This sweet and sour kielbasa has a combination of flavors that are so delicious but is a twist on a classic takeout dish. It gets it sweetness from applesauce, BBQ sauce and brown sugar. Sauerkraut adds to the tangy, sour flavor. Add to all this is a variety of vegetables making it a fantastic one-pot meal.
Why this recipe is just so good...
- Unusual ingredients makes for fantastic flavor: Combining sauerkraut, peppers, tomatoes, applesauce and BBQ sauce may not be typical in a sweet and sour recipe. But they create a smoky, tangy, sweet and sour balance of contrasting flavors that you will want to recreate over and over.
- Quick Meal: This one-pan recipe needs only a little bit of prep. Dinner will be ready in about 30 minutes.
- If you love quick and easy one-pot meals, you will want to check out my Moo Shu Beef, Teriyaki Beef, Hot and Spicy Beef or Mongolian Pork.
- Easy to customize- You can switch up or leave out some vegetables. Or add more sugar or spices to increase the flavor. It is sweet enough that even people on the fence about sauerkraut will love this recipe. It's a perfect blend of flavors!
You need the following ingredients to make sweet and sour kielbasa recipe:
- precooked beef kielbasa, sliced into ½ inch pieces
- medium onion, sliced
- red bell pepper
- sauerkraut, rinsed, drained
- cherry tomatoes (not pictured)
- unsweetened applesauce
- brown or white sugar
- BBQ sauce
- garlic powder
- black pepper
- Kielbasa- We are using Hillshire Farms beef kielbasa sausage in this recipe. You can also try pork kielbasa, polish sausage, Chorizo, Andouille or Bratwurst. The beef kielbasa is precooked. Some of these sausages may not be, so check on the package if it needs to be fully cooked.
- Sauerkraut- Refrigerated sauerkraut is preferred since it less salty and fresher tasting. My grocery store was out of it so canned was used. I made sure to double rinse and drain the kielbasa to remove some of the salty liquid.
How to make Kielbasa and Sauerkraut
Heat ½ tablespoon butter in a large skillet.
Add the sliced kielbasa and cook over medium heat 3-4 minutes until browned on both sides. Stir in BBQ sauce to coat kielbasa.
Remove kielbasa to a bowl or plate.
Add the remaining tablespoon of butter over medium heat and saute' onions for 5 minutes until lightly browned.
Push onions to the side of skillet and stir in the peppers. Cook for about 4 minutes.
Stir together the drained sauerkraut, sugar and applesauce in a small bowl.
Stir in the sauerkraut mixture, tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for 4 minutes until everything is blended.
Add the kielbasa back to the skillet and cook for a final minute to heat everything through.
Recipe Additions & Substitutions
To lower some of the sugar and lower the carbohydrates a bit, try these swaps:
- Substitute the regular brown sugar for a brown sugar substitute. (I prefer Allulose brown sugar. Health.com states it a safe sweetener, derived from foods such as raisins, figs and kiwis. And it doesn't raise blood glucose levels.
- Replace the BBQ sauce with one that is sugar free. I like the G Hughes line of sauces.
- Feel free to use yellow, orange bell peppers or green bell peppers. The yellow and orange are a bit milder. The green peppers have a bit of a stronger pepper flavor.
- For the best results, don't skip the steps of sautéing the kielbasa and vegetables. The few minutes of pan frying brings so much flavor from caramelization.
- I probably sound like a broken record but taste test the sweet and sour sauce before going on to the next steps. Is it too sour or tangy? Add more applesauce or BBQ sauce. Is the sauce too sweet? Try adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar. Or thin out the sauce with some water, beef or chicken broth.
Frequently Asked Questions
This recipe uses beef kielbasa. But you can use pork or turkey kielbasa. Also, feel free to try another type of sausage such as Andouille, Bratwurst or Choirzo. The beef kielbasa is precooked so check the package of other sausage to see if they need longer cooking.
Since this dish is a combination of many different flavors, you might want to keep any side dish a bit simple. I would suggest serving it over white rice, brown rice or cauliflower rice. Since I prefer eating lower carb, I bought microwave streamable cauli rice. It tastes delicious sautéed with some olive oil and garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper.
Corn muffins, biscuits and rolls go along with this dish very well.
Try some chili sauce, hot sauce, red pepper flakes or a spicy version of BBQ sauce. Add a little at a time and taste as you go.
If you tried this recipe and enjoyed it, I'd love if you gave it a 5 star rating. This tells me what you like and want to see more of. Thank you!
MORE skillet dinners to try:Print
This sweet and sour kielbasa has a combination of flavors that are so delicious but nothing like the Chinese takeout dish. It gets it sweetness from the applesauce BBQ sauce brown sugar. And the sour flavor comes from sauerkraut. Add to all this is a variety of vegetables making it a fantastic one-pot meal.
- 1 pound precooked beef kielbasa, sliced into ½" pieces
- 1 ½ tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 16 ounce can of sauerkraut, rinsed and drained*
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half*
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce*
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar*
- ½ cup BBQ sauce
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Combine the sauerkraut, sugar and applesauce in a small bowl.
- Heat ½ tablespoon butter in a large skillet.
- Add the sliced kielbasa and cook over medium heat 3-4 minutes until browned on both sides. Add the BBQ sauce and stir to coat kielbasa.
- Remove kielbasa to a bowl or plate.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of butter over medium heat and cook the sliced onions for 5 minutes until lightly browned.
- Push onions to the side of skillet and stir in the peppers. Cook for about 4 minutes.
- Stir in the sauerkraut mixture, tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for 4 minutes until everything is blended.
- Add the kielbasa back to the skillet and cook for a final minute to heat everything through.
*If you can find it, refrigerated sauerkraut is preferred over canned.
*You can use presweetened applesauce. Consider not adding any sugar to the recipe without tasting first. It may not need it.
I think the unsweetened is better because you can add your own amount of sugar. I also like the flavor of brown sugar in this recipe.
*If you don't have cherry tomatoes, use 2 regular tomatoes, cut into eighths.
*Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days. Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat on the stovetop over low-medium heat. Add a tablespoon or two of water or broth to moisten if it needs it. You can also reheat on a covered dish for 2-3 minutes.
Keywords: sausage, kielbasa, one-pot, skillet, easy dinner