24 Best Italian Sausage Recipes

Tortellini skillet lasagna
Tortellini skillet lasagna - Hayley MacLean/Mashed

Despite the name, Italian sausage in the United States doesn't necessarily refer to sausage made in Italy, but sausage that has been seasoned. It encompasses a broad category ranging from sweet to spicy to mild and contains seasonings such as garlic, paprika, and fennel. Regardless of which brand you buy, you can be pretty sure they'll be salty and fatty, and a delicious addition to just about any meal. Unlike more neutral-flavored meats such as chicken or beef, Italian sausage brings layers of flavor to the table, making it an easy ingredient to build recipes around. You don't have to worry about spice mixes or flavorful sauces. All you have to worry about is which ingredients can complement the sausages.

The options are practically infinite. From cozy winter casseroles and hearty breakfast tacos, Italian sausage can be the lynchpin of a wide range of dishes. We all have our go-to's, but sometimes, even beloved recipes get repetitive and leave us in search of something new. For this reason, we've rounded up some of our favorite Italian sausage recipes so you never get bored of cooking them. Instead of resorting to the same old pasta sauce formula every week, why not make the Italian pastry pockets known as calzones or try your hand at unstuffed cabbage rolls? These recipes will spice up your dinners without adding extra hours of labor. From slow cooker lasagna to white bean cassoulet, they will make you see Italian sausages in a whole new light.

Read more: Sausage Brands Made With The Highest & Lowest Quality Ingredients

Sheet-Pan Italian Sausage Dinner

Sheet-pan Italian sausage dinner
Sheet-pan Italian sausage dinner - Erin Johnson/Mashed

A truly easy meal has minimal cleanup. It's all good to whip something up in 20 minutes, but if you're left with an hour of dishwashing at the end, you haven't saved yourself time. Sheet-pan recipes are the answer. Once the food is eaten, all you have to worry about is a cutting board, a cookie sheet, and the plates you ate on.

This Italian sausage recipe is one of our favorite examples. It takes under an hour to make and is full of colorful, healthy ingredients like bell peppers, roasted tomatoes, and herbs.

Recipe: Sheet-Pan Italian Sausage Dinner

Easy Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

Deep dish pizza
Deep dish pizza - Mikayla Marin/Mashed

Nobody really needs an excuse to make pizza, but if you want an extra push, here it is — a recipe for a deep-dish Chicago-style Italian sausage pizza that takes less than 45 minutes to make.

Not only will you be piling it with sausage and mozzarella, but recipe developer Mikayla Marin calls for pepperoni to add to the meaty, salty goodness. For an extra authentic pie, Marin recommends stopping by your local pizza joint. Many restaurants will sell you dough if you ask for it. Who knew?

Recipe: Easy Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

Rachael Ray's Carbonara

Carbonara - Kate Shungu/Mashed

Rachael Ray is known for her comforting, accessible recipes, and this is no exception. It follows a more traditional route than other carbonaras, using egg yolks to create a rich consistency rather than cream. Recipe developer Kate Shungu has also added kale and Italian sausage to make the dish more substantial.

To add the eggs to the hot pasta without accidentally scrambling them, you'll need to let them slowly heat in the pasta water. This process, called tempering, might look intimidating, but it is doable for cooks of all levels and will make you feel like a pro.

Recipe: Rachael Ray's Carbonara

Spicy Italian Wedding Soup

Italian wedding soup
Italian wedding soup - Christina Musgrave/Mashed

You don't have to say "I do" to enjoy this soup. It's worth celebrating all by itself. Made with carrots, celery, onions, Italian sausage, orzo, chicken broth, and spinach, it's chock-full of flavor and nutrients, the perfect recipe for cold winter days.

Recipe developer Christina Musgrave has opted to use spicy Italian sausage, and while you could swap it for a mild or sweet variety, the spice adds only a hint of heat when combined with the rest of the ingredients. Serve it with fresh basil or thyme for an even more complex flavor.

