Sauerkraut Balls are a popular appetizer down here at the lake. They freeze well so they’re easy to pull out for a fish fry or happy hour. Most people deep fried them but they bake well too. I know, they sound a little weird but you’ll be surprised how good they are. Serve them with a little honey mustard dipping sauce and it’s like you’re having a sausage on a bun in one bite.
My friend Kathy makes huge batches of them in an assembly line with friends and family. She was good enough to share her recipe with me. Sauerkraut Balls are basically made up with cooked sausage meat, drained chopped sauerkraut and lots of cream cheese. A bit of Dijon mustard, parsley and salt and pepper add extra flavour to the mixture. Then they’re coated and deep fried. Or baked. I’ve made them both ways and I have to admit, deep fried is the way to go.Jump to Recipe
How to make Sauerkraut Balls
Start by cooking the sausage meat. You can use any flavour of sausage you like. I usually use farmer sausage because it doesn’t have a strong flavour that overpowers the sauerkraut. Squeeze the meat out of the sausage casings then brown it up well and break up any large chunks. Drain and let it cool.
The sauerkraut needs to be well drained. Press on it to get as much liquid out as possible, then chop it up or pulse in the food processor. Add to the sausage meat and mix in room temperature cream cheese, Dijon mustard, parsley and season with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl and refrigerate at least an hour but overnight is best. It’s easier to roll them into balls when the mixture is well chilled.
The size you make is up to you. I like Sauerkraut Balls to be eaten in one bite so I try to make mine fairly small. Once they’re all rolled, you can freeze them for later if you like.
When you’re ready to cook Sauerkraut Balls, arrange three bowls in a line. The balls are dredged first in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. I like to use panko breadcrumbs which are extra crispy but regular are fine too. Season the flour with salt and pepper and use wide shallow bowls. If you add a few spoonfuls of cold water to the eggs it makes them a bit thinner and easier to work with.
When all the balls are coated, heat oil in a deep fryer to 350 degrees. Depending on the size of the fryer you’re using, you can do them all at once or in smaller batches. They take no time at all. Since everything inside is already cooked, you’re just frying until the outer coating is brown and crispy.
Drain well and allow to cool slightly before diving in. I like to serve mine with a mixture of honey and mustard. Any kind of mustard is great, Dijon, grainy, even a combination of a few different kinds. Some people enjoy them with ranch dressing.
Can you bake Sauerkraut Balls?
I’ve had pretty good luck baking them. Instead of the 3 part dredging in flour, egg and breadcrumbs, I just roll them in panko breadcrumbs, arrange on a baking sheet and spray with an oil spritzer. This helps give them a nice golden colour.
Bake them for about 20 minutes in a hot oven. Around 425 degrees. If you have convection setting they brown more evenly and take a little less time. They do tend to “squat” a little since they have time to soften in the hot oven before the outer coating gets crispy. They don’t look as good as deep fried but they taste pretty much the same.
Sauerkraut Balls are pretty popular at neighbourhood happy appie hours.
Here’s the recipe:
- 3 large farmer sausages
- 2 C sauerkraut, rinsed and drained well
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard, grainy or regular
- 2 blocks cream cheese 250 g blocks, at room temperature
- ¼ C chopped fresh parsley large handful
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- Deep fryer with cooking oil
- ½ C flour
- 2 eggs, thinned with 2 Tbsp cold water
- 2 C panko breadcrumbs or regular
- ½ tsp salt to season coatings
- ¼ tsp pepper to season coatings
- Olive oil or cooking spray optional if baking
- 3 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp regular yellow mustard
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- Squeeze sausage from casings and brown in hot skillet. Break up any larger chunks. Drain and cool.
- Rinse and drain sauerkraut well. Press out as much liquid as possible. Chop up and add to sausage meat along with Dijon, cream cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.
- Chill mixture at least an hour before rolling into balls for best results. Can be chilled over night.
- Roll into uniformly sized balls.
- Arrange coatings in 3 shallow bowls. Add flour to first bowl, then eggs thinned with water in second, then breadcrumbs in third. Season flour with salt and pepper.
- Dredge balls in flour, then egg, shaking off excess, then breadcrumbs.
- Place on baking sheet covered with parchment paper without crowding.
- Heat oil in deep fryer to 350°. Fry balls until well browned and crispy. Drain well.
- Make dipping sauce by combining all ingredients. Serve Sauerkraut balls warm with dipping sauce.
- If baking, instead of 3 part dredging, simply roll balls in panko, arrange on baking sheet and bake on convection setting at 425° for 15 minutes.
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