Comfort Crock Pot Kielbasa & Hot Dogs

You know I have a bone to pick with the person that said “life gets easier when you get older!”

Okay listen up buckaroo.. you lied!  It’s challenging, tiring, stressful, demanding.. and that’s all just how a normal Monday is for me!  LOL I work 14-18 hour days 6-7 days a week, work 2 FT jobs plus take care of a house, yard and Mr. Fantabulous. I’m still waiting for the ‘easy’ part.  Or maybe ‘Easy’ showed up at my door step while I was at work and skipped me?  Maybe… yeah, I’m thinking that.  I’m sure ‘Easy’ will show up… when I’m long gone.  Oy!  Remember when you were little and how you used to fight with your parents, baby sitter or an adult when they told you that you had to take a nap?  I mean back that, that was the meanest thing ever.  You were gonna miss something!  But now.. God what I wouldn’t give to have my boss come into my office and tell me “Lori, you’ve worked hard enough. Go home and take a nap!”  Doesn’t that sound amazing?!  I could so see the look on payroll when they look at my timesheet and see Title: Forced Nap Time, Hours: 2, Billable: YES  LOL  If only, huh?

However, one thing that has made my life easier as I have gotten older is the crockpot.  This recipe is one my Mom used to make all the time when I was little. It was something she would throw in the crockpots in morning, we’d go tend to the gardens then by lunch it was ready.  Now she always, ALWAYS served baked beans on the side with this. I was one of those weirdos (and still am) that would get a bowl of this stuff and put my beans right on top.  I’m a ‘mixer’ if you will when it comes to foods.


As you can see this is a simple meal with simple ingredients.  It’s rustic.  Homey even.  It’s not the prettiest but it sure is tasty.  See we didn’t have much growing up.  Heck there are times the older kids went without just so I, the baby, could have something.  However my parents always made sure we had food in our bellies, a roof over our head, heat to keep us warm and the most important ingredient… LOVE!

Sure I didn’t get my first real pair of brand new jeans until 10th grade.  I didn’t have Jordache or Candies.  I had hand-me-downs and gently used stuff.  I never had a brand new bike.  I can remember one year, about a month or so before Christmas I went with my Mom and Dad to the local junk yard as my Dad said he had to get a car part.  Christmas morning I went out to see what Santa brought me and there, out in the kitchen hallway was a “new” purple bike with a white banana seat and streamers.  Here my Dad managed to have the guy at the junkyard throw in the broken bike and some used tires.  My dad worked on that for days on end to make it look perfect.  He kept putting white shoe polish over and over on the seat just to make it look brand new. He welded, sanded and painted it.  My Mom made the streamers.  I’ll never forget that Christmas.


So while we didn’t have the material things, I had so much more. I will never trade one single day of my childhood as I learned some of the most invaluable lessons ever.

Love. Respect. Integrity. Honor. I learned to appreciate the true things in life.  Money was nice, sure but I didn’t need that to make me laugh, to smile or to feel.  All I needed was love.  If you have that, then that’s all you need.ComfortKielbasaDogs2

Now it’s funny when I decide on what types of recipes to post on here.  I do my very best to try and accommodate everyone’s tastes and likings while keeping certain allergy and dietary restrictions.  I do my best to provide substitutions when necessary.  However I was on the fence as to whether or not to post this.  Normally I can predict what will be a hit or not but with this one I was unsure. I thought maybe it was too simple.   ComfortKielbasaDogs4

So like anyone with family I went to to my TKW Facebook Family and asked for their input. If family isn’t going to be honest with you then no one will, right?

It was met with an overwhelming ‘Yes, Please!’.  They keep me grounded and close to my roots.  Sure I can make ridiculously elaborate 12 course meals that rival most star chefs but it’s the simple things that mean the most.  And this dish is one of those simple things in life.  It’s pure, simplistic and well, down to earth.  That’s me I guess in a nut shell.  So yeah, this dish is all me. I’m all about comfort foods and this dish of kielbasa, hot dogs, taters and sauerkraut is pure comfort!


*UPDATE 9/19/17: Many of you pointed out that I had some typos in the recipe. First my apologies. I noted to cut the hotdogs into 1″ sections. Also some of you said it burned. I added in 1 cup of water and 1 cup of stock to the mix to ensure it doesn’t dry out.

