One of the things I most look forward to about the transition from summer to fall is the arrival of Oktoberfest.
Now, I have never been to a true Oktoberfest celebration in Germany, as much as my husband and I wish we could have gone last year.
Since I can’t be in Germany to celebrate the festival, I bring the party into my own home with home-cooked food, and copious amounts of German beer.
Brace yourselves, because I have a confession for you all:
I used to hate beer.
Please don’t throw stones at me for saying this… I’m sorry.
It took my husband a solid couple of years of making me taste every brew that he enjoyed, as well as attending beer pairing dinners and festivals together, for me to finally get on board with the whole beer thing.
Now that I am in love with beer, I am starting to cook with it on a regular basis as well.
If you haven’t tried cooking with beer yet, it’s time to hop on this bandwagon. There’s something about the flavors of the malt or hops that bring a new level of flavor that you simply can’t get from other ingredients.
I have used beer in everything from brines to chicken marinades, sautees to soups and stews. I’ve found that these final two options provide the easiest way to incorporate beer into savory dishes, especially when you are using a slow cooker.
This stew is essentially Oktoberfest itself, in a nice big bowl of hearty goodness. You get the rich flavor of German lager in every spoonful, but it’s not overpowering. Instead, the beer complements the stew and provides a savory, luxuriant finish.
This dish is loaded with so many different textures and hearty ingredients. There’s carrots, potatoes, onions, and cabbage for a good amount of variety. All of these ingredients are classic in German dishes, but this isn’t the plain old cabbage stew that you might be familiar with.
The bratwurst brings a savory hit of flavor to the party that cuts through the German lager. I used beer bratwurst for this particular recipe, but you can use any of the most famous German sausage varieties, depending on what’s available to you at your local store or meat market.
I think the bratwurst is a natural pairing for this dish, but if I had to pick a second best option to use in this stew, I would choose weisswurst. This type is typically cooked in hot water, but with the slow cooker, the sausage won’t burst apart in the stew when you cook it.
If you are looking for more inspiration for your Oktoberfest menu, be sure to keep reading to the end of this article for more ideas. Bring Oktoberfest to your kitchen and you’ll have your friends and family clamoring for an invite to the celebration.
Prost, my friends. Prost!Print
Slow Cooker Oktoberfest Stew
- Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
Get into the German spirit with the best slow cooker Oktoberfest stew. With rich flavors, this hearty meal is a delicious way to celebrate.
- 4 large russet potatoes, diced
- 3 medium carrots, diced
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 ounces bratwurst, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 11.2-ounce bottles German-style Lager (or any Oktoberfest-style beer)
- 1/2 head small green cabbage, halved again, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Place all ingredients into your slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- Remove bay leaf and serve.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 8 hours
- Category: Oktoberfest
- Method: Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: German
Keywords: stew, Oktoberfest, German, bratwurst, lager
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prepare Vegetables, Slice Bratwurst, and Measure Remaining Ingredients
Scrub the potatoes well, and wash all of the other produce.
Get out your favorite vegetable peeler, chef’s knife, and a sturdy cutting board. Peel and dice the carrots and potatoes. Or, if you choose, you may leave the peels on the potatoes for added nutrients.
Dice the onion and mince the garlic.
Halve the green cabbage half, remove the core from each piece, and thinly slice. I used a mandoline to slice the cabbage, but you could also use a knife, or the slicing disc on your food processor.
Slice the bratwurst into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Set aside.
Measure all of the remaining ingredients, so they will be ready to go.
Step 2 – Cook
Place all of ingredients in the slow cooker.
Set to low, and cook for 6-8 hours.
The stew is ready to serve when all of the ingredients are tender and cooked through.
Step 3 – Serve
Remove bay leaf, and serve warm in large soup bowls.
Celebrate Oktoberfest with a Delicious Menu
Who says you should stop at this flavorful stew for your Oktoberfest celebrations? There are so many more recipes that will help you to embrace the colorful traditions of the festival!
Here are some of my personal favorites:
- Check out this authentic German Oktoberfest menu to try out some classic recipes that you will fall in love with. I am personally dying to try these bread dumplings.
- Make a German “bowle” so you don’t have to drink beer the whole time. It makes for a gorgeous centerpiece on the table.
- Homemade German pretzels are always a hit at any party, but at Oktoberfest they are a basic requirement to pair with the malty beer. And don’t forget the Obatza for dipping!
- Need a little something on the sweeter side? Check out the Puddingbrezel for a pastry treat you’ll be swooning over after the first bite.
Tell us what Oktoberfest recipe you are most excited to try this year in the comments below. And be sure to come back and rate the recipe once you have tried it.
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 20, 2013. Last updated September 14th, 2020.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.
3 thoughts on “Beer Is for More Than Just Drinking: Make the Best Slow Cooker Oktoberfest Stew”
Awesome recipe !!
Be making this recipe again for the third year in a row. Everybody likes my Oktoberfest stew.
Thanks for sharing, Craig. We’re so glad it’s become a tradition!