Start the New Year off with this delicious, easy-to-make New Year’s Eve pork and sauerkraut recipe. The recipe makes a slightly sweet juicy pork roast with a hint of savory tang from the sauerkraut and caraway seasoning.

You can make it in the oven, Instant Pot, or slow cooker, so you don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen on New Years.

pork and sauerkraut on a plate with apples by it

Pork and Sauerkraut For New Years

Growing up in northern Indiana, my Pennsylvania Dutch grandmother always made pork and sauerkraut for new year’s day.  However, I have lived most of my life in the deep south, so I also make some traditional southern foods. I like to serve my Black-Eyed Pea Hummus. It’s a healthy way to get my good luck peas on the menu.

Also, I like making my Southern Keto Collard Greens Recipe. The recipe has a hint of maple sweetness and a punch of apple cider vinegar sourness that makes this recipe a yummy vegan way to enjoy fresh collard greens and not blow your New Year’s diet. Serve with a slice of cornbread on the side.

What Is The Tradition For New Year’s Pork and Sauerkraut

According to the German Food Guide, eating sauerkraut on New Year’s Eve is a long-standing German tradition. It is believed in Germany that eating sauerkraut will bring blessings and long life. Before the meal, those seated at the table wish each other as much goodness and money as the number of shreds of cabbage in the pot of sauerkraut.

The Pennsylvania Dutch also felt pigs were a symbol of good luck and well-being. The reason for this has to do with how a pig finds it’s food. A pig roots going forward, according to Linda Pelaccio, a culinary historian and host of “A Taste of the Past” podcast.

“It’s good to always go forward into the next year—you don’t want to go backward,” she tells Reader’s Digest. “For instance, we would not eat lobster for luck in the new year because lobsters walk backward.” Similarly, we’d skip the chicken because they scratch the ground going backward. In addition, Pelaccio says that pork is considered good luck because it is so rich in fat, and the fat signifies prosperity.

Because of this, many people believe that eating a meal with pork will bring luck in the coming new year. 

😊 Why make this recipe on New Year’s Day

  • It’s easy to cook in your oven and fill your home with the wonderful smell of pork roast. 
  • If you prefer, you could put it in the crockpot to cook overnight on New Year’s Eve
  • This recipe works great in your instant pot if you need dinner in a hurry.
  • Eating pork and sauerkraut is said to bring you good fortune in the new year.

🛒 Grocery list

pork, apple, onion, carraway, sauerkraut, salt and pepper brown sugar

Boneless pork tenderloin: What kind of pork for New Year’s is optional, however, I prefer a boneless loin, but my grandmother used large pork sausage links when she made this recipe. You could also use pork chops, pork shoulder roast, pork hot dogs, or any other type of pork you enjoy. Just be sure to trim off any excess fat. You do not want greasy sauerkraut.

Apple: I like using a sweet, tangy apple to complement the sauerkraut. Granny Smith apples or other pie-baking apples would be a good choice.

Sauerkraut: The best sauerkraut would be fresh, where the fermentation process was not stopped by high-heat canning. I purchased my kraut in the grocery refrigerator section. You can get it with caraway seeds already in or not. Be sure you do not rinse. The juice adds flavor and keeps your pork tender.

Caraway seeds: These are optional, but they add a nice nutty, bittersweet sharpness with a hint of citrus, pepper, and mild licorice flavor. 

Black pepper: Use a large course ground setting on your pepper mill.

⭐️ See the recipe card for a complete list and quantities.

💭 Tips for making the recipe

 Before cooking your pork, allow it to sit on your counter for 20 minutes to warm up to room temperature. Doing this will help your meat be juicier and cook more evenly. 

🔪 Step by step instructions

  1. Pat the pork roast with paper towels to get rid of excess moisture.
pork roast with paper towel wiping it off

2. Sprinkle the roast with salt, pepper, and paprika, rubbing it all over the roast.

pork roast on cutting board with seasoning rubbed on it

3. Heat a large skillet with olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is heated, place your pork loin in the pan. Sautee, turn it to brown the outside of your pork loin evenly. This should take about 5 minutes to do it properly.

pork roast in a skillet that has been seared brown

Cooking Pork & Sauerkraut

The key to really good pork and sauerkraut is in the magic of slow cooking or pressure cooking. I am providing you with three cooking options, using your oven, a slow cooker or an Instant Pot.

