Knockwurst vs. Bratwurst: What’s the Difference?

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Maybe it’s because they share a suffix, or perhaps it’s because they’re often offered at the same restaurants, events, and even on the same plate. In any case, you are not alone in believing that knockwurst and bratwurst are separate terms for the same sausage!

We are pleased to inform you, fellow sausage enthusiasts, that this is not the case. These two German sausages are unmistakably different. Yet, if you like one of these sausages, you are likely to enjoy the other as well. So let’s spend some time getting to know them both!

What are Knockwurst Sausages?

Knockwurst sausages, also known as knackwurst, originated in Northern Germany, where the term knacken means to crack. This alludes directly to the fact that this is exactly what these sausages do! While they cook, the flesh in these sausages produces a lot of fluids, giving them a plump form. The fluids are retained in the casing until you slice through it, at which point a snapping or cracking sound is typically heard.

How is Knockwurst Made?

Knockwurst sausage is made with finely minced pig and veal that has been highly seasoned with fresh garlic and other spices. The ground pig and veal are placed into casings and tied off after being processed and combined with spices.

The sausages are then matured for several days, during which time part of the surplus water evaporates, concentrating the taste and increasing the umami factor! The sausages are smoked over aromatic oak wood after they have finished maturing, giving them a distinct taste.

What Does Knockwurst Look Like?

Knockwurst has a red to pinkish-orange hue that is considerably more evident on the exterior as a result of the smoking process. As the sausage is cut open, you can see that the inside is a lighter hue. Knockwurst sausage is a sort of thick sausage that is substantially thicker and plumper than your average hot dog! Also, knockwurst is often shorter in length.

As you cut into a link of knockwurst, you’ll see that the inside is a little grainy since the meat combination isn’t completely smooth. Rather, some texture remains in the mixture, and little chunks of garlic should be discernible.

What are Bratwurst Sausages?

Bratwurst sausages, often known as brats, are likely more familiar to most people since they are frequently seen at baseball game concession stalls and at fairs and festivals. The German term brat really means coarsely chopped, which is exactly what this sausage’s stuffing is! Since wurst is the German word for sausage, the term bratwurst literally translates as finely chopped sausage.

How is Bratwurst Made?

Bratwurst sausage is typically composed of pork, although beef may sometimes be incorporated in the mix. The meat is pounded to a smooth consistency and mixed with spices before being placed into a casing. There are several different sorts of bratwursts, some of which are cured while others are offered fresh. Others, on the other hand, are boiled and pre-cooked before to packing, giving them a delicate white look!

Bratwurst is often gently seasoned and sweeter in flavor, with slight additions of nutmeg or mace. Generally, bratwurst is substantially milder in taste than knockwurst or other sausages like kielbasa.

What Does Bratwurst Look Like?

Bratwurst may be light pink or virtually white in color, depending on how much it is cooked during processing, if at all. Bratwurst is generally often longer than knockwurst, measuring roughly 8 inches in length. This beef combination is finer ground than knockwurst, giving the sausage a velvety, smooth feel rather than gritty.

How to Cook Knockwurst and Bratwurst

Knockwurst and bratwurst are both ideally suited to a variety of cooking techniques, so feel free to experiment with them in any of the culinary applications listed here, and beyond!

Grilled Knockwurst or Bratwurst

Both of these sausages cook quickly on the grill and get a delicious charred taste as a consequence. Since knockwurst and many variants of bratwurst are not precooked, you may want to boil them first to completely prepare them. Finally, just place the sausages on a hot grill to get the same color and taste as if they had been grilled from start to finish.

Roasted Knockwurst or Bratwurst

These two German sausages may alternatively be baked in a heated pan until golden brown on both sides. Since sausage casings may be fairly dry and devoid of fat, gently cover knockwurst or bratwurst with vegetable oil or olive oil before roasting.

This will assist the casing crisp and impart the sharp knack to the knockwurst, as well as give those pale looking bratwurst some color!

Simmered Knockwurst or Bratwurst

Simmering is a traditional (and simple!) method of cooking sausages of all kinds, from hot dogs to knockwurst, bratwurst, and kielbasa. Simmering the sausages in beer is a popular option, especially at Oktoberfest.

If beer isn’t your thing, or if you don’t drink or cook with it, you can easily boil the sausages in stock or simple water. Add a few herbs to your simmering liquid for an added taste boost!

What to Serve With Knockwurst and Bratwurst

Sausage and sauerkraut are a marriage made in heaven, whether served whole or sliced, in a sandwich or on its own. Pairing this crisp, acidic fermented cabbage with German sausages is a famous pairing that goes back centuries in German cuisine.

But, it is far from the only choice. All of these sausages go well with roasted bell peppers, boiled potatoes or potato salad, and whatever sort of pickle you choose!

Knockwurst is more typically served as an appetizer because to its smaller size, and it may be sliced and served with sweet German mustard for dipping.

