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Making perfect beer brats and onions is a time-honored Wisconsin tradition! The practice of cooking brats in beer with onions goes way back to the many German settlers in the area - my family included. Make up a big batch for your next get together!
Made with just a few ingredients these brats are boiled with beer and sliced onions for loads of flavor. A quick sear on a hot grill gives the brats a beautiful crust on the outside. Make sure you have plenty of your favorite toppings and fresh buns to serve with these bad boys!
Ingredients for this recipe
- Brats – We love Johnsonville in our house!
- Beer – Preferably one made in Wisconsin!
- Onions – Large, white, sliced.
- Butter – Just a bit to start the onions in.
How to make beer brats
- Start the onions. In a large pot or shallow Dutch oven with a little bit of butter.
- Add the brats. In a single layer, if your pan allows it.
- Pour in the beer. For a big batch of twelve brats I use three cans of beer.
- Cook the brats. Bring the beer up to a gentle boil and cook for at least 45 minutes, up to 2 hours. The longer the brats are in the beer, the better they taste!
- Grill the brats. Just before serving. This gives them a nice crust and bits of crunch on the outside.
- Reduce the onions. This is an optional step, but I love to reduce the onions down in the beer while the brats grill. This imparts so much flavor to the onions it’s ridiculous!
Beer Brats and Onions in a Crockpot
This recipe can be made in crockpot too, which is especially great if you’re hosting a large gathering.
Add everything to the slow cooker and cook on high for at least 4 hours, or low for 8. Afterwards, set the crockpot to warm to keep everything ready to serve.
If desired, you can still give the brats a quick grill before returning them to the liquid in the slow cooker to serve. Of course, this way you won’t be able to boil down the beer and reduce the onions, but that’s ok!
What to serve with brats?
Here are some classic brat toppings and condiments that will go perfectly with this recipe!
- Grainy Mustard
- Spicy Brown Mustard
- Diced White Onion
- Sweet Pickled Jalapeños
- Soft Bakery Rolls
- Pretzel Buns
What kind of beer to cook brats in?
Cooking the brats in beer imparts a lot of the beer’s flavors into the meat, so it’s important to pick a delicious draft!
Don’t pick anything too dark or heavy, like a stout or porter (save those for a nice roast!). And also steer clear of hoppy, bitter beers like IPAs or New England Style IPAs, even an APA would be too much.
The best beers for cooking brats are going to be light and easy drinking.
A crisp and refreshing lager like a pilsner would be best! I really love using 3 Sheeps Brewing Pils, but most craft breweries make their own version. Of course, if you can’t find a craft lager feel free to crack open a can of PBR, Budweiser, or Hamm’s (my husband’s favorite!).
Watch the recipe video!
Perfect Beer Brats and Onions
- Large, Shallow Dutch Oven
- Grill or Grill Pan
- 2 tablespoon salted butter
- 4 large white onions sliced
- Kosher salt to taste
- 12 brats
- 36 ounces pilsner beer or other light lager
- Set a large, shallow Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the butter, sliced onions and sprinkle with kosher salt, to taste. Stir everything to coat, making sure the butter is melted. Add the brats to the pan in an even layer.
- Pour in the beer and bring to a rapid, gentle boil. Cook the brats in the beer for at least 45 minutes, up to 2 hours.
- When ready to serve, remove the brats from the beer and grill 2 minutes on each side, or until outsides are dark brown and crispy. If desired, while brats are on the grill, increase the heat on the onions, boiling rapidly, to reduce them down.
- Serve brats on bakery rolls with beer onions, sauerkraut, and grainy mustard.
- See post for instructions on cooking brats in a slow cooker.
- See post for more condiment and serving ideas!