Delightful German Sauerkraut Soup Recipe (Rich Tangy Taste)

Indulge in the symphony of flavors from Germany’s culinary heritage. Sauerkraut Soup, 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. 

Contents show
 German Sauerkraut Soup Recipe

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.

History Of German Sauerkraut Soup 

The history of German Sauerkraut Soup is deeply rooted in Germany’s culinary tradition. Sauerkraut, fermented cabbage, has been a staple in German cuisine for centuries, likely dating back to the 1600s.

The soup’s humble ingredients reflect the country’s agricultural heritage. During harsh winters, preserved foods like sauerkraut provided essential nutrients.

Combining it with available meats and vegetables led to the creation of this nourishing soup. 

Over time, regional variations emerged, and the soup became a beloved comfort food. A symbol of German culinary ingenuity, Sauerkraut Soup continues to be a cherished dish across generations.

Interesting Facts About The German Sauerkraut Soup 

  • Fermentation: Sauerkraut, the star ingredient, undergoes a fermentation process, giving the soup its characteristic tangy flavor and adding beneficial probiotics.
  • Regional Variations: Different regions of Germany have twists on the recipe, using unique local ingredients or varying the types of meats and seasonings.
  • Winter Favorite: Due to its warming and hearty nature, the soup is particularly popular during the cold winter, offering comfort and sustenance.
  • Health Benefits: Rich in vitamins C and K, fiber, and probiotics, German Sauerkraut Soup contributes to a healthy diet. It’s not just tasty but nourishing too.
  • Cultural Symbol: This soup is more than a dish; it represents German culinary heritage, symbolizing the ability to create something delicious and wholesome from simple, preserved ingredients.
  • Versatility: While traditional methods exist for making this soup, it’s open to personal interpretation. Chefs and home cooks can put their spin on it, adapting it to different tastes and dietary needs.
  • Slow Cooking: Often, German Sauerkraut Soup is simmered, allowing the flavors to meld and intensify, creating a rich, complex taste experience. It’s a dish that rewards patience and attention to detail.

What Makes The German Sauerkraut Soup Special? 

  • Unique Flavor Profile: The tangy flavor of fermented sauerkraut combined with savory meats and vegetables creates a unique and delightful taste experience.
  • Nutritional Benefits: Packed with vitamins, fiber, and probiotics, it’s not only flavorful but also nourishing.
  • Cultural Heritage: The soup represents Germany’s rich culinary tradition, reflecting historical preservation methods and regional variations.
  • Comfort Food: Often enjoyed in winter, its hearty ingredients make it a warming and comforting meal.
  • Versatility: The recipe can be adapted to suit different tastes or dietary needs, inviting creativity in the kitchen.
  • Slow-Cooked Complexity: The slow simmering process melds flavors together, creating a rich and complex dish.
  • Accessibility: Made with simple, readily available ingredients, it’s a gourmet experience that can be recreated at home.
  • Generational Appeal: Its timeless appeal has made it a favorite across generations, and continues to be a cherished dish in modern German cuisine.
 German Sauerkraut Soup Recipe

Ingredients List

Smoked ham hocks2
Yellow onions, chopped2
Garlic, chopped2 cloves
Water3 quarts
Sauerkraut, drained and rinsed1 pound
Pinto beans, drained1 (15 ounce) can
Bacon, chopped1/2 pound
Sour cream1 cup
Olive oil1 tablespoon
All-purpose flour3 tablespoons

Ingredient Tips

Here are some ingredient tips to help you make the most of your German Sauerkraut Soup:

