How to cook sausages
All you need to know for cooking sausages successfully – from casseroles and traybakes, to fry-ups, we've got lots of recipe inspiration.
Easy to cook and convenient to portion, sausages are a useful staple. They are usually made from pork mince (but lamb, beef and chicken are available, as well as soy and plant-based options), and salt is added for flavour and to help preserve the meat. They will often also contain rusk, which is like very fine, dry breadcrumbs and is used to help bind the ingredients together and stop the meat from drying out by absorbing the fat as it cooks. The filling is contained in a thin, edible casing, which is either made from animal intestine or is synthetic. Sometimes the sausages will be joined together at the casing (called links), which can be cut with scissors before cooking, making it easier to turn them.
Seasonings, spices and herbs are added to give the sausages extra flavour. Small pieces of cooked apple, caramelised onions or other ingredients that pair well with pork can also be added to create interesting varieties.
Get your fill of our best ever sausage recipes and check out our top 10 family sausage recipes for more mouth-watering meal ideas. Make our warming sausage casserole recipes, one of our hearty sausage pasta recipes or our favourite healthy sausage recipes.
If you've cooked more sausages then you need, read our guide for how to use up leftover sausages.
Common types of sausages
- Cumberland – pork sausage made in a spiral with spices that can include white pepper, black pepper, sage, thyme, nutmeg, cayenne and mace.
- Toulouse – pork sausage originating in France made with red wine and garlic, and sometimes with additional ingredients like bacon and thyme.
- Merguez – North African-style sausage, also popular in France, made from lamb with spices such as cumin, garlic and harissa.
- Lincolnshire – pork sausage flavoured with sage.
- Gloucester – This meaty sausage, classically made from Gloucester Old Spot pork, has a high fat ratio for a succulent end product. It's a good breakfast choice.
- Lincolnshire – Other than salt and pepper, the main flavour to this coarsely ground, chunky sausage is sage – making it ideal for bangers and mash.
- Glamorgan – This Welsh veggie sausage is more of a croquette, and is made from cooked leeks, cheese and breadcrumbs.
- Lorne – Also known as square sausage, the lorne is a slice of minced sausagemeat commonly eaten as part of a traditional Scottish breakfast.
- Chorizo-style – Not to be confused with actual chorizo, this is standard pork sausage spiced with garlic and paprika.
- Italian/Sicilian –Fennel seeds, garlic and rosemary are what seem to make a sausage 'Italian'. Ideal in pasta dishes.
What is the best way to cook sausages?
The fat in the sausages provides flavour, but if you’d prefer to reduce it, the best way is to bake the sausages. Prick them first with a skewer so more fat can drain out during cooking. Once baked, they can be chopped and simmered in a sauce or stew, or even in the slow cooker, which will return some of the moisture lost during baking. Chopping the sausages up and mixing them with other ingredients is also a great way to make them serve more people.
Other popular methods for cooking sausages involve frying them on the hob or in an air-fryer, or grilling or barbecuing them.
What is the best cooking temperature for sausages?
Sausages are a quick meal option, but need to be cooked properly. As they contain a relatively high fat content, they can burn on the outside before the heat has penetrated all the way through, so it’s important to keep the heat to medium. In a regular oven, this would be around 190C/170C fan/gas 5.
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How long to oven cook sausages
When coated in oil and cooked in a preheated oven at the above stated temperature, most sausages should take around 20-25 minutes to cook through. Make sure to turn the sausages a few times while cooking to ensure an even temperature distribution. When done, they should be golden brown on the outside and pale brown on the inside, with no pink meat. See our recipe below for more details.
How to cook sausages in the oven
- 1 tbsp oil (such as sunflower or vegetable oil)
- 6 pork sausages
- Heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.
- Pour the oil in a roasting tin and add the sausages.
- Turn them in the oil to coat, then roast for 20-25 mins, turning a few times during cooking.
- When done, they should be golden on the outside (some sausages will brown more than others), the juices should run clear and there should be no pink in the meat inside – cut one open if you’re not sure and return to the oven for another 5 mins before testing again.
These are great served with mashed potato, onion gravy and your favourite green vegetables.
Fried sausages recipe
• 4 pork sausages
- Heat a non-stick pan over a medium heat, then add the sausages. A little of the fat from the sausages will start to come out as they warm up; turn the sausages in the hot fat to coat them.
- Keep cooking for 15-20 mins, moving them around in the pan and turning them over regularly so they all cook evenly.
- The sausages are ready when the outside is a deep golden brown and the inside is pale, with no pink meat. Any meat juices running off should be clear.
How cook sausages on a barbecue
Sausages are a barbecue favourite too, but as the heat of a barbecue can be tricky to judge, try boiling them first. That way, you can maximise the barbecued flavour, but still be sure they’re cooked through.
For any number of sausages:
- Bring a large saucepan of water to a simmer and cook the sausages for 8-10 mins.
- Drain and barbecue straightaway, or spread them out on a tray to cool quickly – chill until you’re ready to finish cooking them.
- When you're ready to barbecue, light the barbecue around 20 mins in advance.
- Lay the sausages next to each other and push a skewer through one end of all the sausages, and a second through the other end, so the sausages look like a ladder (leave a gap between each sausage).
- Cook for 20 mins, turning over halfway through.
Our top 5 sausage recipes:
1. Bangers & mash with onion gravy
Take classic bangers and mash to the next level with a few special tips. Follow our recipe to achieve fluffy, buttery mashed potato and a rich, herby onion gravy.
For another variation on this classic dish, try our popular sausage & leek mash pie.
2. Sausage ragu
Sausagemeat is full of flavour and lends itself well to ragu. Make this comforting, budget-friendly sausage ragu with pasta for an easy family meal. You can freeze the leftovers for another time and it tastes just as good.
Check out more sausage pasta recipes.
3. Sausage & white bean casserole
This colourful chipolata, white bean and roasted veg one-pan dish is so simple to prepare and a healthy, flavour-packed meal. It offers four of your five-a-day, so is a great way to get more veg into your kids' diets.
4. Air-fryer sausages
Cook sausages quickly and easily using an air-fryer, without the need for additional oil. This simple method can be used to cook any kind of sausages.
5. Sausage stroganoff tagliatelle
Try this comforting sausage stronganoff pasta dish, and it will soon become part of your repertoire. On the table in just 20 minutes, this budget-friendly sausage dish is perfect for a quick family midweek meal.
Discover more delicious sausage recipes:
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