How to Cook Sausage in the Oven
Sausage has a taste unparalleled to other meats. Thanks to today’s use of high-quality spices and several types of meats, sausage is more delicious than ever. To get the most flavor from your sausage, you’ll need to know how to cook it.
WHY COOK SAUSAGE IN THE OVEN?
Cooking Italian sausage in the oven frees up your stovetop for preparing other parts of your meal. The oven also gives you more temperature control, especially if you use both an oven thermometer and a meat thermometer. If you want to bake something else in the oven at the same time, you can adjust the temperature you use for cooking the sausage. For convenience, flavor and ease, few other cooking methods for sausage match oven preparation.
1. Location, Location, Location
While most people enjoy grilled sausage, the weather won’t always cooperate with your cookout plans. In many parts of the country, outdoor grilling is only comfortably possible for a few months out of the year. Rain, snow, excessive heat or cold could thwart your plans for cooking your sausage outside. Luckily, you don’t have to give up your favorite sausage meal if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Oven baking can be your go-to backup method for cooking your sausage in inclement weather. Using the oven to prepare your meat also gives you other benefits you wouldn’t have with outdoor grilling or stovetop cooking. Reduced cleaning time and ease of execution mean oven baking may become your favorite cooking method, regardless of the weather outside.
While deep frying makes everything taste great, not everyone can accommodate fried foods into their diets. Baking requires no added fat or carbs, so you don’t have to add extra calories when preparing your sausage. If you skip the starchy sides and pile on the veggies for your meal, your dinner could fit into many diet plans from low carb to gluten-free.
Choosing the sausage you want to bake will also affect your meal’s healthfulness. Consider trying one of our chicken sausages for a lower fat option. These have 60 percent less fat compared to USDA information for sausages made from pork and beef. Most of our sausages are gluten-free, none have MSG and many are prepared without antibiotics. Forget bland diet foods. Baked sausage is a great way to improve your recipe lineup for any diet.
3. Reduced Cleanup
If you’re like most people, you hate scrubbing out dishes after cooking. Many people agree that cooking is much more fun than the cleaning afterward. If this describes you, you’re in luck because oven cooking sausage uses a single pan. You won’t need to scour a grill or wash out a frying pan. Your stovetop will also stay grease-free. With just one sheet pan, you’ll save the stress and have more time after dinner to enjoy with your family.
If you want to cut cleanup to zero, consider lining your baking pan with foil or parchment and making a sheet pan dinner like our Cajun one-pan dinner or our one-pan sausage and roasted roots recipe. Cooking your entire meal on a sheet pan will reduce cleaning time. Additionally, when you use foil or parchment paper, you’ll cut clean up time down to how long it takes to throw away the pan liner.
4. Almost Foolproof
While no cooking method is entirely foolproof, oven baking sausage comes close. Rather than turn over sausage constantly on a skillet so the meat cooks evenly, you’ll find yourself adjusting less if your oven maintains a steady temperature for you. You only need to know which temperature to use, which temperature the sausage must reach and which pan to use. Understanding these three simple things can make your dinner a complete success. Even if you’ve never cooked a meal before, you can bake your meat in the oven and have a tasty meal.
You won’t need to follow a recipe to cook your links or patties in the oven. If you need to raise or lower the baking temperature to accommodate another dish in the oven, you can. Reducing the temperature will increase the cooking time whereas raising it will decrease the time. To ensure you don’t overcook the meat, always use a meat thermometer to verify the interior has reached the perfect temperature for eating and safety.
5. Perfect for Crowds
Meal preparation for only your immediate family members is one thing, but if you have to cook for a crowd, planning what you’ll make and how you make it becomes even more critical. Baked sausage is an ideal food for gatherings. Who doesn’t like fresh sausage made from the best ingredients? And cooking the meat in the oven lets you prepare enough for large groups of people.
For parties or large families, cooking in the oven lets you make a large amount of meat at once without worrying about keeping the cooked links warm while the remaining links heat up and cook. If you prepared enough food for a crowd using a frying pan, you’d only be able to cook as much sausage as fits in the pan. Depending on the size of your container, you may be capable of frying a pair of links at a time. Instead of choosing this option, use your oven. You can cook an entire sheet pan at once, so you can serve everyone at the same time. Party planning just got a lot easier.
HOW TO COOK SAUSAGE IN THE OVEN
You can cook sausage in a variety of ways—from pan-frying to grilling and everything in between. While you have multiple preparation options for fresh sausage, if you’ve never oven baked sausage before, it’s time you became acquainted with this simple cooking method that lets you focus on preparing the sides to accompany your sausage.
TEMPERATURE TO USE
Whether cooking links or patties in your oven, use any temperature between 350 degrees and 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideally, aim for baking the meat at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, especially if you don’t have other foods in the oven at the same time.
If you use a convection oven, lower the temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Convection ovens have a fan inside to circulate the warm air, so food inside cooks faster and more evenly. Always place the pan on the center rack in the middle of the oven to take advantage of the air flow. When using a convection oven and following the same temperature guidelines for a conventional oven, check the sausage at three-fourths the recommended cooking time. Your meat will finish heating through faster and require less time if you bake it at the same temperature as you would in a conventional oven.
