Picture the delicious sizzle of brats on a BBQ grill. Bratwursts, or brats in short, are German sausages that are perfect for summer tailgating and backyard events.
Brats are most commonly made with pork but can be made using beef or veal. To get the classic bratwurst flavor, you will need an aromatic spice like nutmeg, coriander, or marjoram. Don’t forget salt and pepper. Add something citrusy like lemon zest and you’re good to go!
These tasty flavors and earthy textures make brats very versatile. You can cook brats in many different ways. You can also eat them with many kinds of side dishes.
There are literally hundreds of dishes that you can serve with brats. We’ve looked through all of them to list the best ones just for you.
1. Amazing German Red Cabbage
It makes sense that this classic German dish pairs well with brats, which also originate from Germany!
Shred red cabbage to begin. Mix it with sliced apples, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and butter. Season with salt, pepper, and cloves. The spicy sweetness of this side dish beautifully balances out the salty spiciness of brats.
2. Hearty Sauerkraut
‘Sauerkraut’ means ‘sour cabbage’ in German. Sauerkraut is yet another classic German dish that is a perfect side dish for brats.
You can buy sauerkraut at the store, or you can make it at home. You only need shredded cabbage, salt and two to three weeks! Brats and sauerkraut make for a hearty and tender meal.
3. Traditional German Spaetzle
Spaetzle are tiny egg noodles that are delicious and easy to make. Traditionally, they are served as a side dish for meat dishes. This makes them an ideal side dish for brats. Brats and spaetzle together are a great comfort meal.
You can make spaetzle from scratch or buy it from the store. Spaetzle means “little sparrows” in reference to the shape of the miniature egg noodles.
4. Soft Homemade Pretzels
Follow this recipe to make some soft chewy pretzels. Pretzels are a lovely side dish for brats. This tried-and-tasted combination of bread and meat promises a wonderful filling dish.
Making your pretzels at home is hands-on and enjoyable. It’s also just as fun to prepare brats. Craft your meal while paying attention to all the small details for an immersive culinary experience.
Bratwursts and Bratkartoffeln. These two go together as beautifully as they complement each other. Bratkartoffeln is German for ‘fried potatoes.’
This recipe includes bacon in the dish. You can leave out the bacon in favor of brats, but you can also enjoy a double meat dish.
Consider seasoning your brats and bratkertofflen with the same spices and condiments. The harmony in the final meal will be addictive!
6. Grilled Corn on the Cob
This All-American classic makes a fantastic side to some grilled brats. Grilling your corn and brats is a superb summertime activity. Have a go at it with your friends and family!
The best part about grilled corn on the cob is the seasoned butter. Use the same seasoned butter to simmer or pan-fry your brats before grilling.
7. Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is great comfort food. It’s filling, kid-friendly, affordable and easy to make. If you’d rather not make it yourself, it’s easy enough to buy it at the store.
Mac and cheese is also commonly used as a side for lots of dishes because of its creamy and versatile taste. Be sure to serve it with your brats. You won’t regret it!
8. German Potato Pancakes (Kartoffelpuffer)
This simple recipe will show you how to make homemade kartoffelpuffer. Apart from potatoes, you will need only a few basic ingredients like eggs and flour. You can easily use leftover mashed potatoes to make these pancakes.
The pancakes should be fried on both sides until they are golden brown. Potato pancakes together with brats make for a filling wholesome meal.
9. Authentic German Potato salad
German people sure do love their potatoes! Just like most German potato-based dishes, this potato salad is a great side for brats.
Unlike American potato salad, this salad does not use mayonnaise. This lack of mayonnaise allows the sharp tastes of the vinegar, pepper and bacon to shine through. This sharpness meets the heartiness of brats for an amazing dining experience.
10. Jamaican Sweet Potato Salad
Surprise your guests with this sweet salad alongside your brats. Jamaican sweet potato salad may not traditionally accompany brats, but hear me out.
Apart from sweet potatoes, this recipe makes use of other vegetables like sweet corn, peppers and onions. The addition of raisins allows for a sweet taste alongside the freshness of the vegetables. This unique palette makes this dish a compelling side for brats, which are naturally salty.
11. Homemade Applesauce
You can never go wrong when it comes to applesauce. Applesauce is one of the most popular sides out there because of how versatile it is. It can be very sweet or very spicy or everything in between.
You can buy readymade applesauce at the store. Still, when you make it at home you get to control the vibrant flavors of the sauce depending on how you’ve prepared your brats.
12. Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are the classic side dish. Mashed potatoes are so dependable as a side because they go well with all sorts of meat and vegetable dishes.
Mashed potatoes with brats is filling and nourishing. It’s a wholesome take on the time-honored combination of meat and potatoes. It’s perfect for dinner with family or a small intimate group of friends.
13. Classic Homemade Coleslaw
Coleslaw is a welcome side for most meals! Coleslaw goes particularly well with meats like brats. There are tons of coleslaw recipes out there but this classic recipe will serve just fine.
Provide hot dog buns or sandwich buns for the brats so that your guests can pile on the coleslaw. Offer stoneground mustard or German scharf mustard for that extra touch.
Cornbread is the ultimate side dish. Its simple, adaptable and affordable. Because of these qualities, it’s the mainstay of many home menus all over the world. Both cornbread and brats are usually cooked simply in many different ways.
Whether you’re pan-frying, grilling, boiling or stewing your brats, you will find that there is a way to make cornbread into the perfect side.
15. Homemade Pierogi
Pierogi are excellent Polish dumplings that promise to take your brats dish to the next level. You can serve pierogi as finger food but the dumplings are inherently sophisticated. Their potato and cheese filling embraces the spicy dense flavor of the brats.
Gift your guests brats with a side of this awesome pierogi and watch them smile and nod approvingly! Such a meal would work best as dinner.
16. Butternut Squash
There are many ways to prepare butternut squash. You can roast, boil, fry, microwave, slow cook, sautée and steam it.
This healthy hearty vegetable is quite handy. Butternut squash produces many kinds of dishes. You can make butternut squash soup, butternut squash stew, butternut squash casserole and butternut squash fries. All these are suitable sides for your brats!
Brats ‘n’ beans will have you clearing your plate because of how delicious it. This meal is both affordable and timesaving. You can easily make brats ‘n’ beans in large quantities, making it ideal for families.
Prepare your brats and beans separately. They both take around 10 minutes to cook. Serve the beans with your brats. Garnish the beans with parsley!
18. Grilled Brussel Sprouts
Sometimes it can feel like everybody hates brussel sprouts. That shouldn’t be the case. On top of being very healthy for you, brussel sprouts can taste amazing if you give them a chance!
Follow this recipe to learn how to grill brussel sprouts with bacon, barbecue sauce, onions, garlic and other seasoning. This dish makes a great side to brats, especially if you use the same spices, condiments and seasoning for both dishes.
19. Homemade French Fries
Would you like a side of fries with that? Fries are the ultimate side dish.
The potato is a very adaptable tuber. It has lots of varieties. It’s cooked in many ways and served with many kinds of meals.
Potatoes tend to go fantastically with meat dishes in particular. For example, French fries served with fried brats sounds mouthwatering. Still, you don’t have to fry your brats for French fries to work perfectly.
Brats are amazing on their own. But they are not complete without a side. That’s why we’ve made a list of the best side dishes for brats.
These dishes deeply enhance the dynamic flavors of brats, where they’re roasted, grilled, fried, boiled, sautéed et cetera. Go ahead and dig in!