Traditional recipes

How to Cook Kielbasa Sausage

How to Cook Kielbasa Sausage

Kielbasa is the Polish word for sausage. That means the sausage can be any type of Polish-made sausage and technically be "kiełbasa."

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In the U.S., kielbasa is typically smoked and completely cooked before being packaged. This is similar to how American hot dogs are fully cooked when sold, as opposed to the fresh, raw sausage links, or "brats" cooked every Labor Day weekend.

Like hot dogs though, Kielbasa benefits from being heated and cooked again before eating.

Smoked Kielbasa is really flavorful but can be high in sodium. We like to cut it into cubes and brown them in a pan before cooking it with rice or quinoa. You can also stir browned cubes of kielbasa sausage into vegetable soups or a new take on a stir-fry.

Try our recipe for New Potatoes with Spicy Sausage. It calls for a spicy cured sausage called Linguica, but Kielbasa would be a great substitute.

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Stuffing the Sausage

Remove casings from refrigerator and knot one end. Lightly coat the stuffing funnel with cooking spray. Slip the other end of the casing over the mouth of the funnel, making sure it is not twisted, and the opening is centered around the funnel. Continue to push the remainder of casing up onto funnel until you have reached the knot.

Begin to force the meat into the stuffer with one hand while using the other hand to control the thickness of the sausage as it is extruded.

Remember, the sausage will shrink when it cooks, so you want a nice plump sausage. But be careful you don't overstuff, or the casing will burst.

Keep extruding until the casing is used up. Tie a knot in that end. You can either leave the sausage in a large coil or twist it at 5- to 6-inch intervals to make links. Store refrigerated and covered up to two days until ready to cook.

How To Cook Raw / Fresh Kiełbasa?

Boil in Water

  • Fill a large pot with water. Salt the water – otherwise the sausage will give away its flavour to the water.
  • Place kiełbasa in the pot. Bring to boil over a high heat.
  • Reduce the heat and gently simmer for 25-30 minutes – with the lid uncovered.
  • Serve immediately or add more crispiness by grilling or roasting (instructions below)

Tip: Are you cooking biała kiełbasa (raw white sausage) for Easter? It’s worth pumping up the flavour by adding a few allspice berries, bay leaves, dry marjoram and a garlic clove to the water.

Should I prick Kiełbasa before grilling it?

The jury is still out: most pro chefs would discourage you from pricking sausages. This practice makes them loose their juices and dry out.

On the other hand – almost everyone does the exact opposite, and the sausages are still delicious! If you enjoy a crispier kiełbasa, go on and make a few slit cuts before placing it on a grill.

Next, transfer them onto a hot barbecue (over a moderate heat). Since the sausages are smoked and already cooked through, they’ll need only a couple of minutes on a grill. It’s enough to get a light char and golden colour on the outside.

Polish Kielbasa and Pierogies

Enjoy a traditional meal in no time that&rsquos quick and easy when craving a great Polish meal. This recipe is filled with Johnsonville® Polish Kielbasa Sausage that is a perfect companion to potato pierogies that are cooked in a delicious medley of butter and onions.

Enjoy a traditional meal in no time that&rsquos quick and easy when craving a great Polish meal. This recipe is filled with Johnsonville® Polish Kielbasa Sausage that is a perfect companion to potato pierogies that are cooked in a delicious medley of butter and onions.


package (19 ounces) JOHNSONVILLE® Polish Kielbasa Sausage

packages (16 ounces each) frozen potato pierogies

large onion, thinly sliced



Cook sausage according to package directions. Cool slightly cut into coin-sized pieces.

In a Dutch oven, cook pierogies according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.

In a large skillet, cook and stir onions in butter over medium heat until tender about 5 minutes.

Kielbasa and Sauerkraut Recipe

The flavors of lightly seared pork Kielbasa, a common smoked sausage, pair perfectly with sauerkraut. We always use brown sugar to provide balance to the sauerkraut and when we want to kick it up a notch a sprinkle of red pepper flakes gets the job done!

Browning sausage and warming sauerkraut in a skillet is the most basic way to make this meal. Lightly browning the sausage will take this one skillet meal from good to great in just a few minutes by bringing out more savory flavors.

There are so many ways to customize it by adding sliced bell peppers, cubed potatoes or green beans. We will also share how to make sausage using other common kitchen appliances too.

This recipe gives your sauerkraut a little heat and a unique kick. Kielbasa sausage goes really well with the little bit of spice in the sauerkraut. The red pepper flakes can easily be omitted to make a more mild meal.

