Beer sauerkraut with stove cooked brats is a quick and delicious German meal for cozy autumn evenings. It is also the perfect dish for an Oktoberfest themed party at home to enjoy with some seasonal beer specialties.
This dish is easy to prepare even for large groups and is a fantastic crowd pleaser.
If you are looking for more Bavarian dishes, check out these Oktoberfest Food ideas.
German sauerkraut is less tangy than most American brands of sauerkraut. American brands produce sauerkraut not with a fermenting process but rather add vinegar for a tangy taste. Real sauerkraut is fermented and gets it´s mild tangy flavor through the natural fermentation.
How is sauerkraut called in German?
Sauerkraut is a German word "Sauer" means tangy or fermented and "Kraut" is the German word for cabbage.
How to pronounce "Sauerkraut" the correct way in German?
How are brats called in German?
The German word for brats is Bratwurst. Die Bratwurst, singular and die Bratwürste in plural.
How to pronounce "Bratwurst" the correct way in German?
Listen to this audio file to hear how to say "Bratwurst" the right way in German.
Ingredients & Substitutions
The recipe appears to require a large number of ingredients, but the majority of them are likely to be found in your pantry.
- Sauerkraut - For this dish, I prefer to use real fermented sauerkraut. If you can only find commercially produced sauerkraut with vinegar, drain the juices and rinse the sauerkraut under cold water in a colander. Otherwise, your dish may be too tangy and sour.
- Vegetable Oil - You can use any neutral vegetable oil you prefer. You can also use clarified butter or lard instead.
- Bratwurst - Raw, fresh brats are the best choice for this dish. But you can also use cooked brats instead.
- Butter - Butter will add wonderful flavor to this dish, but you could also use margarine or vegetable oil instead.
- Onions - Use white or yellow onions for the best flavor. Red onions would be equally tasty, but the appearance of the dish would be altered. If you are allergic to onions or have digestive problems, leave them out of the recipe.
- Honey - use your favorite honey for this recipe or add 1 tablespoon of sugar instead.
- Caraway Seeds - In this dish, I use whole caraway seeds, but caraway powder can also be used. When cooking sauerkraut, caraway is an essential ingredient. It not only adds a wonderful flavor, but it is also an important ingredient in helping you to digest the kraut.
- Dried Thyme - You could also use fresh thyme instead of dried.
- Juniper Berries - You may have difficulty finding juniper berries in your local supermarket. If you intend to cook German meals on a regular basis, you might want to order some online. They add a unique flavor to the dish, but you can leave them out if you can't find them.
- Allspice - In this recipe, you can use whole allspice or allspice powder.
- Salt & Pepper - Season to taste with salt and pepper. I used coarse black pepper and coarse Kosher salt.
- Paprika Powder - This recipe works best with regular paprika powder. I wouldn't use smoked paprika, but you may enjoy it.
- Flour - A corn starch slurry can be used in place of flour.
- Beef Stock - This dish requires a rich, flavorful stock. I use beef stock, but chicken or vegetable stock could be substituted. However, you may want to adjust the seasoning.
- Beer - This dish calls for a strong Oktoberfest beer. However, you can substitute any strong beer of your choice.
- Heavy Cream - You can substitute heavy cream for two tablespoons sour cream or leave it out entirely, but the result will be not creamy.
- Bavarian Mustard - I like to add a couple of tablespoons of Bavarian mustard, but it's entirely optional.
See recipe card for quantities.
It takes very little effort to make these stove cooked brats with beer sauerkraut.
You can cook it ahead of time and keep it warm, or reheat it when ready to serve.
Step 1: Prep all your ingredients and slice the onions into half moon slices.
Step 2: Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Place the brats in the pan and brown them for about 3 minutes on each side.
Step 3: Remove the brats from the pan, then brown the butter in the same pan before adding the sliced onions and cooking until translucent.
Step 4: Then add the honey and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly.
Step 5: Before adding the beef stock and beer, mix the flour into the onions thoroughly.
Step 6: Bring it to a light simmer before adding the cream and spices. I like to season the sauce with Bavarian mustard, but this is entirely optional.
Step 7: Add the sauerkraut and return the brats to the pan.
Step 8: Cover the pan and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes or until the brats are fully cooked.
Hint: The brats do not need to be fully cooked while browning. They will finish cooking in the sauerkraut.
Beer Sauerkraut As A Side Dish
Beer sauerkraut is an excellent accompaniment to many German dishes. If you want to serve beer sauerkraut as a side dish to a different meal without brats, simply skip to step four.
To make this recipe, you need these kitchen tools.
- large pan with lid
- cutting board
- tongs to turn the brats
- cooking spoon
Beer sauerkraut is one of the dishes that tastes even better when reheated. You can store leftovers for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. The dish also freezes well and can be reheated in the microwave or on the stove top in a pan.
- If you're using commercially produced sauerkraut with vinegar, always drain and rinse it with cold water before adding it to your dish.
- When frying brats, never stick a knife or fork into them. The juices will drain, leaving the brats dry and the sauce watery.
How to Serve
Serve with potato dumplings, bread dumplings or a slice of homemade bread. This German Potato Bread is one of my favorite recipes.
Beer Sauerkraut with Brats
- 1 jar sauerkraut about 24 oz.
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 12 brats best are fresh, raw brats
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 large onions
- 2 tbsp. honey
- ½ tsp. caraway seeds
- ½ tsp. dried thyme
- 3 juniper berries
- 3 whole allspice
- 1 tsp. coarse Kosher salt or ½ teaspoon fine salt
- ½ tsp. black coarse pepper
- 1 tsp. paprika powder
- 1 tbsp. flour
- 1 cup beef stock
- 12 oz. beer about 1.5 cups
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp. Bavarian mustard optional
- Slice the onions into small slices.
- Heat a large pan to medium-high heat and then add the oil.
- Place the brats into the pan and brown them on each side for about 3 minutes. The brats don´t need to be cooked fully as they will cook fully later in the sauerkraut.
- Remove the brats from the pan and then melt the butter in the same pan and brown it lightly before you add the sliced onions and fry the onions until translucent.
- Then add the honey and fry the for a couple of minutes while stirring constantly.
- Sprinkle the flour over the onions and mix well before you add the beef stock and the beer.
- Bring it to a light simmer and then add the cream and the spices. I like to add some Bavarian mustard to the sauce, but that is optional.
- Add the sauerkraut and place the brats back into the pan. Cover the pan with a lid, and simmer on low heat until the brats are fully cooked.
Frequently Asked Questions
There is no real difference between Bavarian sauerkraut and regular German sauerkraut. Many regions have different recipes; some include apples and bacon. But there is a difference between American commercially produced sauerkraut and German sauerkraut. American brands often use vinegar instead of the natural fermentation process to give the sauerkraut its tangy flavor.
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