Cooking brats in the air fryer is so incredibly simple and quick you won’t believe it! Even the most die-hard grilling fans will be impressed with these tender and juicy air fryer brats. And best yet, they’re ready in under 15 minutes!
Even though according to my Ancestry DNA I have 0% German blood, I’ve always loved a good brat.
There’s a restaurant/brewery nearby that has an entire section of their menu dedicated to different bratwurst combinations and although the rest of the menu always looks so enticing, I never seem to be able to stray from one of those choices.
All this time as a brats lover though and I’ve always thought they needed to be grilled for the best texture and flavor.
Well, just like air fryer sausage, brats in the air fryer are pretty spectacular as well!
Wondering what the actual difference is between sausage and brats? This article explains it perfectly.
Packaged sausages and brats are one of those proteins that I always make sure to have on hand in the freezer.
They both make for the easiest dinners because they defrost quickly and can be paired with almost anything to create a meal.
And to make life even easier, we’re going to talk about how simple it is to make air fryer brats, a method that cooks them quicker and means less cleanup for you in the kitchen!
AIR FRYER BRATS
If you’re a die-hard brats person you may be hesitant to try cooking them in the air fryer.
I get it. I felt the same.
But once you try bratwurst in the air fryer for the first time I think you’ll be hooked on the simplicity of the method along with how well they cook up!
Not to mention, if you live in a colder climate, the comfort of being able to cook brats inside versus freezing outside next to the grill is a major selling point.
The air fryer renders them perfectly juicy and tender on the inside while the outside casing turns a lovely golden brown color with a nice crispy bite.
The taste difference is almost unrecognizable between the two methods and once you pile on the toppings (hopefully some good mustard and sauerkraut!), it’s downright impossible to distinguish a grilled brat vs. an air fried brat.
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE BRATS IN THE AIR FRYER
Just like sausages, this ingredient list is quite short:
Yep, that’s it! Just a package of brats is all you need.
I’ve listed parchment paper as an optional “ingredient” in the recipe below because I do find it’s nice to line the drip pan of my oven model air fryer with it to catch any grease that comes off the brats as they air fry.
You may also use aluminum foil instead but read this post on how to use aluminum foil safely in an air fryer before doing so.
That said, it’s not necessary and only applies to oven model air fryers.
USING UNCOOKED BRATS VS. COOKED BRATS
Depending on the brand of bratwurst you buy, they may be uncooked or already fully cooked.
Johnsonville brats tend to be a popular brand and those are uncooked. If you’re looking for organic or humanely raised pork, Niman Ranch is a popular choice and theirs tend to already be fully cooked.
Both types of brats can be air fried.
For uncooked brats, the cooking time is just a minute or two longer than fully cooked brats that are essentially just being “warmed up” in the air fryer.
AIR FRIED BRATWURST TEMPERATURE AND COOK TIME
The brats should be air fried at a temperature of 375°F for about 12-14 minutes.
This will vary a minute in either direction depending on if you’re using uncooked or full cooked brats.
HOW TO COOK BRATS IN AN AIR FRYER
To make the brats, simply place them in the air fryer either on the trays (for oven models) or in the basket. Make sure they’re in a single layer.
A package of brats is usually 4-5 links but you can air fry as many as your air fryer can fit which is likely 2 packages worth.
Air fry the brats at 375°F for 12-14 minutes.
The brats should reach an internal temperature of 160°F when they’re fully cooked. The outsides will look golden brown and have started to crisp up along the edges.
If you’re starting with fully cooked bratwurst, don’t worry about the internal temperature and just go by the appearance of the brats.
TIP – bring brats to room temperature before air frying. They cook quicker and more evenly this way.
SHOULD I FLIP THE BRATS WHILE COOKING?
If your air fryer is the basket type, I recommend flipping the brats half way through air frying.
If you have an oven model and the brats are on trays this isn’t necessary.
CAN I AIR FRY FROZEN BRATS?
Just like frozen broccoli can be made in the air fryer with amazing success, you can also cook frozen brats in the air fryer.
To adjust for using frozen brats, preheat the the air fryer for 3-5 minutes before placing the brats inside and then air fry for an additional 3 minutes for a total of about 17 minutes in the air fryer.
Again, the internal temperature should read 160°F for fully cooked brats.
TOPPINGS AND SERVING SUGGESTIONS
- Sauerkraut and mustard – this classic combination is always a winner and my preferred choice. I always have either store-bought artisan sauerkraut or my homemade red cabbage sauerkraut on hand for its probiotic benefits and it makes a delicious topping for these brats. Air fryer red cabbage is another option since the air fryer is already out!
- Sautéed peppers and onions – another popular pairing and what I’ll do if making a dinner out of brats versus a more casual meal.
- Baked beans and potato chips – this option is great for parties and throws a bit of an American vibe to the otherwise German meal. Or, instead of potato chips, make air fryer zucchini chips!
- Coleslaw – not a sauerkraut lover? Try swapping it out for coleslaw instead.
- Ketchup and relish – if it works for hot dogs, why not brats? Kids tend to love this option, especially the ketchup. Want something a bit out of the box?
- Cheese sauce and onions – one of my favorite options at the aforementioned restaurant I absolutely love. Caramelized onions and a wonderful cheese sauce are the perfect combination for any beer brats.
Air fryer mushrooms would be a great side too with their delicious umami flavor.
So forget the grill and break out that air fryer next time you make brats. It’s just one more reason to fall in love with this amazing countertop appliance!
MORE RECIPES LIKE THIS:
- 4 uncooked brats* (or however many are in the package/your air fryer can fit)
- parchment paper (optional)
- Place the brats on the trays or basket of the air fryer in a single layer.
- If using an oven model air fryer, line the drip pan with parchment paper to catch excess grease for easier clean up. (optional)
- Air fry the brats at 375°F for 12-14 minutes until fully cooked on the inside (160°F internal temperature) and golden brown on the outside. The skin should be tight and crispy while the inside is still juicy.
- Remove from the air fryer using tongs and let rest a few minutes before serving as desired.
*You can use fully cooked brats as well, just reduce air frying time by a few minutes.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 283Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 719mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 12g
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.