Pressure Cooker Sauerkraut Soup

I’m sure it’s authentic somewhere!

Soup Bowl3

This is one of those times I started searching for one thing, and a few hours and a couple hundred clicks later, I found myself wanting, no needing, to make Sauerkraut Soup. How a search for Potato Soup ultimately led to this, I am not sure, but I must say I am happy I stumbled upon this. Even though it turned out to be pretty warm the past couple days (as I predicted in my last post), this soup wasn’t so heavy that it was difficult to eat in such conditions, unlike the creamy potato soups that originally started my search.

And, it goes exceptionally well with beer, so that helped alleviate the warm weather issue!

Sauerkraut soup is popular in a lot of places, particularly areas of Eastern Europe, including Polish Kapusniak, German (such as this one from Heidi Klum), Russian Shchi, and even from the US Midwest.

They vary in the meats used, some using beef, some pork and some with multiple meats. Some use only sauerkraut, some a combination of sauerkraut and fresh cabbage.

My primary goal for my version was to follow the Three E’s – Effortless, Economical and Expeditious. And I think I succeeded, if I do say so myself. Using relatively inexpensive Kielbasa as the protein, and just 8 minutes under pressure take care of the economical and expeditious elements. Except for a little minor chopping and sautéing, most of the elements are just dumped in the pressure cooker, which covers the effortless aspect.

Sauerkraut Soup Ingredients

A pound of sausage would be fine, but I used 12 ounces because that seems to be the only size package that I can find around here. I used a 28 ounce jar of sauerkraut, you can use as much as a quart, or less if you would like your soup to be a bit more liquid.

Start by chopping the onion and potato. Run the garlic through a press. Cut the kielbasa in half lengthwise, then slice.

Sausage Chopped

Since I used the InstantPot, these instructions are for that, but it can easily be adapted to another electric or a stovetop cooker. I would keep the same time for whatever method you choose.

Using the sauté setting on medium, heat the oil.

Toss in the onion, sausage and garlic together. Cook until the onion starts to become translucent.

Dump in the potato, paprika, caraway seeds and tomato paste. Stir everything together.

Veg and Potato

Cook for another minute or so.

Add 5-6 grinds of black pepper and about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt (you can adjust this later, the amount needed will vary depending on your sausage and sauerkraut.

Dump in the sauerkraut (including the liquid).

Adding Sauerkraut

Pour in the chicken stock.

Stir in two tablespoons brown sugar (you can add more later if necessary, depending on how sour your sauerkraut is) and a tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce.

Toss in the two bay leaves.

Before Pressure

Turn off the sauté mode and place the top on the pressure cooker.

Turn the cooker to “soup” mode and set the timer for 8 minutes

InstantPot Soup Mode

When time is up, let pressure release naturally for ten minutes, then do a quick release.

When pressure is completely released, remove the top.

Give it a taste and adjust the salt and brown sugar as necessary.

Soup Finished

Serve topped with sour cream (I highly recommend that you don’t skip this, it adds a lot to this soup) and a little fresh dill.

Rye Bread

With some good buttered rye bread on the side, this makes a complete meal.

Pressure Cooker Sauerkraut Soup
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Eastern European
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8 servings
Sauerkraut Soup with Potatoes and Sausage - Yum!
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 package (12-16 ounces) Kielbasa cut in half lengthwise then sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Hungarian paprika
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 4-5 medium potatoes (about 1-1/2 pounds), cut into ½-3/4 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 jar (28-32 ounces) sauerkraut
  • 2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 quart low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in pressure cooker pot (if using electric PC, use sauté or brown mode on medium)
  2. Sauté onion, garlic and sausage until the onions start to get translucent
  3. Add paprika and caraway seed and sauté for another couple minutes
  4. Add a couple grinds of black pepper
  5. Add in the potatoes
  6. Drop in 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  7. Stir everything together
  8. Pour in the chicken stock
  9. Add the brown sugar and Worcestershire Sauce and give it a stir
  10. Toss 2 bay leaves on top
  11. Place top on pressure cooker and turn heat to high (for electric PC, turn off sauté/brown mode, place top on PC and set for high pressure on "soup" mode)
  12. Set timer for 8 minutes
  13. When time is up, let pressure come down naturally for ten minutes, then do a quick release
  14. Serve in bowls topped with sour cream and a little fresh dill


