7 Tips on How to Cook Italian Sausage Perfectly

Cooking Italian sausage is versatile and easy with methods like stovetop, grill, and oven. Serve with various sides and enjoy a delicious meal.

Cooked Sausages

Italian sausage makes a great meal that is quick and easy to prepare. The method you choose to cook Italian sausage depends on your preferences and available cooking tools.

Popular ways to cook Italian sausage include on the stovetop, grill, and oven (and even air fryer!).

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What is Italian sausage? 

Italian sausage is seasoned ground pork stuffed into a chasing shell, creating links about six inches long. The sausage casing is made from the intestine of an animal or other collagen or cellulose materials.

Fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, salt, and other seasonings get combined with the ground pork before making the sausage links.

Now, it is important to note that, like bologna, “Italian sausage” is a style of mass-marketed meat by large (mainly American companies) with a range of ingredients. Italy has a sausage tradition with types ranging from salami to mortadella to soppressatta to pepperoni.

How do you cook Italian sausage from the store?

Stores carry several brands of Italian sausage, including Johnsonville, Hillshire Farm, and Boar’s Head, all of which can be cooked at home for a quick, hearty meal.

Standard methods to cook Italian sausage from the store include the oven, grill, and stovetop. 

How do I cook Italian sausage on the stove? 

Pan-frying Italian sausage is a popular go-to method for cooking dinner, offering a quick meal that everyone in the family loves.

Pour olive, coconut, or avocado oil into a frying pan and turn on medium-high heat. Slice Italian sausage in half, then place in the pan.

Brown sausage for about three minutes on each side, then turn the heat down to medium-low. Add 1/2-cup of water to the skillet, cover the pan, and let simmer for about four to six minutes.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Italian sausage is fully cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Serve Italian sausage on a plate with hot peppers, onions, roasted vegetables, and rice. Italian sausage also makes excellent sandwiches on hoagie rolls with your favorite vegetables.

Adding provolone cheese is another ingredient option when creating an Italian sausage sandwich. 

Should I butterfly my Italian sausage? 

Though not necessary, butterflying Italian sausage can help reduce the cooking time. To butterfly, cut the link down the center, splitting the meat in half, then cook as usual for your desired method.

Watch the meat closely because the cooking time is far less than expected once butterflied. 

Butterflying the Italian sausage is common when stir-frying, baking, grilling and pan-frying the links. 

How do you stir fry Italian sausage? 

Stir Fry Sausage

Stir-frying is a fun way to cook Italian sausage, creating a meal in a single frying pan. Cut the link into chunks and toss in a frying pan with some oil and your favorite vegetables.

Vegetables often used in a stir fry include baby corn, peas, zucchini, squash, and onion.

Peppers also add flavor and go well with stir-fry spicy Italian sausage (similar to Red Hots). Add a flavorful stir-fry sauce or additional seasoning to the stir fry and serve over rice. 

Stir-frying Italian sausage should take about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size and what you have in the pan. 

Should you boil Italian sausage before cooking? 

Boiling Italian sausage before cooking is one method to help prevent overcooking the sausage and helps the meat maintain moisture.

Additionally, boiling the sausages before cooking in a frying pan helps ensure the links are fully cooked and do not take as long in the frying pan. 

How do I boil Italian sausage?  

Set a pot on the stove on high heat and bring to a boil. Place the Italian sausage in the boiling water one by one, then reduce the heat and allow links to simmer in the pot.

When done boiling, the sausages will not be brown or crispy on the outside; however, once you sear them in the frying pan with olive oil will brown the outside of the links. 

Pre-cooked sausage should take approximately 10 minutes, and raw sausages should boil for about 30 minutes. 

How do you bake Italian sausage? 

Baked Italian sausage tastes fantastic, especially when served with a marinara sauce. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit to bake the sausage, and place the links on a baking sheet lined with foil.

The internal temperature of the Italian sausage should be 160 degrees Fahrenheit to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Turn sausage occasionally while baking to allow them to brown evenly. Then serve with your favorite sites, such as peppers and onions or green beans and rice. 

How do you broil Italian sausage? 