  • Smoked Ham Hocks: Look for high-quality smoked ham hocks at a local butcher or specialty store. They add depth and smokiness to the soup.
  • Sauerkraut: Choose natural, fermented sauerkraut for authentic flavor. Rinsing helps to remove some of the brine, but don’t over-rinse, or you’ll lose the tanginess.
  • Pinto Beans: You can use canned pinto beans for convenience, but if you prefer dried beans, soak them overnight and cook them beforehand.
  • Bacon: Opt for thick-cut bacon, as it holds its texture better in the soup.
  • Sour Cream: Use full-fat sour cream for a richer taste and texture.
  • Olive Oil: A good quality olive oil can add a touch of flavor, but feel free to substitute it with another cooking oil if you prefer.
  • All-Purpose Flour: Sift the flour if it seems lumpy to avoid clumps in the soup.
  • Fresh Ingredients: For the onions and garlic, use fresh ingredients and chop them just before cooking to maximize flavor.
  • Water: Consider substituting some or all of the water with a good quality chicken or vegetable broth for an added layer of flavor.

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.
ingredients of 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.
Making of soup

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.

Scaling The Recipe

Scaling a recipe up or down allows you to adjust the serving size to fit your needs, whether cooking for a small family dinner or a large gathering. Here’s how you can scale the German Sauerkraut Soup recipe:

Scaling Up

  • Determine the servings you need, and calculate the increase from the original recipe.
  • Multiply the quantities of each ingredient by the same factor. For example, doubling the recipe would mean using 4 smoked ham hocks instead of 2.
  • Ensure your stockpot or cooking vessel is large enough to accommodate the increased volume.
  • While simmering and cooking times remain similar, keep an eye on the soup, as you might need to adjust the timing slightly.
  • Don’t forget to taste and adjust the seasoning as you go, as doubling ingredients doesn’t always mean doubling the flavor.

Scaling Down

  • Determine the smaller servings needed and calculate the reduction factor from the original recipe.
  • Divide the quantities of each ingredient by the same factor. For example, halving the recipe would mean using only 1 smoked ham hock instead of 2.
  • Use a smaller pot to ensure that the soup cooks evenly.
  • Monitor the cooking time, as a smaller quantity may cook slightly faster.
  • If using packaged ingredients like canned beans, save or freeze extras for future use.

What Is Used For Garnishing?

Garnishing adds a finishing touch to German Sauerkraut Soup, enhancing its appearance and flavor. Here are some popular options for garnishing this dish:

  • Fresh Herbs: Sprigs of fresh parsley, dill, or chives add a pop of color and a hint of freshness.
  • Sour Cream: A dollop of sour cream or a swirl on the surface can add a rich and creamy texture.
  • Lemon Zest: Grated lemon zest provides a subtle citrus brightness that can lift the flavors.
  • Croutons: Homemade croutons add crunch and contrast, complementing the soup’s texture.
  • Cheese: A sprinkle of grated cheese, such as Swiss or Gouda, adds a touch of indulgence.
  • Bacon Bits: If you like the bacon flavor, reserve some crispy bacon bits for a crunchy garnish.
  • Paprika or Chili Flakes: A sprinkle of paprika or chili flakes can be attractive and tasty for a bit of heat and color.
  • Drizzle of Oil: A drizzle of good-quality olive or flavored oil, such as truffle oil, can add a gourmet touch.
  • Edible Flowers: Edible flowers can add an elegant and unique touch to a special occasion.
 German Sauerkraut Soup Recipe

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.

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.

Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables For The Soup?

The German Sauerkraut Soup recipe can be quite versatile, allowing you to experiment with different types of meat, fish, pasta, and vegetables. Here’s how you can incorporate various ingredients:


  • Pork: Beyond ham hocks and bacon, pork cuts like sausage or shoulder can be used.
  • Beef: Use smoked beef or beef short ribs for a rich flavor.
  • Chicken: Smoked or roasted chicken can provide a lighter meat option.
  • Vegetarian Meat Substitutes: Use plant-based sausage or other meat substitutes for a vegetarian version.


  • Smoked Fish: Try smoked trout or salmon to give the soup a unique twist.
  • Seafood: Adding shrimp or mussels can transform the soup into a coastal-inspired dish.