Pressure Cooker Oktoberfest Recipes

The Dreaded Clip Show Syndrome

I guess this post is the blog version of the TV “clip show”. You know, the cop-out shows in which something happens, such as our protagonist getting hit on the head with a bowling ball causing amnesia (I hate it when that happens), which necessitates the relating of various past episodes (and being able to use already shot footage), therefore jogging the memory of our hero until at the end his memory is completely restored and ready for more zany hijinks the following week.

Hmmm, I think I got a little off track here. What I really am trying to do, after noticing that the past couple days, people have been visiting my site after searching for Oktoberfest recipes. Since I have a few recipes that are perfect for the occasion, I thought it would be helpful to put links for them all in one spot.


Pressure Cooker German Potato Salad


What better to go with your giant beers than this tasty and bacon-y german potato salad.

Pressure Cooker Sausage and Sauerkraut


Quick sausage and sauerkraut, although you will need to spare a little of your beer for the pan!

Pressure Cooker Currywurst


A party-ready European street food fave!

Pressure Cooker Rouladen


Though a little more labor-intensive, this traditional German favorite will be the hit of your Oktoberfest party!

Pressure Cooker Sauerbraten


A quicker take on the Deutschland fave, without  the multiple day (or week) marinating!

Happy Oktoberfest, Everybody!

Pressure Cooker Sausage

How To Obtain Lovely Links Lickety-Split

I have updated this post to include a few more details.


Everybody loves sausage. Be it the lowly bratwurst or the newer, more exotic varieties such as ostrich, alligator or the ultra-exotic unicorn with gold flakes and diamond dust (I’m beginning to think that I may have dreamed that last one). But judging by the number of people who end up at my blog after searching for things such as “how to cook sausage in pressure cooker”, many people seem to be wondering “how in the hell do I cook these things?” Have no fear, my friends. I will do my best to walk you through it.


Now, I am not talking about the pre-cooked type of sausage that just needs to be heated through. Just slap those on the grill and Bob’s yer uncle.


No, I mean the “fresh” sausage, the kind that is completely raw. I often end up burning the casing before the center is done all the way through. I know the trick is to simmer in a small amount of water and when the water cooks away, then brown the outside, but I have never gotten a firm grasp on this method. Either I don’t have enough water, or I have too much. I have eaten enough burnt and/or rubbery sausage and ended up with more than my share of difficult to clean pans to know that when it comes to cooking raw sausage, nothing beats the pressure cooker. I always wind up with moist, perfectly cooked sausage.


I have already featured a couple of sausage based recipes (check out my Oktoberfest and Currywurst recipes). But I thought I would include something more general, so that you may adapt it to any recipe you like.

I usually have a sausage meal at least once or twice a week. I know, it’s not the healthiest thing in the world, but it might just be the tastiest. I try to at least “healthitize” it a bit by getting the uncured, no nitrate sausages. Once difficult to come by, they seem to be getting easier to find, even in the regular supermarket. I also try to have a lot of vegetable items with it to kind of balance things out (even though the vegetable items may amount to sauerkraut or onions and peppers, they are vegetables just the same.)


I always try to have a package or two of sausage in the fridge for those evenings when I need something quick, such as when I have to work late.

Usually I brown the sausages first, remove them to a plate, sauté any vegetables I may be adding, deglaze with a little beer or wine, then put the sausages back in the pressure cooker on top of whatever you may be having them with.

You can basically just put sausages in with any recipe you might be making.

One of my favorites in Sauerkraut and sausage. I usually just dump in the sauerkraut and add the sausage on top (sometimes I brown it, sometimes not). There is usually plenty of liquid in the sauerkraut. If it doesn’t come up to the minimum line on your pressure cooker, just add a little beer or water to make up the difference, then bring to high pressure for 5 minutes. Time may vary slightly depending on the size of the sausages, but 5 minutes seems to work almost all of the time.

