Sign up for sneak peeks & email updates

Want all the recipe deets & sneak peeks of what’s coming up?
Click here to subscribe to my newsletter!

Grandma’s Pork and Sauerkraut is a Simple But Delicious Heirloom Recipe

by | Sep 16, 2021 | Recipes

A simple but delicious dinner of lean, juicy pork braised in the liquid of canned or jarred sauerkraut, this Pork and Sauerkraut dish was one my Grandma made often when I was growing up. It’s a tangy, salty, and filling meal that easily comforts on the cooler weather days of Fall, Winter, and even Spring.

bite of pork and sauerkraut

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy.

Growing up, my Grandma was over at our house on a regular basis. Sometimes it would be to watch me before or after school while my Dad was at work. Other times it was just to visit. Often, she would whip up something delicious for us in the kitchen while she was over.

One of the meals she would make for us on the regular was Pork and Sauerkraut. Boy would it stink up the whole house from all that acidic kraut! It was worth the stank though, because dinner was damn delicious every time!

JUMP TO:

INGREDIENTS    SWAPS    TIPS & TRICKS    HOW-TO    RECIPE

Grandma’s Pork and Sauerkraut

Grandma’s version of pork and sauerkraut was always a very simplistic rendition of the well-known German dish. There was never any onion or caraway seeds, as is popular in most recipes you’ll find on the internet. Nor were there any apples. Heck, even the cut of pork she used varied based on whatever was on sale at the grocery store that day.

My guess is that her pared-down version stemmed from the days of her youth during the Great Depression. A time when most folks survived on the bare minimum of pantry staples and whatever fruits and veggies they’d managed to grow, harvest, and can during the Spring through Fall months. I remember her often telling me of how she, her brother, and her sister would help tend to the family garden as it was pretty much their only source of fresh food.

overheat compact shot of ingredients

Two Simple Ingredients

My Grandma’s version of pork and sauerkraut is one that lets the natural flavors of the pork and the sauerkraut shine brightly. She literally just used whatever cut of pork was the cheapest and a can or two of sauerkraut. Sometimes she added in a few dashes of black pepper too, but that was it. Just two main ingredients.

And believe it or not, it was really good! Like you keep coming back for more kinda good. It was amazing to me how craveable that tangy sauerkraut made a salty piece of pork.

Now, I’m sure there are ways to improve upon Grandma’s Pork and Sauerkraut, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to venture into those uncharted waters just yet. Until then, whenever I make pork and sauerkraut, I keep it simple. I keep it just like Grandma always made. And it satisfies every damn time I make it.

So, until the time comes when this dish falls flat for me, I’ll probably just keep making it like Grandma did.

Gonna try out this recipe?

Leave a star rating or review in the comments to let me know what you think!

Ingredients For Grandma’s Pork and Sauerkraut

overhead shot of ingredients
  • Pork – A lot of different cuts of pork will work in this dish. A lot of the time, I use boneless pork chops for this dish. But sometimes, I will do as my Grandma did and use whatever cut of pork is cheapest at the grocery store. Country Style Ribs are a great cut for this dish, and what’s shown in the pictures of this post. They’re a great balance between lean pork and enough fat tissue to keep the lean meat tender and moist; this cut I see on sale at the store often, so it’s a good, affordable option when chops are pricey.
  • Sauerkraut – Grandma always used basic sauerkraut out of a can or jar, so that’s what I do too when I make this dish. For every 3-4 pork chops your using, you’ll need 14.5 oz of sauerkraut to keep the ratio of kraut to pork as Grandma made it.
  • Olive Oil – Searing the outside of the pork with olive oil creates a golden brown exterior and a fond on the bottom of the pan that will help give the sauerkraut an enhanced flavor.
  • Salt & Pepper – I know it sounds crazy to add salt to this dish, but Grandma always seasoned her pork with salt and pepper when searing it. So I do it too.

Pin this recipe to make later!

pin graphic for pinterest

Recipe Tips & Tricks

What to Remember – Keep an eye on the level of liquid in the skillet once you add the pork back into it with the sauerkraut. You’ll want to cover the skillet to keep in as much moisture as possible. If your lid has one of those vent holes, you may need to add more water halfway through the cooking time to ensure that the pork is braised properly.

What to Avoid – Don’t fully cook the pork while you’re searing it. You just want a quick sear to get a golden brown exterior on the pork. This will create a fond in the skillet that will help bring added flavor to the sauerkraut. The pork will finish cooking once it’s added back into the skillet with the canned sauerkraut.

Ways to Use Leftovers of Grandma’s Pork and Sauerkraut – When I have leftovers of this dish and I’m tired of eating the pork and sauerkraut together, I separate them and use them in other dishes independently. Often this entails using the leftover sauerkraut as a topping on hot dogs. For the pork, I like to dice or shred it up and use it as the foundation of a taco filling.

Recipes That Go Well with Grandma’s Pork and Sauerkraut – Side dishes that go well with this recipe include my Crazy Simple One Pan Super Garlicky Green Beans and my Quick & Simple Fresh Dill Roasted Potatoes.

closeup of fork tender pork and sauerkraut on a plate

Recipe Notes

Storage – Store leftovers in an airtight glass or plastic container in the refrigerator. It’s best to store the sauerkraut and the pork together; the liquid of the sauerkraut will ensure that the pork stays moist and tender. Stored properly, leftovers of this dish will keep for 7 days.

Reheating – You can reheat leftovers of this dish either in the microwave or over medium high heat on the stove top.

