Can you eat kielbasa without cooking it?

In this short article, we will answer the question “can you eat kielbasa without cooking it?” and other queries related to this topic. 

Can you eat kielbasa without cooking it?

You can eat kielbasa without cooking it, but it depends on the type of meat. It is best served after cooking it. Most kielbasa sausage packages sold by American meat-packers are precooked, so they are okay to eat raw. In Poland, if the meat is dry-cured first then it´s safe to eat. 

What is kielbasa?

Kielbasa is a polish sausage that can be found in almost every grocery store. Most of the time, in the United States, any sausage with a u-shape and made of pork, beef, or turkey it’s called kielbasa sausage. Sometimes it can be a combination of the three meat. This type of sausage is usually darker than normal sausage and it’s 2 inches thick in diameter. 

Kielbasa is the Polish word for sausage, and in Poland, kielbasa is commonly made of pork, veal, lamb, or chicken. Some kielbasa makers cure their meat with salty preservatives like sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, and sodium phosphate. 

In America, kielbasa sausage is smoked and cooked. You can tell that kielbasa is cooked by a press test. If it´s firm and not shriveled, it means it’s cooked. 

Are there types of kielbasa? 

There are different types of polish sausage. Kielbasa biala is a white polish sausage that goes great with bell pepper and other vegetables. 

This type of sausage pairs well with bigos or zurek, which are traditional eastern European soups. Kielbasa wedzona is a polish smoked sausage that can be used in stew or soup; it can be eaten in bite-size pieces too. 

Kielbasa odesskie is a beef polish sausage that has been sweetened with brown sugar, corn syrup, or dextrose. When kielbasa is made from pork and it’s dried, it´s called Myśliwska, and when you use pork, blood, and barley, it is called Kaszanka. 

Welsena is a dark, smoky, and filling polish sausage. Wiejska is a polish sausage made with pork and veal with marjoram and garlic, this sausage is mostly associated with rural places or villages. 

Kiełbasa krakowska also known as Krakauer or just krakowska, is a thick, straight sausage made of pork seasoned with pepper, pimento, Chinese parsley, garlic, and it’s smoked. The name derives from the city Kraków.

What side dishes go well with kielbasa?

There are traditional side dishes that can be served with kielbasa, the most popular are potatoes and sauerkraut. But there are no rules on what they should be paired with. It is usually accompanied by fried beans, rice, and potato salad. 

Some people pair it with mac and cheese, mashed cauliflower made like mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, sautéed cabbage with bacon and onions, roasted brussels sprouts, and mashed butternut squash. You can experiment with kielbasa to find what you like. 

What is the difference between sausage and kielbasa?

The difference between sausage and kielbasa, mainly, is the creation and the taste. Kielbasa uses traditional Polish ingredients, and the taste of it is more garlicky and creamy. 

But more importantly, kielbasa is a type of sausage, not all sausages are kielbasa. Some countries have their own sausage like andouille sausage originated in France, bratwurst originated in Germany. 

Does kielbasa have to be refrigerated?

All pre-cooked sausage that hasn’t been dried should be refrigerated. Almost like hot dog sausage, American kielbasa are not dried enough and they will not last long without refrigeration. 

Packed kielbasa, which is what you will find the most in the United States at any grocery store, should last from one to two weeks in the refrigerator. If it is uncooked kielbasa, it will last for a couple of days in the refrigerator. 

What are the downsides of eating kielbasa?

Processed meat has been linked with harmful effects. Some kielbasas that are put into the smoked process get molecules named chrysene, which is bad in high doses. Chrysene is a molecule that is suspected to be a human carcinogen, so kielbasa must be consumed occasionally. 

Eating processed meat is also associated with many chronic diseases. For example, high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bowel and stomach cancer. 

It is important to highlight that the studies have shown that people who eat processed meat are more likely to get these diseases mentioned above, but it’s not proven that processed meat causes this type of disease. 

Other FAQs about Sausages that you may be interested in.

Does smoked sausage go bad?

Does pickled bologna go bad?

Does pepperoni go bad?

Can you boil frozen sausage?


In this short article, we answer the question “can you eat kielbasa without cooking it?” and other queries, like what type of kielbasa are?, and the differences between sausage and kielbasa. 


Choroszy, K., & Tereszkiewicz, K. (2020). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon content in sausage smoked using a polish traditional method. African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, 20(4), 16144-16160