Crispy Sauerkraut Fritters (Easy Air Fryer Recipe) (2024)

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These Crispy Sauerkraut Fritters with Bacon, Sausage and Cheese are the perfect appetizer for all your favorite celebrations! They can be prepared days ahead of time, stay crisp for hours, and are a snap to make in your air-fryer!

Crispy Sauerkraut Fritters (Easy Air Fryer Recipe) (1)
Jump to:
  • What's the Story Behind this Recipe?
  • Sauerkraut Fritter Ingredients
  • How to Make Air-fried Sauerkraut Fritters
  • Equipment
  • Storage
  • Top Tip
  • FAQ
  • More German Recipes
  • Pairing

What's the Story Behind this Recipe?

Some time ago, while Mr B and I were traveling through Billing, Montana, we stopped for dinner at a local favorite, the Oktoberfest German Restaurant. Twice.

The food at Oktoberfest German Restaurant was fresh and tasty, the portions enormous, and the service friendly and attentive. Over the course of the two nights we dined there (ahem… research), we sampled a wide variety of familiar menu offerings, including sauerbraten, schnitzel, and spaetzle. (Oh my!) We also tried something quite new to us - sauerkraut fritters.

The sauerkraut fritters stood out both for their amazing flavor and for their unique presentation, so when we got home, we started working up a recipe.

Luckily, we didn't need to reinvent the wheel for this one: we started with this deep-fryer recipe from Food Republic, and then experimented with ingredients, amounts, and refrigeration times to achieve the best flavor and optimal conditions for air-frying.

For this fritter recipe, process is nearly as important to achieving perfect results as are the actual ingredients. (Don't worry - we've made it super easy!)

I could not be happier with the results! These little golfball-size babies turn out crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and oh-so-tasty!

Crispy Sauerkraut Fritters (Easy Air Fryer Recipe) (2)

Sauerkraut Fritter Ingredients

The primary flavor components in this fritter recipe are the Sauerkraut, Sausage, Bacon, and Cheese:

Sauerkraut: My parents used to make crocks full of sauerkraut to can every year: whenever I opened my Dad's office door in the late fall, a wave of thick, pungent fermenting cabbage would hit me square in the face. When I moved out on my own and started buying my kraut from a store, I quickly learned that (like pickles) the flavor of any given sauerkraut is heavily dependent up on both method and maker.

For this recipe, we recommend using a mild, Bavarian-style kraut for the best results. (We get our sauerkraut from our local German deli.)

★ Sausage: Use any good, high-quality smoked German or Polish sausage. Sausages need to be chopped into very small (¼-inch) pieces before frying. If the casing is very tough, remove it before chopping.

★ Bacon: We like to use thick-cut, peppered bacon.

★ Cheese: Jarlsberg is our favorite and preferred cheese for this recipe. It holds up well in the fritter mix while adding a subtle nutty essence that enhances the flavor of the entire fritter.

The reference recipe I used called for Gruyere, but I found that while processed Gruyere is cheap and widely available, “real” Gruyere is both difficult to find and ridiculously expensive. Personally, I find both the texture and the flavor of processed Gruyere off-putting; moreover, its overly melty consistency makes the fritters slump as they fry, and who wants frumpy fritters?!?

You will also need:

  • Panko Crumbs: Panko crumbs are lighter than regular bread crumbs, and consistent in both moisture retention and browning when air-fried.
  • Whole grain mustard
  • Eggs
  • Flour: We recommend using Wondra whenever flour is used for breading or making sauces. Wondra is finely ground flour that has been pre-cooked and dried. Ultra-light, Wondra is lower in protein and gluten than all-purpose flour, which all translates into a light and crispy crust for fried foods.(You can use all-purpose flour in place of the Wondra in this recipe, but your results may not be as crispy.)
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper: We like using white pepper for this recipe, but any pepper will work.

How to Make Air-fried Sauerkraut Fritters

Make the Inner Fritter Mixture

Thoroughly drain the sauerkraut. A one-pound bag after draining will weigh 7-8 ounces after draining. Set the sauerkraut aside in a large bowl.