Dutch Oven Pork and Sauerkraut

  1. In a 4.5-quart Dutch oven, place the sauerkraut along with the sauerkraut juice on the bottom, spreading it evenly out. Sprinkle in the caraway seeds if your sauerkraut did not have them in it already. Add onions, apple pieces. Sprinkle this all with brown sugar. Place the seared pork roast on top. If your sauerkraut was not very juicy, add enough water to equal a cup of liquid to the roaster.
  2. Place the lid on your dutch oven and put it into your 325 degrees preheated oven. Bake for 2 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 150 degrees internal temperature of your roast.
  3. Be sure and check your pot every 30 minutes to ensure it is not drying out. If the liquid is gone and enough to have about a cup in the bottom of the dutch oven.

Slow Cooker Pork and SauerKraut

  1. Place the sauerkraut and its juice on the bottom of your slow cooker. Using a large spoon, evenly spread out the sauerkraut. Sprinkle in the caraway seeds. if purchased sauerkraut seeds in it, skip adding more.
  2. Add onions and apple pieces. Sprinkle in the brown sugar. Place the seared pork roast on top. If your sauerkraut was not very juicy, add enough water to equal a cup of liquid to the slow cooker.
  3. Place the lid securely on the slow cooker and set it on low heat. Allow the pork and sauerkraut to cook slowly for 7-8 hours, or until the pork is tender and easily shreds with a fork.
  4. Check it every few hours to ensure there are juices in the bottom of the slow cooker. If it seems dry, add enough water to make a cup of juice.

Hint: If your sauerkraut is very tangy, you could add an extra bit of brown sugar to the recipe. This will mellow the fermented kraut.

Good luck New Year's Eve pork and sauerkraut recipe on a plate with pork on fork

Instant Pot Sauerkraut and Pork

Fixing this recipe in a pressure cooker is an excellent idea if you want very tender pork in a short amount of time.

  1. Pat your boneless pork loin with paper towels to dry it. Sprinkle the roast with salt, pepper, and paprika, rubbing it all over the roast.
  2. Place the olive oil in the cooking pot and turn to sautee using your Instant Pot. When the oil is hot, sear your pork roast on all sides, so it forms a brown crust.
  3. Next, place the sauerkraut and the sauerkraut juice on the bottom of your Instant pot pan, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle in the caraway seeds if your sauerkraut did not have them in it already. Add onions and apple pieces. Sprinkle this all with brown sugar. Place the seared pork roast on top. If your sauerkraut is not very juicy, add enough water to equal a cup of liquid to the pressure cooker pot.
  4. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes.
  5. Once cook time has elapsed, allow pressure to release naturally for about 20 minutes, then do a quick release before opening the lid.

Serving Pork and SauerKraut

  1. After your pork roast is done cooking and fork tender, remove the pork roast carefully, placing it on a large serving tray.
  2. Cover it with foil. Allow the meat to reast for 15 minutes. This step will ensure that the pieces are sliced evenly when you cut them and they retain their moisture.
  3. However, if you want your roast shredded, skip the resting time and pull it apart with two forks.

🔀 Variations ideas

  • Substitute the water for a cup of beer or white wine. Doing this will give your dish a more earthy, savory flavor.
  • Substitute 1 cup of unsweetened apple sauce for a large apple.
  • Substitute apple juice for the water for a sweeter dish.

What to serve with pork and sauerkraut

My grandmother always served our pork sausage and sauerkraut over mashed potatoes as a side dish. However, you could also pour it over hot, buttered noodles with a side of applesauce.

