Sauerkraut Casserole

5 from 20 votes
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Sauerkraut casserole is an easy-to-make casserole or hotdish — basically German lasagna: Sauerkraut, venison or beef, a little tomato, noodles and cheese. What’s not to love?

A dish of sauerkraut casserole with a portion taken out.

This is one of those recipes with lots of variation from cook to cook, family to family. Basically what makes it a sauerkraut casserole is that sauerkraut is one of the three or four main ingredients. Beyond that, I’ve seen recipes:

  • With and without meat. And those with meat are usually ground meat, as in this recipe, or slices of smoked sausage.
  • Some versions use cans of condensed soups, like cream of mushroom or cream of celery. I do not like these, so mine skips them.
  • Tomato is a common presence, from ketchup to canned tomato sauce. I prefer to hand crush canned, peeled tomatoes for a lighter tomato touch.
  • Sugar. Brown sugar is almost a given in saurkraut casserole, to offset the salty tang of the kraut. I’ve seen recipes that use up to 3/4 of a cup (!), which I think is wildly excessive. I use just a healthy pinch, about a tablespoon.
  • Starch. Usually German (Pennsylvania Dutch) wide egg noodles, but potatoes are also common. Sometimes you’ll even see tater tots, like my venison tater tot casserole.
  • Cheese. Most have it, mine does, but sometimes you’ll see a sauerkraut casserole without it.

You can make a sauerkraut casserole in stages, or all at once.

Easiest is to just plow on through — the total time to make this recipe is about 1 hour — but if you are pressed for time, you can have the ingredients precooked and then assemble them in the casserole dish for dinner.

Basically it goes like this: Cook the noodles about halfway, brown the meat and onion well (more on this in a bit), add the sauerkraut to the pan to soak up the browned bits, grate the cheese if you’re not already using pre-grated cheese, which by the way is perfectly fine, then assemble and bake.

A full dish of sauerkraut casserole with venison.

What Makes My Sauerkraut Casserole Great

I decided on my recipe after eating several other people’s casseroles, as well as reading a whole bunch of other recipes. Here’s why I do what I do.

  • First, I half-cook the noodles because that way they don’t get all limp and gross in the casserole.
  • While those cook, I seriously brown ground venison (you can use any meat) with onion. I want a little crisp browning, and I want the pan to be coated in what the French call fond, the browned bits stuck to the pan.
  • Why? Because I then add the undrained sauerkraut to that pan after removing the meat. Using the liquid and a wooden spoon to scrape up all the browned bits really adds a ton of flavor. If you skip this, your sauerkraut casserole won’t be as good.
  • I mentioned the tomato before, and I hand crush some canned, peeled tomatoes to give the casserole a bit of sweet acidity without making it taste like a copy of my Italian venison casserole recipe.
  • Finally, I chose a mix of grated Swiss and gouda cheese because, well, it just matches better with sauerkraut than, say mozzarella. But you do you.

Serving and Storing

Serve your sauerkraut casserole like any other casserole: Cut out a portion from the pan and slap it on a plate. I like a little extra black pepper at the end.

It’s a complete meal, so maybe all you need extra is a side salad to round things out nicely.

This casserole stores well in the fridge, covered, about a week, and you can freeze it. I reheat it in the casserole dish at 350°F or so for about 25 minutes.

If you liked this recipe, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below; I’d love to hear how everything went. If you’re on Instagram, share a picture and tag me at huntgathercook.

