Easy Air Fryer Bratwurst Recipe

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This air fryer bratwurst recipe produces the most tender & juicy Bratwurst of all time! And the best part is, they only take 15 minutes to cook. Honestly, I was surprised by how well these turned out!

3 bratwurst on cutting board that were cooked in an air fryer

I’m a Recent Air Fryer Convert

I avoid fads like the plague, which has served me well in life. I’ve successfully avoided Crocks, cargo shorts, and frosted tips (90’s teenager here). But the one fad I regret dodging for the longest time is the esteemed Air Fryer.

My wife and I were gifted an air fryer for Christmas last year, and, as it so often happens, it ended up sitting in our basement storage. Then, one evening, I had an overwhelming craving for tater tots. I’m sure you’ve been there. So I decided to give our Air Fryer a shot.

Philips air fryer
I love you, Air Fryer!

So I said to myself, “Self, why not break out the Air Fryer and see how it works?” So I did. I cooked the tater tots for 10 minutes, and they came out AMAZING.

Then I thought to myself, “Self…what else can I cook in the air fryer?” And that’s when I decided to do the unthinkable…COOK BRATS IN IT.

The rest is history.

How to Cook Brats in an Air Fryer

Step 1: Gather Ingredients

First things first: gather the ingredients.

The main ingredient in this recipe is…you guessed it… Bratwurst. I’ve included onions and butter as optional ingredients in the hopes that you’ll create some caramelized onions as a bratwurst topping.

Air Fryer Bratwurst Recipe ingredients

Step 2: Stack The Brats in the Air Fryer Basket

Begin by making a single layer of 3 raw brats at the bottom of the tray. Next, grab the air fryer tray that came with your air fryer and place it in the air fryer basket. Finally, place 2-3 more brats on the top rack.

If you don’t have a metal rack, you can stack the raw brats on top of the other ones perpendicular (criss-cross) to them.

how to stack raw bratwurst in air fryer basket

Step 3: Air Fry the Bratwurst

Cook the brats at 350° Fahrenheit for 7 minutes. Next, pull the basket out and turn the bratwurst sausages over to the other side and cook for an additional 7 minutes.

Note: You may see a bit of smoke coming from the air fryer at this stage. Don’t be alarmed. This is just some fat hitting the bottom of the air fryer basket. It shouldn’t get too smokey.

cooked air-fried bratwurst sitting in air fryer basket

Step 4: Check Brat Temperature

To be on the safe side, check the temperature of one of the brats by sliding a meat thermometer a few inches into the end of a brat.

If it reads at least 160° Fahrenheit, then you’re good to go.

Note: Don’t temperature test on the side of the bratwurst sausage. You won’t be able to go deep enough. Instead, use the end of the brat.

Step 5: Serve!

My family loves the split-top hoagie buns from our local Aldi. But, of course, classic hotdog buns are always a good option.

If you’re eating on the Keto diet, you can eat the bratwurst sans-bread and smother in mustard and other keto-friendly bratwurst toppings.

3 bratwurst in hot dog buns with various toppings
These Aldi split-top hoagie buns are divine!

What if My Brats Look Slightly Pink When I Bite Into Them?

When you begin eating the brats, they may look a little pink on the inside. Don’t be alarmed! Sometimes ground meat won’t turn perfectly brown, even when cooked.

As long as they’ve cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, then you can rest assured that there are zero food-borne illnesses or bacteria present.

You can read more about the relationship between ground meat, pinkness, and food safety, here.

3 cooked bratwurst in air fryer basket

What Are The Best Toppings For Air Fryer Brats?

Some of the most popular toppings for Bratwurst, regardless of them being air-fried or pan-fried, are:

  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Raw onions
  • Caramelized onions
  • Sauerkraut

Topping popularity depends a lot on your family and what part of the country you live in. For instance, if you live in Chicago, I’m sure you’ll include relish, sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt.

What Are Some Keto-Friendly Bratwurst Toppings?

The keto diet can be simplified as high fat, low carb. Low carb means that most vegetables are out of the running, which means no sauerkraut and no caramelized onions.

Here are some of my favorite keto-friendly bratwurst toppings (with Amazon links):

Here are my top 2 favorite bratwurst condiments that pair perfectly with air fry brats:

caramelized onions for air fryer bratwurst recipe

1. Caramelized Onions

Caramelized onions can add a legendary flavor to your Bratwurst. I prepare caramelized onions by cooking a small onion for approximately an hour on low heat.

My Simple Caramelized Onions Recipe:

In a skillet or saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 or 2 sliced onions and 3 tablespoons unsalted butter. Lower heat to low and cook the onion slices, stirring periodically, for one hour.

caramelized onions

2. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is a condiment that originated in Germany and made its way to America when German settlers came here. It’s made from fermented cabbage and has a tart, vinegary flavor. This tanginess compliments the subtle sweetness of the Bratwurst perfectly.

How to fry bratwurst condiment Sauerkraut

How Else Can I Cook my Bratwurst Besides Air Frying?

While air-frying my Bratwurst is what I would consider the best way to cook Bratwurst, there are a handful of tried-and-true methods you can use, as well.

1. Pan Fry Bratwurst Recipe

Pan-frying your brats creates a juicy brat with a crispy casing that pops when you bite into it. All you need is a little oil or butter, a large skillet, and some heat! For the perfect pan-fried bratwurst recipe, check out my very own recipe!

How to Pan-Fry Bratwurst

This recipe for pan-fried bratwurst produces a tender and juicy sausage with a crispy and flavorful crust!
Try my recipe
how to fry bratwurst

2. Oven-Cooked Bratwurst Recipe

Cooking brats in the oven is another great way to prepare them. To begin, preheat your oven to 350°F. Next, place the links on a baking sheet coated with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes.

