Delightful German Sauerkraut Soup Recipe (Rich Tangy Taste)

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Transport your senses to the heart of Bavaria with our German Sauerkraut Soup recipe, a traditional delight that perfectly encapsulates the robust flavors of German cuisine. This hearty soup combines the tangy richness of fermented sauerkraut with succulent meats, tender potatoes, and a medley of aromatic spices, creating a symphony of flavors that dance on your palate. Each spoonful is like a bite of history, transporting you to the cozy kitchens of German grandmothers who have perfected this soul-soothing dish over generations. Prost!

Indulge in the symphony of flavors from Germany’s culinary heritage. German Sauerkraut Soup Recipe, a comforting blend of tangy sauerkraut, succulent meats, and hearty vegetables, offers a taste journey like no other. Perfect for chilly evenings or a family gathering, this dish captures the essence of traditional German cuisine. 

German Sauerkraut Soup

With each spoonful, experience a complex blend of textures and tastes that evoke a sense of home and history.

This soup reflects the richness of a culture known for its flavorful contributions to the culinary world, crafted with love and attention to detail. 

Join us as we explore this delectable soup, filled with nutrients and robust flavors, sure to warm your soul and satisfy your palate.

With the right ingredients and culinary skills, you’ll be ready to bring this traditional favorite to your table. 

Enjoy the process, savor the aroma, and prepare to be delighted by a masterpiece in a bowl.

What Is German Sauerkraut Soup?

German Sauerkraut Soup is a savory blend of fermented cabbage, meats like sausage or bacon, and various vegetables such as potatoes and carrots.

This traditional soup is seasoned with herbs and spices, providing a tangy and hearty flavor. 

A staple in German cuisine, it’s often enjoyed during the cold months. Combining ingredients offers a unique taste and contributes to a nutritious meal.

Making it at home is a delightful way to experience authentic German flavors.

German Sauerkraut Soup

Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients? 

German Sauerkraut Soup can be adapted to various dietary preferences and needs. Here’s how you might adjust the recipe for different diets:


  • Replace pinto beans with a lower-carb vegetable like zucchini or spinach.
  • Skip the flour or use a keto-friendly thickening agent like xanthan gum.


  • Omit the beans, as they’re not typically considered Paleo-friendly.
  • Use a Paleo-friendly thickener like arrowroot powder instead of flour.


  • Use a gluten-free thickening agent such as cornstarch or a gluten-free flour blend instead of all-purpose flour.


  • Omit the beans, sour cream, and flour.
  • Instead of flour for thickening, puree a portion of the vegetables or use arrowroot powder.


  • Omit the ham hocks and bacon.
  • Use vegetable broth instead of water.
  • Add more vegetables or a meat substitute for protein and flavor.


  • Follow the vegetarian modifications.
  • Substitute the sour cream with a vegan alternative or omit it entirely.
German Sauerkraut Soup

Recipe Directions

  • Preparation: Heat oil and sauté onion, garlic; set aside.
  • Cooking: In a stockpot, combine ham hocks, onion, garlic, and water; season and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Adding Ingredients: Stir in sauerkraut, beans.
  • Bacon Preparation: Brown bacon; add to stockpot; reserve drippings.
  • Thickening: Make a roux with flour, drippings; stir into soup; simmer until thick.
  • Final Touches: Remove from heat; stir in sour cream.
  • Serving: Serve hot.

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings

German Sauerkraut Soup is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit different tastes and preferences. Here’s a look at some variations, add-ons, and toppings that you can experiment with:


  • Meat Choices: Substitute the ham hocks and bacon with different meats like smoked sausage, chicken, or vegetarian meat substitutes.
  • Vegan Version: Replace animal products with plant-based alternatives like coconut milk instead of sour cream and oil for frying.
  • Gluten-Free: Use a gluten-free thickening agent like cornstarch instead of flour.


  • Vegetables: Add carrots, potatoes, or celery for added nutrition and texture.
  • Herbs and Spices: Experiment with herbs like dill, thyme, or caraway seeds for a unique flavor profile.
  • Heat: Add some chili flakes or hot sauce for a spicy kick.
  • Wine: Some recipes may include white wine for deeper flavor complexity.


  • Fresh Herbs: Garnish with fresh parsley, chives, or dill.
  • Cheese: Sprinkle with grated cheese like Swiss or Gouda.
  • Croutons: Add homemade croutons for a delightful crunch.
  • Cream Drizzle: A drizzle of heavy cream or a dollop of yogurt can add a luxurious finish.
  • Lemon Zest: Add some grated lemon zest on top for a hint of freshness.

