This New Year’s Instant Pot kielbasa and sauerkraut dish with pork is an easy meal that you can make in the slow cooker too. A traditional meal to start your New Year and it’s low carb! Each serving of this kielbasa recipe has only 4.6g net carbs or 2.4g for the low carb version. And you only need 4 ingredients!
You might also like thsi Pork Roast & Sauerkraut recipe in the Instant Pot.
Do you eat pork or kielbasa and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day? We always have since I was little and even my husband was raised this way. As a kid I wasn’t much of a fan of sauerkraut but I really love it with pork and kielbasa as an adult.
We eat this super easy kielbasa and sauerkraut dish many times in the winter as it’s a family favorite on busy weeknights. We keep it really simple with 4 basic ingredients. The savory flavors of tangy sauerkraut go great with garlicky bite of kielbasa. Recently I decided to try this dish in the Instant Pot to save on cooking time.
However you can also make this in the slow cooker so don’t worry if you don’t have a pressure cooker. So here is our super easy New Year’s Instant Pot kielbasa and sauerkraut recipe.
Why is pork and sauerkraut a New Year’s tradition?
I was looking into why we eat pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day and there are various thoughts. Some say it’s a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition and some say it’s a German tradition.
Some say the cabbage and pork represent wealth because pork is rich in fat. One thought is that pigs root forward and you want to move forward in the new year and not backwards. (source)
Others say it’s all hogwash and just pure comfort food. Regardless we love the flavor combination and eat it once a month.
Recipe ingredients I used.
The simple ingredients I used were: sauerkraut, 1 package of Polish kielbasa sausage, country pork ribs or chops, salt, black pepper and brown sugar for a touch of sweetness. That’s all you need for this simple recipe. Below you can what I normally use.
You can get everything at Aldi except the Swerve brown sugar sweetener. I use that for a lower carb version but even with regular brown sugar it’s still low carb.
Some people like to use yellow onions or sweet onions but since the kielbasa has so much garlic I don’t think it needs the onions.
How to make kielbasa and sauerkraut in the Instant Pot.
For the Instant Pot version I first browned the country ribs because that’s a nice feature this gadget has: the ability to saute and then pressure cook.
I sprinkled a bit of salt and pepper and browned them using the saute setting. Then I added the rest of the ingredients with a little water and pressure cooked for about 15 minutes.
To cook pork and sauerkraut in the Instant Pot:
- Press the saute button on the Instant Pot and adjust heat to high. Add 1 tablespoon of oil.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper over the country ribs and brown both sides in the Instant Pot until golden brown. This will take about 1-2 minutes per side.
- In the meantime slice kielbasa into 1 inch bite size pieces.
- Cancel the sautéing and add sauerkraut on top. Sprinkle brown sugar over sauerkraut.
- Place the kielbasa on top of the sauerkraut mixture and pour ⅓ cup of water in as well. Some people like to use beer or even apple juice but I like just water.
- Seal the lid and pressure cook for 15 minutes.
- Let come to pressure naturally or quick release.
Store leftover kielbasa and sauerkraut in an airtight container or place in a baking dish and cover with plastic wrap. Please scroll down to view and print the recipe card.
How to make pork, kielbasa and sauerkraut in the slow cooker.
You can make this recipe in a crock pot as well. Just add everything to the crock pot and cook for 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high until the pork falls apart.
You can brown the country pork ribs in a skillet first if you wish but it’s not necessary.
What to serve with this dish and a low carb version.
We like to eat our pork and sauerkraut with mashed potatoes to make it a complete meal. Also because it goes well with the delicious flavor of tangy sauerkraut and garlicky kielbasa. Just add a fresh salad and you are set!
When I’m watching my carbs, I eat it without the potatoes and use Swerve brown sugar sweetener in place of the brown sugar.
Sometimes I just eliminate the brown sugar or sweetener altogether. It’s a bit more tangy but my husband prefers it this way.
I also eat it without the mashed potatoes and it’s delicious and of course that lowers the carbs.
