Kielbasa is the garlicky Polish sausage that tastes great with potatoes, breakfast foods and sauerkraut! It’s traditionally made with pork, but it can be made of a wide variety of meats like turkey, chicken, veal or beef.
There are a variety of types of kielbasa, which can be cooked in different ways.
This short guide will help you work out which kind of kielbasa you have in the fridge, and how to cook it to perfection.
How To Cook Kielbasa
There are generally three different types of kielbasa:
- Smoked kielbasa (known in Polish as myśliwska kiełbasa)
- Uncooked or ‘white’ kielbasa (known in Polish as biała kiełbasa)
- Dried kielbasa (known in Polish as sucha)
Smoked kielbasa is already cooked, and you can eat it as is. However, some people like to warm it through and crisp it up before they tuck in.
Uncooked kielbasa will need cooking before you eat it. There are lots of ways you can do this, and we will go through them in the rest of this article.
Dried kielbasa is like a deli meat and can be eaten cold straight from the package – you don’t need to cook it. Try it in your favorite sandwich or on a homemade pizza.
How To Cook Smoked Kielbasa
If you want to warm your smoked kielbasa before eating, the best way to do it is to pan-fry it.
Chop your kielbasa into cubes or slices and fry them until they are brown and crispy. You don’t need a lot of oil or butter as the kielbasa will release its own fragrant oil as it fries.
You can also grill your smoked kielbasa to give it a smoky flavor and some lovely char marks.
Don’t boil your smoked kielbasa, as you’ll lose all the flavor to the water.
How To Cook White Kielbasa
If you have white (uncooked) kielbasa, we recommend boiling it first. This is to cook it through evenly and to stop the casings from snapping open.
You can then grill, bake or fry the kielbasa to add extra color and crispness. We think they’re all fantastic ways to serve kielbasa!
Here are the different ways you can cook kielbasa, and how long for.
How To Boil White Kielbasa
To boil white kielbasa, pop your sausage in a saucepan full of salted water. Bring the water to the boil, lower the heat, put the lid on and cook for 25 minutes.
If you want to add extra flavor to your kielbasa, replace the water with stock, bone broth or your favorite beer!
How To Grill White Kielbasa
Preheat your grill to high and cook your boiled kielbasa for about five minutes per side. Some people like to butterfly the kielbasa in half, so it cooks quicker and becomes even more crispy.
Don’t prick your kielbasa before you grill as you’ll lose the juices and it will dry out. Instead, make tiny diagonal cuts across it. This will stop your kielbasa from bursting.
If you’re grilling your kielbasa on the BBQ, lightly oil the grill first, so the kielbasa doesn’t stick.
How To Bake White Kielbasa
Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and cook your kielbasa for 20 minutes, turning halfway through.
Why not bake your kielbasa with peppers, onions and potatoes for a quick and filling meal? Alternatively, layer your kielbasa on a bed of sauerkraut and cook through until both are warmed through and crispy.
How To Fry White Kielbasa
Cut your kielbasa into cubes or slices and sauté until browned and crisp. This will take about five to seven minutes.
You won’t need a lot of oil or butter as the kielbasa contains a lot of its own oil.
What Should The Internal Temperature Of The Kielbasa Be?
The internal temperature of your kielbasa when cooked through should be 160°F (70°C).
Use a meat thermometer to find the temperature of your kielbasa. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, cut your kielbasa open – it should be hot to the touch.
How Long Can You Keep Kielbasa In The Fridge?
It depends on whether it is smoked or white/uncooked kielbasa.
Smoked and white kielbasa typically comes in a vacuum-sealed package, and this keeps it fresh. Left unopened, you can keep it in the fridge for three to four weeks. Once opened, it keeps fresh for up to two weeks.
Did you know that you can freeze smoked kielbasa? If it’s still vacuum-sealed, it will keep for up to six months. Just defrost your kielbasa the day before you want to use it.
If you’ve cooked your kielbasa from raw, you can store it in an airtight container or ziplock bag for three to four days. Make sure your kielbasa has thoroughly cooled before you put it in the fridge and ensure it is piping hot when you reheat it.
As a rule of thumb, the higher the meat content of the kielbasa, the longer it will last.
What Can You Eat Kielbasa With?
Kielbasa is excellent with so many things and can be used in any recipes that call for smoked sausage. Try it:
- In a hard roll or pretzel roll with sauerkraut and spicy mustard or horseradish.
- With grilled potatoes, peppers and onions.
- For breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon and French toast.
- Sliced up and added to mac and cheese.
- As a topping for Polish cabbage soup or pierogi (Polish dumplings).
- Added to a German potato salad.
- In a hearty stew or casserole.
Kielbasa also goes great with a delicious cold Polish beer!
How Many Calories Are In A Kielbasa?
A serving of pork kielbasa (2 ounces) has 127 calories.
The great thing about kielbasa is because the flavor is so intense, you don’t need to use a lot of it. (Check out Kielbasa vs Andouille).
If you’re looking for a healthier option, you can get turkey and chicken kielbasa too.
Have you ever eaten kielbasa? What is your favourite way to cook it?