Wisconsin Beer Brats

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It’s not summer or tailgate season without beer brats. If you like the flavor of caramelized onions, then you’ll love this easy 4-ingredient grilled brat recipe.

A plate of beer brats with ketchup, mustard, onions, and sauerkraut.

Beer brats are a time-honored Midwestern tradition, and no summer barbecue or tailgate party would be complete without them. It’s one of the many things Wisconsinites do best!

Stock up on plenty of beer for the gathering, then tuck some away to infuse loads of flavor into these crowd-pleasing brats.

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for beer brats.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Bratwurst: Always start with raw than pre-cooked sausages. There is nothing wrong with a pack of Johnsonville brats! If you aren’t a Wisconsin local but want to pretend you are, you can shop online with Glenn’s Market or Usinger’s.
  • Beer: Pilsners and lagers are traditional, but IPAs, porters, and stouts all work wonderfully. If you cannot bear to pour that much beer into a pot for cooking bratwurst, substitute half the beer for water.
  • Sauerkraut: If you have the time, you can make your own sauerkraut in 5 days with just cabbage, salt, and juniper berries.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Preheat grill over medium-high heat. Clean and oil grate. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add brats, onion, and beer.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until brats are cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Brats boiling in beer and onions in a metal pot.
  1. Remove brats to a bowl or platter. Continue cooking onions in beer while grilling the brats (use as a topping if desired). Increase heat to medium and cook brats, turning frequently, until browned, about 5 minutes.
Grilled beer brats resting on a baking tray.
  1. Serve in buns with your favorite toppings.
A plate of beer brats with ketchup, mustard, onions, and sauerkraut.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This Wisconsin Beer Brat recipe makes 10 brats. Feel free to halve the recipe if you’re serving a smaller crew.
  • Storage: Refrigerate any extra brats in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: Beer brats are best straight off the grill, but for gatherings with staggered mealtimes, I recommend preparing Wisconsin Beer Brats in a slow cooker so you can keep them warm until you’re ready to serve. You’ll want to flip-flop the method: Place them in the slow cooker with the onion and beer. Cook for 4 hours on HIGH, or 7 to 8 hours on LOW. Then grill as needed.
  • Go grill-free: If you don’t own a grill or want to enjoy these beer brats inside, simply use a stovetop grill pan or sauté in a skillet instead.
  • More toppings: To allow everyone to BYOB (build your own brat), consider a topping bar with sauerkraut, onions, relish, pickles, ketchup, and a couple different mild and spicy mustards.
A plate at a tailgate with a beer brat, vegetables, caramel corn, chips and baked beans.
Beer Brats at a tailgate with Slow Cooker Baked Beans, Caramel Corn, potato chips, fresh veggies, Cowboy Caviar, and Jello Shots.

Recipe FAQs

Should you soak brats before cooking?

For maximum flavor before grilling, simmer raw brats in a mixture of beer and onions. Make sure the brats are raw, not pre-cooked.

What kind of beer do you use for beer brats?

Pilsners and lagers are traditional, but IPAs, porters, and stouts all work wonderfully. If you do not want to pour that much beer into a pot for cooking bratwurst, substitute half the beer for water.

Favorite summer side dishes

A plate of beer brats with ketchup, mustard, onions, and sauerkraut.

Wisconsin Beer Brats

It's not summer or tailgate season without beer brats. If you like the flavor of caramelized onions, then you'll love this easy 4-ingredient grilled brat recipe.
Author: Meggan Hill
4.97 from 52 votes
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 10 servings
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 423

Ingredients 

  • 10 bratwurst (raw, see note 1)
  • 1 large onion thinly sliced
  • 4 (12 ounce) cans beer (see note 2)
  • 10 brat buns split, for serving
  • Ketchup and mustard, for serving
  • sauerkraut for serving (see note 3)

Instructions 

  • Preheat grill over medium-high heat. Clean and oil grate. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add brats, onion, and beer. 
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until brats are cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove brats to a bowl or platter. Continue cooking onions in beer while grilling the brats (use as a topping if desired).
  • Increase heat to medium and cook brats, turning frequently, until browned, about 5 minutes. Serve in buns with your favorite toppings.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Bratwurst: Always start with raw than pre-cooked sausages. There is nothing wrong with a pack of Johnsonville brats! If you aren’t a Wisconsin local but want to pretend you are, you can shop online with Glenn’s Market or Usinger’s.
  2. Beer: Pilsners and lagers are traditional, but IPAs, porters, and stouts all work wonderfully. If you cannot bear to pour that much beer into a pot for cooking bratwurst, substitute half the beer for water.
  3. Sauerkraut: If you have the time, you can make your own sauerkraut in 5 days with just cabbage, salt, and juniper berries.
  4. Yield: This Wisconsin Beer Brat recipe makes 10 brats. Feel free to halve the recipe if you’re serving a smaller crew.
  5. Storage: Refrigerate any extra brats in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  6. Make ahead: Beer brats are best straight off the grill, but for gatherings with staggered mealtimes, I recommend preparing Wisconsin Beer Brats in a slow cooker so you can keep them warm until you’re ready to serve. You’ll want to flip-flop the method: Place them in the slow cooker with the onion and beer. Cook for 4 hours on HIGH, or 7 to 8 hours on LOW. Then grill as needed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1brat on a bunCalories: 423kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 16gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 914mgPotassium: 342mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 5IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 145mgIron: 3mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

  1. This is exactly how I make my brats. I guess I’m a beer brat purest because I was reading the comments and people are putting mushrooms on their brat and cooking with Budweiser. I don’t mind people adding butter but I don’t think it needs it. The brat stands alone šŸ™ƒ I really like the Smokehouse World’s Best Brats from Woodman’s.5 stars

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