Try This Ballpark-Inspired Recipe: Bratwurst Sliders

Inviting some pals over to hang out can quickly turn stressful when you realize they’re going to expect some food. Before you reach for your phone to order delivery, take a few deep breaths. Homemade eats don’t have to be difficult. With original recipes from our Everyday Appetizers series, you can pull off showstopping starters without losing your cool. 

Even those who don’t particularly care for baseball love going to a game just to enjoy the fantastic food. Though it’s hard to go wrong with any of the offerings, a bratwurst loaded with mustard, onions, and sauerkraut might take the top spot. Since waiting until you can snag tickets to a game is far too long to go without enjoying something so delicious, we morphed the meal into some bratwurst sliders you can easily make in your kitchen any weekend. You might say this recipe is a home run.

About this recipe

Bratwurst sliders with gruyere cheese and sauerkraut on potato rolls

Bratwurst sliders | Christine Skopec/Culture Cheat Sheet

Sliders are a great way to turn burgers into an appetizer you can share with friends, but they’re also a bit problematic. Because the patties are so much smaller, they often end up completely overcooked by the time you get a nice char on the outside. This is the genius of using sausage, bratwurst in this case. The seasoned meat contains a good amount of fat, so even the thinnest patties will stay super juicy. Piled on some potato rolls with a saucy apple-sauerkraut mixture and melted Gruyère cheese, these mini burgers are nothing short of addictive.

To keep this recipe as easy as possible, we cooked everything in one pan. Because the sausage has enough fat as is, you can toss the patties into the pan without any additional oil. After just a few minutes, they’ll have a nice crust. Flip them over, let them finish cooking through, then remove from the skillet. Don’t worry too much about keeping them warm because you’ll be adding them directly to the sauerkraut topping later on.

You’ll use the rendered fat from the sausages to start cooking the onions, then stir in the apples. Fruit might not be among the standard toppings at the stadium, but the sweet flavor goes phenomenally with everything else in this dish. We like Honeycrisp apples, which have a great balance of sweet and tart, but feel free to use whatever variety you prefer.

After the onions and apples have softened, stir in the kraut, mustard, and a good glug of hard cider, which helps reinforce the apple flavor. If you’d prefer to use beer, it works just as well. Once the mixture reduces, top your patties with cheese, slide them into the skillet, and cover just for a minute or so to let the cheese melt. Assemble, serve to your friends, and prepare for heaps of praise. And don’t forget to finish off the rest of that cider.

Bratwurst Sliders

one bratwurst slider with a bite taken out of it

Bratwurst sliders | Christine Skopec/Culture Cheat Sheet

Slightly sweet potato rolls make a perfect bun for these mini burgers. We also like that they’re a nod to the potato salad or fries you might eat with a traditional brat. If you can’t find them, any other type of fluffy dinner roll will work. This recipe makes enough to serve 6.


  • 1 pound bratwurst sausages, casings removed, meat formed into 12 even patties
  • ½ yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ sweet-tart apple, such as Honeycrisp, thinly sliced, and cut into small pieces
  • Salt
  • 1 (16-ounce) package sauerkraut, well drained
  • ⅔ cup hard cider
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 12 small slices Gruyère or Swiss cheese
  • 12 potato rolls, halved

Directions: Heat a large heavy skillet over medium high. Add bratwurst patties and cook until well browned and fully cooked, flipping once, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer patties to a plate and drain off all but 1 tablespoon of fat.

Reduce heat to medium and add onion to same pan. Cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add apple and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium high and add cider, mustard, and sauerkraut. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is mostly reduced, 4 to 5 minutes.

Top each patty with a piece of cheese, then transfer back to skillet along with accumulated juices, nestling into sauerkraut mixture. Cover and cook just until cheese melts, about 1 minute. Serve sliders and sauerkraut mixture on rolls.

Follow Christine on Twitter @christineskopec

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