Bratwurst is the cooler German cousin of the classic hot dog, bursting with smoky, savory, and scrumptious flavors with every bite.
Its recipe varies based on region, but this sausage link is usually made with a blend of pork and veal and tinged with seasonings like caraway, nutmeg, and coriander.
Summer just isn’t the same without backyard BBQ’s, brats, and beer.
Aside from how incredible it tastes, what we love most about this sausage is how insanely easy it is to cook. You also don’t need to go crazy when thinking about what to serve with bratwurst! All you really need are a few complementary sides to further enhance its savory flavors.
The bratwurst is a type of German sausage, so it only makes sense to pair it up with traditional German sides. Don’t worry though, because I am here to help turn your barbecue into your own personal Oktoberfest.
From spaetzle and sauerkraut to plenty of beer, here are the 14 best side dishes for bratwurst.
1. Hard Rolls
When picking a vessel for your bratwurst, don’t settle for soft buns that get soggy in a matter of minutes. Please, do not give it such a disservice. Opt for hard rolls instead; their crisp bite goes really well with the snappy sausage.
We’re not sure if there’s a more iconic side to bratwurst than sauerkraut. This pair is a classic tandem that traditionalists will appreciate.
Plus, here’s a fun fact about the fermented cabbage dish: it contains the same type of good bacteria also present in yogurt.
You can make your own sauerkraut or buy a jar at the store. Either way, they’re both equally satisfying choices. The key to giving your sauerkraut more oomph, though, is grilling it for a few minutes until it caramelizes.
Alternatively, you can also saute it with some butter or oil in a cast-iron skillet.
Leave the French’s in the fridge! Bratwurst sings when paired with spicy stone-ground mustard, and many purists consider it the only acceptable condiment for the meaty mouthful.
Search for brands like Plochman’s and Inglehoffer for the most authentic German experience.
Karto-what now? No need to Google it – it’s just German potato salad.
So what’s the difference between German and regular potato salad? First of all, the German version uses unpeeled red potatoes, not peeled Russets. Second, the dressing is made with vinegar and bacon grease, not mayonnaise. Last, you serve it warm, not cold.
Oh, and since it’s a German staple, it only makes sense to serve it with bratwurst!
5. Grilled Corn On The Cob
There’s nothing quite like the sweet and juicy crunch you get when biting into a corncob. But when you eat it with an equally succulent sausage, you’ve got yourself a perfect combination.
Don’t forget to slather that corn with butter! It makes all the difference in the world.
6. Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage
Also known as rotkohl, this vibrant classic is a healthy and filling side dish that further highlights the bratwurst’s savory flavor.
Plus, You don’t have to be an expert in German cooking to whip it up. Just braise red cabbage with red wine vinegar, apples, sugar, and cloves, and it’s done!
This zesty side balances out the rich and smoky flavors of the bratwurst. Plus, coleslaw is extremely easy to prepare. Just toss shredded carrots and cabbage in a tangy, vinegar-based dressing.
So basic, am I right? But so good when served on top of a warm, savory bratwurst. Summer doesn’t get any better than this. You can serve it with white or yellow onions, raw or sauteed.
9. Grilled Veggies
Since your grill is already on anyway, you might as well throw some veggies over the flames for a wonderful healthy side dish. Put your favorite veggies on a skewer and grill them to perfection. These slightly charred, smoky vegetables pair perfectly with bratwurst.
Equally smoky and savory much like bratwurst, it only makes sense to pair these two meats up. You can wrap your sausage with a strip of bacon or top it off with crunchy bacon bits.
Again, say what? Relax, it’s just potato pancakes. This classic German side is not much different from a hash brown, so it’s sure to satisfy.
Another German staple, spaetzle is like a chewier hybrid of egg noodles and dumplings. You may not have been familiar with this dish before now, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try making it yourself.
Spaetzle only requires four ingredients – flour, eggs, milk, and salt. Classic staples you probably already have in your kitchen. Once it’s done, all you need to do is toss it in butter and it’s ready to serve.
In a hurry to feed those hungry guests of yours? Stick to simple jarred applesauce! If you’ve got time, though, making your own from scratch is the way to go. Homemade applesauce is very easy to prep and customize, and the end result is well worth it.
Ein prost! I can’t end this list without the most iconic German beverage, can I? Bratwurst and beer are such a classic pair, you really can’t have one without the other. A cold pilsner or doppelbock is best, but honestly, any brew will do.