Brats with Spicy Cranberry Relish

Brats with Spicy Cranberry Apple Relish ~
Brats with Spicy Cranbery Relish ~ slow cooked brats topped with a spicy sweet relish ~

I highly recommend these Brats with Spicy Cranberry Relish if you’re ready to jump headfirst into fall ~ the sausages are briefly grilled, then gently simmered in the slow cooker while the cranberry/jalapeno/apple/onion relish waits patiently in the fridge. Don’t miss out on this!

Grilled Brats with Spicy Cranberry Relish ~

Our daughter and her husband were here (from Madison Wisconsin) over the Labor Day weekend for a wedding, and it was a treat to have the whole family together, if only for a little while. Since the world’s largest brat fest takes place in Madison, brats seemed a natural thing to serve. These were super popular, in fact we loved the relish so much we couldn’t pile it on high enough..bits were flying all over the place as everybody tried to maximize their relish to brat ratio. Definitely serve extra alongside each brat so nobody feels cheated. The relish is good enough to eat by itself, which we did, by the spoonful.

Beer Brats with Spicy Cranberry Relish is one of the joys of fall ~

I was just about to make another batch of my Slow Cooked Cider Brats with Apple Onion Relish when the idea to use cranberries popped into my head. I had 2 bags left in the freezer from last year so I pulled one out to defrost. Cranberries are sturdy and do really well in the freezer, I was amazed at how fresh and firm mine were after defrosting.

TIP: Make sure to buy extra bags of fresh cranberries during their short fall/winter season. Pop them straight in the freezer, there’s no need to wrap them further. They can be used frozen, or thawed, in all kinds of recipes during the rest of the year.

Spicy Cranberry Relish is an irresistible blend of fresh cranberries, crisp apple, onion, and jalapeno ~

The Spicy Cranberry Relish is an irresistible mix of fresh cranberries, crisp fall apples, onion, and jalapeno. Don’t be afraid of the raw cranberries, I offset their tartness with the sweetness of the apple, and all the flavors complement each other perfectly. You can use it on all sort of things, too, on and off the grill…I’m already planning steak tacos…yum!

Brats slow cooking in broth for Brats with Spicy Cranberry Relish ~

Brats, or Bratwurst, is a German type of sausage that has a finer texture than regular sausage. Brats have a subtle hint of nutmeg, and sometimes marjoram, they’re a staple of Octoberfests, tailgating parties, and a current favorite of mine. My preferred way to cook brats also happens to be the easiest…I just brush them with a little olive oil and brown them on all sides. Then I load them in the crock pot and cover with either beer, cider, stock, or broth. In this case I used beef broth. They will slow braise and be ready to go whenever you are.

TIP: Grilling the brats first on a grill or stove top grill pan gives them nice color. You can then leave them for hours in the slow cooker to finish cooking, and when you serve them, they’ll have that fresh off the grill look!

Slow Cooked Brats with Spicy Cranberry Apple Relish ~

The cranberries tint the onions and apples a bright pink so this is a very festive relish!

5 from 3 votes

Brats with Spicy Cranberry Relish

Author Sue Moran



  • 1 heaping cup fresh or frozen and thawed cranberries
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 or 2 jalapenos
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice


  • 6 brats
  • olive oil for brushing
  • 32 ounce carton of beef broth
  • 6 buns I love pretzel buns


  • Finely chop the cranberries and put them in a bowl.
  • Finely chop the onion and add to the bowl.
  • Finely mince the jalapenos. For more heat use the seeds, for less heat, discard them. Add to the bowl.
  • Peel and finely chop the apple, toss with the lemon juice to prevent browning. Add to the bowl.
  • Toss all the ingredients and refrigerate until needed.
  • For the brats, heat a grill pan over medium high heat until hot.
  • Prick the skin of the brats with the tip of a small knife. Brush with olive oil.
  • Place the brats on the hot grill and brown on all sides.
  • Put the broth in a slow cooker and turn on high. When the brats are browned, add them to the pot. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, then reduce heat to low until ready to serve.
  • Serve the brats on buns with lots of relish.
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.


  • This relish must be made with fresh or frozen cranberries…cooked, canned or dried cranberries won’t work.
  • The relish will keep for a week in the refrigerator.
  • Use the leftover broth that the brats simmer in for soup.


don’t forget to pin this Spicy Cranberry Relish!


Used for Brats with Spicy Cranberry Relish (the photos are clickable)


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  • Reply
    Karen @ Seasonal Cravings
    September 9, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Wow, this is so creative. I love cranberry relish but would never have thought to put it on brats. I love it and can’t wait to put that relish on everything!

  • Reply
    Boastful Food
    September 9, 2016 at 11:42 am

    I love the sound of this! I’m originally from Milwaukee but get to call Seattle home now and we have a coast that harvests cranberries, too! What a perfect pairing. I bet the tart from the fresh cranberries is great with the savory, salty, meaty brat. All I need now is a cold Leinenkugel:)

    • Reply
      September 9, 2016 at 8:01 pm

      I didn’t know cranberries were harvested in Seattle, how cool!

  • Reply
    Olivia @ Olivia's Cuisine
    September 9, 2016 at 11:21 am

    This cranberry relish is LIFE! I haven’t seen any cranberries yet, but when I do I am definitely making this.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Your relish is picture perfect Sue, sounds a little spicy and sweet, the best kind. have a wonderful week-end!

  • Reply
    September 9, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Such a beautiful relish! So bright and colorful. It looks so perfect paired with brats. I definitely need to add some cranberries to the freezer.

    • Reply
      September 9, 2016 at 10:42 am

      I’m going to stuff my freezer this year 🙂

  • Reply
    September 9, 2016 at 9:31 am

    This sounds like a really delicious combination! I would have never thought of cranberries with brats, but I’ll bet it’s great!

  • Reply
    September 9, 2016 at 9:26 am

    These sound like an absolutely wonderful fall meal. That relish sounds (and looks) absolutely divine!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    September 9, 2016 at 6:58 am

    What fabulous relish! I was just checking this morning when the cranberry harvest starts here, so I’ll be knee deep in cranberries shortly. Will be trying this 🙂

    • Reply
      September 9, 2016 at 8:07 am

      I bet you get amazing cranberries, I’d love to see a harvest sometime, it must be quite something!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    September 9, 2016 at 5:46 am

    This relish is gorgeous Sue! The color is amazing and perfect for fall. We love brats too – but just don’t eat them often enough. My brother and his family braise them in beer – seems like the right thing to do haha. Have a fantastic weekend!

    • Reply
      September 9, 2016 at 8:08 am

      That color did not need enhancing!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    September 9, 2016 at 4:03 am

    I grew up on brats but never imagined them to be classy and beautiful like yours are Sue. The cranberry relish is gorgeous and, your right, so perfect for celebrating fall!

    • Reply
      September 9, 2016 at 8:11 am

      I forgot you were from WI Chris — you’re an expert then 🙂

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