  • Egg Noodles: Traditional in some German soups, egg noodles can add heartiness.
  • Spaetzle: These German dumplings can provide an authentic touch.
  • Gluten-Free Pasta: Use a gluten-free option if you’re accommodating dietary restrictions.


  • Root Vegetables: Potatoes, carrots, and parsnips can add substance and flavor.
  • Leafy Greens: Spinach or kale can add color and nutritional value.
  • Seasonal Vegetables: Feel free to use what’s in season, like squash in the fall or fresh peas in the spring.
MAking of soup

Success Tips – Tips And Tricks For Making The Soup

Creating a flavorful and satisfying German Sauerkraut Soup requires combining traditional techniques and personal touches. Here are some tips and tricks to guide you through the preparation and cooking process:

Prepping Tips

  • Choose Quality Sauerkraut: Look for sauerkraut with no artificial additives. Draining and rinsing it helps to moderate the tanginess.
  • Prep Ingredients in Advance: Chop the vegetables, meat, and measure out all other ingredients before starting to ensure a smooth cooking process.
  • Use Fresh Ingredients: Fresh herbs, quality meats, and seasonal vegetables will enhance the flavor.
  • Consider Meat Alternatives: If using different meats or meat substitutes, consider how their flavors will harmonize with the sauerkraut.

Cooking Tips

  • Sautéing for Flavor: Sautéing the onions and garlic before simmering builds a flavor base. Caramelizing them can add sweetness to balance the sauerkraut’s tang.
  • Simmering the Meat: If using ham hocks or other meat on the bone, simmering helps to extract the rich flavor.
  • Taste and Adjust: Regularly taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. Sauerkraut’s flavor can vary, so that personal adjustments may be necessary.
  • Stirring in Sour Cream: Remove the soup from the heat before stirring in the sour cream to prevent curdling.
 German Sauerkraut Soup Recipe

Nutritional Values

Embrace a bowl of health and taste with German Sauerkraut Soup. Rich in protein, this traditional dish also provides essential vitamins A and C, supporting overall wellness.

The sourness of the sauerkraut is not just a flavor accent; it introduces beneficial probiotics to your diet. The soup offers a satisfying balance of nutrients and the heartiness of smoked ham hocks and bacon.

What Are The Total Calories In The Soup?

Here’s a rough breakdown for a single serving, assuming the recipe serves 8:

  • Smoked ham hocks: 150 calories
  • Yellow onions: 15 calories
  • Garlic: 5 calories
  • Water: 0 calories
  • Sauerkraut: 20 calories
  • Pinto beans: 45 calories
  • Bacon: 100 calories
  • Sour cream: 60 calories
  • Olive oil: 30 calories
  • All-purpose flour: 10 calories
  • Total (approximate) per serving: 435 calories

Dietary Restrictions Of The German Sauerkraut Soup

The traditional German Sauerkraut Soup recipe can contain ingredients that might not be suitable for some dietary restrictions. Here’s a general overview of how it might align with or conflict with various dietary needs:

  • Gluten-Free: The all-purpose flour used in the roux may contain gluten. You must use a gluten-free alternative to make the dish suitable for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
  • Dairy-Free: The sour cream contains dairy, so those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies need a dairy-free alternative.
  • Vegetarian/Vegan: The inclusion of ham hocks and bacon makes this recipe unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans. You could substitute plant-based meat alternatives and vegetable broth for a vegetarian or vegan version.
  • Low-Carb/Keto: Beans and flour can be high in carbohydrates, which might not be suitable for a strict low-carb or keto diet. Omitting beans and using a low-carb thickener could make it more compatible.
  • Low-Fat: Bacon, ham hocks, and sour cream contribute to fat content. Leaner meat and a low-fat sour cream alternative could align it better with a low-fat diet.
  • Nut-Free: This recipe doesn’t typically contain nuts, but always check individual ingredient labels if you’re catering to a nut allergy.
  • Paleo: Some ingredients like beans and flour may not align with the Paleo diet. Modifications would be required.

