Making a Delicious Pork and Sauerkraut Recipe

Dec 15, 2023 / MIN READ

Embrace chilly evenings with a pork and sauerkraut recipe, perfect for sharing with loved ones. This culinary classic is not only delicious but with the help of an Instant Pot, the cooking process is quick and easy, too. Dive into our guide, uncovering the steps to crafting this dish to perfection, so you can enjoy flavorsome joy with the entire family.

Read on as we explore the step-by-step instructions for making pork and sauerkraut and the tips and tricks to keep in mind for the best results.

Hearty comfort: Choose pork and sauerkraut for fall and winter nights

Where did the classic pairing of succulent pork loin roast and tangy sauerkraut originate? According to the German Food Guide, this tradition can be traced back to Germany. Germans and other pig-raising cultures have been enjoying these dishes for centuries as a promise of good luck. The dish quickly became a staple New Year's meal once the custom made its way to the United States in the 17th and 18th centuries.

While pork and sauerkraut are steeped in New Year's lore, this delectable classic is a comforting feast, tailor-made for all of your fall and winter family gatherings. Its simplicity and heartiness make it an inviting option, offering a little extra warmth to your loved ones on chilly nights. What's more, choosing the convenience of an Instant Pot or pressure cooker guarantees a delightful dinner, even during the most hectic weeknights.

A step-by-step guide to making pork and sauerkraut at home

Serves: 6-8
Prep Time: 10
Cook time: 45


Directions to make pork and sauerkraut in a pressure cooker

  • Step 1: Start by cutting your boneless pork loin into large 2-3-inch chunks. Place these pork pieces in your Instant Pot.
  • Step 2: Pour in the apple juice and olive oil, then add the apple, onion and garlic to the pressure cooker. Top with sauerkraut.
  • Step 3: Next, cook on high pressure for 15 minutes: Hit Cook Time/Pressure Cook and use the +/- buttons to adjust to 15.
  • Step 4: After this time, allow the pressure to release naturally, or for at least 15 minutes.
  • Step 5: Finally, add salt and black pepper to taste, and serve the pork and sauerkraut with your desired sides.
A bowl of sauerkrautDirections to make pork and sauerkraut in a pressure cooker

Don't have any pork on hand? You can head to your local grocery store to pick up your favorite Hatfield® pork products today!

Tips and tricks for preparing this dish to perfection

Discover a few hints and techniques to help you bring this recipe to life successfully:

Recipe variations to consider

When it comes to this pork and sauerkraut recipe, its simplicity makes it the perfect opportunity to personalize your culinary journey. You might swap out the apple juice for chicken broth to give it a distinct flavor. Or, experiment with spices like caraway seed or juniper berries for an aromatic touch. Some even like to add brown sugar for a little extra sweetness.

It might also be worth considering adjusting the cooking time to achieve your desired texture — whether you're looking for something softer or crispier. With these adaptable adjustments, you can transform each rendition into a customized delight suited to your household preferences.

How to store leftover pork and sauerkraut properly

If you end up with leftovers at the end of the night, preserving this delectable dish is simple with proper storage techniques:

  • Storing: Refrigerate any unused portions of your pork loin roast and sauerkraut mixture in an airtight container within two hours of cooking to maintain freshness. You can keep this in the fridge for up to three to four days.
  • Freezing: If you plan on keeping these leftovers for an extended period, it's best to opt for a freezer-safe bag or container to prevent freezer burn. Label the containers with the date, so you can easily track freshness and make it easier to identify when pulling them out later. It's best practice to freeze pork and sauerkraut in meal-size portions as well, to thaw and reheat as needed without wasting excess food.
  • Reheating: When you're ready to revive your leftover pork and sauerkraut, you can use the microwave, stove or oven for preparation. For larger portions, it's recommended to use the oven; cooking the dish at a low temperature and covering it with foil to keep the meal from drying out.

What side dishes go well with pork and sauerkraut?

No pork and sauerkraut dinner is complete without delicious sides to go with it. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Creamy mashed potatoes to balance the tanginess of sauerkraut and complement the richness of pork.
  • Roasted carrots, Brussels sprouts or butternut squash to add a flavorful and earthy element to the dish.
  • Light and crunchy green beans for a refreshing contrast to the recipe's hearty flavors.
  • Slices of rye bread or warm dinner rolls to soak up all of the delicious juices.
  • Fresh, crunchy coleslaw to add a hint of tanginess.
  • Applesauce to balance the zesty flavor of sauerkraut.

Answering frequently asked questions for the best results

With the tips and tricks above in mind, we're answering a few other commonly asked questions below:

What is sauerkraut?

If sauerkraut is a new dish to your household, don't worry — it's not as unfamiliar as it might sound. It's essentially a fermented cabbage dish originating from Germany. Sauerkraut is prepared by massaging cabbage with salt to release its natural juices, then allowing it to ferment. This process encourages beneficial bacteria growth, which is what gives it its distinctive tangy flavor.

Does the type of sauerkraut affect the dish's flavor?

Yes! Different types of sauerkraut will have a significant impact on the dish's final taste profile. If you have a household of picky eaters, you might consider a variation like canned sauerkraut, which is typically milder and offers a subtler tang. On the other hand, fresh or homemade sauerkraut tends to carry a stronger, more vibrant flavor because of the fermentation process involved. Moreover, you can use different seasonings, like garlic powder or a bay leaf, to influence the outcome of the recipe.

Does it matter what type of pork I use?

If you have pork tenderloin, pork shoulder, pork ribs or pork chops at home already, you can use them to make pork and sauerkraut but it will affect the dish's texture and taste. We recommend a tender pork loin because it balances richness and flavor absorption during cooking. A leaner cut of pork also requires a shorter cooking time for those who need to make dinner in a pinch. However, after mastering this dish, experimenting with different cuts can allow you to tailor the outcome to suit your preferences.

Is pork and sauerkraut healthy?

For families in search of healthy pork ideas for dinner, you can't go wrong with a pork and sauerkraut recipe. Because tender pork is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals and sauerkraut offers probiotics and nutrients, this dish can be part of a balanced diet. But, it's important to be mindful of the sodium content in the sauerkraut you use to maximize the health benefits of this family meal.

Can I use a Crock Pot or slow cooker for this recipe?

You can certainly opt for a Crock Pot or slow cooker for this recipe if preferred. Its low and consistent heat is ideal for tenderizing pork while infusing it with the sauerkraut's zesty taste. However, it's important to note that this will require a much longer period for cooking. To prepare slow cooker pork, simply layer all of the ingredients into your pot, and set it on low for six to eight hours or on high for three to four hours. This hands-off method might be just what you're looking for if you have more time at the beginning of the day to start getting dinner ready.

Hatfield®'s commitment to superior ingredients

For the best pork and sauerkraut experience, you need high-quality ingredients — and Hatfield® can help. Explore a range of top-tier pork cuts and sauerkraut products that guarantee the safest, healthiest and most flavorful results every time. Plus, you can choose from an array of pre-seasoned options like Hatfield® Savory Brown Sugar Pork Loin Filet or Hatfield®  Montreal Pork Loin Filet to suit the meal to your family's preferences. With high-quality products at hand, you can not only elevate your dish but also prioritize safety and taste.

Ready to get started? Use our store locator to find your Hatfield® flavor at a supermarket or grocery store near you!