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Cooking Brats in Air Fryer: What Temp and How Long?

Air fryer brats

Will cooking bratwursts in an air fryer cause a grease-popping explosion or result in an A+ sausage with minimal effort?

Let’s find out.

What are bratwursts?

Bratwursts are a type of German sausage made of ground meat packed in a natural casing, often pork or veal, and a spice blend that traditionally includes salt, pepper, nutmeg, and marjoram.

Bratwursts, or brats for short, are the perfect easy weeknight meal or party protein. Cook a few up, throw on whatever toppings you have in the fridge (with or without bun), and ta-da — a delicious meal.

Why cook brats in an air fryer?

Let’s face it: cooking bratwurst in an air fryer isn’t as good as a grill, but you can still end up with a delicious result that is way better than a microwave and less work than boiling and searing on a stovetop. This is particularly useful during the colder months.

Air fryer brats are:

  1. Low effort and fast: All you have to do is toss them in the air fryer — and they can be frozen or unfrozen.
  2. Vastly superior to a microwave: Air frying means you still get the crispy exterior and juicy interior, unlike a microwave.
  3. Full of flavor and texture: Air frying in no way sacrifices flavor or texture. Air fryers are just little fan ovens, after all!

The main reason not to throw brats in an air fryer is when you have a large crowd. Air fryers are small, so they only really work for a handful of brats at a time. If you’re throwing a party, consider the stovetop, oven, or ideally, the grill.

Air fryer bratwurst ingredients

The best thing about brats is that there are no other ingredients than the brats! But, you can add some veggies in (as long as you aren’t overcrowding the brats) to create a more complete meal in one quick fry. Kind of like steaming veggies in a rice cooker at the same time.

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Thinly-sliced potatoes: You can add these right in with the brats for easy cooking.
  2. Sliced bell peppers and onions: Similarly, you can add these in when you flip the brats and then use them as toppings.
  3. Diced zucchini: Air-fryer zucchini is delicious and has enough moisture to not dry out.
  4. Brussel sprouts: Toss them in at the beginning with the brats and then put them in a bowl to mix with balsamic or whatever other flavors you want at the end!
  5. Pineapple slices: Don’t knock it until you try it! You can either eat these as a treat or dice them and put a fruity spin on your brat.

Outside of that, pick up some heritage pork brats, fresh bakery bread, and high-quality mustard for the ideal experience.

How to cook brats in an air fryer

Always cook your brats to at least 160º and check with a thermometer before eating. Some brats will still be pink — trust your thermometer!

Cooking brats in an air fryer could not be easier. All you need to do is:

  • Preheat your air fryer to 350º
  • Put air fryer parchment or aluminum at the bottom (optional)
  • Place thawed brats in air fryer (don’t overcrowd or the skin won’t have a good texture)
  • Put a timer on for 12-15 minutes (timing will change depending on the size of your brats)
  • Flip the brats halfway through.
  • Let them sit for 5-7 minutes so the juices reabsorb throughout the meat
  • Enjoy!

Note: You can use frozen brats instead of thawed, but you will need to cook them a few minutes longer and they won’t cook as evenly. Pre-cooked vs. cooked brats also don’t make much of a difference in cooking time, so either one works!

Bratwurst toppings and sides

The world is your sausage when it comes to what you top and serve your brats with, but here are a few classics:


  • Sauerkraut, mustard, and sauteed onions
  • Ketchup and relish
  • Fried onions and BBQ sauce
  • Alabama white sauce and pickle slices
  • Caramelized onions and charred red peppers with dijon mustard
  • Cheese, chili, sour cream, and chives
  • Baked beans and potato chips
  • Bacon and horseradish


  • A tangy lemon vinaigrette salad to offset the protein
  • Baked beans and potato salad
  • Corn salad
  • Pasta salad
  • Potato chips
  • Mac and cheese
  • Broccoli salad
  • Fries!

Mass-produced bratwurst brands

Here are a few of the most common bratwurst brands you’ll find in grocery stores. Some are better than others, and while these can be tasty and cheap, the pork used is from pigs propped up with antibiotics and living in horribly squalid environments.

A superior (and healthier!) bratwurst

Again, most major bratwurst brands use commodity beef and pork that suffer the worst of industrial meat practices, including feeding them nothing but low-quality grain, pumping them full of antibiotics, and trapping them in their own feces. These brands also tend to include sugar and other artificial ingredients to mask the lower-quality beef.

For a vastly healthier and tastier alternative, consider grass-fed and grass-finished beef and heritage pork producers who let animals live and eat naturally. The contrast in taste and health is undeniable.

For context, check out these heritage pork bratwursts raised with USDA organic practices and free of artificial pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, synthetic hormones, GMOs, or other synthetic contaminants. They are so good!

Air fryer brats FAQ

How long do you cook bratwurst in the air fryer?

Around 10-15 minutes depending on the size and if they are pre-cooked or not! The real answer is until 160º!

Should I boil brats before air frying?

You don’t have to, but if you want extra flavor, try poking a few holes, boiling them in beer with celery seeds, caraway seeds, sliced sweet onions, and bay leaves for ten minutes until just shy of temp. Then you can throw them in the air fryer a little hotter (say 425º) to crisp the skin a bit. This mimics a stovetop — and if you are already using the stovetop you might as well bust out a cast iron and do it right!

Can you put aluminum foil in an air fryer?

Yes. Air fryers are essentially tiny fan ovens, so anything you can put in an oven is also fine. Just poke a few holes to allow the air to circulate for more even cooking. Air fryer parchment paper is even easier.

Can I air fry frozen brats?

Yes! You will just need to make sure the fryer is pre-heated and give it a few more minutes (closer to 15-18). Room-temperature brats will cook faster and more evenly, though.

How do I store air-fried brats?

Just toss them in tupperware for 3-4 days. Easy! You can also freeze them to last them for a few more months.

Can I freeze air fryer brats?

Of course! They should last a month or two without any trouble.

The bottom line on frying brats in an air fryer

It doesn’t get easier than air frying brats, and the result is still delicious. Preheat to 350º, toss them in for 12-15 minutes, and cook to 160º. Throw some toppings on and whip up a quick starchy or tangy side. It’s a combo that’s hard to beat — happy bratwursting!

See how much better heritage pork bratwursts really are.


Nathan PhelpsNathan Phelps

Nathan Phelps owns and writes for Crafted Copy, a boutique copywriting shop that finds the perfect words for interesting products. He is also an ethical foodie, outdoors-aficionado, and hails from Nashville, TN. He splits his time between helping sustainable businesses find new customers and managing his ever-increasing list of hobbies, which include playing guitar, baking bread, and creating board games.