These Air Fryer Brats are the most delicious quick & hassle free dinner. Caramelized on the exterior and super juicy on the inside, the air fryer is the perfect way to cook bratwurst. You can’t forget about the sweet and smokey beer braised onions. This simple meal is a crowd pleaser!
Serve these with Seasoned Frozen Tater Tots.
- No grill or parchment paper needed
- Caramelized exterior & juicy on the inside
- Brats cook in less 15 minutes
- Simple dinner idea
- Low carb/keto
- Beer braised onions
- Kid friendly
- Onions: Any kind of onion will work.
- Bratwurst: You can use thawed or frozen brats. If you cook frozen brats, add about 3 minutes to cook time. This is just an estimate based on my air fryer. Be sure to check that the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
- Beer: Any beer you have on hand will work. I used Rainier.
Helpful Equipment & Tools
- Ultrean 8.5 Quart Air Fryer: Great size & price point.
- Calphalon Classic Hard-Anodized Nonstick Pots and Pans: High quality, heavy duty, & even heating.
- ThermoPro TP01A Digital Meat Thermometer: Ensures perfectly cooked meat every time & is only around $10.
How to Cook Brats in Air Fryer
- Brown the onions.
- Braise them in beer.
- Air fryer the brats, flipping halfway through.
- Enjoy the beer brats with lots of beer braised onions!
Step by Step
Step 1: In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium high heat. Add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes or until browned.
Step 2: Deglaze the pan with the beer and stir in the sugar, paprika, and salt.
Step 3: Turn the heat to medium low. Braise for about 20-25 minutes (stirring occasionally) or until the beer has reduced.
Step 4: After the onions have been braising for about 10 minutes, place the bratwursts in the air fryer basket not touching (no need to grease it).
Step 4: Air fry at 380 for 5-7 minutes.
Step 4: Flip and air fry at 380 for another 5-7 minutes or until the bratwursts reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees, then remove the brats from the air fryer.
Make Ahead & Storage
- Refrigerator: Store cooked bratwurst in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or the air fryer at 350 degrees for 4-5 minutes.
- Freezer: You can freeze bratwurst raw or cooked for up to 3 months. Raw or cooked bratwursts will stick together if frozen touching. I recommend wrapping them individually in plastic wrap and then placing them in a large freezer bag. This way you can thaw only what you need. Thaw raw bratwurst in the refrigerator overnight. Thaw cooked bratwurst in the fridge or reheat from frozen in the air fryer or microwave.
- Make Ahead: The onions can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat before serving in the microwave or on the stove.
- Don’t rush the onions. The onions develop flavor as they braise in the beef. I recommend starting them at least 10 minutes before the brats. You can even braise them longer if needed, just be sure to keep them on low.
- Don’t grease the air fryer. The bratwursts a high enough fat content that they will not stick to the basket without any additional greasing. Adding more oil will cause the air fryer to smoke (see note below).
- Use a meat thermometer. The bratwurst need to reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
- Toast the buns. If you are serving them on buns, throw them in the air fryer at 400 for a few minutes to toast them.
- Load up on toppings. Don’t forget about the toppings. There are so many possible flavor combinations (see ideas below).
- The air fryer may smoke. Since bratwurst have a high fat content, oil will splatter and begin to circulate in the air fryer. When the oil hits the hot coils in the top of the air fryer smoke is created. The best way to prevent smoke is to be sure the air fryer and drip tray are cleaned well before cooking the brats.
- Oven: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place brats on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes flipping halfway through. Broil for a couple of minutes at the end to brown the brats more. The brats are done when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
- Beer braised onions are my favorite topping (of course)
- Bacon bits
- Shredded cheese
- Pickles or pickled jalapeños
- Sautéed bell peppers and onions
- Sriracha, hot sauce, or buffalo sauce
- Ketchup, mustard, or relish
- Chunky salsa
- Potato chips
- Simple green salad
- Potato salad
- Mac and cheese
- French fries
- Fruit or raw veggies and dip
Brats in Air Fryer
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 3 yellow or white onions
- 2 cups light beer
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 bratwurst, 1.25 pounds
- Review all recipe notes and instructions before beginning.
- In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium high heat. Add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes or until browned.
- Deglaze the pan with the beer and stir in the sugar, paprika, and salt.
- Turn the heat to medium low. Braise for about 20-25 minutes (stirring occasionally) or until the beer has reduced.
- After the onions have been braising for about 10 minutes, place the bratwursts in the air fryer basket not touching (no need to grease it).
- Air fry at 380 for 5-7 minutes.
- Flip and air fry at 380 for another 5-7 minutes or until the bratwursts reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees.