How to Cook Kielbasa

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Learn how to cook kielbasa with our comprehensive guide, featuring step-by-step instructions on 4 different methods: bake, pan sear, grill and boil.

The iconic Polish sausage that has won the hearts and taste buds of food lovers across the globe, including my own. I grew up eating kielbasa, mostly in the summer on the grill. It was easy, quick and delicious.

I hadn’t had it in years, but found some on sale a few weeks ago so bought some. Wow…was the flavor nostalgic. It’s savory and salty and makes one of the easiest dinners around.

From grilling and frying to simmering and roasting, we’ve got you covered with step-by-step instructions.

Table of Contents
  1. What is kielbasa?
  2. Does kielbasa need to be cooked?
  3. How to Cook Kielbasa: 4 Ways
  4. How to Cook Kielbasa in the Oven
  5. How to Grill Kielbasa
  6. How to Boil Kielbasa
  7. Serving Ideas
  8. How to Cook Kielbasa Recipe
  9. You May Also Love These Recipes
kielbasa in a bowl with a fork

What is kielbasa?

Kielbasa, which translates to “sausage” in Polish, is a traditional sausage from Poland known for its distinct flavor and coarsely ground texture. It is typically made from a combination of pork and beef, though there are variations including other meats, such as turkey.

Kielbasa sausages has a smoky flavor and also has varying spices such as ginger, marjoram, and black pepper (although packaging often simply says natural flavor).

You can buy kielbasa in the packaged meat section of your grocery store. It is usually by the bacon and brats.

two links of kielbasa on a wooden cutting board

Does kielbasa need to be cooked?

Yes. Most of the polish kielbasa that you see in the grocery store in packages are fully cooked. But you do still need to heat through. Most popular brands of kielbasa, such as Hillshire Farms, have the warning to “always heat through” before serving.

Thankfully, because the kielbasa is fully cooked, it doesn’t take long to heat it through. Most kielbasa can be heated and ready to eat in about 10 minutes.

At some specialty meat shops, you may be able to buy raw or fresh kielbasa. This means it is uncooked and should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165° and 175° F before serving.

How to Cook Kielbasa: 4 Ways

There are 4 methods of cooking kielbasa that we’ll go through step by step below. Here they are:

  • Pan fry on the stove top
  • Bake in the oven
  • Grill
  • Boil in water

My favorite? Pan fry or grill. My least favorite? Boiling. I personally like how the pan frying and grilling add a little crispiness and extra flavor to the kielbasa.

uncooked kielbasa on a cutting board

How to Pan Fry Kielbasa

  • Cut the kielbasa into 5 or 6 pieces.
  • Slice through the center lengthwise of the kielbasa (but don’t cut all the way through), so you can split the sausage open to lay flat. (You can also cut the kielbasa in slices.)
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Place each piece of kielbasa cut side down in the skillet. Cook for about 4 minutes, then turn the kielbasa and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side until heated through.
kielbasa pieces in a cast iron skillet
kielbasa rounds in a cast iron skillet

How to Cook Kielbasa in the Oven

  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Spray a baking sheet or 9×13″ baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Cut the kielbasa into 5 or 6 pieces.
  • Slice through the center lengthwise of the kielbasa (but don’t cut all the way through), so you can split the sausage open to lay flat.
  • Place each of the kielbasa cut side down on the prepared pan.
unbaked kielbasa on a baking pan
  • Bake for 5 minutes, then turn the sausages. Set the oven to high broil and broil for 4-5 minutes until they are lightly crispy around the edges. Watch them closely because it is easy for food to burn under the broiler.
oven baked kielbasa on a pan

How to Grill Kielbasa

  • Heat the grill to 400-425ºF.
  • Cut the kielbasa into 5 or 6 pieces.
  • Slice through the center lengthwise of the kielbasa (but don’t cut all the way through), so you can split the sausage open to lay flat.
  • Place each of the kielbasa cut side down on the grill.
  • Grill the first side for 5 minutes, then turn and grill the other side for 4-5 minutes.
pieces of kielbasa on a grill

How to Boil Kielbasa

If I boil kielbasa (which I don’t do very often), I cut the kielbasa in the shape that I desire. This is a good method for hot dog style sandwiches.

  • Place the kielbasa in a pot. Cover with water.
  • Bring the water to a boil over medium high heat.
  • Simmer about 5-7 minutes or until the sausage is heated through.
  • Drain and let steam dry before placing on a bun.
kielbasa in a sauce pan with water

You can heat any fully cooked smoked sausage this way as well. It doesn’t have to be specifically kielbasa.

Serving Ideas

  • Sauerkraut and sausage go together! Serve them on a bun or simply on a plate.
  • Serve on a hoagie bun with sautéed bell peppers and onions. Top with a drizzle of spaghetti sauce.
  • Roast or grill vegetables alongside the kielbasa for a complete dinner.
  • Kielbasa goes great with a side dish of rice or potatoes.
  • Serve on a hot dog bun with all of your favorite hog dog toppings such as ketchup or mustard and onions.
closeup of pan fried kielbasa
closeup of pan fried kielbasa

How to Cook Kielbasa

5 from 9 votes
Learn how to cook kielbasa with our comprehensive guide, featuring step-by-step instructions on 4 different methods: bake, pan sear, grill and boil.
Servings 5
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes

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Ingredients
 

  • 14 ounces kielbasa
  • 1 tablespoon oil for pan frying

Instructions
 

How to Pan Fry Kielbasa

  • Cut the kielbasa into 5 or 6 pieces.
  • Slice through the center lengthwise of the kielbasa (but don’t cut all the way through), so you can split the sausage open to lay flat.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Place each piece of kielbasa cut side down in the skillet. Cook for about 4 minutes, then turn the kielbasa and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side until heated through.

How to Cook Kielbasa in the Oven

  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Spray a baking sheet or 9×13″ baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Cut the kielbasa into 5 or 6 pieces.
  • Slice through the center lengthwise of the kielbasa (but don’t cut all the way through), so you can split the sausage open to lay flat.
  • Place each of the kielbasa cut side down on the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 5 minutes, then turn the sausages. Set the oven to high broil and broil for 4-5 minutes until they are lightly crispy around the edges. Watch them closely because it is easy for food to burn under the broiler.

How to Grill Kielbasa

  • Heat the grill to 400-425ºF.
  • Cut the kielbasa into 5 or 6 pieces.
  • Slice through the center lengthwise of the kielbasa (but don’t cut all the way through), so you can split the sausage open to lay flat.
  • Place each of the kielbasa cut side down on the grill.
  • Grill the first side for 5 minutes, then turn and grill the other side for 4-5 minutes.

How to Boil Kielbasa

  • If I boil kielbasa (which I don’t do very often), I cut the kielbasa in the shape that I desire. This is a good method for hot dog style sandwiches.
  • Place the kielbasa in a pot. Cover with water.
  • Bring the water to a boil over medium high heat.
  • Simmer about 5-7 minutes or until the sausage is heated through.
  • Drain and let steam dry before placing on a bun.

Notes

Store any leftover kielbasa in an airtight container in the fridge.
Refer to the article above for more tips and tricks.
The calories shown are based on the recipe serving 5, with 1 serving being ⅕ of the kielbasa. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**

Nutrition

Calories: 284kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 695mg | Potassium: 188mg | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 284
Keyword how to cook kielbasa, sausage recipe

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About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Anna Papp
2 months ago

I use a double boiler and steam my kielbasa.