Another way I like to prepare sausages is with onions and peppers. Sometimes I might just sauté 2-3 sliced onions and a couple bell peppers, then add some beer and water or broth, then put the sausages on top (again, browned or not). The onions and peppers make quite a bit of liquid themselves, so after you sauté them, add just enough liquid to come up to the minimum line. If using beer or wine, be aware that once the lid is on the pressure cooker, the alcohol doesn’t evaporate. When using wine, I usually don’t like to use more than 1/4 cup (I have a couple recipes where I use more, but this is a good rule of thumb). For beer, most of the time I don’t use more than 1/2 bottle (again, I make some exceptions). For sausage with peppers and onions I have made them with the liquid as described above, but have also made them with marinara sauce. For this method, I sauté the onions and peppers, pour in a jar of sauce and add a little beer, wine or water. Five minutes at high pressure and you are set.



If you just want to pre-cook the sausage to use for something else such as grilling, always use the steamer basket, as placing the sausage directly on the bottom of the pot will net you a meal resembling something the walkers on The Walking Dead might enjoy.

Just add the minimum amount of liquid for your particular pressure cooker, add whatever liquid you would like. I usually use beer, water or a combination. Place your steamer insert (most pressure cookers come with one) in the pot, place the sausages on the steamer insert, place lid on the cooker and steam for 4-5 minutes. If you are going to use them in another recipe, go for the shorter time.

Following these simple rules will get you perfect sausages every time. So, give it a try, and happy sausageing!


Oktoberfest, Pressure Cooker Style

‘Twas the last day of Oktoberfest and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even Klaus.
We were all nestled all snug in our beds, while spaetzle and bratwurst danced in our heads.
In the morning, well rested, we’ll head out of here, down to the ‘garten, for sausage and bier!

Ok, perhaps I’m no Longfellow, but that piece of poorly-executed prose was just meant as an introduction to my Oktoberfest dinner last weekend (using the pressure cooker, of course).

After reading that last Sunday was the last day of Oktoberfest in Germany (in Germany, Oktoberfest actually takes place in September), I had a sudden craving for sausage and sauerkraut. So I headed for Whole Foods, where I knew that while not exactly healthy, I could at least get sausages with no nitrates. I ended up with kielbasa, which I know is not German, but is quite tasty nonetheless.

I also picked up a jar of sauerkraut (I swear I’m going to try making my own some day) and some potatoes. This was going to be the inaugural voyage for my brand new Fissler Vitaquick 4.2-liter pressure pan.

I felt a sense of guilt as I drained the sauerkraut of its juice, but the feeling was soon quelled as I replaced it with beer.

Here’s the basic recipe:

1 package 12-16 oz.kielbasa (kielbasa is generally fully cooked, if you use a raw sausage, some adjustments would have to be made.)

1 jar sauerkraut
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 bottle beer (I used a dark German beer)
2 tsp. caraway seed
1tsp. dry mustard
fresh ground pepper

Drain the sauerkraut. You can rinse if you like, but I didn’t want to rinse the “sour” flavor off, I just wanted to get rid of the liquid since I would be adding more liquid.

Brown the sausage in the pressure cooker in a little butter or oil. Remove to a plate.

Add onion and saute until soft

Add sauerkraut to pressure cooker, then pour in the beer (about 12 ounces), the beer I used was 1/2 liter, so I only used around 3/4 of the bottle.

Add in mustard and caraway. I used 2 tsp caraway, but since the pressure cooker seems to intensify the flavor of the caraway, you may want to use less. I know some people find caraway quite strong (think rye bread).

Put on the lid and bring to full pressure for 7 minutes.

Let pressure neutralize naturally, open and serve!

Oddly enough, we ended up having this with some red wine rather than beer.
I also prepared some potatoes simultaneously utilizing the other pressure cooker, which I will cover in another post.