Recipe Notes and Tips
- I used sweetener brown sugar but even with regular brown sugar the carbs are not that high. Some times I grate a sweet apple and add that instead to a bit of sweetness and balance the tart flavor of sauerkraut. You could even substitute apple cider for the water for added sweetness.
- To make this in the slow cooker kielbasa dish, just add everything to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. You could brown the country ribs first but you really don’t have to.
- Some people add potatoes to this recipe however I have never tried it. I do have a lot of kielbasa recipes on this blog. And this kielbasa and potatoes recipe is one of my most popular recipes. So perhaps I will to try it sometime.
Whether you make this kielbasa and sauerkraut in the Instant Pot or slow cooker, either method will give you this warm, comforting family meal that just might bring you luck in the new year! Can’t hurt right? And the combination of the amazing flavor is sure to be hit with your family. Enjoy!
The nutrition info for 1 serving is: 584 cals / 37g fat / 9.9g carbs / 5.3g fiber / 51.2g protein = 4.6g net carbs
If using sweetener or no brown sugar at all: 576 cals / 37g fat / 7.7g carbs / 5.3g fiber / 51.2g protein = 2.4g net carbs
New Year's Instant Pot Kielbasa and Sauerkraut
This New Year's pork, kielbasa & sauerkraut dish is an easy, traditional meal that you can make in the slow cooker or Instant Pot. Best way to start your New Year!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound country pork ribs
- 14 ounces pork kielbasa, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 4 cups sauerkraut (or 24oz jar)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (or brown sugar sweetener)
- ⅓ cup water
- Push the saute button on your Instant pot and let heat up.
- Add the oil and then place all the ribs in the pot. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper and cook until the ribs are golden brown on both sides. Then press the cancel button.
- Add the sauerkraut and sprinkle the brown sugar on top.
- Put the kielbasa pieces on top and pour in the water.
- Close and lock the lid and switch the vent to the sealing position.
- Push the manual button for 15 minutes.
- When timer is done, either let vent naturally or turn vent with a quick release.
- Open the lid and mix the kraut around a bit.
- Serve as is or with mashed potatoes.
- If using a slow cooker, you can add everything into the crock and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 584Unsaturated Fat: 0g
I used this recipe today 1/1/2022. It’s delicious And so easy! Thank you so much. Happy new year!
Happy New Year to you. So glad you liked it!!! We eat this at least once a month because it is so easy.
Hi!!! There is a video featuring this recipe – has a piano background! Do you know what the piano piece is??? Also, plan to try lots of your recipes for my son-in-law who has had his stomaxk size reduced so low carbs!
Hi Maxine, I’m sorry I could not find what it was. I used video software to put that together many years ago and it was stock music you could use. Hope you enjoy the recipes!
I have for over 30 years used a pack of Lipton’s Onion Soup mixed with 6 oz water.
Hi Kip, that’s very interesting! I’ll have to try that. We eat this at least once a month.
My husband and I were raving about this meal. I’ve tried over and over to make moist pork chops with sauerkraut with little success. The country ribs turned out great because the fat melted to the bottom, the sausage was tender and not crunchy. I added a potato cut in large pieces with complete success, as well as some caraway seeds. I did put it all in a casserole to keep warm till ready, so was able to skim over the liquid in the bottom as not needed. This is a permanent addition to our household menus.
Hi Carol, so glad you liked it. I see other people put potatoes in theirs as well. I’m going to try that next time as we eat it at least once a month. Thanks for coming back to comment and share your tips!
Stefanie M Lawson
I made this for dinner tonight in my Foodi. I had a small pork roast that I cut up in the size of boneless ribs. OMG, it was sooo delicious! Thank you so much for the recipe. I will definitely be making this often.
HI Stefanie, so glad you liked it! We eat this at least once a month because it’s so easy and because it’s one we all like (even my picky son) lol.
I have some diced pork stew meat I would like to use for this. Any suggestion for time adjustments? Thanks, sounds delish!
