How to Cook Kielbasa

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Many people struggle with confidence in cooking meat. Personally, it’s something I’m still working on! For that reason, I encourage home cooks to experiment with kielbasa. It’s simple to utilize, comes in a variety of flavors, it’s an inexpensive protein, and it freezes well (so catch it on sale/clearance). In this post I’ll go over the benefits, how to use it and a beginner recipe that incorporates it.

What is Kielbasa

Kielbasa is a traditional meat sausage from Poland. It can come in pork, poultry, lamb or beef. The more authentic kielbasa is made from pork or from a combination of pork and beef.

Typically, we see it in the store in the shape of a U and as I mentioned can even purchase poultry stuffed kielbasa. You can get it smoked, cured, or fresh. Interestingly, some of the main ingredients to give it its taste are juniper, marjoram, and/or garlic.

turkey polska kielbasa packaged

How Do You Cook It

You can bake, boil, slow cook, sauté, roast, or even grill it. There are tons of recipes out there to explore! Most varieties I have come across are pre-cooked but sometimes you need to cook it from raw as well. It’s still important that when you cook an uncooked kielbasa, the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Occasionally, a recipe will instruct you to remove the casing but most store bought kielbasa has an edible casing.

You can cook it whole, depending on the recipe, but often I find myself slicing it into rings or half circles.

turkey kielbasa sliced on a cutting board

Is Kielbasa Already Cooked

Yes, many varieties that you can purchase are pre-cooked. However, some may be uncooked so it’s always worth reading your labels and double checking.

What Type of Kielbasa is Best

There’s no, “best” when it comes to food. At least that is my personal philosophy. It depends on what works for you and your health, satisfaction, and what you want out of it. Do you want a smokey flavor? Great, buy it smoked. Do you want to make a traditional Polish dish? Then get a traditional pork kielbasa. Ranking your food only continues to allow judgement toward yourself and others if you’re not always eating the, “best.”

What to Serve With It

You can serve it within soup, casserole, pasta, sheet pan meals, kabobs, rice dishes and so much more. One of my favorite kielbasa recipes is by a registered dietitian, Lindsay, who owns and runs The Lean Green Bean. She is a blogger I have looked up to for a long time. Her Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Sausage is a favorite of mine and often I use kielbasa for it.

Is Kielbasa a High Source of Protein

Kielbasa has about 7-8 grams of protein per 2 oz portion. No need to weigh it out! Just know incorporating this inexpensive food into your cooking can help meet your protein needs.

How Long Does it Last

Because of its ingredients and packaging (usually vacuum sealed when you purchase it) it can last for four weeks if it remains unopened. Just check your packaging as this may vary.

You can also freeze it right in its package for up to 6 months. Often, when it is on clearance or on sale, I’ll purchase extra and stow it away. Be sure to listen to my inventory methods on the podcast to help you actually use the food in the freezer.

pot full of kielbasa jambalaya with rice peppers onion tomato and parmesan cheese

Recipe to Make With It

You will not regret trying my Turkey Kielbasa Jambalaya recipe that is perfect this time of year. It comes together incredibly quick, is easy to cook, and costs under ten dollars to make. This recipe is great for beginners stepping up their cooking confidence and busy people who need an easy weeknight meal.

Pin it now, cook it later!

pot full of kielbasa jambalaya with rice peppers onion tomato and parmesan cheese

If you want to take your kielbasa experience up a knotch, try following this guide by The Spruce Eats for making your own kielbasa at home!

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