Baked Brats in Caramelized Sauerkraut

Baked brats in sauerkraut

Baked brats in caramelized sauerkraut is a wonderfully easy sausage casserole that feeds the family on a cozy weeknight. It’ll satisfy an Octoberfest or game day crowd, too ~ you decide. It’s a classic German recipe that everybody adores!

baked bratwurst sausage in sauerkraut

baked brats in caramelized sauerkraut

Rarely does a recipe tick so many boxes: it’s quick, easy, unusual, and utterly scrumptious. And it gets bonus points for being so on point for fall. We loved it so much I’ve already got plans to make it again for company.

If you love sauerkraut I probably don’t need to convince you to try this (the caramelized part? A-mazing), but even if you’re on the fence you’re going to want to make this ~ it’s sauerkraut like you’ve never had it before.

bratwurst sausage in caramelized sauerkraut

what you’ll need for baked brats

This is a short list of ingredients which means you can easily throw this together on a weeknight. Save carbs and enjoy it casserole-style, or break out the buns and fixings, both ways are delicious.

  • bratwurst sausage ~ brats are a type of German pork sausage made from very finely ground meat, so the sausage has a very smooth texture. Look for them in the meat case at your supermarket. You want raw sausage for this recipe, not pre-cooked.
  • sauerkraut ~ use fresh if it’s sold in your area, or jarred. I used a Polish brand that is light and fresh tasting.
  • olive oil
  • onion
  • apple ~ any variety but I used a Granny Smith.
  • apple cider ~ the fresh (refrigerated) stuff in the jug is best.
  • brown sugar
  • caraway seeds
  • mustard seeds
bratwurst sausage

how to cook a brat

Brats can be cooked in a few different ways, each of them yielding slightly different results. The one through line is that you want to grill or brown them off at some point, either on a charcoal grill or on the stovetop, to get nice color on the sausage.

GRILL/BRAISE COMBINATION The way I usually do it is to brown the sausage on both sides, then drop them in gently simmering broth to finish cooking. This is a good method if you’re feeding a crowd and need the brats to stay ready to eat over a period of time. They can remain in the broth almost indefinitely!

BRAISE/GRILL METHOD Some prefer to simmer the sausages first, and finish on the grill. That way they get that ‘snappy’ skin that everybody loves.

GRILL ONLY Some like to grill brats on a charcoal grill, or on a grill pan on the stove top. This method tends to dry the brats out a bit so be sure you don’t poke or prick the sausages or the juice will run out.

GRILL/BAKE Brown the sausage in a cast iron skillet, then bake to finish cooking. Baking the brats in cabbage is a nice idea because the brats stay moist, and the oven does all the work, no need to babysit anything.

grilled brats in sauerkraut

baked bratwurst and cabbage faqs

Can I substitute another type of sausage?

While you could substitute Italian sausage or Polish kielbasa for the brats, I don’t recommend it. Try to track down bratwurst for this authentic dish.

What should I serve with brats and sauerkraut?

This recipe can be served casserole style, with some mashed or roasted potatoes and a green veg or salad. Depending on the season, go with corn on the cob or a cooling corn salad. It can also be served in buns, with potato salad on the side.

Should I prick the sausage to prevent it from exploding?

Don’t do it! Pricking the skin will allow the juices to flow out and can make the sausage tough. Gentle cooking will prevent the sausage from exploding.

Can I make sausage and sauerkraut keto?

Yes, replace the cider with beef or chicken broth and omit the brown sugar and apple. You may want to increase the spices.

How do I know if my brats are done?

Cooking them in the oven for 45 minutes will cook them thoroughly. You want to make sure the internal temp is 160F. When fully cooked the brats may still look slightly pink inside, that’s ok.

What can I use instead of cider?

You can use beer, or broth.

I don’t like sauerkraut, what can I use instead?

You can use fresh cabbage, try my Fried Cabbage and Bacon Slaw (below) as a delicious base.

A platter of fried cabbage and bacon slaw, with tongs

why this dish works

THE EASE for one thing. After browning off of the brats, and a quick sauté of the onions and apples, it heads straight to the oven.

THE FLAVOR! The savory sausage juices seep down into the kraut as they bake, and the sweet sugar, apples, and cider balance out the cabbage, caraway seeds, and mustard. The sauerkraut slowly caramelizes as it bakes, helped along by the brown sugar.

