Spicy Italian Sausage Recipe: Homemade and Delicious

This homemade Italian sausage recipe is surprisingly easy to make at home. The level of spice can be adjusted to suit your palate, but no matter how you like it, you’ll be glad to have some in the freezer for topping pizza or serving with eggs. 

Be sure to try my family’s favorite pizza dough recipe!

homemade sausage in a cast iron pan

Homemade Italian sausage recipe – to link or not to link?

Sausage comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Link sausages are made by stuffing ground meat and seasonings into a casing (more often than not, these are made from intestines). These can be used fresh, like a breakfast sausage, or hung to dry for various amounts of time, with or without smoke, to create all kinds of different flavors. Making link sausage requires a few more steps than making a simple bulk sausage. Guess which one I prefer to make?

We’ve experimented a bit with sausage recipes, and this is our favorite ground Italian sausage recipe, the one that we come back to again and again. Note that I say OUR favorite Italian sausage recipe. Sausage makers all think their recipe is the best, I’ve noticed.

Making sausage at home

Here’s the thing that you probably don’t realize: Making homemade Italian sausage is really easy to do. Plus, freshly made sausage is so much better than the stuff from the grocery store. It takes us about 15 minutes to make this homemade sausage recipe if we start with ground pork. It takes longer when we grind our own meat for this recipe. All you need is good-quality pork, some seasonings, and red wine. No sweeteners, no fillers, no brown sugar — easy, peasy.

I encourage you to try this, especially if you’ve got access to locally raised pork. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed — it’s so much better than store bought!


How to make bulk Italian sausage

If you’re starting with pork butt, you’ll need to grind the pork using a meat grinder. That can be a bit messy, but it’s worth it especially if you have farm raised pork to start with. If you’re starting with ground pork, it couldn’t be easier.

grinding pork with a meat grinder

We use a KitchenAid stand mixer equipped with a Chef’s Choice meat grinding attachment to grind pork. We’ve found that it works best with meat that’s partially frozen. Here’s how we do it:

  • Cut pork butt into chunks that will fit into the feed tube
  • Place chunks in the freezer for an hour or two
  • Turn grinder on low and begin feeding the chunks into the grinder and pushing them down.

Turning the ground pork (whether you’ve made it yourself or you’re starting with store bought ground pork into Italian sausage is just a matter of combining ingredients. Use a large bowl and mix with your hands until very well blended. That’s it. I’m telling you, homemade sausage is easy if you opt for making bulk sausage rather than making links.

Once you’ve mixed the ingredients together you can cook up a little sample to make sure that the flavors are right for your taste buds.


We preserve this homemade Italian sausage by freezing it in (roughly) one-pound packages. I prefer not to use plastic bags for storage. We usually use freezer paper to package ours, but it’s not always easy to find. Another alternative is to wrap the sausage in waxed paper and then a layer of aluminum foil.

There are a number of less wasteful options that will work for freezing your homemade sausage at this post about freezing without plastic, too.

packages of sausage in waxed paper

Using Italian sausage in the kitchen

We use this bulk sausage (ie; not link sausage) to top our homemade pizza, in this sausage lentil soup, to stir into polenta, and in creamy mushroom risotto. For those recipes, cook the sausage in a pan over medium heat; crumble sausage as it cooks, then add it to the dish. As a breakfast sausage recipe, we make sausage patties and fry them up in my cast iron skillet, cooking them for about 10 to 15 minutes per side.

homemade sausage in a cast iron pan

★ Did you make this homemade sausage recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below! ★

homemade sausage in a cast iron pan

Homemade Italian Sausage Recipe

This homemade sausage recipe is surprisingly easy to make with ground pork and spices.
4.25 from 33 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 32 servings
Author: Kris Bordessa


  • 5 pounds ground pork buy it in bulk or grind your own
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 5 teaspoons sea salt
  • 8 - 10 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 5 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • ½ cup onion finely chopped, (optional - I like it better without, but my husband is the sausage maker around here)


  • Measure all ingredients into a large bowl. Mix with your hands until ingredients are well blended.
    5 pounds ground pork, 1/2 cup red wine, 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning, 5 teaspoons sea salt, 8 - 10 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon pepper, 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, 5 tablespoons smoked paprika, 1/2 cup onion
    measuring cup pouring wine into ground pork
  • Optional: Sample the sausage. Of course, the flavors won't have saturated the pork, but by frying up a little mini patty, you'll be able to check the seasoning to make sure you're happy with the flavor.
    single sausage patty in cast iron


  • We store this homemade sausage recipe in the freezer in roughly one-pound parcels.
  • We use it crumbled for pizza topping or made into patties for breakfast.


Calories: 196kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 406mg | Potassium: 249mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 587IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @attainablesustainable or tag #attainablesustainable!
Originally published June 2011; this post has been updated.

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About the author: Kris Bordessa is an award-winning National Geographic author and a certified Master Food Preserver. Read more about Kris and how she got started with this site here. If you want to send Kris a quick message, you can get in touch here.

26 comments… add one
  • Debi Ouellette Oct 12, 2022 @ 15:50

    Hi, I am really anxious to try this recipe. I was wondering, can this ground sausage be stuffed into sausage casings? I hope so!

