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Want beer brats for dinner but the weather has you stuck indoors? No problem! Cook bratwurst on the stove!
Rather than simmering or marinating brats in beer and then finishing on the grill, do it inside with our easy indoor beer brats recipe.
HOW TO MAKE BEER BRATS WITHOUT A GRILL
Bratwurst is browned in an oiled skillet and then simmered with onions in beer. Quicker than waiting for hot coals!
This bratwurst in beer recipe bypasses the usually grilled finish, as it was already browned before simmering.
Beer brats made on the stovetop are the best way to cook brats when you don’t want to fire up the grill. I find it just isn’t worth breaking out the grill for 2 or 3 people.
There are also times when it is storming or super cold outside and all you want is a bratwurst!
I don’t soak my brats in beer first either. This is my secret to dark brown and juicy brats.
BEST TIP FOR COOKING BRATWURST ON THE STOVETOP
When browning the brats, it’s important not to overcook them.
If you find the brats are done before adding the onions and beer, remove them from the skillet while the onions are cooking in the beer.
Add the brats back to the skillet for the last 5 minutes or so of cooking.
WHAT KIND OF BRATWURST FOR BEER BRATS
Plain raw bratwurst can be used, as well as cheddar brats. When using cheddar brats, don’t let the brats cook so long that they start to split open. All the cheese will ooze out.
I probably wouldn’t use in this instance would be the ones labeled as beer brats already. With no idea of which kind of beer they used, there is likely to be a flavor profile conflict.
Don’t use smoked or stadium brats that have already been cooked in this beer brats recipe.
I buy my brats at mega marts but fancier ones from a German butcher would work just as well. You can even try to make your own! Our German Potato Salad post has some great tips on
HOW TO COOK BRATS WITHOUT BEER
Our beer brats recipe uses beer, but you can still make bratwurst on the stove without it. To make brats without beer, simply replace the beer with water or a flavored broth, like beef or chicken. I would also add a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar or brown sugar to replace the sweetness beer leaves when reduced.
If you don’t want to use beer in your brats because you are afraid of alcohol, a good portion of it should evaporate long before this dish has finished cooking.
HOW TO COOK BRATWURST IN A SKILLET
Adding a small amount of oil to a hot skillet before adding the brats will help them brown faster without overcooking.
Flip them occasionally until at least two sides are completely browned. I like mine best as a dark brown because the bratwurst will lose some color when they are simmered in the beer.
This dark coloring will also add some extra flavor to the onions.
If you’re not going to add onions and beer, keep flipping until they are completely done. You know they are done when they no longer have any pink in the middle or register 160⁰F in the center of the sausage. You can finish them quicker by adding a lid to the skillet while cooking.
WHICH ONIONS FOR BEER BRATS
Yellow and white onions are both great in this recipe. I don’t find much of a difference between the two here.
It’s best to leave the onions in large pieces so that they have a little bit of body left at the end of the cooking time.
To get the most flavor out of the onions, drop them in during the last part of browning the bratwurst. Push them to the bottom of the skillet and let them get a bit of color on them before adding the beer.
COOKING BRATS IN BEER
There is beer in this recipe, but I feel like it is still kid-friendly. The recipe cooks long enough that the vast majority, if not all, of the alcohol, will be burned off.
I use a standard American light lager, like Budweiser, Miller, Corona, or Miller. If we are doing some entertaining, I will use whatever brand we have. If I am simply buying beer for this recipe I go with whatever is on sale or cheap, Natural Light, PBR… you get the idea.
I find this style of beer leaves behind a sweet syrup after the onions have cooked down.
You can use any kind of beer really, and the darker beers will leave more of a distinct beer flavor. I probably wouldn’t waste any of my good craft or micro-brewed beer on this recipe.
Avoid using any sour beers, I just don’t think the flavor would be spectacular.
Want it to be totally alcohol-free? Try using some beef or chicken broth.
HOW TO SERVE STOVETOP BEER BRATWURST
Serve beer bratwurst while warm with a nice brown mustard or in a bun and topped with the beer braised onions.
Sauerkraut that has been heated through is another great option for serving on a bun with your beer brats.
HOW TO KEEP BRATWURST WARM UNTIL SERVING
The bratwurst can be held in a slow cooker that has been set to the “keep warm” setting or in an oven set to its lowest temperature. You only want to keep bratwurst warm, adding too much heat after they have coked can dry them out.
HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER BEER BRATS
Johnsonville’s recommendation for foodservice is holding brats at 140⁰F for up to 4 hours.
Refrigerate leftover bratwurst within 2 hours of cooking.
According to the USDA, leftover bratwurst can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 days or can be frozen for up to 3 months.
To reheat leftover brats simply place them onto a microwave safe plate and microwave for 60 to 90 seconds or until heated through.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH BEER BRATS
- German Potato Salad
- Easy Stovetop Mac & Cheese
- Potato Pancakes
- Loaded Smashed Potatoes, courtesy of Foodtasia
- German Potato Cakes
- Braised Red Cabbage, Spend with Pennies has a great recipe for this one
- 1 tablespoon light tasting Olive Oil
- 5 Bratwurst links I prefer plain bratwurst or cheddar brats
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 2 large onions peeled and cut into medium sized wedges
- 1 bottle beer craft or domestic
- In a large skillet or electric skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Carefully lay bratwurst in skillet, it may spatter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until dark brown, but not burnt. Flip the bratwurst, cover with onion wedges, do not stir yet, cover with a lid and let cook until the other side is also dark brown.
- Uncover, move the brat around so that some of the onions are touching the bottom of the skillet. Pour beer over the brats and onions. Set lid back on the pan slightly offset to allow some of the steam to escape.
- As the onions begin to soften, move the bratwurst on top of the onions and replace the lid, offset. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the onions have become caramel colored and the beer is mostly evaporated.
- Serve the bratwurst on a bun topped with the onions, or serve them with a fork and knife.
- This recipe can be doubled or tripled with a large enough skillet.