Hi Lauren, I guess it depends on how big the diced pieces are. I would still do 10-15 minutes but I’m really not sure. Here is Instant Pots time chart. It seems that lamb cubes are 12-15 minutes per lb and beef stew meat is 20 minutes per pound. https://instantpot.com/instantpot-cooking-time/#tab-id-4
Also I found this for another reader about using less pork.They said that whether you are halving or doubling a recipe the time will be the same because
“Cooking time doesn’t change. That’s because the time is based on the size, and not the quantity of food.”
Hope one of those helps.
Hi, I will be making this recipe for only 2 people and would like to cut it in half. Should I decrease the amount of cook time? If so, by how much?
I am excited to try this!!
Hi Levi, I think you would keep it the same. I’ve been trying to find a definitive answer and this is what I found.
She says that whether you are halving or doubling a recipe the time will be the same because
“Cooking time doesn’t change. That’s because the time is based on the size, and not the quantity of food.”
And since you are using ribs and not a roast, it won’t matter if you are making 3 ribs or 6 ribs. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!
I add celery seed and diced, peeled apples to this dish as well. I’ve made this dish every New Year’s Day for 40 yrs! My kids loved this as it wasn’t so tart for them. Even though I have the Ninja Foodi, I’m using my crockpot so I can smell the deliciousness all day!
We eat this many times throughout the year and I’ve got all my ingredients for Wednesday!
I haven’t ever used sausage in my P&S, but it looks delicious! I’m going to try this, it beats cooking it half the day I’m use to doing. Does cooking it this mellow the sauerkraut like it does on the stove?
My dad was brought up on a farm in Ohio. Both his parents were from a Germany. He always said eating pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day gave you good luck for the year. (Plus in cleaned your inside out! Ha,)
Hi Marjee, thanks for sharing what you dad said. That’s what I’ve already heard but never really questioned it as be authentic or not.
The kielbasa mellows the sauerkraut a bit but it is pretty tangy still. My friend makes it with more brown sugar and butter which would take away the tang more but my family doesn’t like it like that. Do you add any other seasoning to your regular pork and sauerkraut?
Thank you for this recipe… I have been wanting some Kraut for a bit now and do not use my instant pot nearly enough
so this ole gal is very happy to see this ..
have a super day
Hi Sheila, we too are kraut lovers. We eat pork and sauerkraut at least once a month…..even in the summer. Hope you enjoy it!
Is the pork soft?
Hi Kristin, yes it gets very soft….falls apart.
Can you use boneless pork chops instead of the ribs? Will it change the time.
Nope. They are very similar because they are boneless ribs.
Can you use beer instead of water?
Hi Al, I don’t see why not. Liquid is liquid. I found this online and it says it’s ok. https://www.gopresto.com/content/pressure-cooking/pressure-cooking-faq Good luck!
Just rec’d Instant Pot for Christmas.
We add wine to our pork & sauerkraut. How will adding wine affect the result? How much wine would you think is acceptable?
Hi Rob, I don’t think wine will effect the Instant Pot at all. So go ahead and make it the way you usually do. I think the least amount of liquid has to be 1/2 cup but other than that I don’t believe more liquid will hurt at all. Hope that helps.
I love the New Years traditions. I think every country has one including regions of the country. Hubby is German and I come from Northern Italy which has a big Germanic influence so we both grew up eating sauerkraut. We enjoy eating it with pork and with sausage. This is a great recipe — will have to modify for a slow cooker. Mar
I must admit I have never eaten Sauerkraut. I think! I’m not sure. I have definitely never cooked with it. This looks and sounds so yum. Love the flavors.
I was never a big sauerkraut fan till i was introduced to this way of cooking with it. Now i crave it and make it often. So good!
We love dishes like this. And it looks so delicious! We have not joined the instant pot train yet but your recipes always make us want to stat!
Well, being Ukrainian, I know and love sauerkraut. My mom and baba made it every year. I still remember the aroma of the cabbage fermenting in the basement….that lasted for weeks!! Pork and sauerkraut are a great combination, and this looks delicious to me!!
I’ve always want to make my own sauerkraut!
How long will it take to add potatoes with the ribs and sauerkraut.in the insta pot?
