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Bratwurst and Red Cabbage

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Bratwurst and red cabbage is a flavorful, brightly colored dinner! Smoky sautéed vegetables are combined with sweet and sour red cabbage to make the perfect partner to juicy, flavorful beer-soaked bratwurst.

Bratwurst links nestled in purple cabbage and orange bell pepper strips

Kenna said: “This is so good!! Made it exactly as the recipe states. Wouldn’t change a thing! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I feel like there's a real lack of red cabbage recipes in the world. I know it's probably because I'm German, but good grief do I love a big dish of red cabbage. But I also love bratwurst. Why not put sausage and red cabbage together?

When Johnsonville reached out to me about doing a post to celebrate National Bratwurst Day, I was here for it because 1) I freaking love bratwurst and 2) I've been longing for fall for a while now and (as you may have read in my last post) it's full speed ahead on the autumn train for me.

Choo choo, fall – I'm coming for you.

Johnsonville bratwurst and red cabbage

Perfect for BBQ season

Let's kick it up a notch – why not purchase a whole bunch of Johnsonville brat packages and host a dinner party with your family and friends?

Maybe you're looking for an excuse to show off your sweet grilling skills.

Maybe you bought a new house and need a reason to break in your new, fabulous backyard.

Or maybe you're like me and you just freaking love brats and any excuse to eat them! I'm not saying you have to share them, but it would probably be a good idea… you know, if you want to continue to have those family and friends you love so dearly.

As for me, I like to stick with the stove and use a skillet or high-sided pan. The grill and I don't get along super well – it produces a whole lot of heat and invariably the winds shift when I'm grilling and all that heat ends up in my face.

I do make exceptions, but since I live in a pretty windy area, I tend to stay inside with my food-related activities. That's why I thought now is as good a time as ever to whip up a couple of my favorite foods and turn them into the perfect dinner: brats and cabbage. 

Bratwurst links nestled in purple cabbage and orange bell pepper strips

Strong opinions on red cabbage

Now I know that many people have very strong opinions when it comes to their red cabbage. Some people think it should always have bacon in it unless you hate happiness, others think it should never be cooked and only served in a cold slaw form, and there are people who believe if it hasn't been pickled for months that you've lost your mind.

If you are any of those people… just hear me out. 

We're going to mix it up with water, vinegar and sugar and let it simmer for half an hour. That's it.

The thicker pieces will still have a slight crunch (one of my favorite parts about it), but the rest is going to be perfectly tender with a delightful combination of sweet and sour flavors.

And the color? Well, just look at it. It's gorgeous. While the German in me is obsessed with the red cabbage, the real star of the show here is the bratwurst.

Ingredients for red cabbage and bratwurst

  • Olive oil, for heating
  • 1 large onion, sliced (divided)
  • 1 small head red cabbage, sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, can substitute honey
  • 4 Johnsonville Bratwursts
  • A can or bottle of your favorite beer, I recommend a lager
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ⅛ tsp cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
Bratwurst links nestled in purple cabbage and orange bell pepper strips

Should I boil my brats before cooking?

We're going to let them simmer in a beer broth for ten minutes, and then brown them – it gives them the most perfect texture.

They're juicy and flavorful, and pair beautifully with the sauteed onions and peppers that are seasoned with a combination of spices including smoked paprika.

If you don't have any, you have to get some. Plain ole' paprika won't do. Smoked paprika gives this dish a wonderful smoky flavor with a respectable kick of heat. 

I don't want to tell you how to eat your own food, but let me make a recommendation:

Place your colorful combination of veggies on the plate, and carefully nestle the bratwurst on top. Slice your bratwurst as you go, ensuring that each bite will be warm and juicy. Eat each bite with a forkful of veggies, and lose yourself in this amazing flavor combination.

I promise, the process will be worth it.

Bratwurst and Red Cabbage: Smoky sauteed vegetables are combined with sweet and sour red cabbage to make the perfect partner to juicy, flavorful beer-soaked bratwurst! | stressbaking.com

What to serve with bratwurst and cabbage

I love to serve this as a big ol' platter alongside some other sharable favorites for group gatherings. Try serving it with:

Leaving a comment and star rating is a great (and free) way to support Stress Baking. After you've enjoyed this recipe, click on the stars below and leave a comment to share your experience – thank you!

