Polish Casserole with Penne and Sauerkraut 2023




  • 4 cups uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 1/2 lbs. smoked Polish sausage or kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 cans (10 3/4 oz. each) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 jar (16 oz) sauerkraut, rinsed and drained well
  • 3 cups shredded Swiss cheese, divided
  • 1 1/3 cups 2% milk
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced


Step 1: Preparing the Casserole Mixture

  1. Heat Oven:
    • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook Pasta:
    • Cook the penne pasta according to the package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Combine Ingredients:
    • To the cooked pasta, add the sliced Polish sausage, cream of mushroom soup, rinsed and drained sauerkraut, 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese, 2% milk, chopped green onions, Dijon mustard, and minced garlic.

Step 2: Assembling and Baking the Casserole

  1. Grease Baking Pan:
    • Spoon the casserole mixture into a greased 13×9 baking pan, spreading it evenly.
  2. Top with Cheese:
    • Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of shredded Swiss cheese on top of the casserole.
  3. Baking:
    • Bake the casserole, uncovered, in the preheated oven until it becomes golden brown and bubbly, about 45-50 minutes.

Prep Ahead Hack:

  • Complete Step 1 and place the mixture into the baking pan. Allow it to cool down and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake. When you’re ready, remove the casserole from the fridge and let it reach room temperature before baking.


  • This Polish Casserole is a hearty and flavorful dish that combines the smokiness of Polish sausage with the tanginess of sauerkraut, all enveloped in a creamy and cheesy sauce. Enjoy this comforting and satisfying meal with a touch of Eastern European flair!

Here are some helpful tips to make your Polish Casserole with Penne and Sauerkraut even more delightful:

  1. Quality Sausage:
    • Use high-quality smoked Polish sausage or kielbasa to enhance the smoky flavor of the dish. Consider exploring different varieties for added depth.
  2. Sauerkraut Rinse:
    • Ensure thorough rinsing and draining of the sauerkraut to remove excess brine. This helps control the overall saltiness of the casserole.
  3. Swiss Cheese Blend:
    • Mix Swiss cheese with another flavorful cheese like Gruyere or Emmental for a more complex and nutty flavor in the casserole.
  4. Fresh Herbs:
    • Add freshness with chopped fresh herbs like parsley or dill. Sprinkle them on top just before serving for a burst of color and flavor.
  5. Caramelized Onions:
    • Consider caramelizing onions before adding them to the casserole for a sweet and savory dimension. This complements the tanginess of sauerkraut.
  6. Garlic Infusion:
    • Infuse garlic into the dish by letting minced garlic sit in the mixture for a while before baking. This allows the flavors to meld.
  7. Grilled Sausage:
    • If possible, grill or sear the sliced sausage briefly before adding it to the casserole. This adds a smoky char and enhances the overall flavor.
  8. Dijon Mustard Variation:
    • Experiment with different types of mustard for unique flavors. Whole grain or spicy mustard can provide an extra kick.
  9. Mushroom Addition:
    • Sautéed mushrooms can complement the earthy flavors in the casserole. Add them to the mixture for added depth.
  10. Crunchy Topping:
    • Create a crunchy topping using breadcrumbs or crushed crackers mixed with melted butter. Sprinkle it on top before baking for added texture.
  11. Fresh Lemon Zest:
    • Add a touch of freshness with a bit of freshly grated lemon zest. It can brighten up the flavors and cut through the richness.
  12. Sour Cream Swirl:
    • Serve the casserole with a dollop of sour cream on the side or create a decorative swirl on top just before serving.
  13. Bacon Crumbles:
    • For a smoky and crispy element, sprinkle crumbled bacon over the casserole after baking.
  14. Customize the Mustard:
    • Adjust the amount of Dijon mustard to your liking. If you enjoy a bolder flavor, add a bit more; if you prefer a milder taste, use less.
  15. Allow Flavors to Marinate:
    • If time allows, let the casserole mixture sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight before baking. This allows the flavors to marinate and intensify.

Feel free to tailor these tips to your taste preferences, and enjoy making your Polish Casserole even more delightful!

