Root Beer Brats are cooked slowly throughout the day in a root beer marinade that sweetens the brats just enough for a tasty flavor that complements the plump and juicy bratwursts. For a beer brat recipe, try my Slow Cooker Brats with Marinated Onions.
Root Beer Brats
I am sure you have heard of beer brats, but root beer brats? If you are looking for a way to cook brats without beer, this is a recipe for you! Root beer is not just for root beer floats anymore, (although I love a root beer float now and then). These brats are made even better by letting them cook in a slow cooker all day to get the most flavor saturated in each brat.
Root Beer Brats Recipe
The combination of flavors, from sweet to savory, is what makes these brats so delicious.
Ingredients (full recipe below)
- Red onion
- Root beer
- Dijon mustard
- Apple cider vinegar
- Brown sugar
- Garlic powder
- Kosher salt
- Hot sauce
- Brat buns
Best Brats to Purchase
If you can, go to a local butcher or meat shop and get your brats there. If you are buying them at the supermarket, go for the least processed kind and some that are not pre-cooked. Your brat doesn’t need to have anything extra in it for this recipe, just a run of the mill regular sausage will work.
How to Make Root Beer Brats
Although these brats are made in a slow cooker, there is a little prep work to be done before you throw everything together to be cooked. First, in a medium skillet, saute the red onions in butter until they are softened (about 5 minutes). Put the onions in your slow cooker.
In the same skillet, brown the brats over medium heat for about 3 minutes on each side. They will not be fully cooked, but by doing this to the brats, you will bring out more of the flavors of the bratwurst. This goes for all meats that you are going to be cooking in a slow cooker. Searing the meat adds a few extra minutes of time, but it’s worth it!
Cooking the Brats
Once you have the onions sauteed and the brats seared, it’s time to get everything in the slow cooker to combine all the flavors. On top of the onions, add the brats, root beer, cornstarch, dijon mustard, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Stir everything to combine, cover the slow cooker, and cook on low for 6-7 hours. The internal temperature of brats should be 160°F when fully cooked.
When you are ready to serve, use a kitchen tongs to pull out the brats and then strain out the onions. Top the brat with the marinated onions, ketchup, and mustard. There are entire camps of people who will gasp at that last statement. Yes, we put ketchup on our brats. Evidently mustard is the only acceptable choice, but we like it this way. Judge away!
How to Store Cooked Brats
For leftover brats, store them in a shallow, airtight container in the refrigerator. They will last up to 3 days, and they are great heated up in the microwave the next day! If you want to freeze the cooked brats, let them cool down first. Place the brats on a baking tray and put them in the freezer for a couple of hours before storing them in a zipped freezer bag. Be sure to date and label the bags; the brats will last up to 3 months in the freezer.
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Root Beer Brats
Root Beer Brats are cooked all day in a root beer marinade that sweetens the brats just enough for a tasty flavor that complements the plump and juicy bratwursts.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 red onion, sliced into thick rings
- 2 bottles (32 ounces) root beer
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
- 12 brats
- 12 brat buns
- ketchup, for topping
- mustard, for topping
In a medium skillet, sauté the onions in butter until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove onions from pan and place into the crockpot.
In the same pan you softened the onions in, brown brats over medium heat for 3 minutes on each side (brats will not be fully cooked). I used my indoor grilling pan to get pretty grill marks, but that is not necessary.
To the slow cooker, add the cooked brats, root beer, cornstarch, mustard, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Stir to combine.
Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours.
Serve brats on a bun and top with red onion, ketchup, and mustard.