Beer Is for More Than Just Drinking: Make the Best Slow Cooker Oktoberfest Stew

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.

Top-down shot of two white ceramic bowls of Oktober fest stew made with German bratwurst, carrots, cabbage, and potatoes, with a glass of dark amber-colored beer and a glass bottle, printed with orange and white text.

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.

A shallow soup bowl is filled with Oktoberfest stew made with bratwurst and root vegetables, with another bowl in the background, a glass of lager, and a folded yellow cloth napkin.

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.

Two white soup bowls of Oktoberfest stew, with a yellow cloth napkin and a spoon, a piece of baguette, a glass bottle and a glass of beer, on a beige and white patterned tablecloth.

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.

Oblique shot of two white soup bowls of Oktoberfest stew with sausage and vegetables, a glass of beer, a piece of baguette, and a yellow cloth napkin folded to the left of the frame, with a spoon on top.

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.

A spoonful of bratwurst, carrot, and potato is held up to the camera, with a shallow white ceramic bowl of the stew and a piece of baguette in the background.

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!

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A shallow white soup bowl of homemade Oktoberfest stew, on a beige and white patterned tablecloth, with a yellow cloth napkin and a spoon.

Slow Cooker Oktoberfest Stew

  • Author: Meghan Bassett
  • 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.




  1. Place all ingredients into your slow cooker.


  2. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.


  3. 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.

Potatoes, carrots, an onion, a green cabbage, two bottles of beer, and a plate topped with five German sausages, on a beige background.

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

Shredded cabbage with pieces of raw potato and bratwurst, in the bowl of a slow cooker.

Place all of ingredients in the slow cooker.

Closeup shot of chunks of potato and carrot, shredded cabbage, sliced bratwurst, and a bay leaf, in a slow cooker.

Set to low, and cook for 6-8 hours.

Carrots, cabbage, bratwurst, and beer, in a slow cooker.

The stew is ready to serve when all of the ingredients are tender and cooked through.

Step 3 – Serve

A shallow white soup bowl of homemade Oktoberfest stew, on a beige and white patterned tablecloth, with a yellow cloth napkin and a spoon.

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!

Two shallow soup bowls filled with Oktoberfest stew with potatoes, carrots, and German sausage, with a glass of lager, on a beige and white tablecloth with a yellow cloth napkin and a spoon.

Here are some of my personal favorites:

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.

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