Crispy and fried, sauerkraut balls make a great anytime appetizer whether you are watching the game or visiting with friends and family. Invented in Akron, Ohio, in the German Mennonite community, this Bavarian-inspired dish is very popular in the Midwest, especially during the Sauerkraut festivals which pop up in various cities.
What is Sauerkraut?
You've seen it on hot dogs, perhaps added it to your Rueben sandwich, but what is it really? Made from finely chopped cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria, this healthy fermented vegetable has a long shelf life and has a distinct characteristic sour and tangy flavor.
You can either eat it cold on its own or serve it hot, golden brown, and deep-fried. I'll take the latter.
How to Make Sauerkraut Balls
To start, bring your cream cheese to room temperature and drain your kraut in a colander.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet add chopped onion and pork sausage. Some recipes use bratwurst. Cook the sausage mixture until the sausage is browned, about 10 minutes. Add in 1 chopped clove of garlic or a sprinkle of garlic powder.
Drain the fat from the sausage and discard. Place the sausage mixture in a large bowl along with the cream cheese, dry bread crumbs, salt, black pepper, fresh parsley, and drained sauerkraut. Mix with your hands and form into 1-inch balls. If the sauerkraut mixture is loose let chill for 1 hour before forming into balls. They should be the size of meatballs.
Heat the vegetable oil for deep frying to 375 degrees F.
In three bowls set out the flour, 1 egg beaten with milk, and the remaining breadcrumbs.
Coat the balls in flour, then the egg mixture, and end with the breading. Add the balls to the fryer and cook until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the balls to a plate topped with paper towels. Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce. We like to serve them with mustard but some like 1000 island dressing.
Products featured on Wide Open Eats are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
Sauerkraut Balls with Creamy Mustard Dipping Sauce
- 1/2 lb bulk pork sausage
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 14 oz sauerkraut, drained and chopped fine
- 2 tbs breadcrumbs
- 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 tsp dried parsley (Or 2 tbs fresh)
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 tsp mustard
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup milk
- Flour, for dredging
- Breadcrumbs, for dredging
Creamy Mustard Dipping Sauce
- 1/4 cup sour cream (Swap with or mix with mayo to cut the tartness)
- 1 cup mustard
- 1 tsp cayenne
- In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage and onion until the meat has browned. Throw the garlic in during the last minute.
- Drain the sausage of excess fat, then transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Add the sauerkraut, breadcrumbs, cream cheese, parsley, caraway seeds, and mustard. Mix well.
- If it's not too soft, form into balls. If it is a bit soft, just refrigerate it for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Set up the dredging station, starting with about 1/3 cup flour in one bowl, the beaten eggs in a middle bowl, then about 1/3 cup breadcrumbs in a final bowl. Preheat your oil to 360 F.
- Working in batches, dip the balls in flour, then egg, then the breadcrumbs. Fry until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Serve right away or keep warm in an oven heated to 200 F.
Creamy Mustard Dipping Sauce
- Stir together all ingredients. Serve immediately or cover and chill for a day.