Servings & Nutrition – One serving of Grandma’s Pork and Sauerkraut is about 3 oz of cooked pork and about 1/3 cup of sauerkraut. This recipe makes 4 servings. Each serving has approximately 278 calories, 5 g of carbohydrates, 30 g of protein, 15 g of fat, and 2 g of sugar. For the full recipe and additional nutritional information, please see the recipe card below.

How to Make Grandma’s Pork and Sauerkraut

Step 1. Add half of the olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Let the oil warm through for about a minute. Then, add half of your pork to the skillet and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Sear the chops until they are golden brown on the bottom, about 2-3 minutes.

seared pork in a skillet

Step 2. Using a fork or pair of kitchen tongs, flip the pork over and season with another pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, then remove the pork from the skillet and set aside on a plate. Repeat this process with the remaining pork using what’s left of the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Transfer the seared pork to the plate with the the pork that was already seared.

Step 3. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the canned sauerkraut to the skillet. Stir the sauerkraut to loosen the fond from the bottom of the skillet (this will turn your sauerkraut a slightly brownish color). Cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until the sauerkraut is at a gentle boil.

sauerkraut in a skillet

Step 4. Add the seared pork back to the skillet (including any juices collected on the plate from the seared pork). Be sure to nestle each piece of pork into the sauerkraut. Add the water to the skillet and then cover the pan. Cook for another 30 minutes, or until the pork is fork tender.

seared pork with sauerkraut in a skillet

If you make this recipe, tag me in your photos on Instagram—I love seeing what you guys decided to make!

Frequently Asked Questions

You mentioned country style pork ribs are a good cut of pork for this dish; what are country style pork ribs?

Country style pork ribs aren’t actually rib meat. They’re typically boneless and a piece of meat taken from either the shoulder of the pig or the end of the loin that is nearest the shoulder. The meat is then cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch thick strips similar to the shape of actual pork ribs. Country style pork ribs are usually more lean than they are fatty.

Can this pork and sauerkraut dish be made ahead of time?

Yes! In fact, the longer the pork is in the acidic liquid of the sauerkraut, the better. I often make this dish and have leftovers up to a week later. My experience with the pork on Day 7 is just as good as it was on Day 1, if not better.

This recipe makes more than my family can use at a time; can leftover pork and sauerkraut be frozen for later use?

Absolutely! Place the leftover pork and sauerkraut (and the sauerkraut liquid) in an airtight glass or plastic container or an airtight plastic bag. Frozen leftovers of this dish will last up to 2 months when stored properly in the freezer.

Other Recipes You May Enjoy

close up of seared pork in skillet with sauerkraut

Grandma's Pork and Sauerkraut

Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Pork braised in the liquid of canned or jarred sauerkraut results in a fork-tender tangy, salty, filling meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pork chops (approx. 4 chops), divided
  • 1 14.5 oz can shredded sauerkraut
  • 4 pinches salt, more to taste if needed
  • 4 pinches black pepper, more to taste if needed
  • 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 oz water

Instructions

1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add ½ of the olive oil and let oil warm for about a minute.

2. Add half of the pork chops to the pan and season with a pinch of salt and a pinch of black pepper. Sear the chops for 2-3 minutes or until chops are golden brown on the bottom.

3. Turn pork chops over, season with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper and continue to cook another 2-3 minutes.

4. Remove pork chops and set aside on a plate. Repeat process with the remaining pork chops using the remainder of the olive oil, salt, and pepper.

5. Remove the second set of pork chops from the pan and place on the plate with the first set of pork chops.

6. Reduce heat to medium low and add can of sauerkraut to the pan; stir sauerkraut to get the fond from the chops off of the bottom of the pan (this will turn your sauerkraut a medium brown color).

7. Place the pork chops on top of the sauerkraut (including any juices collected on the plate from the chops).

8. Pour the water over the pork chops and then cover pan and cook an additional 30 minutes or until pork chops are fork tender.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 pork chop and 1/4 of sauerkraut
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 278Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 921mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 30g

This nutrition data is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. Please keep in mind that your specific nutritional values may vary based on the brand of ingredients you use to make this recipe.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

Leave a review below or tag @sweetsavorynsassy on Instagram and hashtag it #sweetsavoryandsassy so I can see your photos!!

Share this Post:

Welcome to Sweet, Savory & Sassy!

About photo

Hey there! I’m Krystal, the sassy-mouthed, self-taught, home cook behind the content here at Sweet, Savory & Sassy. I have a deep love for sharing food with people and showing folks just how easy it really is to make dishes that will bring a little extra joy to those you love. There’s nothing like making something special for friends and family and seeing their face light up in delight during that first bite!
Get to know more about me…

Recent Posts

10 Easy Recipes Perfect for Your Super Bowl Party

10 Easy Recipes Perfect for Your Super Bowl Party

The big game is just a few days away...what are you making for your Super Bowl party spread? If you're looking for inspiration and easy recipes that please any crowd, then check out this assortment of 10 appetizers and sweet treats that are super simple to make!...

Kale and Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Kale and Sausage Stuffed Peppers

These Kale and Sausage Stuffed Peppers are the perfect weeknight meal anytime you need something quick, easy, and filling. Low in carbs and high in protein, they're stuffed with a savory combination of Italian sausage, curly kale, mushrooms, onions, and fresh garlic....

Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili

Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili

This Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili is sweet, spicy, and perfect for the chilly weather of Fall and Winter. It's loaded with butternut squash, black beans, tomatoes, onions, red bell pepper, and fresh garlic in a thick, well-seasoned beef broth. As soon as the...

Popular Posts

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to Recipe