Can I Make German Sauerkraut Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

German Sauerkraut Soup can be adapted to be made in either a slow cooker or an Instant Pot. Here’s how you can do it:

Slow Cooker

  • Preparation: Sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil in a skillet until tender, then transfer to the slow cooker.
  • Add Ingredients: Add the ham hocks, water, and season with pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
  • Bacon and Roux: About 30 minutes before serving, cook the bacon in a skillet, reserving the drippings. Make a roux with the flour and bacon drippings, and stir into the slow cooker.
  • Final Touches: Stir in the sauerkraut, beans, and bacon, and cook on high for another 30 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the sour cream just before serving.

Instant Pot

  • Sauté Function: Use the sauté function to cook the onions and garlic in olive oil until tender.
  • Add Ingredients: Add the ham hocks, water, and season with pepper.
  • Pressure Cook: Seal the Instant Pot and pressure cook on high for 45 minutes, followed by a natural release.
  • Bacon and Roux: Use the sauté function again to cook the bacon, reserve the drippings, and make a roux with the flour.
  • Final Touches: Stir in the sauerkraut, beans, bacon, and roux, and simmer using the sauté function until thickened. Stir in the sour cream just before serving.
German Sauerkraut Soup

Can I Use Store Bought Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?

You can use either store-bought broth or make your own, depending on your preferences, time constraints, and dietary needs.

Using Store-Bought Broth

  • Convenience: Store-bought broth is convenient and saves time.
  • Flavor Choices: You can find various flavors like chicken, beef, or vegetable broth, allowing you to tailor the soup to your taste.
  • Quality Consideration: Look for a high-quality broth without added preservatives or artificial flavors. Low-sodium options will enable you to control the salt content.
  • Adjustments: You might need to adjust the seasoning slightly since store-bought broths can have different flavor profiles.

Making Your Broth

  • Flavor Control: Making your broth allows you to control the ingredients and flavor precisely to your liking.
  • Utilizing Ingredients: If you’re using meat like ham hocks, you can create a flavorful broth by simmering them with water, herbs, and vegetables.
  • Time-Consuming: While homemade broth generally has a richer flavor, it is more time-consuming to prepare.
  • Dietary Considerations: If you have specific dietary needs or preferences, making your broth ensures you know exactly what’s in it.
German Sauerkraut Soup

How To Serve?

Serving German Sauerkraut Soup can be a delightful experience when you consider the presentation, accompaniments, and dining atmosphere. Here’s how you can serve this comforting dish in the best way:

  • Temperature: Serve the soup hot. If made beforehand, reheat gently to the desired temperature, not overcooking the ingredients.
  • Bowl Selection: Choose warm, deep soup bowls or rustic crocks that showcase the soup’s texture and colors.
  • Garnishing: If desired, add a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of fresh parsley or dill, or a dash of paprika or black pepper for visual appeal and added flavor.
  • Customization: Offer small dishes with extra garnishes or condiments like hot sauce or mustard, allowing guests to customize the soup to their taste.
  • Serve Promptly: Since this is a hot dish, timing is essential. Have everything ready so the soup can be served promptly once cooked, preserving its ideal temperature and texture.
german sauerkraut soup recipe

Perfect Side Dishes

  • Crusty Bread: Artisanal loaves, pumpernickel, or rye bread with butter can be perfect for dipping and soaking up the soup.
  • German Potato Salad: A warm potato salad made with vinegar, mustard, and bacon can enhance the German theme of the meal.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Simple roasted root vegetables seasoned with herbs can add a wholesome and hearty touch.
  • Pretzel Rolls: Soft pretzel rolls can add a traditional German flair and are delicious with soup.
  • Green Salad: A light green salad with mixed greens, cucumber, radish, and a tangy vinaigrette can provide a refreshing contrast.
  • Apple Slaw: A slaw made with apples, cabbage, and a tangy dressing can complement the sauerkraut’s flavor.
  • Spätzle: This German egg noodle can be served as a side dish, plain or sautéed with butter and herbs.
  • Sauerkraut Pancakes: For a creative twist, try serving small savory pancakes made with sauerkraut and potatoes.
german sauerkraut soup recipe

Storage And Make Ahead

  • Storage: Cool the soup to room temperature before transferring it into airtight containers. It can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Leave a small space for expansion when freezing, and label the containers with the date and contents.
  • Make Ahead: This soup is ideal for preparing in advance, as the flavors of the sauerkraut and meats meld and deepen over time. If the recipe includes cream or potatoes, consider adding these after reheating rather than before freezing to preserve texture and taste. Gently reheat the soup on the stove, adjusting the consistency with a little broth if necessary, and add any dairy or fresh ingredients towards the end of cooking.
german sauerkraut soup recipe

What Can We Do With Leftovers? 