Comfort Crock Pot Kielbasa & Hot Dogs


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  • 2 pounds baby potatoes, skin on and cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 (16 ounce) bag sauerkraut, (bagged, not canned) with liquid
  • 1 lb polska (or turkey) kielbasa, cut into 1” slices
  • 4-8 beef/pork or all turkey hot dogs, cut into 1" slices
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped small
  • 1/2 cup gala apple, peeled and chopped small
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup stock (beef, chicken or pork)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1-2 Tbl olive oil
  • parsley for garnish
  1. In a 5-6 qt Crock Pot, add in half of the sauerkraut, 1/4 cup onions, 1/4cup apples, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 tsp chili powder and 1/4 tsp smoked paprika.
  2. Add olive oil to large skillet over medium-high heat and brown kielbasa slices until nicely caramelized on each cut side. ~5-7 minutes per cut side.
  3. Place the caramelized slices in the crock pot.
  4. Add the hotdogs to the skillet and brown on all sides. ~3-4 minutes per side.
  5. Add on top of the kielbasa.
  6. Add the remaining sauerkraut, water, stock, onions, apples, brown sugar, chili powder and smoked paprika.
  7. Cover and cook for 1 hour on low.
  8. Add potatoes and cook for another 3 hours or until potatoes are fork tender.
  9. Sprinkle top with parsley and serve.
If you don't have one, I recommend this 5-6 qt Crock Pot! I have it and love it!

I would also suggest serving this with a side of baked beans. It goes PERFECTLY with it!



12 Responses to “Comfort Crock Pot Kielbasa & Hot Dogs”

  • Bob Grayson0 says:

    I would like to replace the potatos or not use them at all. Any suggestions?


    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Bob!

      You can go with parsnips, carrots or other hard root veggies. You can totoally omit it though if you want. You could even add green beans (but put them in about the last hour (if using fresh) or canned the last 15 minutes.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • James says:

    I made this again today and it was awesome! We’ve made it a few times for football Sunday’s at our house. I love the apples and onions in the kraut with those spices. It’s not overpowering and let’s the kielbasa flavor shine.

    Thanks again for a great recipe!

  • Kimmie says:

    We made this for New Year’s Day and LOVED it! Super simple and truly comforting! I love the apples, onions and brown sugar as it made the sauerkraut really awesome. It still had that ‘sour’ taste but with a hint of sweetness.

    Totally loved this and can’t wait to make again. I am going to do this like James said above for football Sunday.

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Thank you so much Kimmie!!! I always make my kraut like that, with the apples and onions. Well if you’re making it for football, make it tonight for the Steelers game! 🙂

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • ken says:

    Made this exactly as recipe stated and thank god i made it just for me first as a test run. It was horrible. No flavor, the potatoes were inedible some hard some mush. And 5 to 7 minutes on medium high burned the kielbasa. Sigh. Thanks anyway.

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Aw Ken I’m so sorry this recipe failed you. I’m not sure I understand what could have happened. I literally just made this for New Year’s Eve and it turned out great. I’ll make this again weekend and see if there is something I’m doing differently than the recipe though I don’t believe I am. As for the 5-7 minutes how ‘fast’ the meat cooks depends on the type of pan used and not so much the heat level. I cook only on gas. I use a non-stick pan as well. As for the flavor that doesn’t make sense as the apples, onions, brown sugar and seasoning add to the whole meal. Now this isn’t packed with flavor as you want the simplicity of the dish to shine through. You want the caramelization of the meats to be tasted, the sourness with just a hint of sweet from the kraut to be there and the potatoes should have taken on the flavors of the juices. Speaking of I use baby potatoes which are about 1″ round that I typically cut in half. Some are bigger and I think I use yellow yukon (which I noticed isn’t in the recipe).

      As I said, I’ll make this again next weekend and see if I need to make any adjustments accordingly. See with this recipe, this was how my Mom made it using what she had on hand. As I’ve said in my posts, we grew up extremely poor – like there were times when we didn’t know if we would have meat even for dinner. So Mom would do her very best to make something out of nothing. So sure, in today’s world we expect big, bold flavors and no this dish doesn’t have it. I’ll agree with you on that but for me, sometimes you don’t need that to be comforting.

      Thanks again and Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Heidi says:

    Hello. This dish looks so warm & inviting! I have a question tho. I’ve never had kielbasa or sauerkraut. Can Conecah sausage be used instead of the kielbasa? I’ve seen sauerkraut slaw that is put on hot dogs but I’ve never tried it although my daddy loves it.


    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Heidi!

      I’m not familiar with that brand but I have use sausage before though they have been pre-cooked. Now I’ve made dishes with raw sausage links in the crock pot but that takes about 6 hours. I would advise using pre-cooked that only requires a re-heat or if they don’t make that then par frying the slices before place in the crock.

      Sauerkraut is one of those things either people love or hate. It can be strong in flavor (pickled if you will) but it marries beautifully with the meat and potatoes.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • are you supposed to drain the sauerkraut before putting it in the crockpot

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Jo!

      Yes you need the liquid to help cook the dish and keep it from getting dry. Now if there is a lot of liquid, just put in about 1/2-3/4 cup worth.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

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