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Published October 7, 2022. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Learn how to make the best authentic, flavorful homemade Italian sausage recipe from scratch that is simple to cook and delicious. You will love the flavors in this sausage and the satisfaction of making it at home.
Italian sausage can go in a myriad of dishes to help enhance the flavor of a recipe and provide protein. Try out this recipe in my Pasta with Italian Sausage or Sausage with Peppers and Onions.
Italian sausage is ground pork often flavored with garlic and fennel seed. It comes in two different styles, sweet or hot. Hot Italian sausage usually is flavored with spicy red pepper, while the sweet version has no pepper in it. In addition, Italian sausage is a very popular pizza topping in coarse loose chunks or sliced links.
Every holiday we celebrate seems to have Italian sausage as one of the items served. Whether in a sauce or grilled and served on a bun, it’s a very popular cased protein. My recipe is a balanced approach to the sweet and hot version with ingredients that complement each other and provide a lot of flavors.
- Pork – A trimmed pork shoulder or pork butt is the perfect meat cut. You can add in some pork belly for more fat and flavor.
- Spices – I use a combination of fennel, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, paprika, nutmeg, and coriander.
- Parsley – Adding some chopped fresh parsley will add some nice flavors and freshness to the Italian sausage.
- Garlic – Finely minced cloves are traditional to use and provide outstanding flavors.
- Casing – I use natural hog casing for this.
- Wine – A good Italian white Pinot Grigio is what I used. However, you can use a red Sangiovese or Chianti in this as well.
- Orange – This is an addition to traditional Italian sausage, but it is an ingredient often used in Italy while making sausage.
- Sugar – This will help to balance out some of the spicy seasonings in this.
- Ice – Shaved ice will help keep the sausage moist when encased.
How to Make Italian Sausage from Scratch
Add the hog casing to a medium-sized bowl and cover by 4 to 5 inches with cold water, and set it aside.
Trim the meat of a pork shoulder away from the bone and cut it into 1-inch chunks and place them into the freezer or refrigerator to chill for 15-20 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the spices, garlic, orange, parsley, and shaved ice. Set it aside until ready to use. Keep the ice in the freezer.
Assemble your grinder with the auger, blade, dye, and tightening ring.
Run the cold cubed pork through the food grinder using the medium size dye into another pan.
Add in all the spices and mix thoroughly to combine.
Fry a small piece of the Italian sausage and taste it to adjust any seasonings, and then place it again in the freezer or refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.
Run some water through the center of the hog casing to rinse everything out. Set aside.
Attach the hog casing around the sausage filler, tie a knot at the end, run the sausage through the attachment at low speed, and stuff the hog casing.
Tie a knot around the end of the sausage and continue stuffing until all the ingredients have been used.
Hold one filled casing in the middle and pinch it.
Next, go down about 6” inches and pinch again and twist them together.
Use one of the hanging remaining links through the whole of the two 6” links twisted together, and then repeat the process until the filled casing is tied.
Tie a double not at the end of the links and cut off any excess. Store or cook.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make this up to 3 days ahead of time. Just keep cool in the refrigerator and cover until ready to cook.
How to Store: Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The Italian sausage will freeze well for up to 6 months, either raw or cooked. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before cooking or reheating.
Chef Notes + Tips
- Each hog casing is roughly 2 to 3 feet in length. When adding it to the sausage filler tube, you can place 2 to 4 casings at once.
- Feel free to make smaller links like in my bangers recipe.
- There can be variations in the seasonings placed into the filling, and I encourage you to find the blend you like. However, some staples must be used, such as garlic, fennel seeds, salt, pepper, paprika, wine, and red pepper flakes.
- Freeze the remaining pork bones in the freezer for pork stock on a large date.
- If you do not have a spice grinder, you can use a mortar and pestle.
Recipes Using Italian Sausage
Homemade Italian Sausage Recipe
- 15 to 18 feet natural hog casing
- 9 pounds bone-in pork shoulder
- 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon dry basil
- 1 tablespoon dry oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons sea salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Paprika
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons grated garlic
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/3 cup chopped Parsley
- 1 1/2 cups crushed shaved ice
- Add the hog casing to a medium-sized bowl and cover by 4 to 5 inches with cold water, and set it aside.
