How to Cook Frozen Brats: A Guide to Perfectly Boiled Sausages

If you’ve ever wondered about the best way to prepare and cook frozen brats, look no further. This article will provide you with all the information you need to ensure your sausages are flavorful, juicy, and cooked to perfection. From boiling brats in beer to simmering them in sauerkraut, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s dive in and discover the secrets to making delicious boiled brats!

boiled brats in beer in a dutch oven

Why Choose Boiled Brats?

Before we get into the details of how to cook brats, let’s address why boiling them is a popular cooking method. Boiling brats before grilling or pan-frying them offers several benefits:

  • Some people prefer to boil brats to enhance their flavor.
  • Cooking brats in beer adds depth and richness to the sausages.
  • Simmering the sausages helps seal in moisture and flavor, keeping them juicy.
  • Pre-cooking brats in liquid helps prevent them from cracking.
  • Boiling brats first ensures they are fully cooked and eliminates the risk of eating partially raw sausages.

Boiling Brats: Ingredients and Essentials

To boil brats, you only need a few essential ingredients. While brats are already pre-seasoned, you can add extra flavor by cooking them in beer or sauerkraut. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb of bratwurst (around 4-5 brats per pack)
  • 2-12 bottles of beer
  • ¼ cup of butter
  • 1 large onion, sliced
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For the best results, it’s recommended to get fresh bratwurst from your local butcher. However, if you prefer pre-packaged brands, Hempler’s and Johnsonville brats are excellent options.

You’ll also need a deep skillet or Dutch oven and a pair of tongs to handle the brats.

how to boil brats and what you need

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Boil Brats

Cooking boiled brats is a quick and straightforward process, and they taste even better when simmered in beer. Follow these steps for perfect boiled brats:

  1. In a deep skillet or Dutch oven, add the raw bratwurst, sliced onion, enough beer to cover the sausages, and cubes of butter. If you have any leftover beer, feel free to enjoy it while cooking.
  2. Bring the beer to a slow boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the brats for 10 minutes. This par-boils the sausages, ensuring they are mostly cooked.
  3. Remove the bratwurst from the liquid and either grill them on a preheated grill for 10-14 minutes, flipping occasionally until they reach your desired level of browning, or pan-fry them in a skillet with a little oil for 3 minutes on each side. Make sure the internal temperature of the brats reaches at least 160°F.

Can You Boil Frozen Brats?

If you forgot to thaw your bratwurst, don’t worry! You can still boil frozen brats and achieve delicious results. Simply add an extra 5 minutes to the cooking time, boiling them for about 15-20 minutes in the liquid.

Boiling Brats Before Grilling: Is It Necessary?

While some bratwurst purists argue that boiling brats before grilling is unnecessary, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. If you choose to boil them, you’ll enjoy the infusion of beer flavor into the sausages and find that they are less likely to split while grilling.

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If you’re wondering how long to boil brats before grilling, you can partially cook them by reducing the beer boiling time to 10-12 minutes. This technique allows you to achieve a dark, charred exterior on the grill while ensuring the sausages are thoroughly cooked.

Remember, brats are forgiving and hard to overcook as long as you don’t puncture them with a fork. The ideal internal temperature for bratwurst is 160°F, but even if they reach 170-180°F, they will still be delicious.

After grilling the bratwurst, serve them with the onion and beer mixture they were simmered in, or place them in a substantial bun like a hoagie roll for a satisfying meal.

Recipe Variations: Steaming Brats and Kraut

If you’re looking for an alternative to boiling brats, you can steam or simmer them with sauerkraut for added flavor. Here’s how:

  1. Heat the sauerkraut in a pan over medium-low heat and then add the raw bratwurst.
  2. Cover the pan and steam the brats until they are just cooked through (approximately 12 minutes).
  3. In a separate skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and sear the brats for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
  4. Serve with the kraut and mustard for a delicious twist on boiled brats.

boiling bratwurst

Answering Common Questions

Are Brats Gluten-Free or Keto?

If you follow a gluten-free or keto diet, you may wonder if brats fit into your eating plan. While bratwurst itself is typically gluten-free, it’s essential to check the labels of pre-packaged brands to ensure they don’t contain added gluten or sugar. Therefore, choosing fresh bratwurst or checking brand labels is recommended.

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When it comes to keto, bratwurst simmered in beer is not suitable due to the carbohydrates in beer. However, some low-carb beer options, such as Michelob Light with only 2 net carbs per bottle, can be used for cooking beer-boiled brats.

Can I Double the Recipe?

Absolutely! Feel free to double or triple the ingredients to make a larger batch of boiled brats. The cooking time will remain the same, but remember to adjust the amounts of butter and onion accordingly. You may not need to double the amount of beer, as long as there’s enough liquid to cover the brats.

Can I Boil Brats Without Beer?

If you prefer not to use beer in your bratwurst recipe, several alternatives work well:

  • Alcohol-free beer
  • Chicken broth or beef broth
  • Apple juice
  • Water

Feel free to experiment with different liquids to find the flavor profile that suits your taste.

More Bratwurst Recipes

If you’re a fan of bratwurst, you’ll love these additional recipe ideas:

  • Baked Brats
  • Air-Fried Brats
  • Instant Pot Sausage (Brats)
  • What to Serve with Bratwurst?
  • Crockpot Bratwurst


Cooking frozen brats is a breeze when you follow the boiling method. Whether you choose to cook them in beer, sauerkraut, or other liquids, you’ll be rewarded with delicious, juicy sausages bursting with flavor. So, gather your ingredients and get ready to enjoy a fantastic meal of perfectly boiled brats!

If you’d like to discover more delicious recipes and useful cooking tips, make sure to visit Family Cuisine.

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