Easy kielbasa sausage serving ideas, from cabbage sauerkraut to scalloped potatoes, and fried onions to creamy polenta. Discover what to serve with kielbasa today.
Kielbasa is a hearty, filling sausage that is a great lunch or dinner even if you don’t have any eastern European roots. However, it’s always a struggle to think of what to serve with kielbasa. A sausage on its own isn’t filling enough to make a proper meal!
The next time you cook kielbasa, here are some serving ideas that include traditional Polish side dishes as well as more familiar treats. Add these to your dinner rotation to make meal-planning easy.
At a Glance: The Best Kielbasa Sides
Sauerkraut is sour, fermented cabbage that is widely eaten throughout central and eastern Europe. It is one of the most popular side dishes traditionally served with kielbasa, so this is a great serving suggestion if you are hoping to stick close to tradition. The sourness of the cabbage cuts through the rich, meaty flavor of the sausage, and the fermented vegetables have plenty of vitamins.
You can get sauerkraut in most supermarkets or Polish grocery stores. However, if you want a challenge, you can make it at home with thinly shredded cabbage, salt, and a jar. You will need to let the cabbage ferment for several days before it is ready to eat.
Try This Recipe: Skip the store-bought stuff and make it from scratch with this homemade sauerkraut recipe. The key is all in the fermenting time, so you will need to make it in batch way ahead of time, but the results are worth it. With little more than one head of cabbage, salt, and juniper berries, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.
Green Bean Casserole
For an American twist on a Polish classic, serve kielbasa with green bean casserole. Both green bean casserole and kielbasa are popular in the Midwest (which is home to many Eastern European communities), making this a natural pairing. You can prepare them separately and let the green beans add a healthier counterweight to the kielbasa or slice up the sausage and add it to the casserole.
To make green bean casserole, stir together green beans, milk, cream of mushroom soup, and onions, and bake in a casserole dish. Top with crunchy onions.
Try This Recipe: A classic on the dinner staple, this green bean casserole is coated in a creamy but crunchy onion and cheese sauce. Soy sauce and mushroom soup combine to create incredible flavor layering, and it can be baked in just 40 minutes.
Sausage and onions are another classic flavor combination as the sharp flavor of the onions contrasts well with the richness of the sausage. Fried onions add an interesting textural component to the overall meal.
You can fry onions in a pan or deep fryer if you have one. First, thinly slice the onions and let them soak in buttermilk for a few minutes. Then, fry them until crispy and season with salt.
Try This Recipe: These crispy fried onions are beautifully seasoned with paprika and cayenne pepper and cooked in minimal oil, and can even be prepared in the air fryer.
Kapuśniak (Cabbage Soup)
If you want to keep things traditional, then kapuśniak is the perfect serving suggestion to go with kielbasa. Kapuśniak is a Polish cabbage soup that is hearty and warm, perfect for a winter meal along with kielbasa. You can even cut up the kielbasa and cook it directly in the soup to keep with tradition.
Kapuśniak recipes vary from family to family, but most contain sauerkraut, fresh cabbage, caraway seeds, potatoes, and onion. You can even add chopped kielbasa or other pork products for extra smoky flavor as the cabbage is cooking in the broth.
Try This Recipe: This Polish kapuśniak is made with the traditional cabbage and sauerkraut but is also loaded with bacon, carrots, and potatoes for extra substance. It’s then stewed for 2 hours to bring out every last ounce of flavor.
Bigos is another traditional Polish stew that makes for a perfect cold weather meal along with kielbasa. Like kapusniak, it contains plenty of sauerkraut, which balances out the richness of the sausage. However, it is thicker than kapusniak and contains more meat.
To make bigos, start with the meat of your choice (kielbasa is a must, but you can add anything else). Chop up the meat and add to a mixture of sauerkraut and chopped-up fresh cabbage. Let the mixture simmer for a few hours and the meat and the cabbage will stew together.
Try This Recipe: Made with chicken thighs and sausage, this bigos recipe is a hearty dish that’s deliciously satisfying to eat. With added allspice and caraway seeds, there’s plenty of flavor in each mouthful.
Polenta is an excellent side dish for kielbasa because the mild, creamy porridge balances out the fattier textures of the kielbasa. Polenta is just coarsely ground cornmeal that turns into a porridge when cooked. You can customize the texture and add flavor as you cook it.
To make creamy polenta, prepare the polenta according to package instructions by whisking it in boiling water. Finish cooking on low heat after adding plenty of butter and cream cheese for a smooth, creamy texture.
Try This Recipe: The sweet and buttery flavors of this creamy polenta perfectly balance with the tangy notes of kielbasa. It takes about an hour to make and can be tweaked by adding roasted chickpeas for a little bit more crunch.
To put an American twist on kielbasa, serve it with a rice skillet. A rice skillet is a one-pan rice-based dish that is easy to make and even easier to customize. While many recipes call for ground beef or chopped up vegetables, you can add your own twist by making it with chopped up kielbasa.
Besides rice and kielbasa, you will need broth and spices. Sauté the kielbasa, then add the rice, broth, and any spices to the skillet. Cook until the rice is tender.
Try This Recipe: Pan-fried rice variations are in their thousands, but this seasoned skillet rice recipe is truly unique. Long grain rice cooked in low heat in butter, paprika, cayenne pepper, and soy sauce, this simple side dish pairs perfectly with the mustardy meat of the Polish sausage.
Mac & Cheese
Creamy, savory mac & cheese is the perfect accompaniment for kielbasa if you’re looking for the ultimate comfort food meal. You can serve mac & cheese alongside kielbasa as a side dish or cut up kielbasa and add it to the pasta for extra protein.
To make mac & cheese, start by cooking elbow macaroni or other noodles according to package instructions. In a separate pot, make a cheese sauce with flour, butter, and shredded cheese of your choice. You can stir it together to make stovetop mac & cheese or finish in the oven for a crispy crust. You can always make boxed mac & cheese if you want a quick meal.
Try This Recipe: Everyone has their favorite method, but this mac and cheese recipe keeps things simple before being baked in the oven for a layer of crunch. Coated in shredded Gruyere and cheddar cheese, this simple recipe has everything the classic should.
While in Poland, applesauce is usually served as a dessert, this sweet compote is served with pork products and sausage in many other parts of Europe. The sweetness of the applesauce balances out the richness of the sausage.
You can buy applesauce at most supermarkets, but you can make your own if you are looking for a challenge. Finely chop apples, then simmer them along with liquid sweetener, cinnamon, and a splash of apple cider vinegar. Puree in a food processor for a smooth texture.
Try This Recipe: This homemade applesauce recipe is as versatile as it is easy to make. It has a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg, both of which pair beautifully with the onion and mustard found in traditional kielbasa recipes.
Meat and potatoes are a popular hearty dinner combo. Scalloped potatoes, a sliced potato, and onion casserole, work well with kielbasa for a comfort food meal that feels a little bit elevated thanks to the texture of the potatoes.
To make scalloped potatoes, thinly slice potatoes and onions. Layer them in a casserole dish, cover with a cream sauce made with flour, milk, and broth, and bake.
Try This Recipe: Keep things simple with this easy scalloped potatoes recipe. Sliced Yukon potatoes coated in parmesan cheese and garlic sauce, and baked until golden brown. Perfect.