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Make your own Italian sausage. This recipe is so easy!

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Making your own fresh Italian sausage is seriously easy. If you can make meatballs or meatloaf...then you can make your own Italian sausage.

Your homemade Italian sausage will beat supermarket sausages hands down; and the price can't be beat:

Store bought Italian Sausage is 3.99lb and homemade Italian sausage can be made with ground pork at 1.99lb + 25 cents worth of spices. You can see how much more affordable this will be; and it freezes really well, so make a big batch and stick it in the freezer for weeks worth of great Italian meals!

Sweet Italian Sausage Recipe

This recipe does not require you to stuff the meat into sausage casings. You can do so if you wish, but with so many recipes calling for loose Italian sausage, it's often not worth the effort.

  • 2lb ground pork
  • 1Tbls salt
  • 1 Tbls ground fennel seed. Start with whole fennel seeds, and use your spice grinder attachment on your blender to grind them up, or do it manually in a mortar and pestle.
  • 11/2 Tbls sweet paprika
  • 1Tbls finely minced fresh garlic
  • 1Tbls sugar
  • 1tsp black pepper
  • 3 Tbls red wine vinegar
  1. Mix all the ingredients together...and you have Italian sausage! You can use this mix right away, but it will get better after about 12 hours in the fridge.

Use this Italian sausage in your favorite spaghetti sauce, or instead of ground beef in lasagna. I eat it all the time simply sautéed up with some sweet red peppers, onion and fresh tomatoes...with a good crusty loaf I'm truly in heaven.

Multiply the recipe as needed, and if you make more than you need, it will freeze very well.

This can be stuffed inside sausage casings and grilled as well. Sausage casings can be found at most Italian grocery stores. Get a little funnel and shove the meat into the tubes; but don't push too hard, as it can be frustrating to rupture the casings as you get close to a finished sausage. When your sausage is the length that you want, twist off the ends and tie them in knots.

Buying a grinder/stuffer

If you really get into sausage making it's worth the money to invest in a simple rotary crank hand grinder. Not only can you grind your own shoulder, belly or neck for a great quality homemade mince, you can also use a handy sausage stuffing attachment to easily stuff sausages in quantity.

Homemade ground is also far safer, and the risks of bacterial contamination proportionally lower. Just make sure to sterilize the whole machine well before using.

See the video below for inspiration!

Watch how to stuff sausage casings

Get the Gear!


NanaO on October 19, 2019:

You can also shape the meat into logs and wrap each in plastic wrap and freeze. Grilles up perfect or you can roast in the oven for delicious Italian sausage and sweet pepper sandwiches. Or just serve the links fried and simmered in your favorite pasta sauce.

Susan from India on March 15, 2013:

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I love eating sausages and this looks quite easy to make. Will surely try this out. Thanks for sharing.

Howard on April 28, 2012:

Made this recipe with my 5 year old son this afternoon, just tested a little bit. We made two batches - one with sugar, one with chilli (at his request). Both tasted great, although I'll be cutting the salt by a third next time, just a little bit too tasty.

Chels on February 08, 2012:

Really glad I found this, thanks for posting. I ended up buying a bunch of pork when it was on sale and had kind of run out of ideas. Can't wait to try this, I'm thinking of using it in lasagna, without making it into links of course. BTW, @Maggie, the addition of sage would really make this sausage breakfasty. I think I may add some fresh bay leaves to mine.

Karin K on January 28, 2012:

I would like to thank you for providing this recipe. I am always in a quandary when buying any sausage because my husband needs to be on a sodium restricted diet. This opens a world of recipes for me, since I can limit or omit the salt completely. It is delicious! I added some pepper flakes to add a little heat. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Gail on December 22, 2011:

I live in Central America, and getting things that I love to eat is hard here, so I have to make most of what I like. I found it to be a bit salty. Next time I will decrease that. I used a bit of anise, as the sausage I am used to in the states has more of an anise taste to it. Also, our pork is not as fatty, so I had to add a bit of oil to achieve that fat ratio. It is always trial and error until you hit the exact right taste.

Stan .O on November 10, 2011:

I do not eat pork. What other meat can I use for the saugage?

Stan .O on November 10, 2011:

I do not eat pork. What other meat can be used?

Jennifer Self on October 30, 2011:

I'm linking to this on my menu plan this week and using it made with ground beef in my Baked Penne.

John D Lee (author) on August 31, 2011:

Hi James - sorry you didn't like the recipe. The great things about making your own sausage, of course, is that you can modify it to suit your tastes! I hope you'll try it again with a little less salt then.

MaggieD - Glad to hear it's working out for you so well!

MaggieD on August 29, 2011:

I made this recipe exactly as written. Excellent. Oo. Wait. I added more crushed red pepper flakes. I plan to buy more ground turkey and make breakfast patties with this seasoning. Gr8t!

James Harris on August 24, 2011:

I made the sweet Italian sausage and it turned out way too salty ;(

John D Lee (author) on August 22, 2011:

You are welcome - glad you enjoyed them and great to hear they work well as turkey sausages.

