How to Steam Cook Bratwurst

by Kathryn Roberts
Make your bratwurst more flavorful by trying different steaming liquids, such as wine, darker beers or stock.

Make your bratwurst more flavorful by trying different steaming liquids, such as wine, darker beers or stock.

Whether as a game-day staple or a hearty comfort food, bratwurst is an easy-to-prepare and flavorful meal. You can find the sausages in both pre-cooked and fresh, uncooked varieties. If you want to steam bratwurst, start with raw sausage, rather than pre-cooked. Steaming, whether or not you finish the bratwurst by browning on a grill or in a pan, helps impart flavor to and preserve moisture in the sausages.

Pour enough beer, or the equivalent amount of water or another liquid, into a large pot to just come up through the bottom holes of a steamer basket when placed inside. Add sliced onions and chopped garlic to the beer for additional flavor, if desired. Fit the steamer basket into the pot.

Bring the beer to a simmer over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium. Add the bratwurst to the steamer basket, allowing them to pile irregularly to let steam through.

Cover the pot with a lid and let the bratwurst steam until cooked through, for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the number of brats and their thickness. Check the liquid level once or twice during cooking. Add more liquid if the beer has reduced to less than a quarter of the amount at the start.

Turn off the heat and remove the steamer basket with potholders. Serve the bratwurst with your preferred toppings.

Alternatively, brown the steamed bratwurst on a grill or in a pan before serving. Turn the sausage frequently on the grill or in the skillet for an even sear. Serve as you would the steamed-only brats.

Items you will need

  • Beer, preferably German lager, or water
  • Large pot with lid
  • Steamer basket
  • Onion (optional)
  • Garlic (optional)


  • Vary the type of beer you use for different flavor results. Instead of German lager, try brown ale, a stout or an IPA.
  • Add sliced onions and chopped garlic to the steaming liquid before adding the bratwurst for extra flavor.
  • Reduce the remaining beer after steaming to create a sauce for your bratwurst.


  • Cook the sausages to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure proper doneness.
  • Use care when removing the lid from the pot, as steam will escape and may burn.

About the Author

Kathryn Roberts has worked in the culinary industry for nearly a decade in various roles, including pastry chef and bakery manager. After studying at the Culinary Institute of America, she earned her BFA from Goddard College and is pursing an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Photo Credits

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