Cut the bacon and sausage up into very small pieces. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is sizzling hot, add the chopped bacon and sausage and cook until the bacon is crispy and the sausage is lightly browned, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. DO NOT DRAIN!

Add the cooled, cooked bacon and sausage (including the rendered fat) to the drained sauerkraut. Add the mustard, Panko crumbs, and grated Jarlsberg and mix.

Stir in the three beaten eggs and mix everything thoroughly to combine. Cover mixture and set in refrigerator for at least three hours, and as long as overnight.

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Form the Fritter Balls

When mixture is thoroughly chilled, use your hands or a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop to form into one-ounce balls.

You can measure them out with the scoop if you want, but you really need to use your hands to form them, because you want them to be nice and tight. (Loose fritter balls will make the breading step unnecessarily frustrating.)

Set the formed balls on a plate or dish and cover lightly to keep in moisture.

Refrigerate at least one hour, and up to four days.

Bread the Fritters

When you are ready to bread the fritters, you will need three bowls, each big enough to hold at least a few of the prepared sauerkraut balls.

Put the following into each bowl:

  • Bowl 1: Flour, kosher salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Bowl 2: Beaten eggs.
  • Bowl 3: Panko crumbs
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Remove fritter balls from refrigerator. They should feel cold and firm.

For each fritter: Roll in flour mixture [Bowl 1] and shake off excess, then dip in the beaten egg [Bowl 2], and finally roll in the Panko crumbs [Bowl 3].

Place breaded fritters on a plate until you have enough done for a batch.

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Air-fry the Fritters

Each style of air-fryer (i.e., bucket, oven, toaster-oven) seems to cooks a little differently. Consider cooking a single fritter at the suggested time and temperature, and then adjust as needed to cook the rest.

Preheat the air-fryer to 360°F (180°C) for 5 minutes.

Set the breaded fritter balls in the bottom of your air fryer basket. Be sure to leave space around each ball for air to circulate.

Air-fry the fritters at 360°F (180°C) for 11 minutes. If you want your fritters to be perfectly round and consistently golden, carefully turn balls over halfway through the air-frying process.

When done, remove air-fried sauerkraut fritters to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving. Serve with Honey Mustard, Whole Grain Mustard, and/or Honey-Mustard Sauce.

Equipment

Get an air-fryer if you don't already have one.

We love our air fryer! Can I just say that? My mom gave us ours for Christmas one year, and we put off using it for the longest time, but now we are hooked!

We made these beautiful fritters in eleven minutes with absolutely no added oil, and the clean-up took less than a minute. Seriously! If you are on the fence about getting an air fryer, take the leap!

Update 2023: We enjoyed our air-fryer so much that we upgraded to a versatile, large-capacity model that folds up to save counter space. We use it almost every day!

Storage

Store any leftover fritters in an air-tight container in the fridge. They will last about 5-7 days. To rewarm them, you can microwave them for a minute, or pop them back in the air fryer at 360°F (180°C) for about 3 minutes.

Top Tip

Sauerkraut Fritters can be served with ready-made condiments, but you can mix up an easy honey mustard sauce in just minutes!

Easy Honey Mustard

Simply whisk together ½ cup mayo, ¼ cup whole grain mustard, and 2 tablespoons of honey for another layer of sweet-and-savory flavor!

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FAQ

Can you make sauerkraut fritters ahead of time?

You can make them up to point the fritter balls are refrigerated up to four days ahead of time. Do not bread the fritters until you are ready to cook them.

Can you reheat sauerkraut fritters?

Yes! Just preheat your air-fryer and put them back in for 2-3 minutes. You can also reheat them in the microwave, but they won't be as crispy.

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More German Recipes

  • German Dessert Recipes
  • Nut Streusel Topping (Nusstreusel)
  • Bavarian Mints (Chocolate Meltaways)
  • Rheinlander Swiss Cheese Fondue

See more German Recipes →

Pairing

These easy to make fritters pair naturally with German foods of all kinds! If you planning to serve them for an Oktoberfest party, Swiss cheese fondue with sourdough and rye bread cubes are another great addition to the table.

