Cooking brats in the oven is a convenient cooking method to use when a craving for beer-soaked sausages hits! This hands-off approach leaves you with plump, juicy bratwurst every time.
I can never say no to grilled or air fryer brats, but when I want an extra flavorful sausage, I turn to cooking bratwurst in the oven! It’s a low-effort cooking technique that results in mouthwatering perfection.
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Why this recipe works
- No grill? No problem. As much as I love to grill, baking brats in the oven is the way to go. The heat circulates all around the brats to ensure evenly cooked meat with crisped casings and juicy, never-dry middles.
- Hands-free cooking. One of my qualms with using a grill is having to babysit it the entire time. Not the oven, though! I can throw these right into the oven and work on some fun sides.
- Beer-soaked. It might sound odd to baste the brats in beer first, but we do it for good reason – the beer tenderizes the meat AND infuses it with rich, complex flavors.
- Perfect texture. Thanks to the slightly longer cooking time, the sausages become extra juicy in the middle.
What is bratwurst?
Bratwurst is a type of sausage that hails from Germany. It’s typically made from a mixture of pork, beef, or veal flavored with marjoram, nutmeg, white pepper, onion, and garlic. Its deep and complex flavors help it stand out from other types of sausages, like spicy Italian sausage or kielbasa.
To bake bratwurst, all you need is the sausage and some beer, and the fillings and toppings are all up to you! Here is what you’ll need:
- Bratwurst sausages. The star of the show in this recipe! Try to use high-quality brats with minimal additives or fillers. They’re available in various flavors, but since you’ll be marinating them in beer, choose the original/traditional flavor. My two preferred brands include Johnsonville brats or Canino’s bratwurst.
- Beer. Soak the brats in a light lager or a pilsner. These have a mild flavor and subtle bitterness, which will infuse the brats with a hint of malty sweetness. Ambers, wheat beers, and pale ales also work. Essentially, the stronger the flavored beer, the more intense the sausages will taste.
- Hot dog buns. Or if your lazy like me, sliced white sandwich bread.
- Sauerkraut. I find it completely barbaric to NOT have this flavored cabbage liberally added on top of German sausages. It’s non-negotiable.
- Pickled cucumbers and bell peppers. Optional, but this was a popular topping all over Germany so I took it upon myself to include it here, too.
- Ketchup and Dijon mustard. To drizzle on top of the sausages.
While beer is key in yielding the most authentic bratwurst, you can swap it out for chicken broth, beef broth, or a can of coke. If you use soda, be sure to use a full sugar variety, NOT the diet kind!
How to cook brats in the oven
Soak in beer: Place the sausages in a deep container, pour the beer over top, and set them aside to marinate. Afterward, drain and discard the beer.
Bake. Place the sausages on a baking sheet, casserole dish, or cast iron skillet and bake until they’re browned and cooked through.
Serve with toppings. Serve the warm sausages in buns with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!
Tips to make the best baked bratwurst recipe
Don’t overcrowd the sheet pan. Leave plenty of space between each sausage on the baking sheet. This helps them cook evenly and encourages browning on the outsides.
Use a wire rack. You can bake the sausages on a wire oven rack on top of a baking sheet. This will allow the heat to circulate all around the sausages so they become crispier with no flipping necessary. You can also add a layer of aluminum foil to the base if you are worried about any overspill.
Baste the brats. Completely optional, but I love to baste the sausages during the cooking process to guarantee extra juicy brats.
Check the internal temperature. My foolproof method of knowing when any meat is done is by using a meat thermometer. Brats and sausages should have an internal temperature of 160F.
Rest after baking. Like with any red meat I cook, I like to let the bratwurst rest for a few minutes before serving. This helps the juices redistribute, resulting in extra juicy and flavorful meat.
What to serve with oven-baked brats
You can’t go wrong with classic summer side dishes here. Serve the sausages alongside potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, deviled eggs, fruit salad, and corn on the cob.
For an Oktoberfest-inspired feast, serve the brats on pretzel buns with baked apples, hot German potato salad, Rotkohl (German-style fried cabbage), spaetzle (German egg noodles), and grilled sweet potatoes. Of course, nothing beats some classic potato pancakes.
To store: Place the leftover beer brats in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To freeze: You can also freeze the cooked brats for up to 2 months. Let them thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
To reheat: The best way to reheat bratwurst is in a non-stick pan over medium heat or in a 350°F oven (or air fryer) until warmed through.
More delicious ways to enjoy sausages
Frequently asked questions
Bratwurst sausages should take around 35 minutes to bake in a 400ºF oven. Make sure to check them every so often to prevent overcooking.
Yes, but it’s best to thaw frozen brats in the fridge the night before cooking them. If you’re running low on time, cook them from frozen but add an extra 5 to 10 minutes to the cooking time.
Yes! Instead of beer, you can marinate the sausages in apple juice or apple cider, chicken or vegetable broth, balsamic vinegar, and cola or ginger ale.
Brats In The Oven
- 4 brats uncooked
- 350 mls light beer
- 4 hot dog buns
- 1/2 cup sauerkraut
- 1/4 cup pickled cucumbers sliced
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- Place sausages in a deep baking dish and pour beer over them. Let them marinate for 6 hours in a fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Drain the sausages and discard the beer.
- Place the sausages on the lined sheet and bake for 20 minutes, flip and bake for another 15 minutes.
- Serve the sausages in the hot dog buns with sauerkraut, sliced pickles, and ketchup.
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