Breakfast sausages, salami, liver sausage, the list continues! With so many sausage options out there, it can be challenging to narrow down which one you need for your recipe.
Italian sausage is the best option for many reasons, including how versatile it is. What if you don’t know how to cook Italian sausage?
We’ve got you covered! Below, you’ll learn everything you need to about cook with this type of sausage, from the best methods to cook them with to the temperature and more.
Some speculate that this sausage is not Italian. While technically accurate, this type of sausage features spices and seasonings native to Italy.
Italy does not have an official sausage. Instead, the seasonings and the type of meat found in sausages change based on what’s available in the region.
Italian sausages are an American sausage used for anything from pizza cooked in a Sicilian oven to casserole, sandwiches, and pasta. With a delicious anise flavor, it’s hard to go wrong when choosing this sausage over other options.
The standard variety of Italian sausages is mild and not spicy. Though, other types like sweet and hot are available for purchase.
Ready to start cooking this tasty food? Let’s dig in and learn how to cook sausage!
Do I Need to Prick the Skin on the Sausage First?
Absolutely not! It may be tempting to prick the skin, though you should know that the juices inside the skin help flavor the meat and keep it moist during the cooking process.
While you can prick the skin, you’ll be left with a dried-out sausage that won’t be the tastiest to eat, especially with baked Italian sausage.
Avoid poking or pricking the skin on the sausage before (and while) you’re cooking Italian sausage. It’s helpful to use tongs to avoid accidentally pricking the skin while cooking.
This option is also a safety concern, as accidentally poking hot cooking sausages could lead to hot juices splattering. Keep the juices intact for the best-tasting Italian sausage, regardless of the chosen cooking method.
How to Cook Italian Sausage?
Wondering how to cook Italian sausage? There are many methods, including stovetop, air fryer, and oven. The cooking method will depend on the recipe you’re looking to make.
For example, if you’re making a casserole, you’ll want to cook the sausages in the oven, preferably after browning them in a pan.
You can cook these sausages from a frozen state or defrosted/fresh. Each option changes how long the links will need to cook.
The best way to cook Italian sausage when it’s frozen is to simmer or boil it for about 10-15 minutes before pan-frying, baking, or air frying.
This step allows the heat to travel through the sausages without drying out the meat or burning the exterior. This method provides a perfectly cooked sausage that won’t be raw in the middle or overcooked on the outside.
How Long to Cook Italian Sausage?
Cooking with pork is always tricky, especially when making sausages, as you typically cook them whole.
The method you cook them will create a different timeline. The timing will also vary if the links are frozen or defrosted. Generally, it will take about 10-20 minutes, depending on your Italian sausage recipes.
What’s important to remember is the internal temperature should be at 160F for Italian sausages to be considered safe to eat.
If you’re unsure how long to cook the sausages, you can check the temperature and keep cooking until the center reads 160F. Make sure to flip the links every few minutes if cooking in a pan.
How Long Does It Take to Cook Raw Italian Sausage?
If you’re cooking raw Italian sausage, it will take longer than if you’ve preboiled or simmered it.
If you’re frying them in a pan, it will take about 17 minutes for them to cook thoroughly. Brown the Italian sausages first for about five minutes, ensuring to flip them every minute or so until there is no pink on the outside.
Then, add about ½ cup of water, cover, turn the heat down, and simmer for another 10-12 minutes. Make sure to check the internal temperature, and if it’s 160F, you’re ready to enjoy these tasty sausages!
How To Cook Italian Sausage on Stove?
Looking for how to cook sausages in the oven or even mild Italian sausage? Follow the above steps, with the below additional tips in mind.
Make sure to add a mild oil to the pan before adding the sausages to avoid sticking and ripping off the sausage skin.
If you’re looking for a more flavorful dish, you can simmer the sausages in various liquids, including broths, sauces (like marinara), and even wine. You’ll have some delicious, pan-fried sausages in no time!
How To Cook Italian Sausage in Air Fryer?
Air fryers are everywhere now, and they make cooking so convenient! This is one cooking method where you’ll want to preheat the air fryer before continuing with cooking the sausages.
Start with an air fryer heated to 350F, then cook for about 13 minutes.
Like other cooking methods, you’ll need to flip the sausages partway through to ensure even cooking.
Check that the temperature has reached 160F before serving; this will be true for all cooking methods. Don’t forget to spray the air fryer tray before adding the sausages to avoid sticking.
Make sure the sausages have plenty of space. If you have a 4-quart air fryer or smaller, you may need to cook your sausages in batches to avoid overcrowding. If this is the case, follow the above directions and add uncooked links when the previous batch is done.
