Sauerkraut Soup

With New Year’s Day finally here, people around the world are eager to start the year off right! Many people will make “good luck” meals hoping to gain good fortune throughout the new year. It is a German tradition to eat pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day. Pigs are considered a good luck symbol and symbolize moving forward into the new year. The cabbage leaves are symbolic of money, making you prosperous in the new year.

When you’re born on January 1st like me, your birthday meal is always pork and sauerkraut whether you like it or not. Growing up I dreaded eating pork and sauerkraut on my birthday, but as I have gotten older I actually kind of enjoy it. This soup is great not only for New Years Day, but any cold evening when you are craving something warm and comforting. Here’s to a New Year and sticking to all of our resolutions! 😀

Sauerkraut Soup

Yield: 3 quarts of soup


1 pound smoked sausage, such as kielbasa, diced
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup hard cider
1 (32-ounce) jar sauerkraut, drained and rinsed briefly
8 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 ½ cups peeled and cubed potatoes
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sausage is caramelized and the fat is rendered, 4 to 6 minutes.
Add the onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the cider and cook until almost completely reduced. Add the sauerkraut, broth, potatoes, thyme and pepper and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes and sauerkraut are very tender and the broth is flavorful, about 1 hour. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.

Source: adapted from Food Network

Don’t forget to check out Sweet Pea’s Kitchen Top 10 of 2011!

One Year Ago: Chicken Tikka Masala 

16 Responses to “Sauerkraut Soup”

  1. #
    Curt — January 1, 2012 @ 11:43 am

    I’m not a big fan of sauerkraut, but a couple guys I work with make their own and munch on it all the time. I’ll definitely be printing this recipe out for them. They’ll LOVE this!

  2. #
    Rachel@Time for Good Food — January 1, 2012 @ 11:57 am

    I love all these New Year’s traditions! For me, it’s collard greens and black eyed peas. However, I think I could adapt to the German tradition since I love sauerkraut. Happy birthday, by the way!

  3. #
    Just A Smidgen — January 1, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

    This is quite similar to a polish soup my niece’s mom made this year for her graduation… it would be delicious:) Happy Birthday to you!!

  4. #
    ChgoJohn — January 1, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

    I am so making tis soup. I love sauerkraut with any kind of pork and this sounds delicious! Have a wonderful birthday, Christina!

  5. #
    Lisa — January 1, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

    This looks really yummy! I need to try this! (For you folks who don’t dig on the ‘kraut: the keys to good sauerkraut are rinsing thoroughly before cooking and adding a few heaping tablespoons of brown sugar. I also always use chicken broth instead of water and toss in a couple bay leaves.)

  6. #
    Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide — January 1, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

    My stomach just started growling!

  7. #
    Marcee — January 1, 2012 @ 6:11 pm


    We had sauerkraut/mushroom soup for Christmas Eve. A pauper’s meal. With this soup, our dinner also included sweet peas, farina, boiled potato w/brown butter and shrimp. Not exactly a bargin for these foods today though. Good and hearty! One has to go easy on sauerkraut soup ….. little sips at a time. Really strong flavors.

    Ohh. So happy not to ever eat pig. Ick. I couldn’t do that. How does this animal bring good luck? Never heard that. Even so, not my thing. Would rather have less luck! Ha.

    Enjoying your blog ….. HNY 2012 ……. !

    • Christina replied: — January 2nd, 2012 @ 4:06 pm

      Lol! Happy New Year to you too! :)

  8. #
    Byn — January 1, 2012 @ 10:40 pm

    happy happy birthday! did you make yourself a birthday cake?!

  9. #
    Maris (in Good Taste) — January 2, 2012 @ 7:59 am

    I honestly feel like making this right now.Happy Birthday!

  10. #
    Chelsea — January 2, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

    What a great idea! My family eats pork and sauerkraut every year for New Year’s Day too and I always have a lot of leftovers. I usually top the sauerkraut on a hot dog but I’ll have to try this soup!

  11. #
    C Kelsey — January 3, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

    Yes, it is like the Polish Christmas tradition of Bigos. Bigos has more ingredients, kinda of like a “hunters stew”,and it is cooked longer at low temperatures and best when reheated. Our family – half Polish loves it. This is a simpler “any night” version. Thanks.

  12. #
    Danielle J. Pekalski — January 13, 2012 @ 9:50 pm

    I’ve been waiting all week to try this recipe after a fantastic kielbasi run., I tweaked the recipe a bit, I didn’t have thyme, I threw in some mushrooms (thought it would fit), and topped my bowl of soup with a bit of Polish mustard, nice kick. A very nice recipe says this Italian-Pole :)

    • Christina replied: — January 17th, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

      I am so glad that you enjoyed it! I will have to try throwing in some mushrooms next time! :)

  13. #
    Patricia F — February 11, 2012 @ 10:02 am

    I didn’t have time to cook this during the week, but really wanted it for dinner so I crock-potted it. I rendered down the kielbasa, added the celery and onions until lightly browned, then cooked down the cider. I then had to throw everything in the crock-pot on low then headed to work. It turned out so good! I think the potatoes broke down a little more then they would have if I had time to stove-top it but I my family loved it. And it reminded me of a soup I would get at the German restaurant my mom worked at when I was a kid. I topped with a dollop of sour cream. Thank you so much!

  14. #
    Stephanie Oddo — December 31, 2012 @ 11:36 am

    That soup looks delicious!

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