Bratwurst with Beer, Apples and Onions

Bratwurst with Beer, Apples and Onions is the perfect dish for a cool autumn night. Marinating the brats in a beer based marinade gives so much flavor to the dish. Serve the brats, onions and apples over mashed potatoes for a complete meal. You can also load them into rolls for an amazing sandwich.

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Bratwurst is a fresh (meaning raw, uncooked) sausage made of pork or veal. While there’s no standard recipe for what goes into bratwurst, this delicious German sausage is usually seasoned with coriander, ginger, nutmeg or caraway. You’ll find that the flavor of bratwurst differs depending on where you get them, whether that be from different regions in Germany or different parts of the United States, but they all have one thing in common – they are plump, bursting with flavor and go perfectly with beer!

Ingredients on a wooden table - bratwurst, apples, onions, beer, honey, molasses and Worcestershire sauce.

This recipe for bratwurst with beer enhances the flavor of the sausage even more by marinating the links in lager, honey, molasses and Worcestershire sauce. Piercing the bratwurst before marinating really lets that flavor penetrate the sausage. Use your favorite pale lager for this recipe, but don’t abandon the project if you don’t have a lager kicking around the house – an ale will work as well. I would just avoid anything that is too bitter. 

Bratwurst sausages in a bag full of beer marinade, in a bowl on a table.

You can get away with marinating for just an hour, but the flavor will be even more pronounced after several hours and even overnight in the refrigerator. Make sure you turn the bag over a couple of times so that the sausages are evenly marinated.

bratwurst in a zipper sealable plastic bag with beer marinade on a table.

You’ll find the sausages brown really easily after being marinated because the sugar in the honey and molasses darkens quickly. Remember to save some of the marinade. Then, start browning the onions, add the apples and thyme and return the sausages to the pan with that remaining marinade.

Apples and onions in a sauté pan with a wooden spatula.

Cover and let the sausages finish cooking through by braising in the delicious mixture for 15 minutes or so. Just enough time to ponder how you want to serve these delicious links.

Sausages, onions and apples in a sauté pan with a pair of tongs and a striped towel.

If you’ve planned ahead and are planning a serious rib-sticking meal, serving this over mashed potatoes are one idea. You could alternatively pop a link into a hoagie roll and make this a meal for eight people with some coleslaw on the side. Or, just enjoy all the fall flavors with a green salad. No matter what you decide, the spicy brown mustard is a must!

A plate of bratwurst with apples and onions on a table with a family style bowl, mustard and a beer.

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Bratwurst with Beer, Apples and Onions

  • Prep Time: 20 m
  • Cook Time: 25 m
  • Marinating Time: 6 h
  • Total Time: 6 h 45 m
  • Servings:


  • 8 bratwurst sausages uncooked
  • 12 ounces pale lager beer
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 sweet onion sliced
  • 1 Golden Delicious apple cored and sliced
  • 1 Gala apple cored and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • spicy brown mustard for serving


  1. Pierce the bratwurst with a fork or the tip of a paring knife a few times on all sides and place them into a zipper sealable plastic bag. Combine the beer, molasses, honey and Worcestershire sauce, whisking gently to dissolve the molasses and honey. Pour the marinade over the sausages and seal the bag, shaking it gently to thoroughly coat the brats. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or as long as overnight, turning the sausage over a few times during the marinating process.
  2. Pre-heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the bratwurst from marinade and reserve ½ cup of the marinade. Sear the brats in the hot skillet on all sides until browned. Transfer the browned sausages to a plate and cover with foil.
  3. Add the onions to skillet and sauté until lightly browned. If the skillet gets too dark on the bottom, simply stir in a few tablespoons of water. Season the onions with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the apples and thyme and continue to sauté for a few minutes. Add the reserved marinade to deglaze the pan. Return the bratwurst to the pan, nestling them into the onions and apples. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the sausages are cooked through.
  4. Serve the bratwurst, apples and onions with a side salad or over mashed potatoes with spicy mustard on the side.
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Comments (14)Post a Reply

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe was delicious! We have a German restaurant & butcher in town and bought their bratwursts for the recipe. I wanted the best for the recipe and wasn’t disappointed. The combination of flavors between the marinade, apples, thyme and bratwurst was so tasty. We served it over mashed potatoes and enjoyed every bite. We also made the Guinness beef stew but we’re letting the ingredients marry and saving it for later in the week. But from what we’re tasting from making it, this also tastes delicious. Thank you Meredith.

  2. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness! This was delicious!!! I only marinated this for about an hour. Didn’t have molasses so I substituted maple syrup. At the very end I added small pieces of yellow Yukon potatoes I had cooked up in the air fryer. Let me tell you – the potatoes thrown in at the every end to simmer- wow! The flavors married the potatoes! Now I know what that means!! Lol

  3. 5 stars
    Best recipe for bratwurst ever 🤩👍Best tasting bratwurst and the o my way I will make it from now on 😋🤩😍

  4. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner last night and loved it! This morning we had sliced sausage, and apples with eggs for breakfast. Will definitely make this again 😋😋 thank you for all your great recipes.

  5. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! The flavor was the perfect mix of savory and sweet. My family loved it. I followed the recipe to a T. This recipe is a keeper. It would be a fun dish to make for an Octoberfest gathering.

    1. Hi Laurie. No, in this case, I did not put oil in the pan first. There’s enough fat in the bratwurst to prevent sticking and the marinade is so wet that the oil would just pool anyway.

    1. You could slow cook the bratwurst on low for 4 to 6 hours, or on high for 2 hours, but you should still brown the brats and onions first. I would also add the apples halfway through the cooking process because they will break down and get mushy if you cook them too long.

  6. Thank you, I was thinking of making this for a group I work with at the food pantry. I thought it would be something different than just an ordinary dish! 😊

  7. 5 stars
    A fall favorite at our home. Apples make bangers and mash a more elevated flavor profile, The molasses adds such a deep rich flavor you would think it had been cooking all day long in an old English pub. A must try for those who haven’t ever had bangers and mash.

    1. You could use apple juice, apple cider, or apple cider vinegar as a substitute for beer in this recipe.

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