How to boil brats in water?

In this article, we will answer the question “How to boil brats in water?”, can you skip boiling the brats before grilling, how long should you boil your brats, can you boil frozen brats, and what are the dos and don’ts of boiling brats. 

How to boil brats in water?

Fill a pot ¾ way with water. Bring the water to a rolling boil over the stovetop. When the water starts to bubble, carefully submerge the brats in the water. Then lower the heat and let the brats simmer on low heat. 

Note: If you want your brats to have a more complex flavor, arm the boiling water with butter, and onions, or better yet, boil the brats in beer or sauerkraut. You can also use chicken/vegetable stock or some apple juice in place of beer.

This should take about 10 minutes. After the time is up, remove the brats from the pot and transfer them to a dish. Pat the sausages dry using paper towels. Heat some oil in a frying pan or saucepan. 

Place the sausages in the hot oil and fry each side for 3-4 minutes or until nice and brown. Do not temper the sausages by heating them over a high flame. This may lead to the breaking of the sausage casing.

So, be gentle and cook the sausages over a medium flame. Plate the cooked sausages and serve alongside your favorite veggies, and mustard, or sandwich them in a hoagie roll. For the sides,  we recommend pairing German potato salad, sliced onions cooked in beer, or sweet corn with brats. 

Can you skip boiling the brats before grilling?

Yes, you can but you should not, and here’s why. Boiling softens the brats from the inside. When you grill the boiled brats afterward, you are only adding a golden and crispy crust. The end product is a sausage with an equally appetizing interior and exterior. 

If you grill without boiling the brats beforehand, you run the risk of unevenly cooking your brats. Therefore, you should always start by parboiling your brats before charring them on the pan.

How long should you boil your brats before grilling?

Parboiling or simmering the brats for 10 minutes is enough to do the job. Grilling also takes pretty much the same length of time. 

Just make sure that the brats reach an internal safe temperature of 160F during grilling. In the case of brats made of ground chicken or turkey, the thermometer should read 165F

This ensures food safety. Use an instant-read thermometer to accurately gauge the temperature of the brats.

Can you boil frozen brats?

Yes, you can boil frozen brats. However, you will need to add at least 5 more minutes to the boiling time of the brats. If you usually boil your brats for 10 minutes, boil your frozen brats for about 15 minutes.

Make sure to use an instant-read thermometer before taking out the brats from the boiling water. This will ensure that the brats are safe to eat because they have been heated to a safe minimum internal temperature.

Although you can boil the brats directly from the freezer, it is suggested that you always defrost your brats in the fridge. This not only minimizes the risk of microbial growth but also ensures maximum flavor. Because food safety and food quality go hand in hand.

What are the dos and don’ts of boiling brats?

  1. Do not prick your brats before boiling them. Boiling is enough for the brats to cook thoroughly and reach safe internal temperatures. In fact, pricking not only promotes the over-cooking/over-boiling of brats but also makes them lose their flavor.
  1. If you are ditching pain water and beer for sauerkraut, make sure to heat it to a boiling temperature before dumping the sausages into it.
  1. For better texture and flavor, fry or grill the parboiled brats over medium heat. Use a mixture of vegetable oil and butter for frying/grilling, as it gives better results.
  1. Skip boiling if the brats are pre-cooked. Pre-cooked brats are boiled before packing so they are ready to grill. 


In this article, we answered the question “How to boil brats in water?”, can you skip boiling the brats before grilling, how long should you boil your brats, can you boil frozen brats, and what are the dos and don’ts of boiling brats. 


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