Health Benefits Of German Sauerkraut Soup

German Sauerkraut Soup can offer several health benefits, especially with mindful choices and quality ingredients. Here are some potential advantages:

  • Digestive Health: Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage, rich in probiotics that can support gut health. These beneficial bacteria can aid in digestion and boost the immune system.
  • High in Fiber: Ingredients like sauerkraut, beans, and vegetables provide dietary fiber, which helps with digestion and can contribute to feelings of fullness, supporting weight management.
  • Vitamin-Rich: Cabbage in sauerkraut is a good source of vitamins like Vitamin C and K and other nutrients like iron and manganese.
  • Protein Source: Including meat like ham hocks and bacon provides protein, essential for muscle building and repair. Beans also contribute plant-based protein.
  • Bone Health: Simmering ham hocks or other bone-in meats helps release collagen and other nutrients that may support bone health.
  • Anti-inflammatory Properties: Fermented foods like sauerkraut have been studied for their potential anti-inflammatory effects. However, more research may be needed in this area.

Nutrition Table 

Nutrition table

How Can I Make German Sauerkraut Soup Lower In Sodium? 

Making German Sauerkraut Soup lower in sodium is achievable with some mindful adjustments. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Choose Low-Sodium or Sodium-Free Broth: If you’re using store-bought or bouillon, look for low-sodium or sodium-free versions.
  • Rinse Canned Ingredients: If using canned sauerkraut or beans, rinse them thoroughly under cold water to remove some added salt.
  • Use Fresh or Frozen Sauerkraut: Opt for fresh or frozen sauerkraut that doesn’t contain added salt, or make your own at home where you can control the salt content.
  • Avoid Adding Salt: Refrain from adding salt during cooking, or use it sparingly. You can always allow individual diners to season their portion to taste.
  • Increase Herbs and Spices: Enhance flavor without salt by using more herbs, spices, and aromatics like garlic, onion, bay leaves, thyme, or other seasonings that don’t contain sodium.
  • Utilize Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned ones, as canned vegetables often contain added salt.
  • Read Labels Carefully: Check the labels on all packaged ingredients to ensure they are low in sodium or sodium-free.

How Can I Make German Sauerkraut Soup Lower In Sugar?

German Sauerkraut Soup typically doesn’t contain a significant amount of sugar. Still, some naturally occurring sugars or added sugars might be in certain ingredients. Here’s how you can reduce or eliminate those:

  • Use Fresh or Homemade Sauerkraut: Some store-bought sauerkrauts may contain added sugars to balance the tanginess. Opt for fresh sauerkraut without added sugars, or make your own at home, controlling the ingredients.
  • Check Labels on Canned Goods: If using canned beans or other canned ingredients, check the labels to ensure no added sugars are present.
  • Avoid Sugar-Cured Meats: Some smoked or cured meats might contain sugar. Look for those without added sugars or opt for fresh meats.
  • Control Seasonings and Condiments: If you’re adding any seasonings or condiments like ketchup or prepared mustard, check their labels for added sugars and opt for sugar-free versions if available.
  • Utilize Fresh Ingredients: Fresh vegetables and ingredients usually don’t contain added sugars, unlike some canned or processed options.
 German Sauerkraut Soup Recipe

How To Serve The German Sauerkraut Soup At Its Best?

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.

Perfect Side Dishes To Complement German Sauerkraut Soup

Pairing German Sauerkraut Soup with complimentary side dishes can create a satisfying and well-rounded meal. Here’s a list of side dishes that would pair nicely:

  • 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

How Long Can We Store The Soup?

Storing German Sauerkraut Soup properly ensures you can enjoy it later without sacrificing flavor or safety. Here’s how you can keep the soup:


  • Cooling: Allow the soup to cool to room temperature within two hours of cooking. Cooling it too slowly can encourage bacterial growth.
  • Storing: Transfer the soup to an airtight container, leaving some space at the top for expansion.
  • Duration: The soup should last 3-4 days, appropriately refrigerated.