Some cultures eat a lot of sausage and sauerkraut and my husband&rsquos family with a German lineage falls right in that group. Kielbasa or Smoked Sausage and Sauerkraut is one of his favorite meals. I love that it can be cooked in ten minutes. Serve with buttered French bread and a great meal is ready to eat!

We always keep a pack or two of fully cooked Kielbasa in the refrigerator or freezer. Kielbasa browns well and heats up very quickly. We love using it in our Sausage and Potato Skillet, Smoked Sausage and Cheesy Potato Casserole and our old fashioned Sausage, Potatoes and Green Beans.

Cooked Kielbasa can be used in any recipe that calls for smoked sausage. Smoked sausage is also great added to Mac and Cheese or a Baked Potato Casserole in place of bacon.

A slightly more dressed up sauerkraut and sausage recipe is our Bacon Wrapped Pork and Sauerkraut Roll-Up.

How to Cut Smoked Sausages

Cutting smoked sausage is a personal preference. Smoke sausage can be cut into coin-sized pieces, 3&Prime chunks, or cut lengthwise to allow even more surface area to brown.

We prefer cutting sausage into coin sized pieces because it makes serving our family easier. Young kids don&rsquot need a knife when the meat is pre-cut.

Cutting sausage into bigger 3 inch chunks can be quicker to prepare because is less cutting and fewer surfaces to turn and handle in the browning process. Larger pieces will need to be cut on the plate before eating.

Preparing Sauerkraut for the Sausage

Since sauerkraut is made from a cabbage which is a fresh vegetable it will naturally have moisture inside the plant. Draining sauerkraut helps get rid of excess moisture that preserves sauerkraut while it&rsquos stored. Some moisture will prevent the sauerkraut from becoming dried out.

A couple of teaspoons of tablespoon of brown sugar is typically added to sauerkraut to sweeten the flavors of the meal, but adding sugar is not required.

Freshly ground pepper and a few shakes of salt also add a lot to the meal. For a little bit of heat sprinkle a few red pepper flakes on the sauerkraut.

The Story of Polish Sausage

The Polish Sausage or Kielbasa is not your typical sausage. This kind of sausage hails from Europe, specifically in the Polish (obviously) region. Once upon a time, it was only served on the table of knights and noble families.

However, this kind of long sausage started in the Middle Ages when people are required to go fasting by the Catholic Church. Because of this, the monasteries and people decided to research and experimented on common methods on meat preservation and came up with sausages. During that time, kielbasa was usually described as a thick dark-colored sausage simply because, it was heavily smoked.

Other Ways To Cook Polish Sausage

How to cook sausage in microwave?

Every microwave is different, so it&rsquos kind of hard to answer this question. If it has a grilling option, you can use it to get the crispy skin.

You can also heat it up and have it with mustard or ketchup.

How to cook frozen sausage?

The best way is to put it in the pot with cold water and let it slowly cook. It will be ready to eat after about 15 minutes. Don&rsquot let the water boil!

For the spice mixture:

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp juniper seeds (you don’t need to use them)
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 allspice peas

Cooking time: 50 minutes


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180 С.

Step 2: Heat the fat in a deep frying pan and add the onion. Season with salt and simmer until soft.

Step 3: Add the cabbage, stirring occasionally, fry until the cabbage begins to fade.

Step 4: Add the apple pieces, stir and simmer for another 3-4 minutes.

Step 5: Add sauerkraut and apple juice. Simmer, stirring for another 3-4 minutes.

Step 6: Brown the spices in a dry frying pan and grind in a mortar or coffee grinder.

Step 7: Add spices to cabbage, mix well and warm everything together. Remove from heat.

Step 8: Transfer the cabbage to an oven-proof dish. Cut the sausages in several places across and put them on the cabbage, pressing them a little into the middle.

Step 9: Grease the surface of the sausages with fat or oil and insert it into a preheated oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. The kielbasa should brown well, and the cabbage should finally soften.

Remove the sausages and cabbage from the oven and serve immediately!

Kielbasa Sausage and Sauerkraut Recipe

Sometimes we have to take a deep breath and plunge into the unknown hoping for the best or so it seems, we do that from the spectators that look through the lens of history.

Is everybody an explorer?

In reality though, discoveries and inventions didn&rsquot come unexpectedly to random individuals but to people who were actively seeking them. Christopher Colombus didn&rsquot accidentally bump into the Americas, but he was certain that he would find, land following the setting Sun.

