How to Cook Canned Sauerkraut

Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
saukerkraut in bowl

Cooking canned sauerkraut can be overwhelming for some people as there are numerous ways to go about doing so. Finding the perfect cooking method, based on time commitment and taste preferences, is the key to making the most out of sauerkraut and enjoying this unique, flavorful food.

Sautéed Sauerkraut

Add your favorite seasonings to sauerkraut and sauté it to bring out the flavor.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of canned sauerkraut, drained
  • 2 teaspoons safflower (or other vegetable) oil

Optional Ingredients

To give your sautéed sauerkraut some extra flavor, try adding some of these optional ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon horseradish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon toasted caraway seeds
  • 1/4 cup pan-toasted cashews
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup bacon pieces
  • 1/4 cup onions
  • 1 tablespoon of butter in place of oil

Directions

  1. Add safflower oil to a pan first.
  2. Cook sauerkraut over low-medium heat in the oil (add optional ingredients for flavor, if desired) for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until heated through (stirring occasionally).
  3. Remove sauerkraut from heat, let it cool, and enjoy!

Microwave Method

Looking for an easy (convenient) way to prepare canned sauerkraut because you don't have a lot of time? Try microwaving it!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sauerkraut
  • 1/2 cup of water

Optional Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of beer in place of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon toasted caraway seeds

Directions

  1. Drain sauerkraut.
  2. Place it in a microwave safe bowl and barely cover it with water (or beer).
  3. Add optional ingredients if desired.
  4. Microwave on high for about 5 minutes (or until sauerkraut is tender).
  5. Let it cool, stir, and serve.

Stovetop Sauerkraut

Cooking canned sauerkraut on the stovetop is yet another (easy) option.

Ingredients

  • 1 can of sauerkraut
  • Water

Optional ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon white wine
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup bacon pieces

Directions

  1. Strain canned sauerkraut.
  2. Place it in a pot, and top sauerkraut with just enough water to cover the sauerkraut.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of white wine if desired.
  4. Bring liquid to a boil.
  5. Cover pot and reduce heat to your stovetop's lowest setting.
  6. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
  7. Add other optional ingredients and stir to combine; cover again until heated through.
  8. Uncover, cool, stir, and serve!

Should I Rinse Canned Sauerkraut?

Most canned sauerkraut comes in brine (usually salt and water), so you don't have to rinse it before you strain it. Not rinsing it helps preserve the flavor in canned sauerkraut. However, if you prefer milder-tasting sauerkraut you can rinse it with water before the straining process.

Enjoying Sauerkraut

Canned sauerkraut is fairly easy to cook. Simply choose a cooking method that works best for you and add flavor-enhancing ingredients based on your taste preferences.

How to Cook Canned Sauerkraut