!


  5. Paula on July 8, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    We had this tonight, and it was soooooo good! Thanks for sharing!


  6. Lacey on July 9, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    I have been making this for years and absolutely love it. It’s even good baked in the oven so the brown sugar makes the top of the dish a little crunchy. You don’t have to limit yourself to just kielbasa. You can also use polish sausage, fried pork chops, brats, etc. DELICIOUS! I like a bit of mustard to top it all off.


  7. Char James-Tanny on July 11, 2014 at 10:21 am

    I found this recipe through your crockpot mac & cheese and tried it yesterday.
    It was a huge hit! My husband loved it :-) Thank you!


  8. Ashley on August 5, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Did you use the precooked kielbasa ?


    • Michelle on August 5th, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      Yes, it’s the only kind I’ve ever eaten!


  9. mamabair on September 1, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    thank you for a large crowd entertaining recipe


  10. sakurabean on September 14, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    I couldn’t find kielbasa so I had to use brats…cut them into bite size pieces so we can use them as an hors d’ouvres served on thinly sliced, toasted french bread. It’s cooking now…I hope it turns out!


  11. Amy on September 15, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    I have been looking forward to making this for two weeks. I finally got all the ingredients and put them in the crockpot. Then, I reread the recipe and realized I forgot to drain the kraut! I hope it comes out OK.


    • Amy on September 16th, 2014 at 11:52 pm

      It came out great!! I will make this again!!


  12. Lynne on September 21, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    I made this with a Guinness beer and dark brown sugar. I only bought 2lb of kielbasa, but all the rest of the ingredients the same, and it makes a ton! It was enjoyed by all, it makes the kielbasa very tender. I will definitely make this again, but for a crowd.


  13. Diana on September 23, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Made this for the first time yesterday and it was a HUGE hit!! Thank you so much for posting – everyone loved it!! I have never had a bad recipe from here! LOVE the site!!


  14. Vicky on October 10, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    This looks and sounds delicious! It’s in the crock as I type. I used a 1/2 c. brown sugar, and it’s plenty sweet. I saved a little sauer kraut juice just in case it was too sweet. I also added a 1/2 sliced onion. I’ll be back after we eat!



    • Vicky on October 10th, 2014 at 6:43 pm

      WOW, WOW,WOW! We loved this! A lot! Just the right amount of sweet and tart. We used spicy brow mustard on our sandwiches. Next time, I think I’ll let the kraut and sauce go on high for 2 hours, reduce to low and add the sausage. I am a kraut and sausage Slovakian girl, so this was perfect for me. The DH is Polish and Lithuanian so this was a comfort food for him too. I will look for a crusty roll next time. Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe.



  15. Terri on October 11, 2014 at 9:24 am

    I do not have a crock pot; do you think the recipe will turn out good in the oven and if so what temperature and how long should I bake it for. thank you so much. Terri


    • Michelle on October 13th, 2014 at 11:24 am

      Hi Terri, I’ve never tried it in the oven, although I’m sure it could be done. I’d do it low (300 to 325 degrees) for quite a few hours. It may take some trial and error to figure out what combination of temperature and time works best.


      • Terri on October 13th, 2014 at 12:59 pm

        Michelle, Sent you an e-mail. Thank you so much for this information. I baked this recipe in the oven on 225 degrees for three hours and it was YUMMY!!! Thank you, my husband loved your Kielbsa and Sauerkrat recipe.


  16. Kelly on October 15, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I’m a little late commenting on this. My son had 8 young men over to the house and I made a double batch of this and they absolutely LOVED it! I will definitely be making this again for get togethers and just for an easy and relaxing weekend dish. I’ve never spent such little time making something so delicious.


  17. Spangela on October 21, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    This recipe looks delicious, but unfortunately, it did not work out for me. I reduced the brown sugar to about 3/4 cup based on previous comments, and cooked it on low for 8 hours. The sausage was falling apart and most unexpectedly, it took on an Asian flavor. It had a moo shu type flavor which seemed to be from the brown sugar and cabbage (which is what sauerkraut is) combination. I was so excited for the recipe but won’t make it again.


  18. Carol de on November 16, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Made this tonight to watch the eagles play with friends. Thank god this was amazing. Took the sting of that eagles loss away just a little. Didn’t get to cook it as long as l would have liked and can’t imagine how much better it will be if I do!!


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