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.

Beer brats with relish, onions, and ketchup on buns.

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.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Wisconsin Beer Brats Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for beer brats.

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. Serve in buns with your favorite toppings.
Grilled beer brats resting on a baking tray.

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.

Favorite summer side dishes

A platter of brats served with onions, ketchup, mustard, 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.
4.96 from 45 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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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Comments

  1. Excellent recipe, thank you. My family are all from Ohio, so fond memories of brats…and beer! As a Georgia boy I do recommend using Vidalia sweet onions or similar as they lend a contrast to the spices of the brats. Cheers!5 stars

  2. Your beer brat recipe is great. Being from california I have added my own twist. In my beer Icut up 1/2 onion , a bell pepper just cut into slices leave in seeds. a couple of halipinos sliced with seeds, and a plablamo again sliced with seeds,and about an ounce of seracho sauce. I poke several holes in the brats with a fork to let the mixture be absorbed. I then boil the brauts until they float. I then sear them on the grill briefly. They are served cut into chunks add a tooth pick and dip into your favorite sauce

  3. Megan, I too am a Wisconsin girl who has moved out of state to Olympia, WA but cook my brats a bit differently and wanted to share the recipe with you as it is a favorite for a pot luck. First I am a Johnsonville Brats girl! Second – no beer! You will need 6 large sweet onions, 2 sticks of butter (I like no salt but you decide); your favorite buns and a party pack of Johnsonville brats or 9 brats. Slice the onions in 1/4 round slices add them to a large stock pot, throw in the butter and simmer until the onions soft and the butter is melted. Fire up the grill and grill the brats. When you are done grilling the brats throw them into the butter and onions and simmer about an hour ish on very low and stir every so often. I make these a night before a work pot luck then put them in the fridge and the next day I throw them in a crock pot and take them into work with buns and whatever you like to throw on them. Always the first dish to be empty! Please let me know if you like them – your Wisconsin Sister in grilling! ps… if you do have left overs they are amazing sliced up and added to scrambled eggs (don’t forget to add the onions) or as my husband (also a Badger) likes to eat cold with his fingers just pulled out of the fridge.

    1. Thanks for sharing! Definitly going to try that one as we are all lovers of brats every way in our house! :) We’re not from WI just NY and NC but love a good brat or two or three! ;)

  4. Final step: Cut 16.67 % off the end of each brat and bun to make the 11th and 12th servings. Each serving will equal 83.33% of a full brat and bun.

  5. Delicious! I adored my brats with spicy brown mustard, kimchi, and some of the onions. I love Korean hot dogs, so I knew this would be great, and it was! Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

  6. Wow! I’m never making another brat unless it’s this recipe, thanks for sharing! I wasn’t really sure what kind of beer to use so I went with something cheap (Budweiser), but when I was done I couldn’t help but wonder if a better beer would make it even more delicious – like an IPA or something. What are your thoughts?5 stars

    1. Hi Sam! We have made this with a variety of IPAs, from day drinking varieties to double hops, and they’ve all been amazing. Being from Wisconsin, where we have a ton of microbreweries, a high quality beer is a must! I hope you give it a try and feel the same.5 stars

  7. What if you don’t drink what can you use instead of the beer can I use sparkling water or just omit it.4 stars

    1. Hi Veronica, Ginger ale makes a nice substitute for beer. You could also use sparkling water or just regular water. Thanks!

  8. Megan do you leave the brats cool in the beer and then refrigerate, or remove them from beer right away? Just wondering which will keep them juicer. We preboil, freeze then take them camping. Over the fire is best!5 stars

  9. Did you remove your recipe for Wisconsin-Style Jambalaya? I had it pinned and it keeps bringing me back to this recipe. Same when I google it. It was such a good recipe. 

    1. Thank you! I’d bought the ingredients and was disappointed when I couldn’t find the recipe. 

    1. Please, Would you share your cheese sauce from the cooked beer brauts. It sounds really good,  I’ve never had it, seen it or heard of it, so I’m not even sure where to start experimenting.5 stars

    1. YES! That is how we allllllways do it. Always. 100% of the time. I will add that info to the recipe, thank you so much for reminding me Alicia!

    2. Megan do you leave them cool in the beer and then refrigerate, or remove them from beer right away? Just wondering which will keep them juicer. We preboil, freeze then take them camping. Over the fire is best!

  10. Just now reading this. My family does it in reverse…we cook the brats first and then put them in a crock pot (or sweet d5 pan) with beer, butter, and onions on low. Simmer for a few hours and you’re good to go.5 stars

    1. First – BUTTER. Yes. Excellent. Second, yes that would totally work. You just need them browned a bit and cooked through, and it would matter which order. I hope you get to enjoy some Wisconsin Beer Brats this summer, no matter what state your in. :) xoxo

    2. I’m with you Joey! Those of us from Wisconsin, cook them up on the grill till they are good and brown and done. Then we put them in beer with plenty of sliced onions. And of course, you need to have Sheboygan brats!! They are the best. Put 2 of them on a hard roll with the toppings of your choice and enjoy. We grill brats out all winter in Wisconsin….5 stars

    1. Hi Laura, you can either use them as a topping or you can discard them. I love the cooked onions on brats, but some people (my dad and brother come to mind) prefer raw ones, so I usually serve diced raw onions on the side, too.

  11. We grilll them over charcoal after cooking in beer.  Served with sauteed onions, mushrooms and green pepper. Mustard and horseradish optional!  YUMMY5 stars

  12. I think most of us Wisconsinites would say the best beer isn’t what you’ve got “on hand,” but what you’ve already got IN your hand! :) The brats really are best grilled over charcoal – nothing beats that WI backyard, by the lake, Brewers tail-gait flavor. Prost! 5 stars

    1. Dana, I LITERALLY wrote that first – “it’s the beer you have in your hand.” But I felt like people might get confused and literally dump the beer they were drinking into the pot…. LOL. I’m coming back to Wisconsin in a month to the do log-cabin situation (Hayward, Chippewa Flowage), and I CAN’T WAIT!!!!! :)