This simple recipe for Homemade Italian Sausage is made with a blend of ground meat, garlic, and Italian spices to create perfectly seasoned Italian sausage.
When it comes to sausage, most store-bought brands contain MSG, fillers, nitrates, sugar, and excessive amounts of sodium.
While you can find quality brands that omit those less-than-desirable ingredients, you will likely have to fork over a large sum of change.
With this easy recipe for Homemade Italian Sausage, you can leave the packaged store-bought sausage on the shelf and instead enjoy your own perfectly seasoned, wholesome version of Italian sausage with only MINUTES of prep and a handful of affordable ingredients.
Just like my recipe for Homemade Breakfast Sausage, this recipe for Italian Sausage is made by seasoning ground pork (or ground turkey or chicken) with a customized blend of spices to result in a better-for-you, better-tasting version of Italian Sausage.
What You Need To Make Italian Sausage
The best thing about making Italian sausage yourself is that YOU get to be in charge of the ingredients. Need your sausage to be lower fat? Use ground chicken instead of pork. On a low-sodium diet? Cut the salt in half or omit it completely from the recipe. Hate fennel? Omit it!
Use this fool-proof recipe as a guideline and adapt as needed per your dietary restrictions or personal preferences.
- Ground Pork: While sausage is classically made with ground pork, this recipe for homemade Italian sausage can be prepared with ground turkey, ground chicken, or even ground beef. I personally prefer the flavor of using either lean ground pork or ground chicken.
- Salt: I recommend using kosher salt for this recipe. If you use table salt, you will want to cut the added salt in half as kosher salt is not as high in sodium. Keep in mind you can adjust the added salt as desired or needed.
- Garlic: Instead of using garlic powder. I love using fresh minced garlic, as it adds an incredible amount of flavor to the sausage recipe. If you would rather use garlic powder, I would suggest 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Seasonings: Instead of using Italian Seasoning, I find it is better to use a custom blend of dried spices to perfectly mimic classic Italian sausage. This recipe uses onion powder, ground fennel or fennel seeds, crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and dried parsley.
How to Make Italian Sauage
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the dried spices, salt, and pepper together to evenly incorporate.
- Add in the ground pork (or turkey or chicken) and minced garlic.
- Using your hands or a fork, combine the spices and garlic into the meat until everything is evenly distributed. You don't want to overwork the meat, which can cause your sausage to be tough, so I find using a fork or your hands to gently incorporate the ingredients is best.
- Cover the mixing bowl and refrigerate the mixture for 12-24 hours. This allows the pork to absorb all the flavorings that have been added to the meat.
How To Cook Italian Sausage
While you can use this recipe in any recipe that calls for raw ground Italian Sausage, you can also opt to shape it into sausage patties or brown the sausage to add to Spaghetti Sauce or layer in lasagna.
To Brown Italian Sausage
- Heat a bit of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add in the sausage, and cook until browned and heated through, breaking up into bite-sized pieces as the sausage cooks.
- If needed, drain off the excess grease and use as desired.
For Italian Sausage Patties
- Form the meat mixture into 4 to 5-inch patties that are each about ½-inch thick. Keep in mind that the patties will shrink about a ½-inch in width after cooking.
- Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the sausage patties to the skillet and cook for 5-6 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
- Once the patties are fully cooked, remove them from the skillet and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess grease.
Storing Homemade Italian Sausage
Once prepared, homemade Italian sausage needs to be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and used within 3 days. Alternatively, you can freeze the raw sausage mixture in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months.
FAQs on Italian Sausage
Fennel seeds are bold and zesty with heavy notes of licorice and are a classic ingredient in Italian Sausage. Personally, I don't care for the texture of fennel seeds in my sausage, so I opt to use ground fennel instead. The flavor remains, but the texture of the sausage is not off-putting. Use either OR omit the fennel altogether if you don't care for the flavor.
As written, there is a bit of a mild kick from garlic and red pepper flakes. If you are sensitive to spice, omit the minced garlic and/or reduce the amount of red pepper flakes added to the sausage recipe. Alternatively, increase the amount of red pepper flakes for spicy Italian sausage.
No! While chilling the meat with the cure with the spices helps to intensify the flavor of the sausage, you can use it immediately and still have great flavor.
Recipes Calling for Italian Sausage
The sky is the limit on the endless ways you can use this Italian sausage. Below are a few of my favorite recipes featuring Italian sausages and a few other suggested ways to enjoy this perfectly seasoned sausage.
- Stuffed Mushrooms
- Lasagna Soup
- Instant Pot Lasagna
- Pizza Meatloaf
- Bolognese Sauce
- Use browned Italian Sausage as a pizza topping on Pita Pizza, English Muffin Pizza, or Air Fryer French Bread Pizza.
If you enjoyed this recipe for Italian Sausage, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or ½ teaspoon table salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon ground fennel or fennel seeds
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 pound lean ground pork or ground chicken, turkey, or beef
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the dried spices, salt, and pepper together to evenly incorporate. Add in the ground pork and garlic and mix well using your hands or a fork to incorporate.
- Cover the dish and refrigerate for 12-24 hours for the best flavor. But you can use it immediately if short on time.
- Use in any recipe that calls for ground, raw Italian sausage.
Browned Italian Sausage
- Heat a bit of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the sausage, and cook until browned and heated through, breaking up into bite-sized pieces as the sausage cooks. Drain off the excess grease and use it as desired.
Italian Sausage Patties
- Form the meat mixture into 4 to 5-inch patties that are each about ½-inch thick. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage patties to the skillet and cook for 5-6 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Once the patties are fully cooked, remove them from the skillet and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess grease.