Beer, brats, and kraut all come together in this vegan bratwurst recipe. It’s a filling & hearty meal that will comfort you from the inside out. Great for celebrating Oktoberfest all year ‘round.
Once I get a hankering for sauerkraut, nothing else can satisfy it. That fermented cabbage with salty sour bite and crunch is uniquely craveable.
(For more ways to use kraut, check out this post on vegan sauerkraut recipes.)
Perhaps the most quintessential way of enjoying kraut is by having it with bratwurst and beer.
It used to be that vegans were left out of this ritual for obvious reasons. But not anymore! Nowadays there are delicious vegan bratwurst options available in grocery stores all over.
My favorite way to enjoy beer brats and kraut is alongside mustard mashed potatoes, which I shared recently. But keep scrolling for more ideas on ways to serve it!
What kind of sausage should I use?
I recommend Beyond Meat bratwurst here. They have savory flavor, meaty texture, and snap.
I used to be a big fan of brats in my pre-vegan life, and Beyond Meat has really nailed these. Also, they’re gluten-free, if that’s something you need.
You can find Beyond Meat sausages in the refrigerated or frozen case. (Some grocery stores do one or the other. Some do both.)
I like to store them in the freezer. Then I can just thaw one or more, as needed, using the defrost function of the microwave.
That said, there are other vegan bratwursts on the market, and any of them will work here.
Herbivorous Butcher sometimes has beer brats. They are terrific with lots of hoppy flavor. Tofurky also makes beer brats. I haven’t had them in at least 10 years, but I remember them being okay.
What kind of sauerkraut is best?
My preferred sauerkraut is the kind sold in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. It has a lot more crunch than the shelf stable varieties in cans or room temperature jars.
It also has more probiotics. Although, that may be a moot point once you’re cooking it in a skillet. So for that reason, you really can use whatever sauerkraut you like for this recipe.
What kind of beer should I use?
Either dark or light beer will work in this recipe.
My preference is a lighter colored beer. It has a milder flavor that allows the sauerkraut to shine in equal balance with the beer.
A darker beer creates more of a caramel flavor and color. And the beer taste is more pronounced.
Keep in mind that not all beers are vegan, depending on the fining agents that they use. (Two of the most common ones are isinglass, which is fish bladder, or gelatin. Others add honey or milk products.) Most mass produced beer is vegan, however.
I have made this recipe with German beer, which is always vegan because of their labeling/purity laws.
I also have used a local Iowa beer, Backpocket Brewery’s Gold Coin. (Note that while all of their lagers are vegan, some of the other varieties contain lactose.)
To see if your preferred beer is vegan, check out Barnivore, or contact the brewery directly.
How to make beer braised vegan bratwurst
Brown sliced brats in a skillet.
Once they are brown on both sides, add chopped onions.
Cook a couple minutes until the onions are translucent and fragrant.
Time to add the beer!
Let it cook all the way down until it’s basically gone. This will take about 15 minutes.
Add sauerkraut, and evenly combine everything. Cook until warm. Serve with sliced green onion.
Can I halve this recipe?
We only have one sauerkraut fan in our family. (But I more than make up for it with the ferocity of my passion.) So I usually make this recipe for one.
The recipe box below has a function for adjusting the number of servings. Or you can remember that it’s 1 sausage, 1/3 cup beer, 1/3 cup onions, and ½ cup sauerkraut per person.
What to serve with it
This recipe was made to be served with mustard mashed potatoes. Mustard mashed potatoes are just like the regular variety, but with a generous squeeze of stoneground mustard.
Brats & kraut are also excellent with browned potato & onion pierogi.
As I mentioned in my recipe for pierogi with sautéed kale, frozen vegan pierogi can be hard to find. The best luck I’ve had is the store brand from Fresh Thyme grocery store.
(They also make non-vegan pierogi too, so read the ingredients. You can see the packaging of the vegan variety here on my Instagram feed.)
Or of course, this dish would also be delicious on a pretzel bun as a sandwich.
How to store leftovers
Leftovers will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days. Reheat in a skillet on the stove or in the microwave.
Beer braised vegan bratwurst with sauerkraut
- Put a very light layer of oil in a non-stick skillet. (You don't need much at all if you're using Beyond Meat bratwurst, because they release a lot of oil on their own as they cook.) Bring to a medium heat, and add sliced vegan bratwurst to the skillet. Brown on one side. Then flip them and brown on the other side.
- Add chopped yellow onions to the skillet. Cook for a few minutes, until they are translucent and fragrant.
- Add beer to the skillet. Allow the beer to simmer, cook down in the skillet, and be absorbed into the bratwurst and onions. It will take about 15 minutes until most of the beer is gone. If the beer isn't cooking off quickly enough, turn up the heat.
- Add the sauerkraut. (Don't worry if it includes some of the juices from the jar. That will add moisture and sop up anything on the pan.) Fully incorporate the sauerkraut with the sausages and onions. Continue cooking for about 10 minutes more, while the sauerkraut warms.
- Serve the bratwurst and sauerkraut with mustard mashed potatoes, vegan pierogi, or on a pretzel bun. If you like, garnish with sliced green onion.