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One-Skillet Bratwurst + Caramelized Onions

This is one of the simpler and most delicious bratwurst dishes to make and it takes just one-skillet and 20 minutes. Fabulous for a weeknight or a party.
By October 14, 2017 38 Comments Jump to Recipe
bratwurst sausage and onions overhead 1

Oktoberfest might end in the middle of October, but this is one I like to keep around all year. Do you love brats as much as I do? This is one of the simpler things to make and it takes just one-skillet, 20 minutes and they come out perfect every time. It’s a fabulous weeknight meal or is perfect for your Oktoberfest or football party.

Bratwurst is a German sausage that is most commonly made with Pork. This is the low-carb version with no bun, but you can definitely use a bun if you prefer. Serve it with an Oktoberfest beer or German-style lager.

The best way to cook bratwurst

There are a lot of ways to cook Bratwurst sausage. You can boil, roast, grill or steam them. The best method is to brown them in a skillet, then add some liquid and cover to steam.

Everyone that tastes these sausages raves about how perfect they come out and can’t believe how easy and quickly it is ready.

If there is water left in the skillet after the brats are finished cooking, you don’t need to worry about reducing it down. You just want the onions to be cooked and soft.

bratwurst sausage an onions skillet horizontal

Watch the 90-second video: How to make One-Skillet Bratwurst

One-Skillet Bratwurst and Onions

4.96 from 25 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: German
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 4 Bratwurst Sausages
  • 1 Red Onion, sliced
  • canola oil
  • 1/2 cup Water or Stock


  • Heat a large cast iron skillet with a drizzle of canola oil over medium-high heat until it just starts to smoke.
  • With a fork, poke a few holes on each side of the bratwurst sausage to keep them from bursting while they cook.
  • Place the brats in the hot skillet, then place the onions around them.
  • Stir the onions to spread them around and to coat with oil. 
  • Cook the brats for about 4 minutes per side, or until they are nicely browned. 
  • Carefully pour 1/2 cup water in the skillet, then immediately cover and reduce the heat to medium-low.
  • Cook covered for about 10 more minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
  • Remove the lid and the brats from the skillet.
  • Increase the heat and season the onions with salt and continue to cook the onions for a few more minutes to reduce the liquid. 
  • Serve the sausages topped with the onions and your favorite mustard.


You can substitute stock or beer for the water, but it's not necessary. 

bratwurst sausage and onions skillet vertical

Join the discussion 38 Comments

  • Sherry says:

    WOW!! Thanks for sharing this technique!! I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS RECIPE. This is the first time I was able to caramelize onions. It also made it easy to sear the bratwurst without burning. Thank you!!! 🙂

  • sarah says:

    I have tried many recipes for my husband Elk brats and this was by far the best. It was so simple to cook too and as a busy Mom I loved this quick and easy meal. I like that is uses water too for a healthier option.

    • justin says:

      Elk brats sound absolutely amazing. We have some elk and moose in the freezer from someone in the family. If we happen to have sausage I’m going to try them with this method too!

  • Laurie O'Neill says:

    We have a great German-sausage maker nearby and I was looking for a stovetop recipe to cook bratwurst. This was really simple and delicious. The onions became very tender and saucy. Thanks for such a great indoor method for cooking bratwurst!

  • William Halpin says:


  • Sueanna says:

    I was craving Bratwurst this recipe popped up. So glad I tried it came out perfect, juicy tender brats, I used 5 brats and 1 half purple 1 half white onion cooked as directions said. Served with deviled egg potato salad . My go to recipe. Thank You

  • Brad says:

    Tried it the first time without the onion because I didn’t have any on hand. DO NOT DO THIS AS IT WILL BECOME A GREASE/WATER BOMB.

    Tried again and actually followed the recipe (sub-ed water for beer) and it was excellent. Added some hot horseradish on the side.

    • KarenE says:

      Brad, I think you are on to something with your suggestions!! And darn it, as there will be some German bier left after using only 4 ounces, I guess I’ll have to drink that.

  • Bob Thompson says:

    Best & most juicy Brats I’ve ever made thanks!

  • Jan says:

    Made this for a lovely 89 year old woman from Berlin and she loved them. Can’t argue with that!

  • Janna R. says:

    This was AWesome! Easy and filling! Will be making again, sharing too!

  • Hi Justin, This is the first time we tried your recipe and it was delicious! We doubled the onions, and used beer instead of water. With home made home fries and cole slaw it was fantastic! A slice of warm apple pie for dessert was a perfect ending! We plan to make it again! Thank you. Mike F.

    • justin says:

      Hey Mike! Thanks so much for lettimg me know that it came out delicious. This is one of my all time favorites that we like to have a few times a month. Oh man. Apple pie for dessert sounds amazing. Cheers!

  • Ashley Reynolds says:

    This is HANDS DOWN the BEST brats recipe ever! I like to mix both yellow and purple onion and use beer in place of the water – preferably Shiner Bock, which is a Texas brewed beer. Thank you so much for sharing! This one is becoming a quick-dinner staple in our home!

  • Eric says:

    Fantastic way to make brats. 5 brats – no holes. Used beef broth from a boulion cube. White onion. Soooo good! New family favorite. Next time 2 onions they were that good.

    • justin says:

      Sounds wonderful, Eric! This is definitely one of my favorite go-to easy recipes that is so satisfying. I love the onions too. Though if you do use two, they might not pick up as much flavor. If the brats are done before the onions, just remove the brats and continue to cook the onions until they are perfecto!

    • Ellie says:

      Just made these. Best Brats I ever made! Delicious! Thank you!

  • Jeff says:

    On point

    • Monique says:

      I just made it tonight (with beer) and YUM! I was worried I’d mess it up, but my dad and husband enjoyed it thoroughly. Thanks for a simple and delicious recipe for bratwurst! ☆☆☆☆☆

  • Hannah says:

    I used white onion instead of red, because it was what I had on hand. Before the bratwurst even browned, the onions were burning.

  • Chris says:

    Water or stock are fine. A 1/2 cup of nice beer is even better!

  • clay says:

    I never poke holes in the brats, and it isn’t recommended by anyone(but I tried it anyways). Tried this way, and they were so dry i couldn’t even finish it. Did it again without poking holes and they were just like they are supposed to be.

  • Where is the video one commenter mentioned?

  • Katherine says:

    I won’t cook mine any other way again. So good! Did them for the second time tonight and they were perfect both times. I doubled the onions the second time because they shrink and we love them.

    • justin says:

      That makes me so happy to hear! This is probably my favorite go-to weeknight dinner when I want to cook and eat something delicious and want it quick and easy. Cheers!

  • Stacy says:

    Just watching this video makes me hungry again! This is one of the absolute best ways to cook Brats. Simple and fast with every bite full of absolute goodness.

  • Marcin says:

    Love this one, probably my favorite way to make bratwurst now! I used to just grill them but they would always come out way too dry and loose a lot of the flavor in the process. These have been a hit with the family and friends every time.

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