Crispy Sauerkraut Fritters (Easy Air Fryer Recipe) (12)

5 from 6 votes

Crispy Sauerkraut Fritters with Bacon, Sausage & Cheese

These Crispy Sauerkraut Fritters with Bacon, Sausage, and Cheese are the perfect appetizer for all your fall celebrations! They can be prepared days ahead of time, stay crisp for hours, and are a snap to make in the air-fryer.

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Course: Appetizer

Cuisine: German

Prep Time:1 hour hour

Cook Time:11 minutes minutes

Refrigeration Time:4 hours hours

Total Time:5 hours hours 11 minutes minutes

Servings: 24 fritters

Calories: 123kcal

Author: Renee

Equipment

Ingredients

US Customary - Metric

Inner Fritter
Fritter Breading

Instructions

Inner Fritter Mixture

  • Thoroughly drain the sauerkraut. A one-pound bag after draining will weigh 7-8 ounces. Set aside in a large bowl.

  • Cut the bacon and sausage up into very small pieces. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.

    When the skillet is sizzling hot, add the chopped bacon and sausage and cook until the bacon is crispy and the sausage is lightly browned, 5-7 minutes.

    Remove from heat and allow to cool. DO NOT DRAIN!

  • Add the cooled, cooked bacon and sausage (including the rendered fat) to the drained sauerkraut.

    Add the mustard, Panko crumbs, and grated Jarlsberg and mix.

  • Stir in the 3 beaten eggs and mix everything thoroughly to combine.

  • Cover mixture and set in refrigerator for at least three hours, and as long as overnight.

  • When mixture is thoroughly chilled, use your hands or a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop to form into one-ounce balls.

    You can measure them out with the scoop if you want, but you really need to use your hands to form them, because you want them to be nice and tight. (Loose fritter balls will make the breading step unnecessarily frustrating.)

    Set the formed balls on a plate or dish and cover lightly to keep in moisture. Refrigerate at least one hour, and up to four days.

Fritter Breading

  • When you are ready to bread the fritters, you will need three bowls, each big enough to hold at least a few of the prepared sauerkraut balls.

    Put the following into each bowl:

    • Bowl 1: Flour, kosher salt, and pepper. (Stir to combine.)

    • Bowl 2: Beaten eggs.

    • Bowl 3: Panko crumbs

  • Remove fritter balls from refrigerator. They should feel cold and firm.

  • For each fritter: Roll in flour mixture [Bowl 1] and shake off excess, then dip in the beaten egg [Bowl 2], and finally roll in the Panko crumbs [Bowl 3].

    Place breaded fritters on a plate until you have enough done for a batch.

Air Frying

  • Set the breaded fritter balls in the bottom of your air fryer basket. Be sure to leave space around each ball for air to circulate.

  • Set air-fryer to 360°F [180°C] for 11 minutes.

    If you want your fritters to be perfectly round and consistently golden, carefully turn balls over halfway through the air-frying process.

    When done, remove air-fried sauerkraut fritters to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

  • Serve with Honey Mustard, Whole Grain Mustard, and/or Honey-Mustard Sauce.

Notes

Each style of air-fryer (i.e., bucket, oven, toaster-oven) seems to cooks just a little differently. If you use something besides a bucket-style air-fryer, you might consider cooking a single fritter at the suggested time and temp, and adjust as needed to cook the rest.

If you are in a hurry, or just don't want to deal with flipping them halfway thru the cooking time, you can just air-fry them for 11 minutes at 360°F (180°C).

Don't worry too much about your fritters getting cold. You can make them all well ahead of time and easily warm them up in a low oven or in the microwave, or just serve them at room temperature.

Nutrition

Serving: 1fritter | Calories: 123kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 390mg | Potassium: 88mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 88IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1mg

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

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Crispy Sauerkraut Fritters (Easy Air Fryer Recipe) (2024)
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