For hearty flavor and pure comfort, nothing beats scrumptious Italian sausage. I’ll show you how to cook Italian sausage on the stovetop, in the oven or on the grill so it’s crispy brown and juicy every time.

Italian sausage fits into so many fabulous recipes, such as sausage and peppers, sausage and pasta, or sausage hoagies with mounds of caramelized onion. Minestrone soup with Italian sausage cut into rounds is practically a feast all on its own. And it’s all made possible by proper preparation of the sausage.

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Italian sausage on a plate with herbs

What is Italian Sausage?

Italian sausage is made from seasoned ground pork stuffed into casing shells to produce links about 6 inches long. Typically it’s made with fennel seed and red pepper flakes. That combination gives Italian sausage its distinctive flavor and character.

How to Cook Italian Sausage

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Unlike smoked sausage, Italian sausage needs to be cooked to 160°F as it is a raw ground pork product.

Cooking sausage too high, too fast and unevenly can cause links to be too dark on the outside and still raw at the center or the skins to split and disintegrate.

Gradually bringing them up to heat, and turned for even browning will allow for perfect sausages. To avoid them curling you can skewer them lengthwise or place in a barbecue clamp.

Do You Need to Pierce the Skin?

No, please don’t! This is a common tip that appears on many recipes but it’s not ideal.

Unfortunately, this will cause all those lovely juices to escape as well, sort of defeating the whole purpose of encasing meat in an impermeable membrane to hold the juices in.

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Raw Italian sausage in a pan with water and cooked Italian sausage in a pan

Note: Cooking times will vary based on thickness of the sausages.


  1. Place links in a skillet in water.
  2. Bring slowly to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 -12 minutes, covered
  3. Uncover, allow water to evaporate and continue cooking, turning frequently until browned.


  1. Place links on foil-lined baking sheet.
  2. Place in cold oven and turn heat to 350°F
  3. Cook for 25-35 minutes or until internal temperature registers 160°F.


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  1. Place on a 375°F grill and close the lid.
  2. Turn every until uniformly browned about 15 to 20 minutes or until the pork reaches 160°F.

More Delicious Sausage Recipes

  • Sausage and Peppers – low carb
  • Creamy Sausage & Cabbage Soup – comfort food heaven
  • Stove Top 3 Cheese Pasta With Sausage – my favorite
  • Italian Sausage Linguine with Roasted Tomato Sauce – a great date night dinner
  • Cabbage and Sausage Foil Packets – kid approved


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