Homemade Kielbasa, also known as Polish sausage, is a family tradition for me. Kielbasa is made with ground pork, mustard seeds, sage, garlic, salt and pepper.
Update: This recipe was originally shared in March 2016. The recipe and photos have been updated and republished in October 2021.
I have a vague memory of standing in my grandfather’s kitchen while my mom and my aunts made homemade kielbasa. My mom’s side of the family is Polish and it was something my grandmother used to make.
My mom was never a big fan of it, so I rarely ate it as a child, but I mentioned the memory to my aunt some years back and we decided to make it a new family tradition, getting together and making kielbasa each year.
What is homemade kielbasa (Polish sausage)?
Kielbasa translates to sausage in Polish. It can be made with any type of ground meat, but pork is most common. Kielbasa can be smoked, baked, boiled or grilled. Common ingredients in kielbasa are mustard seeds, dried sage, and garlic.
Ingredients in this recipe
- ground pork
- mustard seeds
- dried sage
- minced garlic
- salt and pepper
Equipment for this recipe
We have used both an electric and manual machine and we prefer this LEM Sausage Stuffer. It is so easy to use, despite being a manual machine. We process 30 pounds of sausage in around 3 hours (meat mixed and testers made the night before)
Instructions for this recipe
- Start by preparing the meat. In a large bowl, combine the ground pork with the mustard seed, garlic, dried sage, salt and pepper. Add warm water and use your hands to fully mix the seasonings through the meat.
- Then prepare a tester. Process through the machine and boil for 15 minutes or form a patty and pan-fry. Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed.
- Next soak the casings. Remove the casings from the salt and soak them in a bowl of cold water. (Note: This can be done 24 hours in advance if you have the time.) Then cut the casings to your desired length. (See casings info below)
- Finally, process the sausage through the machine. Fill your machine with the ground pork and affix the casing onto the tube. Follow manufacturer instructions to make the sausage. Twist the ends of the casing, flipping the sausage over to secure the meat in the casing.
Casing Info and Sizing
You can find Casings in some grocery stores (we get ours from Wegman’s), from your local butcher or on Amazon. We prefer the casings that are salt packed.
- 6 inches of casing will make approximately a bun-sized sausage
- 8 inches of casing will feed approximately 2 people
- 12-14 inches of casing will feed approximately 4 people
- Estimate 1 oz. of casing per 10 pounds of meat – ex: 10 oz. casings will be used for 10 lbs. of sausage
Tips and Tricks for Making Kielbasa
- Per my grandmother: add enough mustard seed until you can feel it in the meat and use enough salt to cover the meat.
- Don’t get a brain freeze! Let the meat warm up for 1-2 hours before mixing in the spices, or wear kitchen gloves!
- I like to spray the tube of the machine with cooking spray to ensure the casing goes on easily
- Prepare the pork up to 24 hours in advance (cover and refrigerate until ready to make)
- Cut the casings to size in advance and let soak in water overnight if you have the time
- Fried onions: I love pan-fried kielbasa served with fried onions and potatoes
- Sauerkraut: boil kielbasa and sauerkraut together for a classic dish and serve with mashed potatoes (my husband’s favorite!)
- Pierogi: another Polish recipe, kielbasa pairs wonderfully with pierogi
- Peppers and onions: cook up peppers and onions with your kielbasa and serve on a hot dog or sub roll
I am so glad that my family enjoys making kielbasa as much as I do! We have a great time, making new memories and laughing our asses off with each batch. Over the years we’ve learned what works and doesn’t work. And most importantly, that a manual machine is much easier than an electric one! Although that seems backwards!
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Homemade Kielbasa (Polish Sausage)
- LEM Sausage Stuffer
- sausage casings
- 15 lbs pork shoulder ground
- ⅓ cup kosher salt
- 1 ¼ cup mustard seeds
- ¼ cup garlic minced
- ¼ cup dried sage
- 2 tablespoon black pepper
- 2 cups warm water
For the Casings
- If using salt-packed casings, remove from the salt and soak in a bowl of cold water for 20 minutes, but up to overnight.
- Save time on the stuffing process by cutting your casings to size in advance and returning to the cold water.
To Prepare the Pork
- In a very large bowl add the seasonings on top of the pork, followed by the warm water. Mix thoroughly with your hands until the seasonings are fully combined. (My grandmother said you need to feel the mustard seeds in the meat)
To Test the Pork, pan-fried
- Pan fry a small pork patty in a skillet over medium high heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Taste test and add additional ingredients to your mixture if needed.
To Test the Pork, in sausage format
- Add a small amount of pork, approximately ½ cup to your sausage machine and place a 6 inch casing on the tube. Push sausage through, twist the ends to seal.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add in the kielbasa link and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from the water, slice, and taste test, adding additional ingredients if needed.
To use the LEM Sausage Stuffer
- Attach the largest tube to the front of the machine. Slide a casing on the tube, using cooking spray if it sticks.
- Fill the canister with the meat and secure back into the machine.
- Crank the handle, pressing the sausage through the tube into the casing. Hold onto the casing as you are cranking it through, this will help remove air bubbles.
- When casing has 1 inch left, stop pushing sausage through and pull casing off, pinching the opposite end. Holding the casing at both ends, flip the sausage over a few times, twisting the ends to secure the pork in the sausage.
- Repeat with remaining pork. Package sausage into zip lock bags or wrap in freezer paper and tape the ends.