Sizzling Tips for Perfect Bratwurst on Your Stove-top

Discover the perfect way to prepare bratwurst sausage using a stove, beer, and onions to achieve an easy and satisfying dinner. Forget waiting for ideal weather conditions to grill brats, follow this simple recipe for pan-frying bratwurst on the stove using only a few ingredients. There are various methods of cooking sausages indoors, but this beer brats recipe is undeniably the easiest and most delightful.

brown sausages in a cast iron pan.

While you're at it, expand your cooking knowledge by exploring how to cook brats in the oven or air fry them. In case you only have frozen brats, find out how to cook them hassle-free.

What is Bratwurst?

Bratwurst, the must-try German sausage, is widely available, from the cheaper options at the supermarket to the premium quality found at the local butcher store. Various regions in Germany have their unique bratwurst variety, with the fine or coarse types being the most common. Both are delicious, but it's justifiable to have a favorite. The coarser sort, especially when cooked on the stovetop, is my preference. But when purchasing sausages for grilling, I make sure to get both kinds because most kids prefer the finer ones.

overhead shot of a black pan with bratwurst in it.

Bratwurst is the go-to sausage for public events, feasts, and parties, with slow charcoal grilling producing an incredible flavor. You can enjoy it stuffed in a bun with mustard or ketchup or sliced and served with curry sauce.

Despite its easy availability, we still prepare and enjoy bratwurst regularly at home. This recipe is our preferred method of cooking it indoors.

What You Need

You'll only need three ingredients: oil, salt, and pepper. You could add a small pinch of caraway seeds to the liquid for an extra flavor, but it is not compulsory.

bratwurst cooked on the stove top in a pan.


Choose good quality, preferably coarse brats, as better quality pays off with more flavors and spices and less fat. My bratwurst weighed about 2.7 oz (75 g) each, but a little more or less is fine. If they're more significant than that, you might need to increase the cooking time.


Slice one medium-sized onion, about 5.3 oz (150 g).


Use about 1 cup (250 ml) of beer. If you're not a fan of cooking with beer (although the alcohol cooks off), you can substitute it with chicken or beef broth for a different taste, or apple juice for a sweeter version.

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

How to Cook Bratwurst on the Stove?

First, quarter an onion and slice it. Then, heat some oil in a thick-bottomed pan, preferably a cast iron skillet, as it yields the best results. After that, sear the bratwurst on medium-high heat for approximately three minutes, ensuring that you flip it once using tongs and brown the other side for an additional three minutes. Searing enriches the flavors, so it's crucial not to skip this step. Next, add the onion slices between the sausages and cook them for approximately two minutes, stirring occasionally, until they golden. Flip the sausages once more, add beer, cover, turn down the heat to low, and cook it for about ten minutes, flipping halfway. Verify that the internal temperature reads 71 degrees Celsius/160 degrees Fahrenheit; if you don't have a meat thermometer, cut the sausage in the middle to confirm that it is cooked through. Remove the bratwurst from the pan, sprinkle salt and pepper to taste, and reduce the sauce for about two minutes. Finally, turn the sausages into the sauce and serve them with the caramelized onions immediately.

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

Tips for Cooking Bratwurst in Beer

The beer doesn't produce much sauce but keeps the bratwurst moist and prevents it from catching to the pan, in addition to providing a flavor boost. If you prefer, you can replace beer with apple cider or any other liquid that you like.

Why Cook Brats in Beer?

The beer works wonders in cooking the sausages all the way through and avoiding burnt onions. It also imparts additional flavor to the dish. While beer is an ideal option, you can use other liquids like apple juice, cider, chicken, beef or vegetable stock, or even water. Non-alcoholic beer can also work.

Which Type of Beer is Best for Cooking Brats?

Lagers and pilsners have a pleasant flavor that is not overpowering. They are inexpensive, and you can easily find them worldwide. Moreover, they do not boil over when used in cooking.

Recipe FAQ

What Type of Pan is Suitable for Cooking Brats?

Any sturdy pan or a non-stick pan will work fine, just like my cast-iron skillet.

Should I Poke Holes in the Casing?

No. It will cause the bratwurst to split and lose its juices and flavor. Cook them in the liquid to prevent splitting and overcooking, and regulate the heat to prevent splitting.

Can I Cook Italian Sausages in the Same Way?

If Italian sausages have a similar size and texture, they will taste fantastic as well. Kielbasa is another option. Make sure to check their internal temperature, especially if they differ in size.

Can I Use Frozen Sausages in the Recipe?

Yes, you can. Skip the browning step and cook the onions until they are golden for about two minutes. Add the beer and the brats and cook them for about 13-14 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 71 degrees Celsius/ 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Although you may miss out on the searing-flavor, the dish will still be delicious.

Leftover Dishes: How to Handle Them

Wondering what to do with leftovers? There are feasible ways to retain their freshness without compromising their taste. Allow these dishes to reach room temperature and store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator. When reheating leftovers, add a splash of extra liquid or beer before slowly warming them on the stove, stirring occasionally.

To Freeze or Not to Freeze:

Yes, you can freeze leftover dishes for up to two months. Simply defrost in the refrigerator and heat it up before serving.

brats in a pan served with a bowl of mustard.

How to Serve Bratwurst

Bratwurst is a tasty delight and worth savoring. Serve it with mustard and pair it with a choice of bread, hot dog buns, fries, ketchup, or mayonnaise. Bratwurst goes well with various kinds of potato salads, like German Potato Salad, Sour Cream Potato Salad with Bacon, and Noodle Salad, along with oven-baked potato wedges. The combination of Brats and Sauerkraut is a classic in Germany. Accompany your Bratwurst dishes with some heavenly German Bavarian Sauerkraut and mashed potatoes, and voila!

seven sausages in a cast iron pan with a fork.

Don't forget to check out the web story for this recipe: How to Cook Brats on the Stove.

Here's how to cook Bratwurst on the stove: Cut an onion into quarters and slice them. Heat a heavy-bottomed, preferably cast-iron skillet, and add oil. Sear bratwursts on medium-high heat for approximately three minutes. Flip the brats using tongs and cook the other side for another three minutes. Add onions in between the sausages, cook them until golden, and flip the sausages again. Pour in beer, cover, and cook on low heat for 10 minutes while flipping the sausages halfway. The internal temperature should reach 71°C/160°F. If you don't have a meat thermometer, check if it is cooked through by cutting one sausage in the middle. Remove the brats, season them with salt and pepper, and reduce the sauce by cooking for about two minutes. Return the brats to the sauce, and they're good to serve. If you have larger brats, it's okay; just adjust the cooking time and cut one in the middle to check if it's done.

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

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