COOKING TIME IN THE OVEN
When baking in the oven, always preheat it completely. An oven thermometer can help you determine when your oven has reached the appropriate temperature. If your oven temperature does not match the setting on the thermostat, consider getting your appliance recalibrated. Until an electrician can fix your oven, though, heat the oven so it reaches 400 degrees Fahrenheit inside before putting the pan of meat in for baking.
Baking times depend on the heat of the oven, type of oven and thickness of the meat. Thin slices or patties may cook in just 10 minutes. Thicker links can take up to 45 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn the sausage every 10 minutes and check the internal temperature as you do. When the inside of the meat reaches a safe temperature, you can pull the sausages out of the oven.
Alternative Sausage Oven Temperatures and Cook Times
A successful home cook knows how to juggle a few tasks while trying to place every main and side dish on the table at the same time — a tricky task with one oven and several recipes requiring different oven temperatures and cook times. If you do want to cook different foods simultaneously, you can find easy sausage recipes that allow you to bake the sausage at the same time. But cooking will take longer if you bake at temperatures lower than 400 degrees Fahrenheit. For ovens set at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, cook your sausage links for a minimum of 25 minutes, turning each piece at 10-minute intervals, and keep in mind that larger links can take at least an hour to cook through completely.
If you need to program your oven for hotter, the sausages will cook a bit faster. Set your timer for at least 20 minutes, turning the sausages about halfway through their cook time for an even bake. As usual, fatter sausage links will need more time to cook completely.
Easy Sausage Recipes You Can Make in the Oven
It’s easy to create delicious meals using sausage you cook in the oven. Mixing sausage and vegetables is a great way to meal prep at the start of the week. For example, both you and your kids will love Sweet Roasted Sausage over rice for a nutritious weekday lunch. You’ll need two pounds of Premio Sweet Italian Sausage, salt, sugar, black pepper, olive oil and your favorite vegetables for roasting in the oven. Once you cut everything up, you just cover and roast the whole meal in your oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour or until sausage reaches an internal temperature of 165 F. using a meat thermometer.
For family dinnertime, try a wholesome meal balanced around savory meat and tender vegetables with our Oven Sausage Winter Veggie Roast. Combine pieces of Premio Sweet Italian Sausage, cubed butternut squash, mushrooms, onion and Brussels sprouts into a large roasting pan. Bake in an oven set to 375 degrees Fahrenheit until the sausage is fully cooked through — about 30 to 45 minutes. Toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic salt and barbecue sauce, then heat again for an additional 10 minutes at 415 degrees. Serve this dish at your next get-together and pair it with your favorite rice or holiday fixings.
Another crowd-pleaser is Premio Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Sheet Pan Dinner. Make this easy meal using four Sweet Italian Sausage Links with the casings removed, one fennel bulb, one bunch of broccoli rabe, olive oil and various seasonings. This healthy, simple and delicious meal gets baked in the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit and is ready to serve in about 35 minutes or until sausage reaches an internal temperature of 165 F. using a meat thermometer.
Finally, you can make Sausage, Peppers and Potatoes in the oven to serve in a sandwich or pour over pasta. Use six Premio Sweet Italian Sausage or Premio Hot Italian Sausage links then add a variety of peppers, onions, five large eastern potatoes, olive oil and a variety of seasonings. You should cook the mixture at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about one hour or until sausage reaches an internal temperature of 165 F. using a meat thermometer then remove and serve.
SAFELY COOKING SAUSAGE
Food safety starts with properly handling the raw meat and it ends with correctly serving the cooked product. When you begin, wash your hands with hot, soapy water for at least 30 seconds. Don’t forget to scrub under any rings you wear. If possible, remove rings, watches or bracelets to keep your jewelry away from raw meat. You don’t want to have to clean fresh sausage from between bracelet links after you’re done with the cooking.
Never cut raw meat on the same cutting board you will use for fresh foods, such as vegetables. Use a separate knife and board for slicing links or patties. Doing so will prevent bacterial contamination from making you and your family sick.
Use a meat probe thermometer to determine when to take the sausage out of the oven. Cook the meat until the thickest part reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Undercooking any meat puts your family at risk for foodborne illnesses. Let the meat sit for five minutes to cool slightly and so the juices won’t spill out when you cut them.
Finally, it’s ready to eat, but don’t use the same plate you used for the raw sausage to serve the cooked ones. Use a new, clean plate for serving. Also cut the meat with a clean knife, not the one you cut the raw sausages with.
Tips for Stress-Free Oven Cooking
If you’ve ever cooked with sausage in the past, you may be familiar with issues having your sausage split or “burst” its casing. Though it’s not the end of a perfectly-cooked meal, it’s inconvenient to clean up any mess from juices running in your baking sheet or pan. While burst sausages look a bit misshapen, they also tend to be dry and less flavorful.
