Sauerkraut with Bacon and Apples

Sweet, savory, and smokey sauerkraut, with onions, apples, and bacon.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

All this talk of the sweet goodness you can make apples this season, and as someone rightly pointed out to me, there are many savory things you can make with apples as well.

My dear Minnesota-raised father, who cannot resist any recipe with both sauerkraut and bacon, couldn’t wait to try this apple and bacon sauerkraut from the Niman Ranch Cookbook.

Sauerkraut with Bacon and Apples

The trick is to use good quality sauerkraut; the best stuff, according to dad, is refrigerated and in a jar. He drains it, but doesn’t rinse it, lest the flavor rinses away. A good quality apple-wood smoked bacon helps too.

If you love sauerkraut as much as we do (and there are fewer and fewer of us out there these days, unfortunately), you’ll love this recipe.

Sauerkraut with Bacon and Apples Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 1/4 pound sliced apple-wood smoked bacon
  • 2 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and grated
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, ground
  • 3 cups unfiltered apple juice
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 pounds of refrigerated (in a jar, not can), prepared sauerkraut, drained (about 1 24-fluid-ounce jar, drained)


1 Cook and chop the bacon: Lay the slices of bacon down at the bottom of a large, thick-bottomed pot and heat on medium heat. Cook until the bacon has browned and most of the bacon fat has been rendered, 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove the bacon from the pot and set on paper towels to drain. Remove all but 1 Tbsp of the fat in the pot. (Do not pour down the sink, bacon fat will clog your drain!) Chop the bacon and set aside.

2 Cook onions, apples, then add garlic, caraway: Add the chopped onions and apples to the pot and cook until the onions are translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Add the garlic and caraway and cook for a minute more.

3 Add apple juice and vinegar, then boil: Add the apple juice and the white vinegar to the pot. Increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil and boil vigorously until the liquid is reduced to a syrup, about 5 minutes.

4 Add the sauerkraut and bacon to the pot and stir to coat with the sauce. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the sauerkraut has been heated through and is tender, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Adapted from The Niman Ranch Cookbook.

Showing 4 of 25 Comments

  • taylor

    Is there a substitute for the apple juice? I want to try the recipe but don’t ever buy apple juice.

  • Rene

    How many servings is this recipe? Can it be made in advance and frozen? Can it be adapted for a crockpot? We’re going to host an Octoberfest and need to plan ahead.

  • Sylvia

    Aldi Stores here in Australia (a German food chain) were selling sauerkraut to clear. I grabbed some jars and used your recipe. Absolutely delicious. Here is Australia like to try lots of different foods from all over the world. I hadn’t realized just how yummy sauerkraut could be. Thanks for cooking advice. Just love it.

  • Kristin

    Wow, this was absolutely amazing. Made it for German night with the friends and it was a huge hit (even with those who said they didn’t like sauerkraut). It was the perfect compliment to the beer brats and was really easy to make.

  • Tonya

    My mom made sauerkraut a lot when I was growing up. She used spareribs and caraway seed sometimes hot dogs or smoked sausage, sometimes all of the above. We had mashed potatoes with this, and it was the meal. I make this also, but I do put brown sugar and apple cider vinegar. I use the bag sauerkraut, my mom used the jar, and we did not rinse the kraut. She cooked it all together. I cook the meat first and drain most of the fat water away. I do cook it for a few hours. We have this every year for the New Year. It’s to bring in good luck for the new year. We have German in our family as well and my mom grew up eating the same meal. YUM, YUM, YUM.

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