Oktoberfest: Mini Bratwurst & Sauerkraut Balls

I know "Mini Bratwurst & Sauerkraut Balls" might sound completely weird and unappetizing, unless you happen to be a sauerkraut lover (which I'm guessing most of us are not). But, before you bypass this Oktoberfest sequel post, here me out!

Sauerkraut balls are a traditional favorite in the Midwest, thanks to the region's dense German heritage. These savory treats combine the fall's abundantly sour cabbage with the sweetness of the bratwurst.
Bratwurst is browned in a pan with onion and parsley before being mixed with milk, flour, and dry mustard. The mixture becomes dense and is easily shaped into balls before being covered in flour, egg, and finally, breadcrumbs. Freeze on a baking sheet for about 20-25 minutes to ensure they hold their shape well.

Even though the bratwurst is already cooked before these go in the oil to fry, try to size these a little smaller than golf balls - anything bigger could fry in the oil quickly without warming all the way through.

We halved the recipe; using about 3/4 pound of bratwurst, it made about 22 balls. The full recipe below would probably make between 45-50 - the perfect amount for an Oktoberfest party!

Mini Bratwurst & Sauerkraut Balls
makes 40-50

  • 1½ pounds pork bratwursts, ground ham, or corned beef (or mixture)
  • 2 pounds sauerkraut, squeezed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 pinch parsley
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups of milk
  • Egg (for coating)
  • Unseasoned bread crumbs (for coating)
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)
  • Honey mustard, thousand island, or cocktail sauce (for dipping)

1. Remove casing from bratwursts. Brown meat, onion, and parsley in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Add flour, milk and mustard. Stir together until combined and fluffy. Transfer to a mixing bowl and allow to cool.

3. Add sauerkraut and mix again. Roll into balls (about the size of a golf ball or slightly smaller) then completely cover balls first in flour, then dip in egg, and finally roll in bread crumbs.

4. Freeze for 20-25 minutes on a baking sheet before frying until dark brown. Drain on paper towels and serve with dipping sauce of choice.