HeatherVirginia on August 22, 2011:

Made as the recipe but used lean turkey. It is wonderful, much better than the commercial italian turkey sausage and very low in fat. Thanks.

John on July 21, 2011:

I like adding red pepper flakes and a splash of Worchester sauce to my italian sausauge mixture

timonweller on July 12, 2011:

My grandparents used to make sausages as well, these sound really good. Great idea for the barbecue.

Nikki on April 05, 2011:

I moved to Scotland, no Italian Sausage, so I tried your recipe and used it to make my Italian meatloaf, it was fabulous. I've mixed up another batch to make Italian Sausage sandwiches tomorrow, can't wait!

Steve on March 02, 2011:

Hi, I'm would like to make my own cabanossi seasoning, could you help with the ingredients.


John D Lee (author) on February 23, 2011:

You are welcome Katie - always happy to hear that when someone else gets on board with making sausage at home.

katie on February 22, 2011:

thanks for sharing this recipe~ i've made it several times with success each & every time~

John D Lee (author) on February 21, 2011:

Joe - B - thanks very much for that tip - a great idea!

Joe B on February 20, 2011:

You could roll the sausage in plastic wrap, then steam or poach it to help retain shape, when finished poaching/steaming remove the plastic wrap and finish cooking as desired.

It will be more fragile than a cased sausage, but still very good!

John D Lee (author) on February 15, 2011:

Hi JK, - You'll need to use casings if you want the sausage to maintain its shape.

JK on February 12, 2011:

Is there a good technique to rolling out or forming the sausage WITHOUT using a casing?

JKor wanting to on February 12, 2011:

Is there a secret to rolling out a "good looking" sausage without having

Elaine on February 05, 2011:

Tried making this early today and then cooked it up for dinner. I modified the recipe a bit since I was out of paprika and it was very, very good. I'll be making this again. I used 1 tsp of cayenne pepper instead of paprika. Thanks for the recipe!

John D Lee (author) on January 18, 2011:

DebbieA - so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

DebbieA on January 05, 2011:

This recipe is awesome!!! I followed the directions and made the best sausage we've ever eaten. The house smelled so good! Thank you for sharing this!

John D Lee (author) on December 28, 2010:

Doug - here's a recipe for an American style breakfast sausage

Grapestomper on December 28, 2010:

Sounds like a great recipe have never used used sugar and vinegar but have used 1 1/2 tsp of coarse ground caraway in a similar sized recipe have also added Parmesan or Asiago cheese on occaission

DOUG on December 03, 2010:


Lydia on November 20, 2010:

I am looking for a chivilade recipe. It's Italian and it contains grated cheese and parsley. Have you heard about this sausage? I think it's Napolitan. My mother in law used to make it but I lost the recipe. I usually wing it.

John D Lee (author) on October 25, 2010:

Thanks very much for your comment, D.william, I hope you enjoy the recipe!

d.william from Somewhere in the south on October 18, 2010:

I found your hubs while adding links to one of mine. It was for making italian sausage. It took me browsing thru 41 pages of your hubs to find it. I will make it tomorrow. This is my favorite. I love mild/sweet sausage. I eat it often. I never knew why i liked it so much, until i read your recipe. It must be the fennel. I printed it out so i can make it over again..Thanks so much. I will never tire of looking for new recipes on your hub pages.

Pete on October 15, 2010:

Excellent recipe ! My wife and I love it.

Sallie on September 11, 2010:

Lindsay, how did the turkey Italian sausage turn out? Since I want to use it in a casserole, I don't think anyone could tell the difference between the pork and the turkey. Hope to hear from you!

Frank on September 01, 2010:

One thing I have found that makes the flavor of Italian sausage to explode in your taste buds is to add some Anise oil.

Mike on August 06, 2010:

I make homemade sausage and Italian is the one I make most often. There are so many variations, and they all come out great.

I make a Sicilian sausage with red wine and freshly ground black pepper and grated peccorino Romano cheese, but never made Italian using vinegar.

Sounds awfully good so I'll definitely try a batch of this soon.

The quality difference between store bought and homemade is night and day so I hope that everyone tries it for themselves.

Have fun!


Lindsay on May 18, 2010:

Great page - thanks so much! I thought I had a package of Italian sausage in the freezer for my lasagna tonight, but realized all I had was ground turkey. Whoops. No worries now, though, I'll just mix up a few spices and make my own turkey Italian sausage, and dinner is saved without having to go to the store again. :)

ERIC - my "issue" with casings isn't that I won't eat it, it's that many recipes call for sauteing the sausage sans casing; like in a bolognese tomato sauce.

tony on March 12, 2010:

i wanted to try to make a mix and use it in a meat loaf. i think it would taste great.

eric on February 18, 2010:

What is the "issue" with casings. You buy them at the meat store. They're all natural, only preservative is the salt they are soaked in. Wash that off, following the directions on the package, and stuff away. Sure, there are collagen and fibrous casings, some edible, some not, but there is really nothing wrong with hog casings. Stuff em, grill em, eat em and enjoy. You'll eat the hog, but not the casing? Really? They're from the same animal

sophs on February 02, 2010:

