Easy Sweet and Sour Kielbasa recipe can be made in a crock pot or on the stovetop. Spicy kielbasa, bell peppers, and pineapple are cooked in a homemade sweet and sour sauce. Serve as an appetizer on game day and surprise your guests with a tangy spin on an old favorite. Can be served over rice for a complete meal too!
I have been cooking this easy kielbasa recipe for over twenty years.
We love the perfect balance of sweet, sour, and savory. My guests have come to expect this at any gameday spread at my house and let me know when I forgot it!
WHAT IS KIELBASA?
The translation of kielbasa is literally just ‘sausage’.
I use the words kielbasa and Polish sausage interchangeably. Not sure if that is completely accurate, but it’s what I do.
Kielbasa that is commercially available in the U.S. is a smoked sausage that is a bit spicier than smoked sausage. It generally has way more garlic flavor.
You should be able to find it in any grocery store located near the smoked sausage. It might be label as polish sausage, polish kielbasa, or even just kielbasa sausage. It’s all the same, just a matter of product packaging and marketing.
The list of ingredients may surprise you. Not by what is in it, but more but what isn’t. We don’t use any grape jelly or chili sauce.
Instead, we use a homemade sweet and sour sauce made with ketchup, soy sauce, white sugar, brown sugar, vinegar, and just a bit of garlic powder. The best part is that this sweet and sour sauce cooks at the same time as the kielbasa.
Throw in some pineapple, bell peppers, and onions for the traditional sweet and sour flavors.
Smoked sausage and little smokies can be used in this recipe. These sausages aren’t as spicy so you might want to add some additional garlic powder to this recipe.
Any variation of sausage can be used so long as it has been smoked. I have used even used turkey little smokies. I kind of like those bad boys, they seem to carry a bit more heat than the regular ones.
I would probably avoid andouille though, it might set your mouth on fire. But if that’s your thing, by all means, use it!
This one is truly a dump recipe! Dump all of the ingredients into a slow cooker, crockpot, or pan. Give it all a good stir and put a lid on it.
Set the heat to low and let it go for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. That’s it!
If you want your bell peppers and onions more crunchy, wait an hour before adding them to the mix. I personally like the flavor that the cooked peppers and onions add, so I do a bit of both. I add some in the beginning, then I add a bit more after an hour or so.
Any size pineapple can be used, I like the tidbits because they tend to disappear in the sauce. If you want larger pineapple pieces at the end I suggest using chunks.
How to Serve
If using a slow cooker, you can serve it right from the slow cooker. It’s best to do it this way if you are using it with rice as a main dish that way you can get plenty of sauce!
When serving as an appetizer I put the sausage in a shallow bowl and leave out toothpicks so that guests can spear what they want.
When I use a pan or I’m short on space, I will go ahead and spear the sausage myself and place it onto a small plate. This is super handy at picnics and get-togethers so people can just walk by and grab one. No need for plates or forks.
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Sweet and Sour Kielbasa
- Slice kielbasa into 1/2-inch wide rounds and place into a saucepan.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined.
- Heat over low covered for 90 minutes on the stovetop. Heat for 2 hours on low setting if using a slow cooker or crock pot.
- Serve when heated through.
- Reserve half of the bell peppers, onions, and pineapple and add after 60 minutes of cooking for firmer texture.
- Slow cooker or crockpot can be used, increase cooking time to at least 2 hours.
- Serve with sauce over rice for an economical sweet and sour dinner.