Homemade Italian Sausage is easy to make. In fact, you may even be shocked how easy it is to make great tasting sausage at home. You don’t even need a grinder, to make homemade sausage.
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Italian sausage – a family recipe
When I was growing up we often made sausage. My house growing up was filled with all sorts of food preparation. We had a large garden, we had all sorts of fruit trees, and my parents loved to do things like making sausage.
Of course, when we did it at our house growing up we had a hand crank to grind the meat. I still have those hand cranks, they are sturdy, you would clamp them onto the table, and put the meat in. You would have to switch out people after a bit because arms could grow tired, and there were other jobs to do.
What is Italian sausage? How is it different than breakfast sausage?
Yes, pork sausage is the same as Italian sausage. Most Italian sausages are made from pork (like mine). The biggest thing that makes it Italian is a mixture of Italian spices. Many types of breakfast sausage have spice blends that contain sweeteners like brown sugar or maple syrup, smoked paprika, sage, red pepper flakes. This is one os those Italian sausage recipes that really lends itself to savory dishes.
What are Italian seasonings used in sausage?
Most Italian recipes will have lots of garlic, parsley, and cracked pepper. You can add a variety of other Italian spices too. Some of the other popular Italian seasonings include:
Italian sausage ingredients
One of the things I love about making food from scratch means that you can customize it any way you like. For this recipe, I am using pork these spices and seasonings:
- Garlic – use fresh garlic for best flavor
- Fennel seeds
- Kosher salt – you can use regular table salt if you desire
- Freshly cracked black pepper – freshly cracked pepper really makes a difference here
- Crushed red pepper
- Parsley leaves – you can use either fresh or dried parsley leaves
- Dry wine, red or white
- Pork like a pork butt or ground pork
I know a lot of people really enjoy found anise in their sausage, but that is a spice I do not prefer. If you want some more garlic, you can add additional garlic. If you like your sausage more on the hot side you can add some crushed red pepper.
Best Type of Meat for Homemade Italian Sausage
For this recipe, I am using a pork butt roast. I like them the best for sausage making because I think it has the right amount of marbling in the meat.
You want to choose meat that has some fat content to it. Pork loin is very lean, and it wouldn’t make a great sausage. Honestly, any large cut of pork with marbling will work. I let what’s on sale be my guide when making homemade Italian sausage.
How to Make Italian Sausage
Chop pork butt into pieces that are 1 to 2 inches in size. Place pork pieces into a bowl.
Add dry red wine, salt, cayenne pepper, fennel seed, paprika, crushed red pepper, garlic, chopped parsley, and cracked black pepper.
Stir the mixture to combine and coat the meat evenly. If desired, cover with plastic and allow the meat to marinate for a few hours before grinding.
Pass the meat with a meat grinder fitted with the medium-sized die. Or place the meat into a food processor in small batches and process until finely ground.
You can test the seasoning by cooking a small portion of the sausage, if desired adjust for seasoning.
Freshly ground Italian sausage should be used within 48 hours or can be frozen.
How to Grind Sausage
You may be wondering how you will grind up this sausage. You may use a hand crank, but there are other options.
1. Use a mixer with a grinding attachment
My favorite way is to use a mixer with a grinding attachment. I know the Kitchenaide grinder works well.
2. Use a food processor to make sausage
I have also used a food processor too. You will simply mince the meat very fine with the food processor. All work very well. You will get a more uniform sausage with a grinder, but again, the food processor works great.
Italian sausage without casing
What I really love about Italian sausage is it is one type of sausage that you don’t need to stuff into a casing. Often sausages are stuffed into casings, but this one I think lends itself well to using simply ground up.
Can you freeze homemade Italian sausage?
Yes, you can freeze homemade sausage. In fact, this is one of my favorite ways to store my homemade Italian sausage.
I like to make a small batch of this sausage and then freeze it in sealed bags and take it out whenever I need dinner.
How to use Homemade Italian Sausage
One of my go-to meals is to brown some Italian sausage and add it to a jar of inexpensive pasta sauce. Italian sausage has a lot of flavors and it makes a cheap jar of sauce taste really good. Here are some additional ideas.
- Create meatballs – simply roll the sausage into small balls, and brown in a skillet, and use
- You can use this sausage in soups or stews, my favorite way to use this is to crumble and brown and use in the Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana copycat recipe.
- Brown in a pan and use as a pizza topping
- Make it into patties and enjoy in a homemade Italian sauasage po boy sandwich.
Ways to use homemade Italian sausage
- Meat Sauce
- Italian Sausage Instant Pot
- Pork Sausage Casserole Recipe
- Gnocchi and Sausage Recipe
- Cheesy Sausage Italian Skillet
- Sausage Lentil Soup Recipe
- Italian Stuffed Red Peppers
- Pasta Rustica Recipe
- Cheesy Lasagna Dip
- How to Make a Pizza Bowl
Top How to Make Recipes
Be sure to check out more of my easy Italian recipes and the best copycat food recipes.
