How to Cook Brats on the Stove: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to cook brats on the stove

Understanding Bratwurst

As someone who loves to cook, I believe that it’s essential to understand the ingredients you’re working with. Bratwurst is a type of German sausage that is made from beef, veal, or a combination of both. It is a popular dish in Germany and is now enjoyed worldwide.

Bratwurst Ingredients

The ingredients used to make bratwurst can vary depending on the region and the recipe. However, some of the most common ingredients include:

  • Ground beef and/or veal
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • Caraway seeds
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Milk or cream
  • Egg

German Sausage

Bratwurst is a type of German sausage that is typically made from pork, beef, or veal. It is a staple food in Germany and is often served with sauerkraut, mustard, and bread.


Brats is a term that is commonly used to refer to bratwurst sausages. They are a popular dish in the United States, especially during summer barbecues. Brats are often grilled or cooked on the stove with beer and onions.

Cooking Bratwurst Sausages

Cooking bratwurst sausages on the stove is a simple and easy process. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Add the bratwurst sausages to the pot and let them simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the sausages from the pot and place them in a skillet.
  4. Cook the sausages on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes on each side or until they are browned.
  5. Add beer and onions to the skillet and continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes or until the sausages are fully cooked.


In conclusion, bratwurst is a type of German sausage that is made from beef, veal, or a combination of both. It is a popular dish in Germany and is now enjoyed worldwide. Brats are a term used to refer to bratwurst sausages and are often grilled or cooked on the stove with beer and onions. When cooking bratwurst sausages on the stove, it’s important to first parboil them and then brown them in a skillet with beer and onions for a simple and hearty dinner.

Required Tools and Ingredients

When it comes to cooking brats on the stove, there are a few tools and ingredients that you’ll need to have on hand. Here’s a rundown of what you’ll need:


  • Skillet or frying pan
  • Meat thermometer
  • Tongs
  • Spatula


  • Bratwurst sausages
  • Vegetable oil
  • Butter
  • Onion
  • Beer or beef broth
  • Water
  • Spices (such as sage)
  • Mustard (optional)
  • Hot dog buns or hoagie rolls (optional)

When it comes to choosing a skillet or frying pan, a cast iron skillet is an excellent option. It heats evenly and retains heat well, which is important when cooking brats. However, any skillet or frying pan will do as long as it is large enough to hold all of your sausages.

In terms of sausages, you can use any type of bratwurst that you like. Just make sure that they are fresh and not frozen. You’ll also need some vegetable oil for cooking, as well as butter and onion for flavor.

When it comes to liquid, beer or beef broth are both great options. The beer will add a nice flavor to the brats, while the beef broth will add richness. You’ll also need some water to help simmer the sausages.

Finally, you’ll want to have some spices on hand to season the brats. Sage is a classic choice, but you can use any spices that you like. And if you want to serve your brats on buns or rolls, make sure to pick some up as well. Mustard is also a popular condiment for brats, but it’s optional.

Preparation of Brats

Before cooking brats on the stove, there are a few things that need to be done to ensure they turn out delicious. Here’s how I prepare brats for cooking:


  • Brats: I prefer coarse brats for their texture, but any good quality brats will do.
  • Onion: A red onion is ideal for caramelizing and adding flavor.
  • Beer: A lager is great for simmering the brats and adding flavor.
  • Water: To help cook the brats evenly.
  • Mustard: For serving.
  • Butter: For caramelizing the onions.
  • Vegetable oil: For cooking the brats.
  • Spices: Salt, pepper, and caraway seeds (optional) for seasoning.


  1. Caramelize the onions: Slice the red onion into thin strips and melt butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and browned, stirring occasionally. This should take around 20 minutes.
  2. Simmer the brats: In a separate pot, add beer and water in equal parts until the brats are covered. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let the brats simmer for 10-15 minutes until they are fully cooked. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the brats reaches 160°F.
  3. Sear the brats: Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the brats and sear for 2-3 minutes on each side until they are browned and crispy.
  4. Serve: Place the brats in hot dog buns and top with caramelized onions and mustard.


  • Use a cast iron skillet for caramelizing the onions as it helps to evenly distribute heat.
  • Use a lager for simmering the brats as it adds a nice flavor.
  • Make sure the brats are fully cooked by using a meat thermometer to check their internal temperature.
  • Searing the brats after simmering them helps to give them a crispy exterior.

Cooking Process

Cooking brats on the stove is a simple process that can be done in a variety of ways. Here are the steps to follow for perfectly cooked brats on the stove.

  1. Start by heating a cast-iron skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of butter or oil to the pan.

  2. Once the skillet is hot, add the brats to the pan. You can also add sliced onions to the pan for extra flavor.

  3. Sear the brats for 2-3 minutes on each side until they are browned.

  4. If you want to add beer to the brats, pour a can of beer into the skillet and let it simmer for a few minutes.

  5. If you don’t want to use beer, you can also add water or stock to the skillet. Just make sure that there is enough liquid to cover the brats.