Why do sausages sometimes split when cooked? Trace amounts of water inside the sausage turn to steam when heated and cause the casing to expand. Sausage can split when there’s an uneven change in temperature during cooking — like when a link sits on a hot skillet. That’s why cooking sausage in the oven instead allows you to maintain a steadier temperature over a period of time.
It’s possible to reduce the pressure inside of the casings by piercing them with a fork before or during cooking, but juice can still run out and lead to a drier sausage. You can try using tongs to turn over the meat on occasion while it cooks in the oven as well.
Give fresh sausage time to settle in your fridge overnight after purchase. The USDA recommends cooking or freezing sausage within 2 days of purchase. If the sausage is frozen, allow the meat to thaw for best results. Follow these thawing recommendations from the USDA:
- Refrigerator: The refrigerator allows slow, safe thawing. Make sure thawing meat and poultry juices do not drip onto other food.
- Cold Water: For faster thawing, place food in a leak-proof plastic bag. Submerge in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook immediately after thawing.
- Microwave: Cook meat and poultry immediately after microwave thawing.
After withdrawing the baked sausage from the oven, try waiting a few minutes before cutting it open or inserting a meat thermometer to check if the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit at the thickest part. The longer the juices can stay put, the more flavorful the first bite will be.
PANS TO USE FOR OVEN COOKING
When it comes to cooking pans, you have a few options. The simplest is a sheet pan with a narrow lip on all sides. Line it with aluminum foil or parchment paper to reduce your clean up. Place the sausage links or patties directly onto the pan liner before baking. This method keeps sausages intact throughout the baking process, but if you want to cook links, you can get a grilled texture by using a broiler pan.
If you have a broiler pan with a grated top and a pan on bottom, you can also use that to cook the meat. The grates on top will allow the juices to drip through to the pan beneath. Make your own broiler pan with a metal cookie cooling rack placed on top of a baking sheet. Verify the rack is made entirely of metal and oven safe. Alternatively, you can put links directly on the oven rack with a sheet pan on the rack below to catch drippings.
BEST SAUSAGES TO COOK IN THE OVEN
So now that you know how to bake sausages in your oven, which varieties do you choose? The good news is all of our varieties taste excellent cooked in the oven. Here is just a little more information about the flavors you’ll find in the Premio Foods product line:
- Italian: With sweet and hot flavors in ground, patties, links and more, our traditional Italian line-up is one of our most popular. Authentic Italian herbs and spices give a classic, comforting flavor to all the sausages in this family-favorite line.
- Italian Specialty: For something a little different, try our Italian specialty varieties. You may have to order these less common varieties online, but you’ll get to taste flavors that are hard to find elsewhere. Included in our Italian specialty varieties are our fennel-filled sweet Luganiga; cheese and basil; and tomato, rosemary and garlic.
- Chicken: Love the flavor of sausage but don’t eat pork? You can still enjoy our chicken patties, grillers and links. Chicken sausage contains less fat compared to beef or pork sausage.
- Breakfast: Add a little spice to your morning meal with links. For a sweet, protein-filled way to start your day, we also have maple breakfast links.
- Flavors From Around the World: Though our hallmark is our Italian sausage, we also make varieties from around the world. If you’ve never explored the flavors of kielbasa, andouille, chorizo or bratwurst, change that now with our international line. We use the same high-quality ingredients and care in these meats we use to make our traditional varieties.
INSPIRATION FOR YOUR NEXT MEAL
As filling as protein-packed as sausage is on its own, it may not suffice for a meal for some. You can incorporate your baked sausage into your meal rotation without repeating ideas. We have an extensive listing of recipes that make the most of our products. Here are just a few that you can prepare in the oven while you cook your sausage:
- Sausage Stars: Bring some fun to the table with these star-shaped sausage treats. Make them for a holiday party or any time you’d like to entice your kids to eat.
- Sausage and Sweet Potato Combo: This simple baked dish is perfect for Thanksgiving — or any other dinner. The simplicity of the recipe belies its taste. Though it uses fruits and vegetables of the fall, you’ll want to make this sweet and savory dish all year long.
- Make ‘Em Happy Complete Dinner: The name of this recipe says it all. It includes meat and vegetables, and it makes your family happy. It will make you happy, too, with a quick preparation and a hands-free baking time of only 45 minutes.
- Premio Sausage Pizza: No pizza pie is complete without a topping of fresh, Italian meats. You choose the style of crust, sauces and cheese you prefer, and slices or crumbles of sausage on top add the flair. Create some melty, baked perfection in your oven whenever you’d like.
WHERE TO FIND PREMIO SAUSAGE
Check us out online to see our lineup of sausages. We have more than 40 varieties to jazz up any meal you serve to your family. If you’re craving a simple, hearty dinner tonight, you can use our grocery store locator to find our products nearest you. But if you cannot find us at your local grocers, don’t worry. Our online store ships across the United States.
Take your taste buds on a trip around the world with our international flavors. Or make your favorite meals with our classic products. There’s a sausage variety for everyone. We have Italian varieties and healthier chicken sausages for those wanting red-meat alternatives. You’re sure to find your next family favorite among our lineup. Look for yourself and be inspired for your next meal.