"Master the Perfect Stovetop Bratwurst: A Comprehensive Guide"

Discover a new way to enjoy bratwurst sausage without relying on good weather or a grill. Learn how to cook brats on the stove using beer and onions for a hearty dinner that is simple to prepare. This recipe is perfect for anyone seeking a delicious meal using minimal ingredients.

brown sausages in a cast iron pan.

If you want to explore other cooking options for bratwurst, check out our guide on cooking brats in the oven or our recipe for air fryer brats. You can even use frozen brats and learn how to cook them quickly and easily.

What is a Bratwurst?

Referred to as THE German sausage, bratwurst can be found in various forms, from cheaper ones in supermarkets to high-quality cuts found at local butchers.

overhead shot of a black pan with bratwurst in it.

Bratwurst sausages come in different types depending on the region in Germany, with fine and coarse varieties being the most popular. While both sorts are delicious, the coarser type is preferable when cooking bratwurst on the stove. However, getting both kinds is recommended when grilling sausages since most kids prefer finer cuts.

Bratwurst is a popular choice for events, parties, or even at home. Cooked slowly on a charcoal grill, they taste amazing and can be enjoyed in a bun with mustard or ketchup or smothered in curry sauce.

For this recipe, you will require just 3 ingredients – a little oil, salt, and pepper. You can add a small pinch of teaspoon caraway seeds for a different flavour, but that is optional.

bratwurst cooked on the stove top in a pan.

Bratwurst: Get good quality, coarse brats that are less fatty and have more spices and flavour. Each bratwurst should weigh about 75 g/ 2.7 oz.

Onions: A medium-sized onion weighing about 150 g/ 5.3 oz, sliced.

Beer: Use about 250 ml/ 1 cup of beer for cooking. If you prefer to avoid beer, chicken or beef broth or apple juice can be substituted for a sweeter taste. Don't worry, the alcohol will evaporate during cooking, so you will not be consuming any alcohol.

What's the optimal cooking time for stove-top bratwursts?

Start by quartering an onion and slicing it. Take a large, thick-bottomed pan for optimal results. Cast iron skillets work great. First, sear the brats on medium-high heat for about 3 minutes using tongs, flipping them and cooking another 3 minutes on the other side. This searing step adds a lot of flavor, so don't skip it. Add the sliced onion between the sausages and cook for approximately 2 minutes, stirring a few times until golden. Flip the brats again, add beer, cover, reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes on low heat, flipping halfway. Ensure that the internal temperature reaches 71 degrees Celsius/160 degrees Fahrenheit. In case you don't have a meat thermometer, simply cut one sausage in the middle; it's easy to tell if it's properly cooked. (3) Take out the bratwurst, add salt and pepper according to taste, and reduce the sauce for approximately 2 minutes. Put the brats back into the sauce. (4) Serve with the caramelized onions immediately.

raw sausages, sliced onion, beer and oil on a wooden board


Beer doesn't make a lot of sauce; it simply keeps the brats moist, stopping them from drying out or sticking to the pan. It also adds flavor to the dish. Apple cider, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, could be used in place of beer.

collage of four pictures showing how to cook sausages in a pan.

What's the idea behind cooking brats in beer?

Cooking sausages in this manner ensures they are fully prepared. By browning them in the pan and then adding onions and beer, the liquids maintain moisture and prevent the onions from burning until the sausages have cooked completely. Additionally, using beer imparts additional flavor. Beer works best in terms of taste, although apple juice, cider, or broth may also be used instead. Non-alcoholic beer works just fine.

What's the best beer to cook brats with?

Lagers or pils have great flavor that's not overpowering. They're readily available and reasonably priced worldwide. Another benefit is that they don't boil over quickly while cooking.

Recipe FAQs

What kind of pan should I use to cook brats? I use my cast-iron skillet daily. You may use another sturdy pan or a non-stick skillet.

Should I puncture the casing? Absolutely not! This would release all of the liquid, flavor, and result in overcooking.

Can I use this method to prepare Italian sausages? Yes, certainly. Raw kielbasa could also be used if the product size and texture are comparable. Confirm the internal temperature, especially if the items differ in size.

Can I use frozen brats for this recipe? If you don't have time to go to the grocery store and have some frozen brats in the freezer, there's no need to worry! Skip the browning stage, cook the onions for roughly 2 minutes until golden, then add the brats and beer. Cook for 13-14 minutes until the brats are completed, and the inner temperature reaches 71 degrees Celsius/160 degrees Fahrenheit. You'll most likely miss out on the seared flavor, but it'll still taste fantastic.

Leftover Makeover

What's the best way to handle leftover food? Don't let it go to waste! Instead, allow the meal to reach room temperature and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The easiest way to reheat leftovers is using a pan, but remember to add a bit of extra beer or other liquid to keep the food moist. Reheat the food gently on the stove, ensuring that the pot is covered and stirred occasionally.

Freeze or Not to Freeze?

Yes, you can freeze your leftovers for up to two months. Make sure to defrost it in the fridge before reheating it thoroughly.

Brats: Best Served With Mustard

How to serve bratwurst? Always with mustard. Other serving options include having it with bread, tucked into a bun, or with a side of fries, ketchup, or mayonnaise. For those who love potatoes, try it with German potato salad, sour cream potato salad with bacon, noodle salad, oven-baked potato wedges, or just about any other potato side dish. Brats are best matched with sauerkraut or Bavarian sauerkraut. Combine it with mashed potatoes on the side, and you'll feel like you're in Germany.

brats in a pan served with a bowl of mustard.

For the complete recipe, check out the web story: How to Cook Brats on the Stove.

seven sausages in a cast iron pan with a fork.

Bratwurst Recipe

Start by quartering the onion and slicing the quarters. Heat a large, thick-bottomed pan, preferably a cast-iron skillet, and add oil. Sear the brats on medium-high heat for approximately three minutes, flipping it using tongs, and continuing to cook on the other side for another three minutes. Add the onions between the sausages and cook for another two minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Flip the sausages and add beer. Cover and cook on low heat for around ten minutes, flipping it halfway through. The internal temperature should read 71 degrees Celsius/160 degrees Fahrenheit, but you can always cut one sausage in the middle to determine whether it's fully cooked. Remove the brats from the pan, add salt and pepper to taste, and reduce the sauce for approximately two minutes. Return the sausages to the pan and coat them with the sauce. If you have larger brats, simply adjust the cooking time and make sure to check that they're cooked through.

Serving: 2 brats | Calories: 554kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 28g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 1390mg | Sugar: 1g

Mention @adinabeck or tag #WhereIsMySpoon!

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