German-style brats with sauerkraut, an easy hearty dish, traditional comfort food as its best. Just two main ingredients, but so much going on!
The first thing to come to mind when thinking about German food? Probably brats and sauerkraut. Two typical German products, honest, unpretentious, tasty food perfect for a relaxed meal. We love bratwurst and sauerkraut when combined with other ingredients as well, but simply combine those two and there’s nothing more you need.
Learn How to Cook Sauerkraut, this simple recipe is perfect for serving with bratwurst as well. Or learn How to Cook Frozen Sausages, any of the sausages mentioned there can be served on a bed of hot kraut. And if you like pork and kraut, try this delicious Slow Cooker Pork and Sauerkraut.
Ways of combining bratwurst and kraut
You can cook the two recipes separately. Make Bavarian sauerkraut, for instance, and cook some Brats on the Stove, Brats in the Oven, or Brats in the Air Fryer. Mix when serving. Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes.
Brown the sausages on the grill or on the stovetop. Place sauerkraut in a saucepan, add spices and some liquid and nestle the sausages into the cabbage. Simmer until the sausages are cooked through.
Stuff some buns, either hot dog buns or some really good crusty rolls (preferably German-style Brötchen) with kraut (warm or at room temperature). Add a hot sausage and mustard (generously). Some people prefer ketchup (many kids), but I am a mustard person.
What do you need for the recipe?
- Either from a can, jar, bag, or fresh from a barrel at the butchers. For an authentic German taste, buy a can of German sauerkraut as only this will ensure an authentic taste. Look for brands, like Mildessa/ Hengstenberg. (Amazon affiliate link, but I am not being paid to recommend these products, they are just what I use and love to eat myself).
- You might find these products in larger supermarkets, maybe those with an Ethnic food section, or in German/European/Eastern European food stores.
- You could also make your homemade version, but that requires a bit more time and dedication than opening a can or a jar. And honestly, the bought stuff is simply delicious and good value.
- German pork sausages, hearty, spicy, comforting, and utterly delicious. They can be grilled, cooked in the oven, on the stove, air fried. And there are dozens of different ways of including them into recipes. Try this Bratwurst Soup, for instance, it contains some amazing meatballs made of bratwurst.
- Brats in Germany come in different shapes and sizes, are spiced differently depending on the region, but I have yet to find a sort I didn’t like, they are all amazing! You can get coarsely ground or finely ground ones.
- To make brats with sauerkraut, you can use any kind of brats you like. Or even other kinds of sausages, like smoked ones, Polish kielbasa, Italian or English sausages.
- You can cook the kraut with chicken or beef stock, white wine, cider, apple juice, or beer, the choice is yours.
- Today I chose beer, but I’ve cooked this recipe with all the other suggested liquids at one point or another.
- I don’t think I’ve ever cooked sauerkraut without apples. Many people do, but I would never dream of it, I think the apple adds just the right amount of sweetness and a special flavor and texture.
- The sort is not so important, the main thing about is that it should be a tangy sort. If it’s a soft sort it will kind of melt into the kraut, if it’s a crisper sort, you will still be able to see and feel the pieces. The choice is yours, I like both versions.
- If you happen to have an opened jar of apple sauce, you can use 2-3 tablespoons of that instead of fresh apples.
Other ingredients: onion, caraway seeds, bay leaves sugar, salt, and pepper. You can leave out the caraway seeds if you don’t like them, don’t have them, or don’t want to buy them especially for this dish, but I never leave them out, they are delicious in this combo.
Ingredients for serving
- Potatoes, boiled or mashed.
- Or buns and mustard. And maybe ketchup if your kids prefer it.
How to cook brats and sauerkraut?
- Brown the sausages in a skillet large enough to hold the kraut as well later on. Just brown them on all sides, they should not be cooked through as they will continue cooking with the cabbage and the rest of the ingredients. Remove from the skillet.
- If there isn’t enough sausage fat left in the skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- Add the onion and saute for about 3 minutes.
- Add the peeled and diced apple and saute for another 3 minutes.
- Sprinkle the sugar on top and let caramelize for 1-2 minutes.
- Add drained sauerkraut, caraway seeds, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Stir in the beer or another cooking liquid of choice. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Nestle the brats into the kraut, cover again and continue cooking until the brats are cooked through about 10-15 minutes.
- Check to see if they are done with a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should be 71 degrees Celsius/ 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Or cut one sausage in the middle, it should not be pink anymore.
Tips and FAQ
Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes.
Or stuff into buns and serve with mustard.
Leftovers keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can reheat the leftovers in the microwave or in a saucepan. Do it on low heat, stirring the cabbage occasionally and turning the sausages.
You can also freeze the food for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator or on the counter. Reheat thoroughly before serving.
More recipes with sauerkraut:
- Meatballs and Sauerkraut
- Polish Sauerkraut Stew – Bigos
- Sarmale – Romanian Cabbage Rolls
- Slow Cooker Pork and Sauerkraut
More recipes with sausages:
- English Breakfast
- Romanian Sausage Stew
- Polish Bean Stew
- Pumpkin Potato and Sausage Bake
- Easy Potato Sausage Stew
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Brats with Sauerkraut
- 4-8 bratwurst depending on size and appetite
- 1 can of sauerkraut about 800 g/ 1.8 lb. (Note 1)
- 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion
- 1 medium apple
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1 cup beer Note 2
- fine sea salt and ground black pepper
- Brown sausages: Heat a skillet large enough to hold the sauerkraut as well. Add 1 tablespoon oil and brown the sausages on all sides, they should not be cooked through as they will continue cooking with the kraut.
- Chop: In the meantime, chop the onion finely, peel, and dice the apple.
- Saute: Remove the brats from the skillet. If there isn’t enough sausage fat left in the skillet, add another 1 tablespoon olive oil. Next, add the onion and saute for about 3 minutes. Add the apple and saute for another 3 minutes.
- Caramelize: Sprinkle the sugar on top and let caramelize for 1-2 minutes.
- Combine: Add drained sauerkraut, caraway seeds, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Stir in the beer or another cooking liquid of choice.
- Simmer sauerkraut: Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Cook: Nestle the brats into the cabbage, cover, and cook until the brats are done about 10-15 minutes. Check with a meat thermometer (internal temperature 71 degrees Celsius/ 160 degrees Fahrenheit) or by cutting one sausage in the middle, it should not be pink anymore
- Either fresh (homemade or from the butchers), from a can, jar, or bag. Search for a German product for genuine taste and texture. I recommend Mildessa/Hengstenberg. (Amazon affiliate links, but I am not getting paid for recommending the products).
- Sub beer with white wine, apple cider, chicken or beef stock, or apple juice.