New year's eve pork and sauerkraut on black plate
5 from 1 rating

Pork and Sauerkraut Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6
Start the New Year off with this delicious, easy-to-make New Year's Eve pork and sauerkraut recipe. The recipe makes a slightly sweet juicy pork roast with a hint of savory tang from the sauerkraut and caraway seasoning. You can make it in the oven, Instant Pot, or slow cooker, so you don't spend a lot of time in the kitchen on New years.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

Ingredients
 

  • 2 pound pork loin roast
  • 1 pound sauerkraut, Fresh not canned. Do not rinse
  • 1 tablespoon caraway sees, Optional
  • 1 cup onion, Finely chopped
  • 1 apple, Large size, peeled and cored, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, Add more if your sauerkraut is very tart
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, Fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup water , Only if needed to keep the dish moist while it cooks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Pat your boneless pork loin with paper towels to dry it. Sprinkle the roast with salt, pepper, and paprika, rubbing it all over the roast.
    2 pound pork loin roast, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Heat a large skillet with olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is heated, place your pork loin in the pan. Sautee, turn it to brown the outside of your pork loin evenly. This should take about 5 minutes to do it properly.
    2 tablespoons olive oil
  • In a 4-quart Dutch oven, place the sauerkraut along with the sauerkraut juice on the bottom, spreading it evenly out. Sprinkle in the caraway seeds if your sauerkraut did not have them in it already. Add onions, apple pieces. Sprinkle this all with brown sugar. Place the seared pork roast on top. If your sauerkraut was not very juicy, add enough water to equal a cup of liquid to the roaster. Salt and pepper to taste.
    1 pound sauerkraut, 1 tablespoon caraway sees, 1 cup onion, 1 apple, 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Place the lid on your dutch oven and put it into your 325 degrees preheated oven. Bake for 2 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 150 degrees internal temperature of your roast.
  • Be sure and check your pot every 30 minutes to ensure it is not drying out. If the liquid is gone and enough to have about a cup in the bottom of the dutch oven.
  • After your roast is done cooking, remove the roasting pan from the oven. Carefully place the roast on a large tray and cover with foil. Allow resting for 15 minutes. This will slice the pieces evenly when you cut them. However, if you want your roast shredded, skip the resting time and pull it apart with two forks.

Notes

Tip: Before cooking your pork, allow it to sit on your counter for 20 minutes to warm up to room temperature. Doing this will help your meat be juicier and cook more evenly. 
Slow Cooker Pork And SauerKraut
  1. Place the sauerkraut and its juice on the bottom of your slow cooker. Using a large spoon, evenly spread out the sauerkraut. Sprinkle in the caraway seeds. if purchased sauerkraut with seeds in it, skip adding more.
  2. Add onions and apple pieces. Sprinkle in the brown sugar. Place the seared pork roast on top. If your sauerkraut was not very juicy, add enough water to equal a cup of liquid to the slow cooker.
  3. Place the lid securely on the slow cooker and set it on low heat. Allow the pork and sauerkraut to cook slowly for 7-8 hours, or until the pork is tender and easily shreds with a fork.
  4. Check it every few hours to ensure there are juices in the bottom of the slow cooker. If it seems dry, add enough water to make a cup of juice.
Instant Pot Sauerkraut And Pork
  1. Pat your boneless pork loin with paper towels to dry it. Sprinkle the roast with salt, pepper, and paprika, rubbing it all over the roast.
  2. Place the olive oil in the cooking pot and turn to sautee using your Instant Pot. When the oil is hot, sear your pork roast on all sides, so it forms a brown crust.
  3. Next, place the sauerkraut and the sauerkraut juice on the bottom of your Instant pot pan, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle in the caraway seeds if your sauerkraut did not have them in it already. Add onions and apple pieces. Sprinkle this all with brown sugar. Place the seared pork roast on top. If your sauerkraut is not very juicy, add enough water to equal a cup of liquid to the pressure cooker pot.
  4. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes.
  5. Once cook time has elapsed, allow pressure to release naturally for about 20 minutes, then do a quick release before opening the lid.
.
 
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 318kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 35g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 95mg, Sodium: 968mg, Potassium: 790mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 197IU, Vitamin C: 14mg, Calcium: 50mg, Iron: 2mg
Cuisine: German
Course: Main Dish
Author: Gina Dickson
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