Slow Cooker Beer Brats with Marinated Onions are a fantastic way to feed a crowd! Plump and Juicy Bratwursts, slowly cooking in a tangy beer marinade creates an aroma of summer that your guests won’t be able to resist!  If you are looking for amazing summer meals make sure to check out my amazing grilled Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs too!

Slow Cooker Beer Brats with Caramelized Onions in a Bun

Slow Cooker Beer Brats

Bratwursts are one of my favorite things to eat in the hot summer months.  It honestly doesn’t even need to be that hot.  As soon as the sun starts to melt the snow we start talking about brats and hot dogs.  Its sort of how we thaw out around here.  In my humble opinion, there are two ways to make brats.  You can grill them or you can use this method and soak them in a tangy beer marinade for hours and hours until they are bursting with flavor.   Oh, and smothering them in homemade marinated onions is a bonus you won’t want to skip.

Caramelized Onions with Sauce for Beer Brats

How to Make the Marinade

There are two parts to this marinade, the onions, and the sauce.  To make the onions, start by cutting thick rings.  Separate the rings with your fingers and put them in a pan with melted butter.  Cook for just a few minutes.  The goal is to soften them a bit to prepare them for the slow cooker.

Next, grab a medium bowl and mix the sauce together with the following ingredients:

  • Dijon Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Honey
  • Worchestershire Sauce
  • Lemon Juice
  • Paprika
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Hot Sauce

Best Brats to Purchase

If you can, go to a local butcher or meat shop and get your brats there.  If you are buying them at the supermarket, go for the least processed kind and some that are not pre-cooked.  Your brat doesn’t need to have anything extra in it for this recipe, just a run of the mill regular sausage will work.

Slow Cooker Beer Brats Browned Before Cooking

How to Make Slow Cooker Brats

Add the cooked onions and the sauce to the slow cooker and mix well.  Next, sear the brats in a pan (about 3 minutes per side).  This will just char the outside of the brats.  They will finish cooking in the crockpot.  Add the seared brats to the crockpot and pour two bottles of beer over the top.  Cover and set to low, and set a timer for 7 hours.

When you are ready to serve, use a kitchen tongs to pull out the brats and then strain out the onions.  Top the brat with the marinated onions, ketchup, and mustard.  There are entire camps of people who will gasp at that last statement.  Yes, we put ketchup on our brats.  Evidently mustard is the only acceptable choice, but we like it this way.  Judge away.

Best Beer for Crockpot Brats

As a general rule, the best beer is your favorite beer.  However, for this particular recipe, I went with an IPA.  Why?  Because it is what I had.  Honestly speaking, the flavor of the beer IS going to come out a tiny bit.  So if you pick a super hoppy beer you will taste a little bit of the hops, but not much.  Most of the alcohol will cook out so it is just the flavor that is left over.  You can use a light beer or a dark beer.  It will adjust the flavor a bit but it will still taste amazing.

Bite From A Slow Cooker Beer Brat with Caramelized Onions

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Slow Cooker Beer Brats with Caramelized Onions

Slow Cooker Beer Brats and Caramelized Onions

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Slow Cooker Beer Brats with Caramelized Onions are a fantastic way to feed a crowd! Plump and Juicy Bratwursts, slowly cooking in a tangy beer marinade creates an aroma of summer that your guests won't be able to resist!


  • small yellow onions
  • ¼  cup  butter
  • 2 (12 ounce) IPA beers
  • 12  brats
  • ¼  cup  dijon mustard
  • 1/4  cup  ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon  apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • teaspoon  honey
  • teaspoon  Worcestershire sauce
  • teaspoon  lemon juice
  • 1/4  teaspoon  paprika
  • 1/8  teaspoon  garlic powder
  • 1/8  teaspoons  kosher salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  hot sauce 


  • Slice onions into thick rings.
  • In a medium-sized pan, sauté onions in butter until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove onions from pan and place into the crockpot. Set pan aside, you will use it again.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine Dijon mustard, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, honey, Worcestershire, lemon juice, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Mix well and set aside.
  • In the same pan you softened the onions in, brown brats over medium heat for 3 minutes on each side (brats will not be fully cooked).
  • Add the sauce and brats to the crockpot (on top of the onions) and stir to combine.
  • Pour beer over the top and cover.
  • Turn the crockpot on low and cook on low 6 to 7 hours.

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

    1. It’s a type of beer. 🙂 If you don’t drink you might want to find a different recipe though… the beer brings a lot of flavor in this one!

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