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braised sauerkraut recipe

Braised Sauerkraut – Czech Dušené kysané zelí

This Czech-style braised sauerkraut is deep in flavor, glossy, creamy, and with just enough juice. It’s cooked with onion and bacon, served as a side dish for famous Czech meals like vepřo knedlo zelo.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Czech
Keyword Czech braised cabbage, dušené zelí, Sauerkraut Soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 portions


  • 1 lb (450 g) sauerkraut
  • 2 onions
  • 3 oz (85 g) smoked bacon
  • 1 Tbsp pork lard or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp crushed caraway seeds
  • ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • salt
  • water as required


  • Do before you start cooking: Peel onion and chop it finely. Drain sauerkraut; reserve the brine for later. If the sauerkraut contains big pieces, cut it up into smaller ones. Dice bacon into ⅓ inch cubes.
  • In a pot, melt pork lard over medium heat. Add chopped onion and fry until the onion is translucent. Stir occasionally to prevent the onion from burning. It takes about 5-8 minutes. Add crushed caraway seeds and stir.
  • Throw in cubed bacon, fry for 5 minutes while stirring. Add sauerkraut and mix. If the reserved brine is not too sour, you can add about ½ cup. If the brine is too acidic, add ½ cup water to it. Or make a compromise and add ¼ of the brine plus ¼ of water to the sauerkraut.
  • Low the temperature, cover the pot with a lid and let the sauerkraut braise for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, stir in sugar. Add flour and mix. Cook on low heat for a further 15 minutes. Braised sauerkraut will thicken and get a nice glossy look.
  • Season the finished sauerkraut with salt and sugar to your liking.
  • Serve warm as a side dish.


  1. Makes about 4 yields.
  2. Total time for braising sauerkraut should not exceed 30 minutes to avoid overcooking.
  3. You don’t need to rinse sauerkraut or soak it in the water before cooking. However, if the flavor is too sharp, you can rinse sauerkraut in a colander under streaming water. This step removes some of the sour taste. 
  4. Bacon is a thing in this recipe! You can omit it, but the sauerkraut won’t have the final taste which is expected.
  5. Czech braised sauerkraut must be creamy. The creaminess is given by adding an adequate amount of water and thickening with flour.