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Polish Kapusta With Spare Ribs Recipe

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A plate of meat and vegetables showcasing the Polish cuisine.

https://polishfoodies.com/traditional-polish-wedding-food-with-recipes/This spare ribs and sauerkraut stovetop recipe is a traditional Polish dish made almost every Sunday in the Kuyavian region. Served with warm kapusta, it’s wholesome and delicious!

When Was Kapusta With Spare Ribs Invented?

Rich and filling, this popular winter dish, Polish pork, and sauerkraut will keep you full for hours. The kapusta with spare ribs is called żeberka w kapuście or specifically żeberka wieprzowe w kapuście when made only with pork ribs.

We don’t know when exactly when the Polish kapusta recipe with pork was created. But it comes from the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland.

Cabbage being readily available, it was an integral part of traditional Kuyavian cuisine and eaten for weddings, family celebrations, and Sunday dinners.

The locals made dishes of fresh cabbage in spring and summer and used sauerkraut in autumn and winter.

Pigs being a part of their livelihoods were slaughtered before Christmas and other holidays. Making use of every part of the pig, the housewives would use the pork ribs and cook them with sauerkraut.

This popular Kuyavian dish was entered on the list of traditional products by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in July 2013.

How To Make Polish Kapusta Recipe With Pork

Step I – Preparing The Spare Ribs

Keep 1 or 2 ribs on each bone, sprinkle them with salt and pepper and refrigerate overnight. The next day, sprinkle the ribs with marjoram and paprika, coat them in flour and fry in lard or oil.

Ribs and flour mix in two bowls.
Ribs in marjoram and flour
Ribs coated in flour and ribs frying.
Ribs coated in flour and ribs frying in lard
Spare ribs in a glass bowl.
Cooked spare ribs

Then cut an onion and fry it with oil. Put the fried onion, mustard, bay leaves, allspice berries, and ribs in a pot with water for about 1.5 hours. Then uncover the lid and let the water evaporate.

Fry the onions in oil.
Fry the onions in oil

Step II – Preparing Kapusta

Chop the cabbage or sauerkraut fine and cook it with water and lard till tender. If you’re adding bacon, don’t add lard.

In the meantime, peel and dice the onion. Fry it with 1 tablespoon of lard. If you are adding bacon, skip the lard.

Add flour, mix, and fry for another few minutes. Start adding water slowly, stirring continuously. Drain the cooked cabbage and add it to the fried onion mixture.

Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Kapusta zasmazana.
Kapusta made with cabbage or sauerkraut
Kapusta and spare ribs.
Serve the spare ribs with kapusta
Polish żeberka w kapuście.
Zeberka w Kapuście

Spare Ribs And Sauerkraut Stovetop Recipe – Tips

  • Rinse the sauerkraut if you want it less sour. 
  • Add a few tablespoons of white vinegar if you want if sourer. 
  • Use lard from pasture-raised pork if you have a choice. 
  • If you don’t find marjoram, use oregano.
  • If you wish, you can add plums and raisins to the kapusta while frying. 
  • You can increase or decrease the quantity of spices to suit your taste. 
  • Make sure the kapusta is warm before serving!
  • Top with fresh basil leaves and serve with a few dollops of sour cream and crunchy bread! 
Polish żeberka w kapuście dish.
Polish żeberka w kapuście is made with spare ribs

Polish Spare Ribs And Sauerkraut – Frequently Asked Questions

I Do Not Eat Pork? Can I Use Any Other Meat To Make The Polish Spare Ribs And Sauerkraut?

Yes, instead of the pork ribs, you can use lamb ribs to make this recipe. If you don’t find lamb ribs, try beef ribs, but the taste will differ slightly. 

Can I Cook Spare Ribs In The Oven Instead?

Yes, if you want to cook spare ribs in the oven, follow this method. Fry the ribs for 10 minutes in oil first and also prepare the kapusta. Next, add the kapusta to a baking dish, cover it with the ribs, drizzle with oil, and allow to bake for 1.5 to 2 hours at 200 degrees. 

What Is Kapusta?

Kapusta, also known as Kapusta Zasmazana is a  Polish dish made with stewed cabbage or sauerkraut with bacon, mushrooms, garlic or onions. 

How To Pronounce Kapusta?

Kapusta is pronounced kah-poos-tah

What Other Dishes Can Be Made With Kapusta?

Other dishes made with kapusta include:

Other dishes that can be served with kapusta include:

How To Store Polish Pork And Sauerkraut?

Cover the cooked ribs with foil and store them in the fridge for a few days, or move to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for a few months. 

How To Reheat The Spare Ribs?

Reheat the pork spare ribs in a frying pan with butter, pork lard, or oil. Or put them in an oven or microwave, cover with lard or butter and reheat at a low temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.

Polish Kapusta With Spare Ribs Recipe

Yield: 12

Polish Kapusta With Spare Ribs Recipe

A plate of meat and vegetables showcasing the Polish cuisine.

This spare ribs and sauerkraut recipe is a traditional Polish dish from the Kuyavian region. Wholesome and delicious, serve it warm with kapusta!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Additional Time 8 hours
Total Time 10 hours


Spare ribs

  • 2.2 lbs (1kg) of spare ribs
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp of dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of mustard
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 10-15 tbsps of pork lard/oil
  • 10-15 tbsps of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of water


  • 1 cabbage / 2.2 lbs (1kg) of sauerkraut
  • 3 tbsps of lard OR 7 oz (200g) of bacon
  • 2 onions
  • 4 tbsps of flour
  • 1 cup of cold water
  • 1 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tsps of salt


Preparing The Spare Ribs

  1. If the ribs you have are large, cut them into smaller pieces (with 1 or 2 ribs each).
  2. Sprinkle the ribs with salt and pepper and refrigerate overnight.
  3. The next day, sprinkle the ribs with marjoram and paprika.
  4. Coat the ribs in flour and fry in lard or oil. Do it briefly and quickly on the very hot pan.
  5. Peel the onion, cut it and fry on oil.
  6. Place fried onion and ribs in a pot. Cover them with water.
  7. Add mustard, bay leaves, and allspice berries.
  8. Simmer for about 1,5 hours until the ribs are tender. Then, uncover the lid and let the rest of the water evaporate.

Preparing Kapusta

  1. Finely chop the cabbage or sauerkraut.
  2. Place it in the pot and cover with water.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of lard and cook until tender. If you are adding bacon, cook the cabbage with water only.
  4. In the meantime, peel and dice the onion.
  5. Fry it with 1 tablespoon of lard. If you are adding bacon, chop it finely and fry it with the onion.
  6. Add flour, mix, and fry for another few minutes.
  7. Start adding a glass of water slowly, stirring all the time.
  8. Drain the cooked cabbage and add it to the fried onion mixture.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. If the cabbage is too thick, add more water.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1033Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 202mgSodium: 1114mgCarbohydrates: 87gFiber: 5gSugar: 6gProtein: 67g

These data are indicative and calculated by Nutritionix

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Did you like this Polish kapusta with spare ribs recipe? Let us know in the comments below!

2 Responses

  1. Pork and kraut,so delicious.. I was wondering if you had a recipe on how to fix sauerkraut and kielbasa for a picnic to put on a hot dog or hoagie roll. I think there is a trick on how to make the kraut without making it so watery. Thank you

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