Nor the steam machine or the airplane was accidentally invented by people who had too much free time at their hands. Well, maybe the Wright brothers had too much free time, but it takes a lot of that to finally raise their planes above the ground.

Sure, a couple of unexpected discoveries popped up along the way, like small islands, penicillin or radioactivity but people had to know what they were doing to recognize such discoveries. Many of us would have been happy living on a flat Earth or simply toss out any leftover goo in a petri dish. Not to mention the lack of interest in pestling pieces of rocks in a mortar.

What&rsquos in vitamin C?

Nothing proves this better than scurvy that caused suffering and death on land and seas for centuries, even though some found ways to treat it. There are tales that Portuguese planted fruit trees at stopping points from homebound voyages from Asia or James Cook carrying a store of Sauerkraut on his expeditions on sea since experience had taught them, it prevented scurvy.

But since no doctors or any authority was stumbled upon such solution, the scurvy treating properties of citrus fruits or sauerkraut went unheeded. Until a 4-month long voyage to Asia filled with lemon and sugar proved otherwise and the fresh fruit treatment for scurvy was widely accepted.

The discoveries of vitamin C in citrus fruits still had to wait a couple of centuries thus people never came to realize that there were other food that could prevent scurvy such as James Cook&rsquos sauerkraut. Or maybe they just didn&rsquot want to.

What is Sauerkraut?

Sauerkraut is -as its name implies- sour and many of us are not even remotely interested in having that sort of experience tickling their tastebuds as long as there are other options out there. Others find it quite fascinating to the level that they elevate it to the national food status like the Germans or Poles.

Germans like to eat it with bratwurst while Poles with kielbasa which are both sausages with slightly different flavoring with some overlaps but the sauerkraut is the same.

Sauerkraut is plain cabbage shredded, salted, and left to ferment at less than 60°F / 15°C. It doesn&rsquot need any additional ingredients, similarly to the sourdough bread that is fermented by the same lactobacilli bacteria and yeast.

Unlike with bread though, yeast can ruin our sauerkraut if the temperature goes over the optimal temperature, leaving us with a soft and unappealing end product. Probably, few of us will buy sacks of cabbage and spend their afternoons shredding them to fill a 100 gal / 400 L barrel with would be sauerkraut, but for those who try, keep in mind the temperature next time.

How to have Sauerkraut?

For the rest of us, who buy their sauerkraut ready packed in our favorite shops and keep the opened-up jar in the fridge or use the whole batch up with cabbage stew or sauerkraut kielbasa, don&rsquot have to bother with such nuisances.

Throwing together a sauerkraut kielbasa meal is one of the easiest of tasks we may encounter in the kitchen, right after making instant noodles. Although it&rsquos recommended to spice things up a little with some onion and herbs and for the less adventurous to rinse the sauerkraut beforehand. Making sauerkraut sausage is as easy as warming together the ingredients and if we are ready, plunge into the unknown.


    • ½ cup / 130 ml Cooking oil
    • 4 pieces / 400g Potatoes (diced) (on low carb try Rutabaga)
    • 2 medium / 400g Onion (sliced)
    • 1 teaspoon / 5g Salt
    • 1 lb / 500g Kielbasa sausage (Check out how to make Kielbasa Sausage Recipe)
    • 2 cloves Garlic
    • 1 teaspoon / 3g Mustard or mustard seed
    • 1 teaspoon / 1g Caraway seed
    • 1 lb / 500g Sauerkraut

    How to make Kielbasa sausage and sauerkraut

    1. Heat oil in a skillet to medium high and fry the potatoes until golden brown on two sides. Since there is very little oil is used, don&rsquot forget to move them around every now and then. On low carb diet, we can use rutabaga or simply skip this step.
    2. Remove the potatoes, add sliced onions, salt then saute until a glassy / translucent look.
    3. Add sausages, garlic, mustard seed and caraway. The sausage can be sliced up or added whole as preferred.
    4. Stir fry until the onion starts to caramelize and golden brown spots begin to appear on the sausages, for about 5 &ndash 7 minutes.
    5. Mix in the sauerkraut. Some like to rinse sauerkraut, others like it as it is. It&rsquos sourness depends on the brand so make sure it has been tasted before adding it to a dish.
    6. If potatoes or other fun bits were used, add them back to the skillet. Pour a bit of water if no liquid is left at the bottom of the skillet, place the lid on warm then together the ingredients for about 5 &ndash 10 minutes.