    • AttainableSustainable Oct 13, 2022 @ 3:46

      Yes, but it does require extra steps.

  • Noreen Stigen Nov 2, 2020 @ 8:54

    I did try this recipe, fried a little piece for test, realized there is something missing. FENNEL. My in-laws were Italian & made homemade italian sausage & my sons do to this day. Always fennel seed in sausage. But love all the other ingredients.

    • Kris Bordessa Nov 2, 2020 @ 10:34

      Definitely easy enough to add spices to a recipe like this, but we LOATHE fennel here and don’t add it. 😉

      • Mira Mar 31, 2023 @ 9:25

        Thank you for NOT adding fennel. This recipe is next on my list to make. I LOATHE fennel too!

        • AttainableSustainable Apr 6, 2023 @ 5:45

          You’re welcome, we think alike.:)

    • Shirley A Casciola Jun 12, 2023 @ 4:15

      Noreen can I ask how much Fennel you added. We love Fennel.

  • Ron Fassett Mar 28, 2018 @ 8:12

    I fell in love with you metal grinder attachment for your Kitchenaid unit. Where/how did you come by it. Is there a source out there I could check out?

  • Michelle Mar 24, 2018 @ 22:05

    Such a simple and easy recipe! I will definitely make this again.

  • Bill Hinds Feb 10, 2018 @ 15:47

    I use granulated garlic in lieu of fresh garlic. I find it is easier to deal with to get it spread throughout the sausage mixture and is just as garlicky as the real stuff.

  • Kim Dec 21, 2017 @ 6:54

    Awesome recipe. I’m not a salt user, so personally would cut the salt in half. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Sheri Aug 26, 2014 @ 3:53

    “Your “Old School Grinder Attachment”? Is that just a regular old grinder that happens to fit the mixer unit? I have held off buying one from Kitchen Aid because it’s all made from plastic.

    • Kris Bordessa Aug 26, 2014 @ 7:24

      it wasn’t a Kitchen Aid brand attachment, no. But I don’t know what brand it was – sorry!

  • Heidi Aug 1, 2011 @ 18:15

    What a great recipe. Few ingredients so I can’t screw it up. I am going to try this soon. Thanks.

  • Lisa Carter Jun 25, 2011 @ 2:54

    This is a great idea, Kris. I often buy delicious sausage from a local butcher I trust but end up crumbling it out of it’s liner. I also love sausage patties but won’t buy the prefab ones, so I’ll definitely try this.

    • Kris Bordessa Aug 2, 2011 @ 13:03

      I think you’ll be pleased! I was out of homemade sausage the other day and resorted to a pack of store bought that’s been in the freezer forever. My kids complained!

  • April Jun 17, 2011 @ 16:35

    Looking forward to reading it! I’m mid-pack for a trip with the family, but I can’t wait to read more of your blog. My friend has been writing a blog about her move toward radical simplicity. https://www.laughawaythemorning.com/

    One of my favorite books is Animal Vegetable Miracle. It has inspired me in so many ways. Have you read it?

  • April Jun 17, 2011 @ 16:07

    I have. I wanted to make a recipe that called for it, but didn’t have any, so found a recipe, and it was awesome. And so easy. My blog touches a lot on self-sufficiency. I make most things from scratch, and we are buying a home on a larger piece of land so we can expand our garden (I can, freeze and dehydrate) and have chickens. I hope to get a couple of pigs and a mini Jersey cow, but that will be down the road. I love that I can do it myself. This summer I am learning how to harvest chickens (it sounds nicer than kill, defeather and eviscerate).

    • Kris Bordessa Jun 17, 2011 @ 16:19

      Welcome, April! It sounds like you live much like we do. I’d love a milk cow, but there’s just not enough space for that here. I love the term “harvesting” for your chickens. We butchered one for the first time awhile backand it was certainly an experience! (https://www.attainable-sustainable.net/doing-the-right-thing-or-chicken-butchering-101/)

      • Elisabeth Aug 2, 2011 @ 4:06

        Have you considered goats? They require less food but will still give you enough milk to drink and some extra depending on how big your family is.

        • April Aug 2, 2011 @ 9:19

          I prefer cows milk and cows milk cheese. A mini jersey is the best of both worlds. Small enough quantities for a single family and cows milk flavor. I also prefer the temperament of cows. Goats get into everything.

          • Kris Bordessa Aug 2, 2011 @ 13:06

            I would *love to have a mini jersey!

        • Kris Bordessa Aug 2, 2011 @ 13:05

          We’ve talked about a goat, but my husband (who grew up on a dairy) doesn’t think we’ve even got enough space/forage for a goat without supplementing with alfalfa. And alfalfa is NOT cheap here, nor very sustainable, as it needs to be shipped in. Bummer, eh?

    • Sam Nov 30, 2017 @ 14:36

      April good luck on your New found love. I have been on the farm all my life you won’t regret it so much pleasure in what you raise front the garden to the table and from the field to the freezer. Those days in my life are over now but I cherish all the memories good luck and God Bless to you and your family. Sam

  • Melanie Haiken Jun 17, 2011 @ 13:07

    Wow, my kids would love it if I tried this. I’m not big on ground meat but it sounds like it would be a big crowd-pleaser in my house so I will try this!

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