Homemade Seasoned Italian Sausage
- 4 pounds pork well marbled
- 4 tablespoons dry red wine omit if desired
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- 2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
- Chop pork butt into pieces that are 1 to 2 inches large. Add to a bowl.
- In the bowl add dry red wine, salt, cayenne pepper, fennel seed, paprika, crushed red pepper, garlic, chopped parsley, and cracked black pepper.
- Stir the mixture to combine, and coat the meat evenly. If desired covered with plastic and allow the meat to marinate for a few hours before grinding.
- Pass the meat with a meat grinder fitted with the medium-sized die. Or place the meat into a food processor in small batches and process until finely ground.
- You can test the seasoning by cooking a small portion of the sausage, if desired adjust for seasoning. Sausage should be used within 48 hours or can be frozen for use later.
I learned how to make italian sausage working at a italian corner store when I was 10yrs old in Tampa Fl. We used a 3to 1 mixture of pork butt and lean beef. Fine gringo the beef first then grind again with pork cubes with larger bringing plates. We used salt, pepper,fresh parsley,whole fennel and ground fennel seed, a little powered onion and garlic and to that a good parmesan cheese. Was the best sausage in town..
Stephanie, I started making my own Italian sausage many years ago to control my sodium intake. I use a recipe from an old guy I used to watch on PBS who is no longer with us. It is very similar to yours, but I no longer get it out,I just add stuff as I see fit. I do want to recommend to those who use a food processor to chop the meat fo freeze the small chunks for thirty minutes before processing. They cut up better. I have used pork butt also but I read somewhere to use boneless “Country Style” ribs instead, I think they both come from the same basic part of the animal. The ribs are often on sale just as pork butt is. I don’t put wine in my sauasge but I like that idea! I am going to try it, I put a bay leave in my recipe, chopped up fine in the processor.
Great tips! I need to give your freezing and bay leaf a try.
I am 73 and like Mama Jo, my mother and Grandmother, who came from Italy, only used the pork, salt, pepper, paprika, fennel and red pepper flakes. It was the best. We even dried some of it in our unheated basement wrapped around a hanging pole. I loved it!
Stephanie, who are you copy acting hers? Or is it just your family recipe? Looks good! How much does the wine influence the taste? I know there’s not much of it.
I was not copying anyone’s recipe/restaurant. This was an original recipe of my own. The wine has a small influence in the taste, it adds a nice touch of acidity to go with all of the fat in the sausage. I personally think it brings out the flavors of the spices and herbs more.
the only thing I would consider is toasting the fennel. it releases the oils and changes the flavor.
That’s what makes the world go round !
I have made Italian sausage for 50 years with my Italian family. We are from Calabria.
I know the process by heart, how much and what kinds of spices to add by smell and taste. No greens, no garlic, no wine. My sisters deviated from the family recipe with an online recipe and wasted a lot of time and money and eventually threw away the batch they made. Everyone who eats my sausage raves and want’s more. People are offering to buy it. I would like to know what to charge per pound.
I wish you would tell us your reciepe for your sausage I too am from Calabria and can,t find my grandma recipe
To make Italian sausage all you need is ground pork, paprika, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and fennel.. How much of each you make to your taste. Trial and error until you get your preferred recipe. Hope that helps. I like a lot of fennel so I put in more than usual. My problem is to buy pork with enough fat. I only make a couple pounds at a time. I live alone with not much freezer space. I make patties and freeze them. Shape some like sausage for my spaghetti sauce.
I’m looking for a true sweet Italian recipe for me to make homemade. Can you share a recipe that is truly sweet
Anthony – whAt is your recipe. I follow my father’s recipe using pork butt, fresh ground pepper and lots of fennel and some water. A friend and I made 50 pounds. Absolutely delicious!!!
I don’t know why I haven’t made Italian sausage before now. I will definitely be trying this. I wouldn’t use sauce from a jar, but looking forward to putting homemade Italian sausage on pizza. I guess I’ll have to get that grinder attachment for the Kitchenaide.
If you have a food processor you can mince everything up too. I know you will like your own homemade Italian sausage.
Could u just buy unseasoned ground pork from your local meat market then add whatever seasonings you would like?
I think you could do that. You may want to grind your own to make sure you control the lean to fat ratio.
I just made this recipe and it was so close to our good Italian deli sausage that we’re so picky about around here, I was amazed. I used the red wine and marinated the pork with the spices for a few hours. I only used half the cayenne and pepper flakes and more garlic which gave it just enough heat. I love fennel so I will use more next time. Make sure to use more fat then you think you need. I ground the meat with the Kitchenaid attachment.
Yum, I would love this!
What do you like to make with Italian Sausage?
I make an amazing (and amazingly fast) lasagna! To make the ‘red sauce’ part of the lasagna, I just crumble up some good Italian sausage, lightly fry it, then add a can of tomato sauce. Tastes like I spent hours simmering and adjusting spices!