Air Fryer Sauerkraut Balls

Difficulty: 2/5
Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Recipe by Renee’s Kitchen Adventures.


For sauerkraut balls
  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped ham (use a food processor for best results)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 TBSP all purpose flour
  • 14 ounce can of sauerkraut, well drained, reserve juice
  • 1/4 cup reserved sauerkraut juice
  • 2 TBSP dried parsley flakes
  • dash Worcestershire sauce
To bread sauerkraut balls
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 large egg + 2 TBSP water
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • Cooking spray or oil for pan frying
for Russian Dressing dipping sauce
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 TBSP ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 – 4 tsp. prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 tsp. hot sauce (Franks works well here)
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • dash paprika
  • pinch of salt


To make sauerkraut balls

In large skillet, melt butter. Add onion and cook over med heat until onions are browned (about 6 to 8 minutes).

Stir in ham and garlic powder.

Add in 2 TBSP flour and stir and cook for about 1 minute.

Add drained sauerkraut, sauerkraut juice, dried parsley, and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir and cook until mixture becomes a thick paste.

Remove sauerkraut/ham mixture to bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill. Mixture needs to be completely cooled before proceeding to next step. (About 2 to 4 hours or overnight).

While mixture is chilling, make Russian Dressing dipping sauce following directions below.

Once sauerkraut/ham mixture is completely cold, form into 1″ balls. This is easy to do with a small cookie scoop. Mixture should be putty like and hold it’s shape while cold. Continue with remaining sauerkraut/ham mixture and pop in refrigerator for about 10 minutes, while you set up breading station.

Set up a breading station. Put flour in a shallow bowl (or I like to use paper plates for easy clean up).  Whisk egg with water in a shallow bowl, Put seasoned breadcrumbs in shallow bowl or paper plate.

Bread the sauerkraut balls by rolling in flour, next egg, and then breadcrumbs. Set each breaded sauerkraut ball on sheet pan or plate.

To fry sauerkraut balls

Remove sauerkraut balls from refrigerator. You can use three methods to fry the sauerkraut balls. Choose which one is best for you.

SKILLET FRYING: Heat about 1″ of oil in a large skillet. Fry sauerkraut balls, turning to brown all sides, until golden brown.

AIR FRYER: (This is the method I used) Spray sauerkraut balls with cooking spray. Heat air fryer to 400 degrees F. Place sauerkraut balls in basket allowing for space and not over crowding. (depending on the size of your air fryer basket, you may need to work in batches.) Air fry for approximately 5 minutes, shaking the basket once during cooking time.

OVEN METHOD: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and spray sauerkraut balls liberally with cooking spray. Bake in oven for approximately 10 – 20  minutes, turning the balls once during bake time.

Serve sauerkraut balls warm with Russian Dressing dipping sauce on the side.

For Russian Dressing Dipping Sauce

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate to combine flavors for at least 2 hours.


You will probably have extra Russian Dressing dipping sauce. This sauce also makes an excellent salad dressing or a spread for sandwiches!