3. Beer Brat Recipe

Some argue that boiling brats removes too much flavor, but I beg to differ. Boiling them is perfectly appropriate!

Place the brats in a large pan and cover with water to boil. To create Beer Brats, use equal parts water and beer.

Reduce the heat to a simmer after the water and brats are boiling. Cook them in this way for about 10-15 minutes for the best results.

bratwurst in buns with condiments on top

4. Boiled & Fried Bratwurst Recipe

This is my favorite of all the different methods of preparation. In a preheated large cast iron skillet, cook the brats over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Next, add a couple cups of water.

Cover, lower the heat and bring to a low simmer until the water has evaporated. Next, remove the cover and add a few tablespoons of butter or olive oil. Fry for another 2-3 minutes in the butter, or until they’re done.

This method would be considered the proper way to cook German Sausage, aka, Bratwurst.

bratwurst in buns with ketchup, mustard, and caramelized onions

What Is the Distinction Between Sausage and Bratwurst?

Bratwurst is not as finely chopped as Sausage since it contains more pieces of meat and fat. Furthermore, seasoning varies; Italian Sausage can be flavored with salt, pepper, and other spices, but Bratwurst is frequently seasoned with savory herbs like garlic, parsley, and sage.

Another distinction is the size of their casings, with Bratwurst being significantly bigger than Sausage.

Hot dogs usually come precooked, as does polish Sausage. Bratwurst and Sausage typically come uncooked.

cooked bratwurst next to ketchup and caramelized onions

How Do I Know When My Bratwurst Is Done Cooking?

A few simple clues will let you know when your brats are done cooking:

  1. Temperature: The first indicator is that the internal temperature is at least 160° F.
  2. Color: The next clue is that the outer skin has become caramelized and is no longer transparent.
  3. Shake Test: Pick up your brats with tongs and gently shake them. They aren’t ready if they flop around. If, on the other hand, they’re firm and a little springy, they’re probably done.

Are Johnsonville Brats Pre-Cooked?

Johnsonville brats are NOT pre-cooked. While most hotdogs and kielbasa are offered pre-cooked, Bratwurst and link sausage are not. As a result, you must cook your brats until the temperature has reached 160°F.

3 cooked brats on cutting board

How Long Do I Cook Bratwurst?

I cook each side for 5-6 minutes for the finest results, for a total cooking time of 20-30 minutes. You can cook over medium-low heat for a longer period of time if desired.

How Can I Keep My Bratwurst Warm After Cooking?

You can place the brats in an aluminum pan with til foil on top. If you’ve made beer brats, you can place the water and beer mixture in with the brats to keep them nice and juicy.

Is It OK To Eat Brats That Are Pink on the Inside?

It’s okay to consume as long as your Bratwurst is cooked until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. However, even when cooked to the right temperature, your meat may maintain a pink tint.

It’s never safe to consume raw Bratwurst or uncooked brats.

More information may be found in this Department of Agriculture article.

closeup of air fryer bratwurst in basket

What Is the Best Air Fryer for Cooking Bratwurst?

I believe that Philips Air Fryers are a solid option for first-time air fryer buyers. While my current model may not stay in production, I’m pretty sure you’re safe to go with the Philips brand.

You can see the complete collection here on Amazon. Here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of the Philips Air Fryer:

Philips Air Fryer Pros:

  1. Solid Construction: The outside of the air fryer is attractive in dark, shiny plastic. It stays nice and cool while the inside can get to 350 degrees!
  2. Analog Interface: Nothing digital here. Set the temperature, turn a knob, and that’s it.
  3. Components Included: Comes with a recipe book and a cooking rack so you can cook in layers for even cooking.

Philips Air Fryer Cons:

  1. No Digital Interface: If a digital interface is your thing, try a digital model of the Philips air fryer.
  2. Smaller Basket Capacity: If you want to cook larger batches of things there are plenty of air fryers that have a larger capacity.
  3. Only goes to 350°: Some other air fryers can go all the way up to 500°.

The Recipe

air fryer bratwurst recipe 12 1

Easy Air Fryer Bratwurst Recipe

This air fryer bratwurst recipe produces the most tender & juicy bratwurst of all time! And the best part is, they only take 15 minutes to cook!
5 from 1 vote
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Cook: 15 mins
Total: 15 mins
Yield: 6 people

Ingredients

  • 1 pack Bratwurst - (8-12 links)

Instructions

  • Stack Brats in Air Fryer Tray
    Place 3 brats in the bottom of the basket. Add 3 more brats to the top of the tray.
    1 pack Bratwurst
  • Air Fry
    Cook the brats at 350° Fahrenheit for 7 minutes. Next, pull the basket out and turn the bratwurst sausages over to the other side and cook for an additional 7 minutes.
  • Check Brat Temperature
    Just to be on the safe side, check the temperature of one of the brats by sliding a meat thermometer a few inches into the end of a brat.
    If it reads at least 160° Fahrenheit, then you’re good to go.

Your Own Notes

Nutritional Information

Serving: 1Brat, Calories: 275kcal, Carbohydrates: 2.4g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 8.5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1.2g, Cholesterol: 63mg, Sodium: 719mg, Potassium: 296mg, Vitamin A: 0.1IU, Calcium: 1.8mg, Iron: 2.5mg

The Golden Lamb provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietician.

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Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Are you going to add this to your list of bratwurst recipes?

Till next time, Bon Appetit!

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