How To Cook Italian Sausage in The Oven?
Cooking sausage in the oven is an easy feat. You’ll need to preheat the oven to 350F, then add a sheet of aluminum foil to your baking tray.
Spray the aluminum foil with some cooking spray to prevent the sausages from sticking, then place the sausages on the tray.
Ensure the sausages have plenty of space between them. Otherwise, the sausages may burst while cooking.
Some recipes may tell you to prick the sausages for baking; you can keep them whole without fear of exploding Italian sausages as long as you leave about ½” of space between them.
Now that you’re aware of how to bake Italian sausage, we can explore some additional questions that may arise.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Still have unanswered questions about the proper way to cook sausages? Below, you’ll find answers to all your burning questions. These answers will help you make perfect Italian sausages every time.
What is the Best Way to Cook Sausages?
There is a tie between baking and pan-frying sausages as the best cooking method.
Pan-frying provides a delicious outer skin that Italian sausage-in oven options don’t offer. However, cooking them in an oven provides an easy process that nearly guarantees the exterior of the links won’t burn.
Overall, baking does come in as a top method only because of the ease of cooking and convenience. Opt for this choice when you want a more low-key cooking method.
This option is also great when you have a tight timeline and need to prep other food simultaneously.
Should You Boil Italian Sausage Before Cooking?
Yes, it helps if you boil Italian sausage before cooking. This is the best way to ensure that the sausage is cooked thoroughly, making it safe to consume. It’s also an excellent way to defrost sausages without putting them in the microwave.
Boiling sausages before cooking work with any cooking method from grilling to pan-frying, baking, and air frying.
If you forget to boil the sausages before cooking them, you can still cook them via your preferred method. Keep the temperature lower when cooking without pre-boiling to avoid a burnt outside or undercooked interior.
Can I Cook Frozen Italian Sausage in the Oven?
Yes, you can cook frozen sausages in the oven. It will take longer to cook these sausages, but you can safely cook sausages from a frozen state. Keep in mind these sausages will still need to reach an internal temperature of 160F.
Expect to cook frozen sausages about 10 minutes more than refrigerated or fresh sausages. It’s essential to check the directions on the package before cooking them in the oven from frozen.
Some brands recommend only cooking their sausage from a defrosted or refrigerated state. However, it’s generally okay to bake frozen sausages.
How Long Do I Cook Sausages in the Oven at 350?
Expect to cook your sausages for about 25-30 minutes in the oven at 350F. This note is true for refrigerated sausages or defrosted sausages.
Make sure to place a sheet of aluminum foil (oiled or sprayed with cooking oil) below your links before cooking.
Not only does this help your Italian sausages from sticking to the baking pan, but it also provides easier clean-up for a better cooking experience.
If you’re cooking sausages that are partially defrosted or still frozen, add 5-10 minutes to your timer to ensure they are properly cooked. As always, check the internal temperature before serving to ensure they have reached 160F.
This cooking time is appropriate for a longer sausage or individual links. If you have larger or smaller sausages, check the temperature once they’ve cooked for about 20 minutes. Then, continue checking every five minutes until they are done. This will help ensure they are not overcooked or dry.
How Do I Know When the Sausages Are Fully Cooked?
There are a few ways that you’ll know the sausages are fully cooked. Of course, checking the internal temperature is the top way to check their doneness.
Insert the meat thermometer into the center of the sausage (not the sides) for an accurate temperature reading. Once it shows 160F on the thermometer, you’re good to go.
You can also check the old-fashioned way, including slicing into one of the sausages. If there is no pink in the middle, the sausages are ready to eat.
This option is not the preferred method, as you’ll be left with one sausage sliced into. However, it is efficient, and you’ll know right away if the Italian sausages need a longer cook time or if they’re done.
The final method for checking the doneness of sausages is by pricking them at the end of the cooking time.
Since you’re not pricking the skin in the middle of cooking, the meat will still be juicy, moist, and flavorful.
You’ll be able to see whether the sausage is done by the color of the juices that flow out. If the juices are pink or red, it’s necessary to continue cooking them for a few additional minutes. The sausage should be done if the fluids are clear when they flow out.
Making Homemade Italian Sausage
Looking for an easy way to create Italian sausages at home? Here’s a quick way that you can make homemade sausages.
The best part is that you can flavor them however you please. Enjoy a stronger licorice taste? Add in more anise.
Feel like a spicier sausage? Include cayenne powder. You’re in control when making these sausages in your kitchen!