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.

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

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.

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.


  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

Italian sausage slices on a plate
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How to Cook Italian Sausage

This recipe will show you How to Cook Italian Sausage. Whether cooked on the stove top, oven or grill, these sausage links will turn out perfect every time!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
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  • 4 Italian Sausage Links or as many as desired
  • water


  • Place sausage in a large skillet.
  • Add water to ½" depth. Bring to a simmer and cover.
  • Simmer for 12 minutes. Remove lid and continue to simmer until water evaporates turning sausages occasionally to brown.


To Cook in the Oven
  1. Place links on foil-lined baking sheet. Place in cold oven and turn heat to 350°F.
  2. Cook for 25-35 minutes or until internal temperature registers 160°F.
To Grill
  1. Place on a 375°F grill. Close the lid.
  2. Turn occasionally until uniformly browned about 15 to 20 minutes or until the pork reaches 160°F.
4.98 from 179 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 388 | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 819mg | Potassium: 283mg | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Italian sausage on a plate with a title
Italian sausage on a plate with writing
Raw Italian sausage in a pan with water and cooked Italian sausage on a plate with writing


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About the author

Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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  1. I refer to this every time I could fresh sausage links! I boil as told, then when I know they are cooked through (yes, I use a thermometer) I drain what’s left of the water then proceed. I always cook more than I need, so some I’ll brown up and use now, others I use my vacuum sealer and freeze them in amounts needed for other recipes. Thanks again for great directions that work perfectly every time.5 stars

  2. Hi, I love this site and recipe. However, my sausages didn’t brown. Their temp is 360-370. What did I do wrong?

    1. Hi Andi, as the water evaporate they will brown on the skillet. If they didn’t brown, was all the water evaporated? It might have just needed a little longer to cook.

  3. Thank you for this tutorial.
    I like sausages on the grill, but really didn’t like them when I cooked them on the stove. Now I know why.
    I will try this in the next few weeks.5 stars

  4. Come here every single time I make sausages! I should remember, but I just come back to make sure I’m following the perfect method perfectly!5 stars

  5. I needed a no-fuss way to cook some sausages without making them dry and sad. This oven method delivered–thank you!5 stars

    1. Thanks Rachel. I was trying to find a way to cook these sausages without splattering grease all over my stove top. Thanks for your oven method.
      Bon appetite!5 stars

  6. Holly, with cooking as my hobby, I always look to your recipes first! Straight forward easy to understand. These sausage were nice and simple. Thanks again!5 stars