Knockwurst vs. Bratwurst: Summary of Differences

Knockwurst and bratwurst are two forms of German sausage that, although having similar components and overall aesthetics, are completely unique from one another. Here’s a rundown of their main distinctions.


Knockwurst sausages are created from pig and veal, while bratwurst sausages are normally made from pork and sometimes a pork and beef blend. Knockwurst is usually seasoned with garlic and other spices, while bratwurst is mildly seasoned with spices like as nutmeg or mace.


Knockwurst is often deeper in color after smoking, ranging from pinkish-red to reddish-orange. Bratwurst, on the other hand, has a more light pink to white colour due to the fact that it is occasionally boiled before being packed and marketed.

Knockwurst will also be shorter in length and plumper all around, while bratwurst will be longer and occasionally thinner.


Knockwurst is a coarse sausage because the meat and spice combination is not properly crushed before stuffing into casings. Bratwurst, on the other hand, is considerably finer ground and has a smooth, uniform texture throughout.


Knockwurst has a garlicky flavor and is usually extensively seasoned with strong tastes, as opposed to bratwurst, which has a moderate flavor. Bratwurst tastes more like the sausage itself, with a mild sweetness from the warming spices and a herbaceous punch of marjoram from time to time. It’s also worth mentioning that if you notice a smokey taste in your sausage, you’ve got knockwurst on your hands!

Knockwurst vs. Bratwurst: The Bottom Line

Although everyone has their own favorite variety of sausage, we can all agree that wursts are the greatest!

Bratwurst and knockwurst are two of the most popular German sausages that may be characterized by their ingredients, appearance, size, flavor, and texture.

Regardless of their differences, if you enjoy the flavor of one of these two, you’re sure to like the other, so don’t get trapped in a sausage rut by buying the same old sort from the butcher again and over! Experiment with one of these varieties of German sausage.


What is better knockwurst or bratwurst?

The primary distinction between knockwurst and bratwurst is their flavor. Knockwurst has a much stronger kick and is packed with paprika, mace, and garlic. Bratwurst has a much more delicate taste, with a smoky flavor and notes of well-chosen spices like marjoram and nutmeg.

What is bratwurst vs knockwurst vs Krainerwurst?

Bratwurst is a German sausage made mostly of pork. Krainerwurst is a cured and smoked beef and pork brat with a faint garlic flavor. Knockwurst is a huge, meaty, juicy hot dog made of beef and pork. Weisswurst is a unique, primarily veal sausage from Munich.

What is the difference between knockwurst and Bockwurst?

The primary distinctions between Bockwurst and Knackwurst

Bockwurst provides 57% more daily vitamin K coverage. Bockwurst has three times the amount of Vitamin B5 than Knackwurst. Vitamin B5 is present in 0.891mg of Bockwurst and 0.32mg of Knackwurst. Knackwurst is lower in cholesterol.

What does knockwurst mean in German?

A short, thick sausage. Etymology. Knackwurst comes from the German word knacken, which means “to crackle (when fried),” and Wurst means “sausage.”

How do Germans eat knockwurst?

Knockwurst is a German classic that may be made in a variety of ways. Combine with sauerkraut, spaetzle, or both for a delicious dinner.

What is the best tasting German sausage?

The Finest Wurst – Famous Sausages for Your German Vacation
Landjäger. This dried meat, which resembles a little salami, is produced with beef, pig, fat, sugar, and spices… Knackwurst. These thick pig sausages have been around since the 16th century! … Thüringer…. Frankfurter Wurstchen…. Weisswurst…. Leberkäse…. Bockwurst.
Additional information…•November 12, 2017

What are the best kind of brats to buy?

Porter Avenue. iGourmet Bratwurst Links (3-Pack)… Goldbelly. Schaller & Weber Bier Brats. Weber and Schaller Goldbelly, a 5-pound pack. Oktoberfest dinner for ten…
David and Harry. Sausage selection from Harry & David…
Porter Avenue. Bratwursts made from beef…
Past Meat. KC Cattle Co. Beyond Meat vegan brats (four-pack)… Summer sausage made from Wagyu.

What are the yellow balls in bratwurst?

Q: What are those small yellow spherical things in Summer Sausage? A: Mustard seeds are the little, round yellow bits in (some) Summer Sausage. Mustard seeds are a classic component in Summer Sausage, and they give each slice a little additional zing!

What is the best cut of meat for bratwurst?

You want to strive for a cut that has an 80% meat to 20% fat ratio. Avoid cuts that finish in “loin” (i.e. tenderloin); they are excessively skinny and will leave your sausages dry and flavorless. Choose a pork butt shoulder instead.

What is the best way to eat knockwurst?

Q: How do you consume knockwurst? A: It may be served as finger food at gatherings or with a piece of fine bread and a couple of condiments. Then there are the more involved preparations. “In the summer,” Chef Gutenbrunner says, “you may use it in wurstsalat”—literally “sausage salad.” (This is a real thing.)

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