  6. Cover the skillet with a lid and let the brats simmer for 10-15 minutes until they are fully cooked. You can check the internal temperature of the brats with a meat thermometer to ensure that they are fully cooked.

  7. Once the brats are cooked, remove them from the skillet and let them rest for a few minutes before serving.

It’s important not to overcook the brats as they can become dry and tough. Keep an eye on them while they are simmering to make sure they don’t overcook.

How to cook brats on the stove

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Serving Suggestions

When it comes to serving brats, there are endless possibilities. Here are some serving suggestions that I find to be particularly delicious:

  • Onions: Sauteed onions are a classic topping for brats. Simply slice an onion and cook it in a skillet with a bit of oil until it’s golden brown and caramelized. This adds a sweet and savory flavor to your bratwurst.

  • Sauerkraut: Another classic topping for brats is sauerkraut. This tangy and sour cabbage is the perfect complement to the rich and savory flavor of the bratwurst. You can either cook the sauerkraut on the stove or buy it pre-made in a can.

  • Mashed Potatoes: Serve your brats with a side of creamy mashed potatoes for a hearty and satisfying meal. The soft and buttery potatoes pair well with the crispy and juicy brats.

  • Buns: Of course, you can’t forget the buns! Choose your favorite type of bun, whether it be a traditional hot dog bun or a hearty pretzel bun. Toast the bun on the stove for a golden brown finish.

  • German Potato Salad: This tangy and savory potato salad is a classic German side dish that pairs perfectly with bratwurst. It’s made with potatoes, bacon, onions, and a vinegar-based dressing.

  • Beer Brats: For a twist on the classic bratwurst, try cooking your brats in beer. This adds a rich and flavorful taste to the sausage. You can also serve your brats with a cold Oktoberfest beer for the ultimate German experience.

  • Cucumber Salad: This refreshing and light salad is the perfect side dish for brats. It’s made with sliced cucumbers, onions, and a tangy dressing.

  • Baked Beans: Serve your brats with a side of sweet and savory baked beans. This classic American side dish pairs well with the rich and savory flavor of the bratwurst.

  • Keto: If you’re on a keto diet, skip the bun and serve your brats on a bed of lettuce instead. You can also top your brats with grilled peppers and cheese for added flavor.

Remember, the possibilities are endless when it comes to serving brats. Get creative and try out different toppings and side dishes to find your perfect combination.

Alternative Cooking Methods

While cooking bratwurst on the stove is a great option, there are several other ways to cook this delicious sausage. Here are some alternative cooking methods to try:


Grilling brats is a popular method that gives them a delicious smoky flavor. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and place the brats on the grill. Cook for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are browned and cooked through.

Air Fryer Brats

If you have an air fryer, you can cook brats quickly and easily. Preheat the air fryer to 360°F and cook the brats for 12-14 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking time.


Cooking brats in the oven is another option that yields great results. Preheat the oven to 400°F and place the brats on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, turning halfway through, until they are browned and cooked through.


Boiling brats is a method that is often used before grilling or pan-frying. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the brats. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, then remove the brats from the water and grill or pan-fry them.


Steaming brats is a healthier cooking method that retains their flavor and juiciness. Place the brats in a steamer basket and steam for 10-12 minutes, until they are cooked through.

Overall, there are many ways to cook bratwurst, and each method has its own unique benefits. Whether you prefer grilling, baking, or pan-frying, you can enjoy a delicious bratwurst meal with these alternative cooking methods.

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Storing and Reheating

When it comes to storing leftover brats, it is important to follow food safety guidelines to prevent any potential foodborne illnesses. Here are some tips on how to properly store and reheat your brats:


  • Allow the brats to cool down to room temperature before storing them.
  • Place the brats in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
  • Label the container with the date of storage and store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • For longer storage, you can freeze the brats for up to 2-3 months.


There are several ways to reheat brats, but the best method depends on personal preference and the equipment available. Here are some options:

  • Stovetop: Heat a skillet over medium heat and add a small amount of oil. Place the brats in the skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes, turning occasionally, until heated through.
  • Oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the brats on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil and bake for 10-12 minutes, turning once halfway through.
  • Grill: Preheat the grill to medium heat. Brush the brats with oil and place them on the grill. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side, until heated through.
  • Microwave: While not the best option, you can use a microwave to reheat brats. Place the brats on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until heated through.

Beer Brats

If you have leftover beer brats, you can reheat them using the same methods as regular brats. However, to enhance the flavor, you can also try simmering them in beer before reheating. Here’s how:

  • In a skillet, add enough beer to cover the brats and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the brats to the skillet and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove the brats from the skillet and follow one of the reheating methods listed above.

Overall, the best way to cook bratwurst is on the stovetop, but it’s important to properly store and reheat any leftovers to ensure food safety. By following these tips, you can enjoy delicious brats anytime without any worries.

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