Bratwurst and Red Cabbage

5 from 19 votes
Smoky sautéed vegetables are combined with sweet and sour red cabbage to make the perfect partner to juicy, flavorful beer-soaked brats!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 servings



  • In a large saucepan, heat a drizzle of oil over medium heat. Add half of your onions and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, or until softened.
    Olive oil
    1 large onion
  • Add cabbage, water, vinegar, sugar. Let simmer on low 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste, and remove from heat.
    1 small head red cabbage
    1 cup (236 ⅗ g) water
    1/2 cup (119 ½ g) apple cider vinegar
    3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    Salt to taste
    Pepper to taste
  • After cabbage has cooked for about 10 minutes, start cooking the sausages. In a high sided saute pan, add brats and beer. Add just enough water to help cover the brats.
    4 Johnsonville Bratwursts
    A can or bottle of your favorite beer
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Drain the liquid, then add a drizzle of oil to the pan and turn the heat up to medium. Brown the brats on all sides until their internal temperature is 165°F, then turn off the heat and remove them from the pan. Place them on a plate, covered with aluminum foil to keep them warm.
    Olive oil
  • Return heat to medium and add another drizzle of oil to the pan. Once hot, add the other half of your onions and saute for 3 minutes until they start to soften.
    1 large onion
    Olive oil
  • Add bell peppers and cook for another few minutes until both onions and pepper are softened. Add garlic, oregano, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes and cumin, and cook another 30 seconds, until fragrant. Salt and pepper to taste.
    1 orange bell pepper
    1 yellow bell pepper
    3 garlic cloves
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon (½ teaspoon) smoked paprika
    1/4 teaspoon (¼ teaspoon) crushed red pepper flakes
    1/8 tsp (⅛ tsp) cumin
  • Add prepared cabbage to pan (sans liquid) and carefully stir to combine. Add sausages back to the pan, cover, and heat until sausages are warmed. Serve and enjoy!


Nutrition Facts

Calories: 194kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 80mg | Potassium: 824mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 3888IU | Vitamin C: 261mg | Calcium: 132mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition Disclaimer

The provided nutrition information is generated by an automatic API and does not take variations across specific brands into account. This information is provided as a general guideline and should not be treated as official calculations. Learn more here.

Recipe created by Leslie Kiszka

This post was sponsored by Johnsonville, but as always the text and opinions are all mine.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I had red cabbage from my garden and was looking for a recipe to use it — this was perfect! Beautiful colors and great favors, just in time for (almost) fall!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this last night and absolutely loved it!
    I actually used dry cider instead of beer and it turned out great.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    The temp just dropped in the Midwest and just in time for Oktoberfest to really get going. This is just what I needed after a long week (…oh wait, it’s only Wednesday). Simple but delicious food!

  4. 5 stars
    Made this recipe for my husband and I it was excellent
    He loved the red cabbage he could believe it was not from a jar
    It was easy to follow recipe
    Will be making it again
    Thank you for a great recipe

  5. 5 stars
    I wasn’t sure about this recipe, but decided to give it a try. Glad I did, it’s keeper! I will be making it again.

    1. 5 stars
      Well frankly what the actual f**k. Honestly really enjoyed the meal, but who in christs name comes up with these wack ass combinations. Pickled cabbage with beer soaked sausages and fajita peppers? Madness. Thank you. Five stars.

      1. The taste and beauty is a 5 star. I had to give it a 3 because of confusion over the onions. Personally I followed the directions and when it came time I cut more onion to sauté with the pepper. I think this is a nice layering of flavors!

      2. I’m sorry you felt it a 3 star recipe because of my typo regarding using half the onions in each of those steps, but thank you for letting me know so I could quickly fix it so others don’t experience that confusion as well. I’m glad you enjoyed the dish regardless!

      3. 5 stars
        After a very quick response from Leslie, I want to change my rating to. 5 star! This is a wonderful recipe with the sautéed onions added at the second stage. There’s a bit of kick and intense layers of flavor.