Instant Pot Sauerkraut is SO easy to make in a fraction of the time of traditional from-scratch versions. Just a handful of ingredients (including bacon and caraway seeds) and a half hour are all you need to make this hearty side dish recipe.
While I’m Italian, we never did the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. Technically we feasted on one fish as an appetizer, our all-time favorite baked clam dip, but we stopped there.
No baccalà for us.
Since each year we would get together with our close family friends for dinner, we’d each make a tried and true family recipe for the main dish. This meant most years we ate a combination of baked ziti with meatballs right alongside kielbasa, pierogies, and sauerkraut.
Looking back the two cuisines weren’t quite matchy matchy, but when comfort food tastes that good, who wouldn’t want to enjoy them both? I certainly wouldn’t want to be the person who had to pick between them.
There’s a major difference between the sauerkraut I grew up eating and this Instant Pot Sauerkraut, and that’s the cooking vessel. What typically is made over the course of hours on the stove top to let the flavors meld just right (definitely worth it!) can come together with just ten minutes of pressure cooking time in the Instant Pot.
No need to keep an eye on it, add more liquid at intervals if needed, etc. Just lock the lid, set the time, and listen for the beeps.
Despite that huge difference, the ingredients are just about the same! I included “easy” in the recipe title for this Instant Pot sauerkraut not only for how quickly it comes together, but for the main ingredient: cabbage.
This recipe calls for two 14.5-oz cans of shredded sauerkraut, meaning you can simply open the lids and pour them into the Instant Pot. While I do enjoy preparing recipes from scratch/close to scratch, I also value convenience. Since the three ingredients of the canned sauerkraut are basic (just cabbage, water, and salt), I happily use them in here.
Plus with my less than ideal knife skills, who knows how much extra time it would add to the recipe for me to finely slice a whole head of cabbage?!
Bacon, onion, and caraway seeds add a great flavor to this Instant Pot sauerkraut, and the smell alone brings back so many memories.
My mom has reported that she’s been able to buy sauerkraut that already includes caraway seeds, though I haven’t found any in the stores around me. If you can find it – great! Feel free to use it here (and omit the caraway seeds added separately).
If not, I recommend adding 3/4 tsp of caraway seeds to this recipe, which is just under 30 oz of sauerkraut. I’ve bumped it up to 1 tsp before which was still delicious, but maybe just a tad strong if you’re not a full-fledged lover of that flavor.
One thing to note on the broth. The generally accepted guidance around pressure cooking in the 6-quart Instant Pot is that you should add at least one cup of liquid, though I’ve heard the argument made that it can be less.
Since bagged or canned sauerkraut has a pretty good amount of brine in it, I went the extra step and drained and measured the liquid to see how much was going to be added from the sauerkraut directly.
Each 14.5-oz can of sauerkraut yielded about one-quarter cup of liquid. Times that by two and one-half cup of liquid would be coming from there. To be on the safe side, I then added one-half cup of broth to everything to ward off any stress-inducing Instant Pot “burn” messages.
After a quick cook time and a short natural-then-quick pressure release, a delicious and not-mushy-whatsoever Instant Pot sauerkraut awaits! There will be a little extra cooking liquid, but it shouldn’t be too excessive. I like to store it with the leftover portions.
- Be sure not to skip the deglazing step in the instruction #3 in the recipe card below. Getting the browned bits off of the bottom of the Instant Pot before pressure cooking prevents the bottom of the pot from overheating, which could trigger a warning message.
- This recipe was tested and made in a 6-quart Instant Pot (affiliate link). If preparing this Instant Pot sauerkraut in an 8-quart Instant Pot, I would add another 1/3- to 1/2-cup of broth to account for the larger size.
Easy Instant Pot Sauerkraut
- 3 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 2 14.5-oz cans shredded sauerkraut
- 3/4 tsp caraway seeds
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Press the "Saute" button on the Instant Pot to turn it on. Add chopped bacon to the Instant Pot and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After 4 minutes, add chopped onion. Cook for another 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the bacon has browned and the onions are turning golden.
- While still on the Saute setting, pour in the broth and scrape up all of the browned bits from the bottom of the Instant Pot with a wooden spoon. They should come up fairly easily. Press the "Keep Warm/Cancel" button to shut off the Saute function.
- Next add both cans of shredded sauerkraut (including the liquid), caraway seeds, and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Close and lock lid, ensuring the pressure release valve is set to "sealing". Press the "Manual" button. Using the "+" or "-" button, adjust the time to 10 minutes of cook time.
- Once the cook time is over, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, and then carefully release the rest of the pressure. Sauerkraut will stay in the fridge for several days.