We have perfected our homemade sourdough pizza dough, made our own mozzarella, and tomato paste so we decided it was time to learn something new. We recently learned how to make our own homemade Italian sausage and it is a game changer; we need to tell you everything.
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First of all, the flavor is so much better than the store-bought Italian sausage and even better than all 12 best sausages to buy online. We used our homemade Italian sausage on a Supreme pizza with peppers, onions, mushrooms, and pepperoni and it was a huge hit. We will be making this again and again and we think you will too.
What is Italian Sausage?
Italian sausage is seasoned pork sausage. It has herbs and spices like oregano, paprika, and fennel seeds just to name a few that give it a distinct taste.
It can be hot and spicy or mild and sweet. Sometimes it is sold ground but you can buy it in sausage casing and remove the casing for the same ground sausage effect. It’s often listed as one of the best meats for homemade pizza.
Why Make Your own Italian Sausage
Making your own Italian sausage is easy, and it tastes better than anything you can buy. The main reason to make Italian sausage at home is control. You can control the spices you use and make your sausage spicy, mild, or smoky.
It is easy to make, and when you make it at home, you get to experiment with different herbs and spices. And if you grind your own meat, you can even control how much fat goes into your homemade Italian sausage.
Store-bought sausage often has fillers, corn syrup, MSG, or other additives, but when you make it at home, it’s just meat, herbs, and spices.
How to Make Italian Sausage
First, you need some meat, and while Italian sausage is usually ground pork, you can make Italian sausage with any ground meat, including beef, chicken, or turkey.
We think you can even make it vegetarian with TVP (textured vegetable protein) because it is all about the seasonings blend. Italian sausage is really more about the herbs and spices, but we will get to that in a moment.
There are two ways to get started; one is to just buy ground meat which is available everywhere. The second involves grinding your own meat. Of course, you will need a meat grinder which is a great investment if you plan on making ground meat regularly.
Buying meat from the butcher and grinding it yourself takes more time, but it is cheaper, and you can really control the muscle to fat ratio.
There are two types of home meat grinders, the classic hand crank grinder, and the electric meat grinder. Here are two grinders we recommend:
CucinaPro Meat Grinder with Tabletop Clamp $32.95
This is an old-school meat grinder that clamps to the countertop. It comes with a sausage maker and meat mincer. So if you want to make sausage casing or breakfast sausage links, this has you covered.
Cuisinart Electric Meat Grinder $99.95
A stainless steel wonder with a 300-watt motor. It can grind 3 pounds of meat per minute and comes with two sausage-making attachments, one small and one large.
If you don’t want to grind your own meat or just don’t have the kitchen space for another fun cooking gadget, we get you. You can buy plain ground meat and focus on the herbs and spices to make homemade Italian sausage.
Ok, so now you have your ground meat let’s get to spicing things up. These spice measurements are for one pound of meat. Again this is a basic recipe; feel free to have fun with it and experiment with other flavor combinations too. In Italy, there are a lot of different sausages with different flavor profiles, so get inspired.
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley
- 1 Tablespoon paprika
- 1 Tablespoon red wine
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons of black peppercorn (lightly toasted)
- 2 teaspoons of fennels seeds (lightly toasted)
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon sage
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes or more if you want a spicy sausage
- 1 ½ teaspoon onion powder
Take your ground meat and mix in the herbs and spices. Then let sit for a few hours in the refrigerator, so all of the flavors have a chance to blend together.
When you are ready, add a tablespoon of olive oil or canola oil and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook until all the meat is thoroughly cooked. Depending on what type of meat you are using, this can take around 7-10 minutes.
When cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the skillet and put it on a paper towel-lined plate. This step is to remove any extra oil and grease that will weigh on your homemade pizza and make it soggy. That is it. We told you it is easy.
Get ready to make an amazing homemade pizza with homemade Italian sausage. Some of our favorite ways to eat Italian sausage on pizza are:
- Italian sausage, green peppers, and caramelized onions
- Italian sausage, mushrooms, and red onions
- Italian sausage, buffalo mozzarella, and pesto
- Italian sausage, pears, goat cheese with roasted garlic
- Calabrian pizza with nduja and Italian sausage
- Italian sausage with spinach, olive, and artichokes
- Chicago deep dish with Italian sausage
- Meat lovers with Italian sausage, pepperoni, and Canadian bacon
- Mexican pizza with Italian sausage and jalapeños
- Make a large batch and freeze it in reusable freezer-safe bags. Cooked Italian sausage will last two months in the freezer and uncooked for three months.
- Combine meat and seasoning and let rest together for a few hours in the refrigerator overnight is best if you have the time.
- Toast the fennel seeds and black peppercorn for a minute or two in a dry skillet this will bring out their flavor.
Of course, you want to make homemade Italian sausage for your homemade pizza, but there are a lot of other ways to use homemade Italian sausage too.
- Pasta sauce
- Biscuits and gravy
- Breakfast burritos
- Stuffed peppers
- Cabbage rolls
- Spicy giardiniera
Have you tried making homemade Italian sausage? What’s your favorite way to use it on pizza?