Place Italian sausage on the broiler pan in the oven and set the oven to broil. Cook the sausage link for ten minutes, turning them over halfway through to help evenly brown the meat. 

How do you deep fry Italian sausage? 

Deep Fry Sausage

Deep frying is an alternative method to cooking Italian sausage and offers something to serve for dinner. To deep-fry, dip the link in an egg wash (beaten eggs mixed with cream or milk) and then coat with a breadcrumb mixture, panko crumbs, or batter.

Use a healthy oil, such as olive, coconut, or avocado, in the deep fryer and set it to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Fry the sausage for about five minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Serve with your favorite sides, such as rice and broccoli. 

Now if you want a healthy alternative to cooking sausage in a deep fryer – you can always try an air fryer. A good air fryer will give the same crispness of frying with a shorter cook time, less waste – and a healthy recipe.

How do you cook Italian sausage on the grill? 

Grilled Italian sausage is a great way to make a fun, family meal while enjoying time outside waiting for the links to cook. To cook Italian sausage on the grill:

  1. Preheat the grill to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place the sausages on the grill.
  2. Close the lid and allow the Italian sausage to cook for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Turn the links throughout grilling to brown evenly. 

The internal temperature should be 160 degrees Fahrenheit and could take up to 30 minutes, depending upon your grill. 

Do you pierce the skin of Italian sausage when cooking? 

Some people will pierce the skin of Italian sausage to let the trapped moisture and air out. However, piercing the skin of the sausage links is not necessary; to help keep the sausage juicy and flavorful, it is recommended not to penetrate the skin. 

How do you tell when Italian sausage is fully cooked?

Undercooking Italian sausage affects the taste and raises the risk of food poisoning caused by harmful bacteria and parasites. So even if the link looks crispy on the outside, the inside might still be raw. 

Using a meat thermometer is the best way to determine if the sausage is thoroughly cooked or not. Italian sausage should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Boiling sausage before cooking on the grill, in the oven, etc., is the best way to help ensure it is thoroughly cooked. 

What is the healthiest way to cook Italian sausage? 

Though there are many ways to cook Italian sausage, some are not as healthy as others. The healthiest way to cook Italian sausage is by boiling or baking because each of these methods uses little to no oil, which can add extra calories and harmful compounds to the link. 

Next, pan and stir-frying Italian sausage are relatively healthy as long served with fresh vegetables and oils such as olive, coconut, or avocado are used. The unhealthiest option is deep frying. 

Tips for buying Italian sausage at the store

When shopping for Italian sausage, it is always best to buy fresh from the meat department; however, many name brands have decent links.

When selecting an Italian sausage, it depends on what you plan to make for dinner. Options may include spicy Italian sausage and sweet Italian sausage. 

When to cook Italian sausage after purchasing it

After purchasing Italian sausage, it is best to cook it within two days. If you do not plan to cook the sausage during that time, place it in the freezer, so it remains fresh. In the freezer, Italian sausage can last for three to six months. 

What is the best way to thaw frozen Italian sausage? 

When ready to cook the Italian sausage, remove it from the freezer and thaw it in the refrigerator. Once thawed, cook it immediately.

If you need to thaw the sausage quickly, place it in a bowl of cold water and cook immediately after the meat is thawed. 

What do you serve with Italian sausage? 

When cooking Italian sausage, the sides served with the meal are near endless. When creating the meal, consider using all of your favorite sites.

Popular items to serve with Italian sausage include steamed broccoli and macaroni and cheese or white rice and vegetables. Serving Italian sausage with peppers and onions also makes for a fantastic meal. 

How to store leftover Italian sausage

If stored properly, Italian sausage makes excellent leftovers and can be stored for up to three to four days. Place the sausage in an airtight container or wrap it in foil and place it in the refrigerator. 

How to reheat leftover Italian sausage

When ready to eat leftovers, pull the Italian sausage from the refrigerator and place it in the microwave on low heat and slowly reheat.

If the microwave has one, it is best to use the reheat option (if the microwave has one) to reheat slowly while preserving the flavor and juices. 

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