Start the new year off right with a heaping helping of these pork chops and sauerkraut! Made in the slow cooker, they have the traditional flavor you crave without all of the fuss…
This recipe was created in partnership with Wesson Pure Canola Oil, aka the world’s healthiest cooking oil. Thanks for supporting me and the brands I love!
Slow Cooker Pork Chops and Sauerkraut
Being of German/Hungarian descent, pork and sauerkraut were pretty much a given for New Year’s Day dinner when I was growing up. My mom’s pork and sauerkraut recipe was comprised of bone-in pork chops and smoked garlic sausage that were slow cooked together in a sauerkraut mixture (canned only! NO jars according to my mom) all day in a giant old roaster oven until tender and succulent.
Everything was then served with a side of piping hot creamy mashed potatoes, and the sauerkraut juices become a sort of gravy that was ladled over top… Mmm, I’m getting hungry just writing about it!
Slow cooker pork and sauerkraut is a New Year’s tradition that I’ve carried on with my own family — with a few minor changes. I still use bone-in pork chops, but we skip the sausage. I still used the same canned sauerkraut that my mom always did, but I stir in some caraway seeds to add a bit of flair. And often, instead of making mashed potatoes, I’ll just toss some yellow baby potatoes in with the pork and sauerkraut.
This pork chops and sauerkraut recipe is guaranteed to start the new year right!
Ingredients For Pork Chops With Sauerkraut
When you get right down to it, you really only need three ingredients for this traditional pork and sauerkraut recipe. I’ve seen many recipes that have a much longer list, adding in onions, apples, brown sugar, spices, etc. But when it comes right down to it, the sauerkraut is where all the flavor is — so let’s just let it work its magic. Okay?
So here’s what you do… Head to Walmart and pick up the following:
- Bone-in pork chops — preferably a thick-cut shoulder chop or a sirloin chop, but a center cut chop that appears to have a lot of marbling will work, as well.
- 2 (27-oz.) cans of shredded sauerkraut — as I mentioned, my mom swears by the canned stuff, so I’ve never used anything else.
- 1 (24-oz.) bag of baby potatoes — I think the yellow ones have the best buttery flavor, but you could also used one of the mixed bags if you prefer a little more color.
Beyond this, you’ll need a neutral-flavored oil to sear the pork chops — like Wesson Pure Canola Oil. Its light and delicate taste makes it the perfect cooking oil for all of your favorite holiday dishes!
Did you know that canola oil is known as the world’s healthiest cooking oil? It contains the least amount of saturated fat out of any common edible oils on the market. We’re talking 0 grams of trans fat and cholesterol free, which makes it ideal for grilling, frying, baking, and more. Pick up Wesson Pure Canola Oil on the Walmart website or at Walmart store near you in the cooking oil section.
Optional: You might want to also grab some caraway seed, but it’s definitely not a requirement for the recipe. We enjoy the texture and unique flavor it adds, but if you don’t care for it, you can totally skip it. Also, some sauerkrauts already contain caraway seed, so be sure to check the ingredients.
How To Make Pork and Sauerkraut
First things first, to get the most flavor in your pork chops, you should spend 10 minutes searing them to get them nice and brown on both sides before braising them in the slow cooker. Yes, it’s a little messy and inconvenient, but it makes a world of difference in the final dish!
Drizzle about two tablespoons of Wesson Pure Canola Oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Pat the pork chops dry on both sides, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and sear each side until browned. You might need to do this in two batches, because you don’t want to overcrowd the pan.
Note that the goal is NOT to cook the pork chops through at this point. We’re just simply looking to get some caramelization going on the outside, so keep a close eye on them.
Pork and Sauerkraut in the Slow Cooker
Once you’ve browned the pork chops, it’s time to layer everything in your slow cooker. Start with about a half can of the sauerkraut in the bottom of the slow cooker insert. Then add a layer of pork chops, topped with more sauerkraut, and then another layer of pork chops — and so on…
When you get to the last layer, tuck the baby potatoes in around the pork chops, and cover everything with a final layer of the sauerkraut. Pour one cup of water over it all, and if desired, you can sprinkle a teaspoon of caraway seed over the top.
Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low heat until the pork chops are fork tender, about 8 hours. How easy is that?!
Bone-In Pork Chops and Sauerkraut For A Crowd
If you’re planning to host a New Year’s Day open house for friends and family, this recipe doubles (and even triples or more) extremely well. As I mentioned, my mom always used a giant 18-qt. electric roaster oven to prepare pork and sauerkraut for a crowd.
No major changes need to be made to the recipe. Just keep layering the pork chops and sauerkraut as instructed, and add several more bags of baby potatoes. Be sure to increase the water to ensure there’s enough braising liquid, and the cooking time should remain the same.
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What Side Dishes Go With Pork and Sauerkraut?
I feel like this slow cooker pork and sauerkraut is a complete meal in and of itself, but I know sometimes you want to offer a little variety. So here are a few side dishes that pair well with it:
- Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes — whether you forgo the baby potatoes or just want an additional potato side, these creamy mashed potatoes made with cream cheese and sour cream are definitely the way to go!
- Hungarian Cucumber Salad — this simple light and creamy sour cream cucumber salad is a staple on our dinner table!
- Winter Fruit Salad — this refreshing fruit salad is the perfect balance for classic comfort food. It’s packed with the seasonal flavors of mandarin oranges, kiwis, green apples, and pomegranate arils, all tied together with the most delicious honey lemon poppy seed dressing!
- Homemade Applesauce — pork and apples just go together, so a classic homemade applesauce with a sprinkle of cinnamon is always a perfect side dish!