Stewed Sauerkraut

sauteed sauerkraut stoveti kaposti

Sauteed sauerkraut (štovēti kāposti) is my “must-have” Christmas dish. Ever since I can remember, my grandma would spend most of the Christmas Eve in the kitchen boiling, frying and sauteing sauerkraut, potatoes and meat, while the kids would go to the markets to pick out the best looking Christmas tree. Christmas Eve would be celebrated with a feast, including compulsory mandarins and whipped cream, as well as presents that could only be received in exchange for a song or a rhyme.

The dish itself is very simple: it consists of sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), fat and sugar. Every family would have their own recipe and every family would think that their recipe is the one. There are many ways to make sauteed sauerkraut and many potential additions: bacon,carrots, apples, tomato paste, garlic, honey and barley. This recipe is how my grandma is making sauteed sauerkraut and I still make it her way every time I feel homesick.

Sauteed Sauerkraut

2 hours

Sauteed Sauerkraut


  • 1kg sauerkraut
  • water
  • 100g lard
  • 9 tbsp sugar


  1. Drain the sauerkraut in colander and place in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the water, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1.5 - 2 hours.
  3. Drain the sauerkraut in a colander, making sure no excess liquid is left.
  4. Melt the sugar in a large frying pan until it is golden brown. Add lard and gently stir until sugar and fat has melted together. Add the sauerkraut to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes until golden.


Sauerkraut is best served with pork or smoked, cooked sausages and boiled potatoes. Sauteed sauerkraut can also be used in piragi (pies) as alternative to bacon.


  1. Sandy
    July 24, 2014

    My mother’s recipe required carrots and caraway. As you said, every Latvian makes this “their” way. Too many people just dump plain sauerkraut (heated first) onto a plate and so no wonder people say they don’t like sauerkraut! Braising it and adding the sweet and fat like this, plus the other additions that make each recipe unique, turns that plain sauerkraut into a very delicious dish indeed.

  2. Signe
    July 29, 2014

    I absolutely love this sauerkraut dish (which Latvian doesn’t?)! A prime candidate for helping cure homesickness, particularly in cold weather. My recipe is very similar, except I like to use less water and sauté the whole thing in a French oven for at least three to four hours; then caramelise a very finely chopped onion the way you do with lard and add to the mix.

    Recently I invented a non-vegetarian friendly variant using a typical Anglo ingredient – ham hock (of pea and ham soup fame) – by stewing it in the pot with the sauerkraut. Three hours later, take it out, shred, skin and all, and mix it back in, then proceed as usual. Saves cooking kotletes on the side, as the meat is already mixed in! I think my mum used to add pork belly to her recipe, hence the idea.

  3. Rasma
    November 10, 2014

    As I recall in my family this dish would always be also served on the day after a wedding celebration “Atkazas” as well. It was tradition to hide the “Kaposti” that the mother-in-law had made ahead of time. This was done so the “Kaosto” dish could not be served up. When it was served on the second day of a wedding it was the signal to go home the party was over.

  4. Paula
    September 22, 2015

    I love your recipe’s. I have another version that came from my dad… Interested? Contact me.

  5. […] least nine different dishes to be served on Christmas Eve. Typical Christmas dishes are pork roast, sauerkraut, boiled grey peas (so there are no tears in the new year) and broad beans, fish (its scales dried […]

  6. Peter Barda
    February 6, 2016

    My father’s recipe is a tad more elaborate, takes all day in the oven, but is worth the effort.
    I start browning 200 gms of sliced onions with the same amount of speck sliced thinly, in a large oven proof casserole. The sauerkraut is added after rinsing in cold water, together with a quarter head of shredded fresh cabbage; chicken stock is added to cover the kraut and cabbage. Add 2 chopped apples, stir in quarter cup brown sugar, a tablespoon of caraway seeds, and a quarter up cider vinegar. Stir and bring to a simmer.
    Into the oven at 150 till the liquid is all but gone and kraut dark brown. About 6 hours.

    Ar cienu

  7. Modris Pukulis
    March 24, 2018

    Missing here is sald scab maize, beige zupa and capost zupa, my favorites. I learned how to make sald skab maise from my mother who made the best.

    1. Barbara
      August 28, 2019

      Modris Pukulis-do you have a recipe you could share for the saldskaba maize? I had a recipe years ago but have lost it.

  8. Scott Tarzwell
    July 7, 2019

    Born into a Latvian family, my Grandmother growing up would always prepare various Latvian dishes. Growing up my sister and I had the pleasure of taking part and carrying on Latvian traditions and many holiday recipes.
    I would like to try and interest my kids in Latvian foods and hope they too can be proud of our culture, including carrying on traditions such as Easter eggs, Christmas cookies, etc
    Thank you

  9. Mick
    April 13, 2020

    My Latvian mother in law leaves the cooked bacon sauerkraut out at room temperature for 6 hours. No one should go this right cos my wife m I now have food poisoning

  10. […] If you are after cooked sauerkraut recipes, why not try traditional Christmas sauteed sauerkraut? […]

  11. […] it comes to cabbage, there are two options: one is filling them with stewed sauerkraut and the other is filling them with braised fresh […]

  12. Krista
    December 9, 2021

    Is there a way to make sauerkraut taste sweet but without sugar? I don’t think I succeeded the first time.. I melted the sugar, it nearly caramelized, and when I mixed it with sauerkraut, the taste was not what I know of! Can you share some of your wisdom here?

    1. Liva
      December 24, 2021

      You can add grated carrots or apples. I have found that every family will have a different cooking method which will give different results, even though the ingredients are more or less the same. I love my sauerkraut sweet and fried, just like omamma made it

  13. […] If you are after cooked sauerkraut recipes, why not try traditional Christmas sauteed sauerkraut? […]


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