Asking how long to boil brats is a very common question for those just starting their brats cooking journey, so don’t feel shy for asking.
Brats usually aren’t just boiled — you need contact with a hot grill or pan to get that nice, crispy char that really makes a brat a brat.
Simmering brats — especially in beer — is a great way to add extra flavor and to keep the meat moist and juicy as they cook, letting you then grill or pan-fry brats without fear of them drying out.
Simmer, Don’t Boil
We use the term “boil” here but it’s important to note the difference between boiling and simmering.
A great basic bratwurst recipe such as our How to Cook Brats in BeerÂ guide provides more details but here are the basics, as far as how long to boil brats.
You’ll add your brats to a pot or large skillet and add equal parts liquid — either water and beer or just water — until the brats are covered by liquid.
Bring them to a brisk boil but then immediately turn down the heat to a very low boil, more of a simmer than an active boil.
Simmer your brats for about 15 to 20 minutes, then finish off on the grill or in a pan with just your brats and a little olive oil to get a nice crispy char and finish.
How Long to Boil Brats if Grilling First
Some people recommend that you grill your brats first and then poach or simmer the brats afterwards.
The cooking times here are about the same but the order is reversed; 5-10 minutes on the grill first then 20 minutes or more simmering.
The grilling first method is often used when cooking huge amounts of brats for festivals or celebrations.
Brats are grilled first then left to simmer in warming pans or trays with onions, garlic, and other seasonings.
Boiling bratwurst is pretty forgiving so don’t stress too much about nailing the exact timing when it comes down to how long to boil brats.
Once they’re done, the traditional way to serve up your brats is on a hard roll with plenty of stone ground mustard.