THE VERSATILITY It’s a sit down dinner as is, just add a side of roasted potatoes and a green veg or salad. It can also be a make your own brat bar when you double or triple the recipe and set it out for people to assemble with buns and mustard.

brats with sauerkraut in buns

more brat and sausage recipes

Baked brats in sauerkraut
5 from 13 votes

Baked Brats in Caramelized Sauerkraut

Baked brats in caramelized sauerkraut is a wonderfully easy sausage casserole that feeds the family on a weeknight, or a crowd on game day, you decide. It's a classic German recipe that everybody adores!
Course Dinner Recipes
Cuisine German American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Yield 4 servings
Calories 310kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 9-10 inch oven safe skillet or grill pan


  • 4 raw bratwurst sausages
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green apple, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 3 cups lightly drained sauerkraut
  • 1 cup apple cider


  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Brush the brats lightly with olive oil.
    bratwurst sausage
  • Brown them in a hot pan for a few minutes on each side, until they take on some nice color. Note: I do this right in the same pan I'm going to bake in, so make sure it can accommodate everything, and is oven safe. A 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet or grill pan works perfectly, I use this one.
  • Remove the brats to a plate and set aside. Add the onions and apples to the same pan and saute over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Stir in the brown sugar.
    sautéing onions and brown sugar
  • Add the spices and continue to cook, stirring often, for 2 more minutes.
    cooking aromatics for baked brats
  • Add the sauerkraut and cider to the pan and mix well. Make sure to get all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, that's great flavor!
    Sauerkraut in a pan
  • Bring the pan up to a boil, then add the brats to the pan and nestle them deep down into the kraut so they will braise in the oven.
    caramelizing sauerkraut
  • Bake, uncovered, for about 40-45 minutes, just until the brats are cooked through (internal temperature should be 160F) and the sauerkraut is nice and caramelized. Note: Give the sauerkrat a stir once or twice during cooking to redistribute the juices.
    bratwurst on cabbage in a pan
  • Serve immediately, with plenty of grainy Dijon mustard.
    baked brats in caramelized sauerkraut

Cook’s notes

  • This recipe is phenomenal and I highly recommend it. The flavors are wonderfully balanced and it’s just a delight.
  • I did use a mild sauerkraut, which I think is a good choice.
  • Double or triple the recipe to feed a crowd.


Calories: 310kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 1267mg | Potassium: 529mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 37IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 2mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    August 14, 2022 at 4:47 pm

    5 stars
    Fantastic recipe for this fall dinner…and in one skillet!!! Wonderful!!!!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      August 14, 2022 at 5:06 pm

      I’ve made this so many times since posting it, I love how easy it is…glad you loved it Stephanie 🙂

  • Reply
    January 20, 2022 at 9:07 pm

    5 stars
    Delicious! My husband is not truly a fan of sauerkraut but this preparation had him at first bite.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      January 21, 2022 at 11:16 am

      Thanks Debra, I really think this dish could convince any sauerkraut doubter 😉

  • Reply
    December 21, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    5 stars
    Sue, I’d like to make this for New Year’s Day. My brother-in-law is just recovering from a heart attack and has been told to not eat any sausage, but we all love sauerkraut. Would this recipe work for making the sauerkraut without the sausage? Caramelized sauerkraut sounds delicious to me.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      December 21, 2021 at 2:18 pm

      Yes, for sure. You would miss a little flavor from the sausages, but it will still work.

  • Reply
    December 12, 2021 at 7:46 am

    Nice idea! Will make for the next Packers game 🙂

  • Reply
    September 17, 2021 at 7:38 am

    5 stars
    What kind of beer would work here so that I can serve it with the sausage? German style Lager,Pilsner or something hoppy? thanks this is totally game day.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      September 17, 2021 at 8:06 am

      I really think it will be fine with most any beer you like, so I would go with what you normally drink.

  • Reply
    Susan G
    September 16, 2021 at 11:28 am

    5 stars
    absolutely delicious ! my husband loved it too, definitely will make this again…

  • Reply
    September 11, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    if you don’t have apple cider what can you use to substitute?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      September 11, 2021 at 2:06 pm

      You can substitute broth if you like.

  • Reply
    Jacqueline Butts
    September 10, 2021 at 8:21 am

    5 stars
    It’s a great idea to cook and caramelize the sauerkraut in the oven (I have always done mine stovetop with plenty of butter and onion) I add a sprinkle of nutmeg which really gives a nice sweet warmth to the kraut (my husband dislikes caraway seed). My husband likes my caramelized sauerkraut better then the “all day stewed” sauerkraut his German mom and aunts like, so I will definitely be trying your version.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      September 10, 2021 at 8:41 am

      I love the idea of adding nutmeg, why didn’t I think of that??

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