Cooking brats in the air fryer is probably the easiest, fastest method of preparing bratwurst. Either fresh or frozen, they will be ready in less than 15 minutes.
We live in Germany, so for us, brats or bratwurst are almost a way of living. They are most of the time good quality, they are sold everywhere (either fresh or grilled), we grill them in the garden, we cook brats on the stove, we cook brats in the oven. And when we buy too many of them for a party (which we always do), we freeze them and then cook the sausages from frozen.
But making brats in the air fryer is probably the quickest method to have juicy, flavorful sausages anytime we want. Either cooked from fresh or from frozen, they are always delicious, and they are bound to make my family happy.
And if you would like to learn more about cooking in the air fryer, check out The Best Air Fryer Recipes for Beginners.
Table of contents
What is bratwurst?
A typical German sausage usually made of pork. There are other varieties made of beef or chicken, but pork is the standard. You can also find sausages stuffed with cheese, spinach or – my favorite combination – with apples. Some can be only slightly spiced, while other are spicier - not hot, just very full of flavor.
The shape might also differ. You can get really small, thin ones like the Nürnberger Rostbratwurst or some that are so long that you must break them in two to be able to stuff them into your bun. Depending on where you are in Germany, you might get to taste different kinds of bratwurst.
What do they all have in common? They all taste great, no matter the slight variations in texture, shape, or spiciness. Truly, I never had a bratwurst I didn’t like.
In our region (North-Hessen), you usually have the choice between finely ground ones or coarsely ground ones, like the ones I am cooking today. I prefer the coarser meatier ones most of the time, while most kids I know would rather choose the finer longer ones. It doesn’t matter, they both taste good.
How to cook brats in the air fryer?
- Preheat if necessary, I must preheat mine for 3 minutes, but check its instructions.
- Arrange the sausages in the basket.
- Cook between 8 and 12 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit, flipping halfway through, or until they are brown and cooked through.
How to air fry frozen brats?
- Preheat the machine if necessary.
- Place the brats in the basket. (1)
- If they stick together, cook for 7 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius/ 320 degrees Fahrenheit first.
- Take them apart and arrange them in the basket leaving some space in between so that the hot air can circulate. (2)
- Cook for further 7 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until the internal temperature is achieved. (3)
The internal temperature should be 71 degrees Celsius/ 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
The best way to check is with a meat thermometer. I love the one I have, and I use it all the time when cooking meat. It was one of the best kitchen items I’ve ever bought and changed my way of cooking. No more guessing or cutting into the meat (thus losing some of the delicious juices), no more dry meat, no more worries about eating undercooked meat.
You can also check by cutting one brat in the middle, it should not be pink anymore.
Another way of checking is by sticking a metal skewer inside the sausage. Hold it there for 10 seconds that place it on your lip, it should feel hot. The air-fried brats should also feel firm to the touch when they are cooked through.
Reheat the brats for 3 to 5 minutes. That’s it!
Tips against smoking
Bratwurst contains quite a bit of fat which will ooze out of them while frying. Usually, that should not cause a problem, the fryer might get very dirty, but there should be no issue getting it clean again with good soap and hot water.
However, some air fryers might start to smoke slightly when there is too much fat involved. The fat will fly to the fan and some white smoke might be released. Should your machine cause you such problems, there are ways around it.
- Always make sure that the fryer is completely clean before cooking anything. Fat or bits of food left in the basket will start burning.
Stop and clean:
- The most obvious method. Stop the machine, remove the basket and carefully (very hot), clean the drawer with kitchen paper. Continue cooking.
- Place two thin slices of white bread underneath the basket in the drawer. Push the basket a little to make it sit inside the drawer. The bread will soak up the fat, which will not be able to fly around anymore.
What to serve with bratwurst?
My favorite part of this post. There are so many delicious ways of serving these air fryer brats.
The simplest way, the most traditional way around here is splitting a crispy German bun (but not all the way through), stuffing the brat inside, and smearing it generously with mustard. The mustard is neither hot nor sweet, only regular mustard. Kids might go for ketchup, but I really don’t like it! And you can add cooked sauerkraut to your bun. So good!
There is also the famous Currywurst, which is sliced bratwurst smothered in a curry sauce, which can be incredibly good when specially made for bratwurst or bad when squeezed out of a huge bottle of Curryketchup.
Mashed potatoes with gravy or with roasted onions are amazing as well, a kind of German bangers and mash.
More air-fried meat
Brats in the Air Fryer
- 6 uncooked brats
- Preheat the air fryer if necessary, I must preheat mine for 3 minutes, but it depends on your machine (check its instructions).
- Arrange the sausages in the basket. Cook between 8 and 12 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit, flipping halfway through, or until they are brown and cooked through.
- The internal temperature should be 71 degrees Celsius/ 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Or cut one in the middle to check, it should not be pink anymore.
- Preheat the air fryer if necessary.
- Place the brats in the basket. If they stick together, cook for 7 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius/ 320 degrees Fahrenheit first.
- Take them apart and arrange them (flipping them as well) in the basket with some space in between.
- Cook for further 7 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until the internal temperature is achieved.