Craving a brat but don't feel like firing up the grill? These Beer Bratwurst in the Air Fryer are just as flavorful, juicy, and are super simple to make!
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Being that my mom is from Wisconsin, brats were a mainstay in our house growing up! I can remember smelling them simmering in the beer on the stove as I would walk down the stairs for dinner.
Honestly, I wasn't too taken with them as kid or teenager. But, as I got older I've learned to appreciate -- and even really enjoy-- them. Juicy, hot, seasoned, and flavorful, there's nothing quite like a brat with mustard and grilled onions. They are their own kind of comfort food.
Even though I developed an adoration for the brat, I always only had them when I was with my mom. I guess it was an association thing. Was I, a generation removed from being a Wisconsinite, even allowed to make brats on my own?
So, I texted my mom asking where to buy brats (she was horrified at my ignorance!) and she told me all her tips. I tested out my own version, making use of my favorite appliance, and discovering a way to make raw brats in the air fryer.
After tinkering with the cooking times, adding in air fryer onions, and enjoying a delicious amount of brats, I present to you a recipe I'm pretty sure my mom would be proud of. ☺️
Save this beer brats recipe for later on Pinterest:
What are beer brats?
Though some brands of bratwurst (like Johnsonville) sell particular "beer brats," in our household growing up beer brats always meant brats that were simmered in beer before being finished off on the grill.
In this case, we will be simmering the brats in beer and then finishing them up on the air fryer. Just as delicious (if not a bit easier) and more doable year-round!
- Brats - you can find these German sausages in the meat section of most major grocery stores here in the U.S. The most commonly known brant of brats is Johnsonville but I also love the less processed (and therefore with fewer preservatives) brand, Boulder Sausage.
- Beer - a light German style beer like pilsner or lager is best for this. Buy a decent brand that you or someone you know who enjoys beer would drink; we want a good flavor to infuse these beer brats!
- Hot dog buns
- Onions - yellow or white are best.
- Olive oil
- German mustard - optional, but highly recommended! I buy my German mustard at Whole Foods, where it's surprisingly affordable (thanks to the 365 Foods label).
- Brats - craving air fryer Italian sausage? This recipe can also be easily made with Italian sausage (chicken or pork).
- Veggies - air fry a mixture of half sweet peppers and half onions with the brats for more colorful air fryer bratwursts!
- Mustard - if you don't have german mustard, whole grain mustard will work as a substitute.
How to cook brats in the air fryer:
For the complete recipe and measurements, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Simmer the brats in the beer in a deep saucepan or the pot of a multi-cooker until parboiled. Carefully remove the brats from the hot beer.
- Toss the onion with olive oil and salt until covered.
- Add the air fryer basket to the air fryer and preheat for 1 minute.
- Add the onions to the air fryer basket. Layer the par-boiled brats on top. Air fry the onions and brats until the onions are tender and the brats are golden brown.
- Serve the brats with the onions in hot dog buns with german mustard to serve. Enjoy hot!
To toast or not to toast the brat buns?
This one is all about personal preference. If you like a crispier slightly dryer bun with your brat, go ahead and toast the bun before serving. If you prefer a bun that is more tender, sweet, and not as dry (as I do), I recommend serving the buns straight out of the package.
- Don't have a multi-cooker to boil the brats in before air frying? No problem at all! Just simmer them in a deep skillet or saucepan on the stove top before moving the brats to the air fryer.
- Preheat the air fryer. You only need to preheat the air fryer for a minute, but doing so will help the onions and and brats to cook quicker and more evenly.
Since the alcohol in the beer burns off as it boils the brats, there is no remaining alcohol in this finished beer brat recipe!
Brats and beer brats are different in that traditional brats are not boiled in beer before grilling or air frying. Beer brats, on the other hand, are boiled before going on the grill or in the air fryer.
Brats are considered one when they reach an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
These brats are as ideal for a quick weeknight meal as they are for a barbecue with friends. Some of our favorite side dishes to serve alongside them:
Leftover brats keep covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
For best results:
- Store the buns separately from the brats. Ideally in a freezer-safe bag in the freezer (this keeps the bread as fresh as possible). Thaw the buns at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before serving.
- Reheat the brats in the air fryer or toaster oven at 375 degrees for 2.5-5 minutes, or until the brats are reheated through.
Tools needed to make this recipe:
- Cutting board
- Chef knife
- Air fryer: I use and love the Ninja Foodi Tendercrisp and the Instant Pot Duo Crisp.
- Deep skillet (optional; if you do not have a multi-cooker)
More air fryer recipes:
- Air Fryer Italian Sausage
- Air Fryer Salmon
- Air Fryer Cheesy Ranch Burgers
- Garlic Bread in the Air Fryer
- Garlic Smashed Air Fryer Potatoes
- Air Fryer Frozen Sweet Potato Fries
- Air Fryer Frozen Egg Rolls
If you made and liked this recipe, don't forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it went for you in the comments! It always makes my day to hear from you!