Polish Kapusta

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polish kapusta recipe

Three simple ingredients combine to create this flavorful and traditional Polish dish. If you are a fan of crock-pot cooking, this is an excellent meal to start in the morning and then forget about all day.

This recipe comes together in about an hour on the stove-top or it can be simmered through the day in the crock-pot. (For what it’s worth, I am not a fan of sauerkraut and I still enjoyed this meal.)

My sister married into a food-loving family and they have given us some truly fabulous recipes. Her mother in law grew up making kapusta with her grandmother.

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Her family traditionally serves this dish with pierogies and the combination is delicious. I’ll be sharing how to make the pierogies tomorrow!

polish kapusta recipe

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Polish Kapusta

5 from 4 votes
Servings: 8 servings


  • 1 28 ounce jar of sauerkraut
  • 2 lbs Polish/kielbasa sausage NOT smoked (If you can't find a non-smoked polish sausage, bratwurst will work in a pinch.)
  • 1 28 ounce jar of marinara sauce, or 1 recipe Five Minute Marinara


  • Pour the sauerkraut into a strainer over a bowl in the sink. Rinse thoroughly with water for at least 2-3 minutes. It is very important to remove the brine for this recipe. Let the rinsed sauerkraut rest in the strainer and drain while starting the rest of the dish.
  • STOVE-TOP DIRECTIONS: Place the sausage links in the bottom of a large pot over medium high heat. Turn them over as needed, to brown each side. Add the rinsed sauerkraut and the marinara to the pot and reduce to low heat. Bring to a slow simmer and cover with lid. Simmer for 1 hour, or all day long over very low heat. Stirring occasionally. If desired, remove the sausages and slice just before serving. Enjoy!
  • CROCK-POT DIRECTIONS: Place the sausage links in a skillet over medium high heat. Turn them over as needed, to brown each side. (Feel free to skip the browning step, if you like. Browning the sausages will add a little extra flavor, but it isn't required.) Place the sausages, rinsed sauerkraut and the marinara in the crock-pot over low heat. Simmer all day, from 6-10 hours. Stirring occasionally, if desired (although it isn't necessary). If desired, remove the sausages and slice just before serving. Enjoy!
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ONE YEAR AGO TODAY: Glass Noodles with Sriracha Honey Broccoli
TWO YEARS AGO TODAY: Hungarian Mushroom Soup

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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    • Mary says

      Hi Judy,

      We cook the sausage whole and then remove it to slice just before serving. I'll add a note to the recipe. Thank you!


    • Anonymous says

      I'm from Upstate NY and the Kapusta my Polish family cooked was strictly potatoes mashed, dried peas (soaked overnight in water), sauerkraut, and cabbage, fried salt pork in real small pieces. The texture was like a soup, green in color and tasted fantastic.

    • Anonymous says

      I grew up on the green pea one also…….maybe not exactly as this one but never with marinara sauce tho I think it sounds good

  1. Magnolia Verandah says

    I had something similar last night for tea. Although I didn't add sauerkraut, I added spring onions, carrots and cauliflower. Don't call my sauce marinara (had to look yours up but has the same ingredients) although one difference the addition of lemon zest must try this. Mine was unimpressive to look at (hence no blog or photo) but dam good to eat!

  2. Anonymous says

    there is also a dish called "młoda kapusta/ young cabbage". Very similar recipe instead of sauerkraut you have to use a young white cabbage and add a lot of dill.

    • M Nordman says

      Bigos, as many families as there are in Poland is the exact number of Bigos recipes.

      Ours was handed down from my wife’s parents, Kraut, cabbage, kielbasa, pork chops,onion, diced potatoes, carrots, peas and a little catsup for color. Served with perogies, galumpkis and good rye bread. This year I’m going to try your kapusta. Many thanks for the recipe.

      It’s been bringing our extended family together on Christmas for over 40 years..

      Enjoy you holidays

    • Mary says

      Hi Rosemary,

      That is not information that I track. However, if you want nutritional information for a recipe, it is very simple to enter the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Here's a link: http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/recipe_analysis.php You can cut and paste the full recipe into the calculator and you won't need to enter all the ingredients separately.

      I hope that helps!

  3. fieldbarn says

    I grew up eating this stuff…especially during Christmas my father would make a huge pot of "bigos". That's how it's called in Polish. But, ours wouldn't come with Marinara sauce. Since I've been diagnosed with gluten intolerance, I cook with gluten-free sausage only. It's still yummy, tho:)

  4. Diana Downie Bristow says

    I have to say I am so glad I found your blog!! Okay so when I saw this recipe I was not so sure about mixing sauerkraut and spaghetti sauce together let alone with kielbasa. For some reason I was drawn to this recipe. So I made it yesterday. All I can say is THANK YOU Mary!! My family loved this!! I was not sure I wanted to try it..lol but I am so glad I did!
    The recipe should be followed exactly as you wrote it!! I so wanted to add things to it…but am so glad I did not!! You also suggested pierogis with the dish. We cannot have pasta of any type here so I baked a spaghetti squash and had that on the side…the guys loved and I mean loved it!! They mixed their food all together and ate it up!!
    Thank you again for this awesome keeper!!! If I could rate this higher it would be a 10!!! I cant wait to try other recipes!!5 stars

  5. Martin Kolakowski says

    For 47 yrs we traditionally have had Kaputa every holiday. I take 1 bag kruat squeeze brine out or lightly rinse it , leaving it somewhat sour . . Cut up med heard fresh cabbage in thin strips., 1 thinly sliced 1 sweet onion , 1 thinly sliced package mushrooms , 2 pouches dry onion soup mix , slice up 3 lbs Polish sausage , black pepper . . Put all gradients in very large pot, bring to a boil. Turn banner door and cover pot , cook on medium heat for 2 hrs . People that say they don’t like kaputa , have tried this and say they love it . My father -in-law was polish and he loved it .

  6. Regina Hudson says

    Why does it have to cook so long in the crock pot ,? I would think 2 hrs on hi should be enough since all the ingredients are not raw

  7. Laura says

    My grandma made what I thought was the Croatian version of this. She layered kielbasa cut into 4-5 inch pieces, then sauerkraut and then home canned tomatoes (with the juice): 1 or 2 layers for the immediate family (five of us), or multiple layers to fill a stock pot when the whole clan got together at Easter or Christmas. It was delicious and I prepare it occasionally. Not the same as Grandma’s at the holidays, but delicious all the same!5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      Clearly this is not your recipe, Karen. However, it was Janie’s recipe as she taught my sister to make it and she passed it to me. So, for our family, this is Kapusta. I hope that you enjoy your recipe as much as we enjoy ours. All the best, Mary