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Beer Brats

4.93 from 13 votes

posted: 01/29/24

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Beer Brats are a super easy recipe for a great dinner or a get together. Your family is going to love this simple three ingredient recipe.

beer being poured over grilled brats with onions underneath in a layer in a slow cooker

If you hosting a get together, Beer Brats are the perfect dish to feed a crowd! Made with just three simple ingredients and kept warm in the slow cooker, this is ideal party food.

This is a classic Wisconsin recipe. Though there are disagreements if you should grill before slow cooking or after, the consensus that beer brats are amazing remains.

Reader Review

I made these last night and they were great!

overhead of package of Johnsonville brats in the package on a cutting board surrounded by cooked beer brats

What are Beer Brats

Beer Brats are brats that are both grilled and cooked in beer. It creates a delicious and flavorful juicy brat that everyone raves over. Johnsonville makes the best brats, so use theirs for the best results!

How to Make Beer Brats

While you can find complicated Beer Brat recipes out there, there really is no need. This simple and delicious recipe gets the job done. For the full recipe with all of the measurements see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  1. Grill the brats. Read below for ideas on how to make this recipe work in the winter.
  2. Combine the ingredients in a slow cooker. Add some onions to the bottom of your slow cooker. Then add in the brats and top with beer. Read my ideas on alternatives to a slow cooker below
  3. Let everything simmer together and enjoy. These need about 30 minutes in the slow cooker before they are ready to be enjoyed but you can certainly leave them in longer than that and let guests help themselves.
a beer brat in a bun in a tray surrounded by fries garnished with onions and topped with ketchup

Grill or Soak First

There is a lot of argument over whether to boil the brats in the beer and then grill or to first grill and then let them warm in the beer and onion. After a lot of talking to Wisconsinites and research, I feel great about this method.

The added bonus of this method is that you can have everything done and ready before your guests come. Then you just enjoy yourself!

Alternatives to Grilling

If you are making this dish in the middle of winter and not able to use your grill, I have two alternatives for you. That being said, if you visit it Wisconsin, you can bet that there has been a path shoved to that grill.

  • Indoor Grill Pan: We have two that we love. This one covers two burners on the stove top, so you would be able to grill many brats at once. This one is smaller, but works great.
  • Cast Iron Skillet: We are really just giving the exterior a good searing before we add them to the slow cooker. So you could do this in a skillet as well. You won’t get those beautiful grill marks, but you will still get the job done.

Grill Pan

This is a great alternative to an outdoor grill. I also love that it is reversible so you get a griddle too too.
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overhead of grilled brats a layer of onions in a slow cooker

Alternatives to Slow Cooking

If you don’t have a slow cooker, I can give you a few alternatives to simmer these and keep them warm.

  • Everything can be added to a baking dish. Then cover it and pop it into a warm oven (200 degrees Fahrenheit). It is not as convenient for serving, but will work great.
  • Use a large dutch oven. Put everything into a large pot and keep it on a very low simmer on the stove while covered. This isn’t my favorite plan because someone should keep an eye on it and stir it occasionally.
  • Grab a chafing dish and fuel can. These can set out with the rest of the food for guests to serve themselves.

Slow Cooker

This is my go-to slow cooker. I actually own three because I love it that much.
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Adding Butter

While I love this recipe exactly as it is written, there is a large portion of my home state that loves to throw in some butter. And out of loyalty to the whole state, it is my duty to tell you about this. When you start up your slow cooker you can throw in four tablespoons of butter. Cut up the butter and distribute it amongst the other ingredients.

Again, I don’t think that the butter is necessary in this recipe. But as a loyal Wisconsinite, I’m doing my due-diligence.

Beer for Beer Brats

When it comes to picking what beer to use to make beer brats, there really is no right answer. Or rather, the right answer is up to you. You should pick the beer that you like the most. The taste of alcohol intensifies when it is cooked, so you want to pick something you really enjoy. We love using a Pilsner because it is a light and mild flavor that even non-beer drinkers seem to enjoy.

Please keep in mind that these will not cook long enough for the alcohol to cook off completely. If you are serving someone who is sober, I would suggest coming up with an alternative for them. I have had readers use cider I this recipe with great results.


Do the onions get cooked?

Yes! They soften up in 30 minutes in the slow cooker. They do have a small bite to them still, but continue to soften the longer the brats soak.

Can I use something other than beer?

We have only ever made these with beer. That being said, we have had readers tell us that they love this recipe with cider.

Does the alcohol cook off?

Not entirely, no. You need three hours to cook off alcohol.

overhead of three beer brats in buns in a tray topped with ketchup

What to Serve with Beer Brats

Some great recipes to put out with your brats are:

If you make these Beer Brats in celebration of Bratsgiving (or ever!) let me know what you think! Or drop me a comment and tell me your favorite brat recipe.

beer being poured over grilled brats with onions underneath in a layer in a slow cooker
4.93 from 13 votes

Beer Brats

Serves: 10 people
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Beer Brats are a super easy recipe for a great dinner or a get together. Your family is going to love this simple recipe.


  • 10 Johnsonville Original flavor bratwursts
  • 24 ounces beer (two 12 ounce cans)
  • 1 large onion sliced thin


  • Preheat your grill to 350 degrees. Grill the bratwursts for 7 minutes on each side or until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
  • Add the onions to the base of the slow cooker. Add the grilled bratwursts. Pour the beer over them and then add 2 cups of water. (Please note that the brats just need to be covered in liquid).
  • Set the slow cooker to warm and let the flavors combine for 30 minutes. Then allow your guests to eat at their leisure, pulling out a Beer Brat and topping with with some of the onions in a bun.
Calories: 253kcal (13%) Carbohydrates: 5g (2%) Protein: 9g (18%) Fat: 19g (29%) Saturated Fat: 7g (44%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g Monounsaturated Fat: 10g Cholesterol: 49mg (16%) Sodium: 562mg (24%) Potassium: 264mg (8%) Fiber: 0.2g (1%) Sugar: 0.5g (1%) Vitamin A: 4IU Vitamin C: 1mg (1%) Calcium: 24mg (2%) Iron: 0.4mg (2%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
beer being poured over grilled brats with onions underneath in a layer in a slow cooker

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Beer Brats

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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