Leftover German Sauerkraut Soup doesn’t have to go to waste. Here are some creative ways to make use of the leftovers:

  • Reheat and Eat: The simplest option is to reheat the soup for another meal within 3-4 days, ensuring it’s heated to at least 165°F (74°C).
  • Freeze for Later: Portion the leftovers into freezer-safe containers, and enjoy them later, up to 4-6 months.
  • Create a Casserole: Thicken the soup with cooked rice or pasta, add some cheese, and bake until bubbly for a comforting casserole.
  • Stew Base: Add meat, potatoes, or vegetables to transform the soup into a hearty stew.
  • Bread Bowl Serving: Serve the reheated soup in a hollowed-out bread bowl for a rustic touch.


  • Choose Quality Sauerkraut: Opt for a good-quality sauerkraut that is not too vinegary, as it is the centerpiece of the soup. Rinsing it briefly can reduce its sourness if desired, but part of the soup’s unique flavor comes from the sauerkraut’s tang.
  • Balance the Sourness: If the sauerkraut makes the soup too tangy for your taste, balance it with a pinch of sugar or honey. This will not make the soup sweet but will help round out the flavors.
  • Use a Good Stock: A rich beef or vegetable stock will serve as a flavorful base for your soup. Homemade stock is ideal, but a high-quality store-bought stock can work well too.
  • Add Smoked Meats: Incorporating smoked meats such as sausage, ham, or bacon can add depth and a smoky richness to the soup, enhancing the overall flavor profile.
  • Simmer Slowly: Let the soup simmer gently to allow the flavors to meld together. This slow cooking process is key to developing the soup’s complex flavor.
  • Incorporate Potatoes: Adding diced potatoes can give the soup more body and make it a more filling meal. Make sure to add them at a point where they can cook through without becoming mushy.
  • Adjust Seasoning at the End: Sauerkraut and smoked meats can be quite salty, so it’s best to taste and adjust the seasoning towards the end of cooking.
Delightful German Sauerkraut Soup Recipe (Rich Tangy Taste)

Delightful German Sauerkraut Soup Recipe (Rich Tangy Taste)

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Course: Soup Recipes


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German Sauerkraut Soup melds savory smoked ham hocks, tangy sauerkraut, and rich bacon into a hearty meal. The flavors dance on your palate. Simmered, it thickens to perfection.


  • 2 2 Smoked Ham Hocks

  • 2 2 Yellow Onions, Chopped

  • 2 Cloves 2 Garlic, Chopped

  • 3 Quarts 3 Water

  • 1 Pound 1 Sauerkraut, Drained And Rinsed

  • 1 Can 1 Pinto Beans, Drained

  • 1/2 Pound 1/2 Bacon, Chopped

  • 1 Cup 1 Sour Cream

  • 1 Tablespoon 1 Olive Oil

  • 3 Tablespoons 3 All-Purpose Flour

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Preparation Steps
    Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
    Sauté onion and garlic until tender.
    Set aside.
  • Cooking
    Place ham hocks, sautéed onion, garlic, and water in a stockpot.
    Season with pepper to taste.
    Cover and bring to a simmer.
    Cook for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Adding Ingredients
    Stir the sauerkraut and beans into the soup.
    Bacon Preparation:
    Place bacon in a large, deep skillet.
    Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown.
    Remove bacon into the stockpot, reserving drippings.
  • Thickening
    Stir flour into bacon drippings to make a roux.
    Stir the roux into the soup.
    Continue to simmer the soup until thick.
    Final Touches:
    Remove from heat.
    Stir in the sour cream.
  • Serving
    Serve hot, with bread or additional garnishes as desired.
  • Additional Options
    Add extra seasoning or herbs to taste.
    Substitute ingredients for dietary preferences, as mentioned earlier.
  • Large Stockpot or Dutch Oven
  • Large Skillet
  • Sharp Chef’s Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Wooden Spoon or Silicone Spatula
  • Slotted Spoon or Tongs
  • Ladle
  • Whisk
  • Strainer
  • Thermometer
  • Airtight Containers
  • Immersion Blender


  • Prepare with love, and enjoy the rich cultural history in every spoonful. 
  • Experiment with ingredients to make it your own. 
  • Store leftovers well, and savor them again and again.

Nutrition Table 

nutrition table

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