A dish of sauerkraut casserole with a portion taken out.
5 from 20 votes

Sauerkraut Casserole

This is an easy-to-make, tasty casserole of ground meat, lots of sauerkraut, egg noodles and cheese. See the headnotes above for variations.
Course: lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour


  • 1 pound wide egg noodles
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground venison, or other ground meat
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 pound sauerkraut
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 32-ounce can, whole peeled tomatoes (see notes below)
  • 1/2 pound grated cheese (Swiss, gouda, gruyere is possible)


  • Boil the egg noodles in salty water until half cooked. This generally means about 4 to 6 minutes, but check the package. Drain and set aside.
  • While the water is heating up for the noodles, preheat the oven to 350°F. Set a large frying pan on a strong burner over medium-high to high heat.
  • Add the chopped onion and ground meat. Sprinkle salt over them. Cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up big lumps, until the meat is well browned, about 10 minutes. Take care to not let any of the bits stuck to the pan blacken — brown is what you want. Remove the meat and onion to a large bowl and add half the noodles to that bowl.
  • Turn the heat off the pan and add the sauerkraut to it, along with its juice. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the browned bits, then move all this to the bowl with the meat and half the noodles. Add the dry mustard, caraway, black pepper and sugar. With your hands, extract the whole tomatoes from the can and crush and shred into the bowl. Save the juice in the tomato can for another recipe. Mix all this well.
  • Pour the mixture into a 9×13 casserole dish or something similar, and pack it in well. Cover with the remaining noodles; you might not need all of them. Sprinkle the cheese on top evenly and pop it in the oven. It's done when you get some browned edges to the cheese, as in the picture. This usually takes about 30 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it stand for 5 minutes before serving.


Calories: 496kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 144mg | Sodium: 637mg | Potassium: 579mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 335IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 259mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I gave this one a try out of curiosity. It looked interesting to me, though I wasn’t sure if my family would like it. But if it’s Hank Shaw’s recipe, that’s all I need to know to give me the confidence to try it. Well, it was so good everyone had at least seconds. I will definitely be making it again.

  2. I actually have sauerkraut on hand. Everyone will like this. Wish I had the German White wine Kraut. Really good. I like tart baking apples in sauerkraut. Brats in this would be tasty.

  3. I was curious about this casserole. Gave it a try and as usual Hank didn’t disappoint. it was magnificent. Followed the recipe as written. Thank you Hank for another winner!! PS, the brown sugar really is the secret!

  4. Thoroughly enjoyed this recipe. I seasoned with Cajun seasoning, sweetened with a small amount of fresh apple and used an asiago/smoked gouda mix. Very tasty.

  5. Good recipe! We made with spiralized zucchini instead of noodles. Used
    3 med. zucchini. You have to dry out the zucchini by placing between 2 towels. Because the zucchini can still be moist, we omitted the sauerkraut juice. Also omitted the sugar. Used canned diced tomatoes, drained. We also used more sauerkraut than called for. Used regular mixed shredded cheese (all we had & were making this at the last minute).
    Will definitely make again! Thanks Hank

  6. In the oven with 15 min to go! For years you have been my “go to” for all our wild game recipes. I direct all our friends (gift meat to) and fellow hunters to your recipes. Thank you so much for sharing not only your recipes but your stories… the good and the bad. We also have a couple of your cook books that are a bit worse for wear now… meaning well loved!

  7. Any advice on how to make the vegetarian version more robust?

    Thank you for your all your hard work. I own hard copies of all your books.



    1. Darren: I think really go hard on the mushrooms. Get savory ones like shiitake, add some rehydrated wild wones like porcini, and really sear them to get some browning. That should help. Add a little bit of soy sauce or Worcestershire, too. Or Maggi.

  8. Hank,

    I remember growing up in Rochester Minnesota in the early 60’s. My Mom and the neighbors made a very similar recipe with Polish, German and Scandinavian sausages.


  9. Any recommendations for glutn free noodles? Potatoes would be great but wondering if you have come across a gluten free egg noodle.

    1. Gluten-free Egg Noodles
      You don’t have to miss out on egg noodles! Try ordering gluten-free versions online or make your own at home, replacing the wheat flour in a recipe with a 1:1 gluten-free flour substitute. A bowl of egg noodles found in China and dated to 4,000 years ago was actually made with the gluten-free grains millet and sorghum, so try substituting in these gluten-free grains to make noodles like the ones the ancients ate.

  10. Guess what I`m making for supper.I have all the good stuff including My canned tomatos canned vennison burger and my Kraut.No brown sugar.Thanks