- Trim away the meat of the pork shoulder away from the bone and cut it into 1-inch chunks and place them into a bowl, cover them, and put them in the freezer or refrigerator to chill for 15-20 minutes.
- In the meantime, add the fennel, coriander, basil, oregano, basil, oregano, nutmeg, pepper flakes, black pepper, salt, paprika, and sugar to a spice grinder and pulse 10 to 15 times to break down the fennel and coriander a bit. This does not have to be perfect.
- Run the cold cubed pork through the food grinder using the medium size dye into another pan.
- Add in all the spices, garlic, orange zest, white wine, parsley, and shaved ice, and mix thoroughly.
- Fry a small piece of the Italian sausage and taste it to adjust any seasonings, and then place it again in the freezer or refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.
- Run some water through the center of the hog casing to rinse everything out.
- Attach the hog casing around the sausage filler, tie a knot at the end, run the chilled sausage through the attachment at low speed, and stuff the hog casing. Watch the video.
- Tie a knot around the end of the sausage and continue stuffing until all the ingredients have been used.
- Hold one filled casing in the middle and pinch it.
- Next, go down about 6” inches and pinch again and twist them together.
- Use one of the hanging remaining links through the whole of the two 6” links twisted together, and then repeat the process until the filled casing is tied.
- Tie a double not at the end of the links and cut off any excess. Store or cook.
I just got everything needed to do this. The attention to detail in this recipe is just perfect for a novice. Thanks so much Billy, another great recipe! Can’t wait to make these. I am hoping you will go the thin spiral sausage with parsley and cheese next.
It’s my pleasure!
Can I use ground pork instead of a shoulder? I could run the ground pork thru the meat grinder if it is not ground finely enough….
In most cases, ground pork is ground pork shoulder 🙂
Thanks for these lessons.. my question is if I use beef instead of pork which part of it will be the best to use .
Beef will have a completely different flavor and I do not recommend.
Thank you chef for all your wonderful recipes. I have made this sausage recipe twice. I make it in 1 lb bulk packaging and vacuum seal them and cook it up for biscuits and gravy. Some of the second batch I am going to send to my kids. Thank you again!
Best Italian sausage ever!! So balanced, tasty, and great texture. It is now my permanent recipe for Italian sausage.
I made this yesterday and froze most of it except for what we ate for supper. I didn’t use casings because I like it loose so I can saute it and add it to soups and stews. This came out pretty good. I forgot to add the red pepper flakes but did add in a couple shakes of ground cayenne pepper. Came out great! Thanks for the recipe. I’ll be making it again.
Chef – first, thank you for taking the time to put your recipe and process on this page as it helped me tremendously. I had never made sausage before but have wanted to try for quite some time. I have a KitchenAid Pro mixer and I recently bought a grinder attachment and sausage stuffer. Thanks to your instruction (and recipe), the entire process went smoothly and I was able to bang[er] out a few dozen sausages from a pork shoulder. I fried up a small patty (before stuffing the rest!) and it was excellent. I am looking forward to playing around with the seasonings and trying different types of sausages. Maybe some brats next…
I don’t have a grinder, and don’t want to invest in one right now. Can I process the pork in a food processor? I did that with the salmon for your salmon patties, worked great. And one more question, would it work to freeze this in bulk rather than links, so the sausage can be used in pasta sauces or made into patties? Thanks so much, I can’t wait to try this!
It would be better if you finely chopped it. If you place it in a food processor, it may get too fine.
Chef, I am curious, if you defrost a pork butt to use to make these sausages, can you freeze the sausages since the meat was previously frozen. Thanks
Thank you for the quick response. Can’t wait to make the sausages and bangers….
Can this be made into a patty instead of links, not using the casings? Thks
I love all your videos. This is a real cooking show for real people. I watch every video on utube but am unable to make a comment to let you know how I appreciate every one I watch.
Thank you so kindly!!