Great hub! Can't wait tio try this :-)

A. Montalto on February 02, 2010:

When I was a kid my family owned an Italian Pork Store and we made all our own Italian sausage. The author's recipe is only the tip of the iceberg. Add to the author's recipe ground up smoke provolone cheese (use a food processer with a chopped blade), though our store used the same industrial grinder, grinding the cheese right into the same bowl as the pork. You can also omit the fennel and substitue fresh Italian parsley and your choice of cheese (provolone, mozzerella, asagio, Romano, etc). Or add to the above auhor's recipe chopped roasted red peppers (chop by hand)and add to the mixture, or raw chopped green pepper and raw onion. We sold over twenty varieties including other meats using chicken, veal, beef, and blood sausages. I've been to other pork stores that also make many delicious latin and creole varieties. The possibilites are endless and limited only by your imagination.

Didereaux on January 07, 2010:

The MISSING ingredient that makes Italian sausage is: FENNEL SEEDS!!!! Use about 3/4 tsp per pound of meat.

Andrea on December 13, 2009:

Thanks so much for the recipe! I'm going to make them for a "breakfast" dinner. Can't wait to see how they turn out!

angmar56 on August 06, 2009:

I recently moved to a country where there is no Italian sausage NOR are there any sausage casings to be found. (Odd, since they have their own brand of sausage in casings...) Anyway, this recipe sounds wonderfully simple and the ingredients are readily available at any local market. I can't wait to try it because I sure miss Italian sausage with smothered potatoes... an old family favorite!

Fran Madden on July 21, 2009:

I had always heard that it was hard to stuff sausage and there is the issue of what to use for casings. But it never occurred to me to just make the filling and cook it without stuffing it into sausage links. It sure simplifies things. I'll have to try it.

Thanks for an informative post.

steptoe from Australia, NSW on June 17, 2009:

Another good find, one I will have to try. When I do a batch I make sure I have about 4 recipes lined up to use the opportunity. Sausage making truly makes for a good drink. My favorite is Kabana or Cabonossi, check it out.

<a href="">Homemade Kabana!</a>

Glenn on December 21, 2008:

Hi all. I used 1lb Pork and 1 lb Venison. WOW!!! Great stuff. Thank you so much for the recipe. Glenn in Ohio

marisuewrites from USA on December 17, 2008:

I don't like casings anyway and this sounds so delicious, thanks again for the recipe and the tips on how to prepare. I'm learning a lot from you, it's like having my own personal chef or cooking show at my elbow!! =))

Eric Graudins from Australia on May 21, 2008:

This looks great. I'll try it this weekend.

Chris on May 03, 2008:

Thank you for the recipe & instructions, I recently moved to a country that does not have Italian Sausage, but they do have the ingredients to make it yourself and your recipe was the best.


Susie on April 25, 2008:

(Forgot this part) The store bought Italian sausage calorie and sodium count was also for only 2.5 oz. of sausage as compared to that which I gave for ground beef made to sausage.

Susie on April 25, 2008:

I made spagetti sauce last night with store bought Italian sausage but was unable to eat it when I saw the sodium content, as I must be on a low sodium diet. If I can make Italian sausage out of ground beef I can have a quarter of a pound for 155 calories and 75 mg. of sodium as compared to 230 calories and 1100 mg. of sodium in the store bought Italian Sausage. Thank you.

John D Lee (author) on April 02, 2008:

Thanks - and good luck everyone - not that you need it, as making a fresh Italian is easy peasy. Johnr54 and Susan, let me know how they turn out!

Susan Ng Yu on March 17, 2008:

This sounds really easy, John. I am definitely going to try this out. Thanks! :-)

Joanie Ruppel from Texas on March 07, 2008:

I love Italian sausage, and I'm sure this is as fresh as I'll ever find it.

We got a grinder for our wedding many years ago, but I never knew that it might be used as a stuffer as well. I guess I need to get it out and take another look

thecounterpunch on November 18, 2007:

And what about Thai Sausage since that's where you live they're my favorite :)

Ritaj on November 09, 2007:

This recipe sounds really good when I was a child I remember my grandfather making his own Italian sausage.

John D Lee (author) on June 23, 2007:

Thanks for the comment. I think that you'll have a lot of fun making your own sausage, and you'll quickly figure out your own perfect recipe for a sausage exactly to your tastes!

Good luck

Tumerica on June 21, 2007:

Wonderful! Thanks so much. I was just removing the meat mixture from some sweet Italian sausage and wondering, surely this could be made--with ground pork and spices--I guessed fennel and paprika and garlic--but had no idea about sugar and vinegar, nor how much of which!

Cool--cannot wait to try it--just the kind of thing I love--teaching people that they can do it themselves.

John D Lee (author) on May 09, 2007:

I've tried dropping the sugar and adding chile powder to make a spicy Italian sausage. It's good too, and I like spicy food, but I think that this sweet Italian sausage is better.


Barb Lee on May 09, 2007:

Have you tried this with different seasonings?

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