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.

  • Larry

    Elise, this looks great. I’m a huge fan of sauerkraut (comes from having german-russian family roots) and I can definitely appreciate the sweet/sour balance that this dish would give. can’t wait to try it as a side dish with sauteed pork chops and mashed potatoes.

    You can totally tell a person with true eastern european roots by how much they love/are passionate about sauerkraut. we ate it all the time growing up, with smoked sausage, pork country-style ribs, pork chops, german sausage…heck, even hot dogs.

    I will echo one sentiment from above tho…the sauerkraut in the bag (I believe the brand name is Krisp Kraut) is really good, just as good as (or maybe just a little better than) the cold jarred brands (I’ve tried both bubbie’s and clausen).

  • Janna

    To Tom: I made my sauerkraut in a large cylindrical flower vase, and it was neither smelly nor scummy. I’m thinking maybe scum happens when you leave bits of cabbage above the level of the brine where it can rot? And I only left mine on the counter for two weeks, making a very young and mild sauerkraut which did not smell. It has continued to develop more of that nice tang in it’s jars in the fridge.

    Thanks for the recipe Elise!

  • Carolyn

    Just made this wonderful sauerkraut dish..I did chop my apples instead of grate, added some brown sugar and also irish bangers. Let simmer until the bangers were cooked..Unbelievable..what flavor..Thanks Elise for so many fantastic recipes..

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Sauerkraut with Bacon and ApplesSauerkraut with Bacon and Apples