There are many ways to cook bratwurst, the famous German sausage. So, take your pick from this list and start serving properly cooked, flavorful and delicious bratwurst — even without an outdoor grill!
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As you probably know, almost every region and state in Germany has its way of making bratwurst.
Hence, there are tons of bratwurst varieties, mostly made of pork, but some are made of beef or veal.
To show how to cook bratwurst, I am using my favorite variety — the Nürnberger Rostbratwurst.
They’re characteristically small and thin from the city of Nuremberg and have Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) under EU law.
These brats showcase why this German food is so popular — pork-based sausage seasoned with herbs, in this case, marjoram.
So, let’s get started!
IF YOU WANT MORE CLASSIC GERMAN RECIPES, THEN YOU WILL LIKE THESE POSTS!
The best way to cook bratwurst
It all depends on the amount of time you have and how you intend to serve the cooked bratwurst.
I prefer to cook them on the stove, but if I cannot watch them closely the entire time, cooking the brats in the oven is the best option.
If you intend to make bratwurst a regular part of your weekly meals, having any of these two equipment would come in handy:
- Cast-iron skillet
Both are excellent in preparing bratwurst in the oven or on the stove.
Cooking bratwurst on the stove
Simmering the brats for a few minutes before frying or grilling on the stove will ensure that they’re properly cooked.
Some refer to it as boiling, but it’s actually simmering to avoid bursting the skin of the fresh bratwurst.
- Step #1: Place the bratwurst in a pan or skillet.
- Step #2: Pour water on it, just enough to cover them.
- Step #3: Cover the pan with a lid, then place it on the stove.
- Step #4: Set heat to medium and bring to a slow boil.
- Step #5: Once it’s boiling, adjust the heat to low and simmer for about ten minutes.
- Step #6: Turn off the heat and take the bratwurst out to proceed to either frying or grilling on the stove.
If you are preparing small brats like the ones I have shown, follow the same steps, but simmer them for no more than seven minutes.
In a skillet
Frying the bratwurst in a skillet or pan will finish their cooking and give them a nice brown color.
A couple of things to remember on how to cook bratwurst in a skillet:
- Use as little oil as possible, just enough to coat the pan.
- Turn the brats on all sides to ensure that each side gets a bit of color, if not all brown.
You can use either a skillet or Dutch oven when cooking bratwurst on the stove.
In a grilling pan
Things to keep in mind when grilling bratwurst on the stovetop:
- Skip the oil. There is enough fat coming from the brats that will help to finish their cooking.
- Turn them on all sides to ensure they get a deeper, golden color.
Cooking bratwurst in the oven
Cooking brats in the oven is a great option when you have other things happening simultaneously — say, preparing your mashed potatoes. 🙂
I see a lot of people placing the brats directly in the oven uncovered.
I prefer not to do that because I think it tends to brown the outside too much. So here is what I do instead:
- Place the brats in a baking dish (or Dutch oven) and cover it with a lid or aluminum foil.
- Place it in the oven for 200°C (375°F) for thirty minutes.
- Uncover the brats and adjust the temperature to 220°C to 230°C (400°F to 420°F). If you have the oven setting to grill, choose that as well. It will give the bratwurst that nice, golden color.
Refer to the recipe of oven-baked brats with onions below as a reference.
- When cooking smaller brats, like the ones from Nuremberg that I used in this recipe, adjust the cooking time by about five to ten minutes — this applies to simmering and cooking them in the oven.
- You can also use beer, broth, or stock instead of water to simmer the fresh bratwurst.
- If you’re still not sure that they are indeed cooked, use a meat thermometer to check — its internal temperature should be at least 160°F.
Serving suggestions for bratwurst
Prepare a bratwurst sandwich similar to the famous street food in Nuremberg called ‘Drei im Weggla,’ which translates to ‘Three in a Roll.’
Just slice a not-so-soft roll in half and place three fried or grilled bratwurst in there.
Finish it with a generous smothering of mustard, or you can even add some sauerkraut if you want.
A bratwurst sandwich is excellent as a snack or as a light meal on its own.
Bratwurst and sauerkraut
I remember this exact combination as my first meal in a Sachsenhausen beer garden when we were living in Frankfurt.
It’s a typical plate of German food in every beer garden — bratwurst and sauerkraut, with that dollop of mustard on the side.
Sometimes served with roasted or fried potatoes instead of mashed potatoes, and if you get lucky, some apple puree in there as well. Yum!
Oven-baked bratwurst and onions
While not a traditional German dish, this is indeed a wonderful dish that’s so easy to prepare and packed with flavors.
If you are worried that you will burn the onions, don’t be. I have never had that experience.
Just make sure you have enough olive oil to coat the onions.
So if you’re adding more onions than what I indicated in the recipe, make sure you add a bit more oil as well.
Oh, and baked bratwurst and onions are also excellent for making a sandwich!
As soon as the water boils, turn the heat down and simmer the brats for about 10 minutes, less if they are smaller bratwursts.
Do not continue boiling and keeping the heat on high. It might cause the skin of the brats to burst.
As shown above, you can use water, stock, or broth for simmering the bratwursts on the stove.
So tell me, which is your preferred way of preparing fresh bratwurst?
How to Cook Bratwurst (+ Baked Bratwurst and Onions Recipe)
For cooking bratwurst on the stove:
- 1 to 2 tbsp oil, for frying
For baked bratwurst in the oven:
- 10 small bratwurst (or 5 to 6 big ones)
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika powder (sweet paprika powder is even better)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
How to cook bratwurst on the stove:
- Place the bratwurst in a pan or skillet.
- Pour water on it, just enough to cover them.
- Cover the pan with a lid, then place it on the stove.
- Set heat to medium and bring to a slow boil.
- Once it's boiling, adjust the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and take the bratwurst out to proceed to either frying or grilling on the stove.
- If frying on a skillet, pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil (as little oil as possible; just enough to coat the pan) into the pan.
- Once the oil is ready, add and start frying the bratwurst, turning them over, so all sides turn brown.
- If using a grilling pan, place it on the stovetop and set the heat to medium-high.
- Once the pan is ready, start grilling the simmered bratwurst, turning them over on all sides.
- Serve right away, as a bratwurst sandwich or with some sauerkraut.
How to cook bratwurst in the oven:
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (375°F).
- Add thinly sliced onions in an oven-proof pan (or baking dish).
- Add olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika powder.
- Mix and try to coat the onion with both the oil and spices evenly.
- Add the bratwurst and mix it with the onions to get some of the spices in there.
- Cover with a lid (or with an aluminum foil).
- Place in the oven for about 30 minutes.
- Remove the cover, adjust the temperature to 220°C to 230°C (400°F to 420°F) and switch to grill, if you have that option.
- Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the bratwurst turned golden, without burning the onions.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to plates.
- Serve baked bratwurst and onions with some mashed potatoes — garnish with spring onions, if desired.
- Cook’s Tip #1: You can also use beer, broth, or stock instead of water to simmer the fresh bratwurst.
- Cook’s Tip #2: When cooking smaller brats, like the ones from Nuremberg that I used in this recipe, adjust the cooking time by about five to ten minutes — this applies to simmering and cooking them in the oven.