It think it would take the same amount of time – 15 minutes. The potatoes should cook quickly. It’s the meat that you want to make sure gets cooked. Hope that helps!
Have you tried this recipe in the instapot pot on the crockpot setting? How did it turn out?
To be honest, I have never used the slow cooker setting but I have made this in the slow cooker too and it should work just fine. You really only need to make sure the pork is cooked. Good luck!
How long would you cook this if using less ribs – just 2 ribs? (I only cook for 2 and we don’t want leftovers) TIA!
I found this information “Doubling a recipe doesn’t require changing the cooking time. Cooking times are more dependent on the density and thickness of the ingredients rather than the weight. So, if you’re cooking 8 chicken thighs instead of the 4 thighs that a recipe calls for, you won’t need to change the cooking time in the recipe (so long as you’re not overcrowding the pot and the liquid has room to circulate). Keep in mind that even though you are not increasing the cooking time, the Instant Pot will take longer to build pressure due to the increased quantity of ingredients.(https://www.paintthekitchenred.com/17-instant-pot-tips-faqs-questions/) So I think you should do it for the same time but it might come up to pressure quicker. Hope that helps!
I don’t want to put ribs in with this so does there need to be an adjustment on the time?
Hi Stacey, are you using any other kind of meat? Because the pork ribs are really the only thing that needs to be cooked so I wouldn’t think you even need to pressure cook anything. You could just heat them up using the saute button on your Instant Pot. And just to note, the ribs are boneless country pork ribs. They are just basically pieces of pork cut in to long thick pieces.
I purchased an Instant Pot recently, and I love it. I need to try this recipe, it looks fantastic!
Anyone who used a pork roast ~ how did it come out?
Jen this is an email from another reader who used a roast – We skipped the kielbasa and cut the roast in half. Set it for 50 minutes and it was perfect.
Thanks!” – Hope that helps!
My instapot does not have a manual button what setting should I use for this recipe?
You want it to cook for 15 minutes so what other buttons do you have that might cook something for 15 minutes? Do you have a meat button?
Would you make any changes when using canned Vlasic sauerkraut?
Nope. That should be just fine!
Can i throw in raw shredded canbage instead of sauerkraut? If so what adjustments do i need to make? Thanks!
Hi Cynthia, the sauerkraut will give it that bit of acid or tang so if you don’t mind missing that taste, I don’t see why not. Maybe add a bit more salt and some apple cider vinegar. However I would increase the water to be 1 cup total. Good luck!
Happy New Year! Does the sauerkraut get soft or does it stay a little firm? Thank you
I would say that it is soft but not mushy. There is no crunch though.
Can I use ribs with the bone in? And would the time change from doing so?
I think it will be fine because there is less meat with bone in.
Thank you, gonna give it a try.
Great! I hope you like it.
I plan on making this for dinner tonight. You say to use 1/3 cup water but typically recipes need at least 1 cup water for the instant pot? You didn’t have a problem with the meat burning on the bottom?
Hi Michelle, I did not have a problem because there is liquid in the sauerkraut. I did not drain it. Hope that helps!
You say switch the vent to the on position is this the “Sealing” position?
Yes Chuck I meant the sealing position. Thanks for pointing that out!
May I do a roast w this recipe or should I slice it up to use I. Instant cooker?
Whenever I do a roast it takes much longer and I think the kielbasa would be way over cooked.
I’ve never tried that however, that is my instinct. I think if you cut it up it would cook quicker.
Hope that helps!
Could I follow same directions for Mini pot?
I believe it would work the same way for the mini Instant Pot though I have never used one before. As long as the food items fit well inside and were not too cramped it should work out using the same timing method. Good luck!
Can you use pork loin instead and would it need more time
I don’t think it would need any extra time but it might depend on what size it is. If you are doing a big piece like a roast, it might take more time, but if you cut it in pieces I think it would be the same amount of time.
If I were to not make the kielbasa, would that affect the cooking time for the instant pot?
Hi Jenn, no that would not. The kielbasa is essentially cooked so it’s really only about cooking the ribs. Hope that helps and that you like this! We eat it quite often in the winter.