Achieving the perfect Polish Casserole with Penne and Sauerkraut involves some secrets and techniques to elevate the flavors and textures. Here are some tips to make your casserole truly exceptional:

  1. Quality Ingredients:
    • Invest in high-quality Polish sausage, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut. The better the ingredients, the richer the flavors.
  2. Balance the Sauerkraut:
    • Adjust the amount of sauerkraut to find the perfect balance. If you prefer a milder flavor, use a bit less, and if you love the tanginess, you can add a bit more.
  3. Sausage Searing:
    • Sear the sliced Polish sausage briefly in a hot skillet before adding it to the casserole. This adds a caramelized crust and enhances the smoky flavor.
  4. Herb Infusion:
    • Infuse the dish with fresh herbs. Consider adding a handful of chopped fresh parsley or dill to the mixture for a burst of freshness.
  5. Cheese Layering:
    • Layer the Swiss cheese throughout the casserole rather than just on top. This ensures a gooey and cheesy consistency in every bite.
  6. Creamy Texture:
    • Achieve a creamy texture by ensuring the condensed cream of mushroom soup is well-mixed with the other ingredients. This creates a velvety sauce.
  7. Adjust Mustard to Taste:
    • Dijon mustard adds a unique kick. Adjust the quantity based on your preference for a subtle or bold mustard flavor.
  8. Prevent Overcooking Pasta:
    • Cook the penne pasta just until al dente. Overcooked pasta can become mushy during baking, so aim for a slightly firmer texture.
  9. Crispy Topping:
    • For a delightful texture, consider adding a crispy topping. Mix breadcrumbs with melted butter and sprinkle it over the casserole before baking.
  10. Caramelized Onion Depth:
    • Caramelize the onions to bring out their sweetness. This adds depth to the overall flavor profile of the casserole.
  11. Bake Until Golden and Bubbly:
    • Bake until the casserole is golden brown and bubbly. This ensures the flavors meld together, and the cheese forms a delicious crust.
  12. Rest Before Serving:
    • Allow the casserole to rest for a few minutes after baking. This helps the flavors settle and makes it easier to cut into neat servings.
  13. Layering Technique:
    • Layer the ingredients strategically, ensuring an even distribution of sausage, sauerkraut, and cheese in every layer for a balanced bite.
  14. Experiment with Mustard Varieties:
    • Explore different types of mustard, such as whole grain or spicy mustard, to add unique nuances to the flavor.
  15. Use a Quality Baking Dish:
    • Use a high-quality baking dish to ensure even cooking and a consistent result. A glass or ceramic dish works well.

Remember, these secrets are suggestions, and you can adjust them based on your taste preferences. Enjoy creating the perfect Polish Casserole!

Here are some popular questions and answers related to Polish Casserole with Penne and Sauerkraut:

  1. Q: Can I use a different type of sausage for this casserole?
    • A: Yes, you can experiment with different types of sausage based on your preference. Smoked kielbasa, bratwurst, or another Polish sausage are great options.
  2. Q: Can I substitute Swiss cheese with another type of cheese?
    • A: Absolutely! While Swiss cheese complements the flavors well, you can use Gruyere, Emmental, or a Swiss cheese blend for a slightly different taste.
  3. Q: Is it necessary to rinse and drain the sauerkraut?
    • A: Yes, rinsing and draining the sauerkraut well helps control its saltiness and acidity, ensuring a well-balanced dish.
  4. Q: Can I make this casserole ahead of time and reheat it?
    • A: Yes, you can assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it. Allow it to come to room temperature before baking for best results.
  5. Q: How do I prevent the casserole from becoming too dry?
    • A: Ensuring the pasta is cooked al dente and not overbaking the casserole will help maintain a creamy texture. You can also add a bit more milk if needed.
  6. Q: Can I freeze leftovers of this casserole?
    • A: While the texture may change slightly, you can freeze leftovers in an airtight container. Reheat in the oven for the best results.
  7. Q: What can I serve as a side dish with this casserole?
    • A: A simple green salad, crusty bread, or steamed vegetables make great side dishes to complement the flavors of the casserole.
  8. Q: Can I use a different type of pasta instead of penne?
    • A: Yes, you can use your favorite pasta shape. Shells, rigatoni, or fusilli work well for holding the creamy sauce.
  9. Q: Can I make this casserole without condensed cream of mushroom soup?
    • A: You can try making a homemade mushroom cream sauce as a substitute. Mix sautéed mushrooms with a basic cream sauce for a from-scratch alternative.
  10. Q: How can I make the casserole more flavorful?
    • A: Experiment with additional herbs and spices. Thyme, paprika, or caraway seeds can add extra depth to the flavors.
  11. Q: Can I prepare this casserole without pre-baking the pasta?
    • A: Pre-baking the pasta helps prevent overcooking during the casserole baking process. It ensures the pasta maintains a firm texture.
  12. Q: Can I use whole grain or gluten-free pasta for this casserole?
    • A: Yes, you can use whole grain or gluten-free pasta to suit dietary preferences. Adjust cooking times accordingly.

Feel free to customize these answers based on your specific recipe and preferences!

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