  • Preparation: If planning to freeze, it’s best to omit sour cream when preparing the soup, as dairy can separate when frozen. Add it during reheating instead.
  • Cooling: As with refrigeration, cool the soup to room temperature within two hours.
  • Portioning: If desired, portion the soup into individual servings for easier thawing and reheating.
  • Packaging: Use freezer-safe jars or sturdy freezer bags, squeezing out as much air as possible.
  • Labeling: Label with the date and contents for easy identification.
  • Duration: The soup can last 4-6 months if frozen properly.

Can I Make The Soup In Advance?

You can make German Sauerkraut Soup in advance, and it’s a great option for meal planning or gathering preparation. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Cooking the Soup: Follow your chosen recipe to cook the soup, but consider leaving out ingredients that might not freeze or refrigerate well, such as sour cream. You can add these later when reheating.
  • Cooling: Allow the soup to cool to room temperature within two hours of cooking to ensure food safety.
  • Refrigerating: If you plan to serve the soup within the next 3-4 days, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate.
  • Freezing for Longer Storage: For more extended storage (up to 4-6 months), portion the soup into freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags, leaving some space for expansion. Label with the date and contents.

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.
 German Sauerkraut Soup Recipe

Special Tools/Equipment Needed

Making German Sauerkraut Soup doesn’t usually require highly specialized equipment, but having the right tools can make the preparation and cooking process smoother. Here’s a list of standard kitchen tools that might be helpful:

  • Large Stockpot or Dutch Oven: Needed for simmering the soup, preferably with a heavy bottom to distribute heat evenly.
  • Large Skillet: For sautéing onions, garlic, and bacon and making the roux.
  • Sharp Chef’s Knife: To chop the onions, garlic, and other ingredients.
  • Cutting Board: A good cutting surface for prepping ingredients.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: To accurately measure ingredients, especially liquids, flour, and seasonings.
  • Wooden Spoon or Silicone Spatula: For stirring the soup, especially when making the roux.
  • Slotted Spoon or Tongs: Helpful for removing the bacon from the skillet and reserving the drippings.
  • Ladle: For serving the soup.
  • Whisk: To ensure the roux is smooth and lump-free.
  • Strainer: If you want to drain and rinse the sauerkraut or beans.
  • Airtight Containers: For storing leftovers, either in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Immersion Blender: If you prefer a smoother texture for your soup, an immersion blender can partially or fully blend the soup to your liking.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Use Fresh Sauerkraut Instead Of Canned?

Yes, fresh sauerkraut can be used in place of canned. If using new, you may want to adjust the seasoning to taste, as fresh sauerkraut may have a different flavor profile.

Is German Sauerkraut Soup Suitable For A Low-Carb Diet?

The traditional recipe may contain ingredients unsuitable for a strict low-carb diet, such as beans. However, you can modify the recipe by omitting or replacing certain ingredients, like substituting beans with low-carb vegetables, to fit your dietary needs.

Can I Use Chicken Or Vegetable Broth Instead Of Water?

Absolutely! Chicken or vegetable broth can be used instead of water to add flavor and depth to the soup. Adjust the seasoning as necessary, depending on the salt content of the broth.

What Type Of Bacon Should I Use?

You can use any bacon, whether thick-cut, applewood-smoked, or regular. Each type will lend a slightly different flavor to the soup, allowing you to tailor it to your taste preferences.

Can I Make This Soup Spicy?

You can add some heat to German Sauerkraut Soup by including chili flakes, cayenne pepper, or a dash of hot sauce. Add a little at a time and taste as you go to ensure you achieve the desired level of spiciness.

Delightful German Sauerkraut Soup Recipe (Rich Tangy Taste)

Delightful German Sauerkraut Soup Recipe (Rich Tangy Taste)

5 from 3 votes
Recipe by Hanna Barnes Course: Soup Recipes


Prep time


Cooking time





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.


  • 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.
Hanna Barnes

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top