Recipe: Spicy Italian Wedding Soup

Slow Cooker Lasagna

Slice of lasagna
Slice of lasagna - Jason Goldstein/Mashed

The allure of a good slow cooker recipe is that you can combine a bunch of ingredients, set a timer, and leave it untouched for several hours. On your return, you have a piping hot, perfectly cooked meal. Lasagna is not a particularly difficult dish to make, but it does require attentiveness to avoid burning or undercooking the noodles. With a slow cooker, you can forget about both concerns.

With only 10 minutes of prep time, this recipe produces a thick, mouthwatering rendition of lasagna, complete with succulent meat sauce and oozing cheese.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Lasagna

Sausage And Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Sausage and cream cheese stuffed mushrooms
Sausage and cream cheese stuffed mushrooms - Catherine Brookes/Mashed

Whether you're looking for an outside-the-box appetizer or want to make an impression at a potluck, these sausage and cream cheese stuffed mushrooms will do the trick and leave your guests begging for the recipe.

Think of them like crostini topped with a creamy mixture of cheese and sausages, but instead of crusty bread, you're using mushrooms. Elegant, indulgent, and full of intense flavor, these bite-sized gems might even win over those who claim not to like mushrooms.

Recipe: Sausage And Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Instant Pot Lasagna Soup

Lasagna soup
Lasagna soup - Kristen Carli/Mashed

If you don't have time to layer lasagna noodles, meat sauce, and cheese, you can still enjoy the signature flavors of the beloved Italian dish in soup form. The speed of this recipe is, quite frankly, equal parts ridiculous and miraculous. From the moment you gather the ingredients to the moment you spoon the soup into bowls, less than 15 minutes will have passed.

Serve it with crusty bread, give yourself a pat on the back for producing something so delicious in record time, and enjoy the leftovers for up to four days.

Recipe: Instant Pot Lasagna Soup

15-Minute Sausage And White Bean Cassoulet

Sausage And White Bean Cassoulet
Sausage And White Bean Cassoulet - Kristen Carli/Mashed

We might associate Italian sausage with the home of pasta and gelato, but cassoulet was created in France. Traditionally made with duck, sausage, pork, and beans, this version from recipe developer Kristen Carli sticks to sausages only, producing a lighter yet equally flavorful stew in which the white beans can shine.

Another outlying factor of this recipe is time. It only takes 20 minutes to make from start to finish thanks to the use of canned beans. If you're feeling fancy, Carli recommends serving the cassoulet for dinner with tiramisu for dessert.

Recipe: 15-Minute Sausage And White Bean Cassoulet

30-Minute Tortellini Skillet Lasagna

Tortellini skillet lasagna
Tortellini skillet lasagna - Hayley MacLean/Mashed

If making lasagna always feels like a time-consuming hassle, the noodles might be to blame. They aren't as delicate as pie dough or as slow to make as bread, but layering them can take a lot of time, and swapping them with something lower maintenance can be the difference between you eating lasagna and you not eating lasagna.

This recipe switches the long, flat noodles with cheese-filled tortellini, and the results are surprisingly similar to lasagna, but take a fraction of the time and effort.

Recipe: 30-Minute Tortellini Skillet Lasagna

20-Minute Sausage And Potatoes

Sausage and potatoes
Sausage and potatoes - Melissa Olivieri/Mashed

Air fryers offer an efficient way to cook without having to turn on your oven or stand over a skillet. With a small convection fan to push the heat around, these appliances cook food without the need for boiling them in scalding oil, the way deep fryers do. As such, they provide fast, healthy results and are indispensable for many home cooks.

This quick sausage and potatoes recipe is a prime example of why air fryers are so useful. In 20 minutes, you'll have a flavorful, balanced meal with minimal kitchen cleanup.

Recipe: 20-Minute Sausage And Potatoes

Easy Tortellini

Bowl of tortellini
Bowl of tortellini - Kristen Carli/Mashed

Store-bought tortellini and ravioli may be ready to serve right out of the package once you've heated them, but they will taste much better (and more homemade) if you add a personal flair. This recipe takes a humble bag of frozen tortellini and transforms it from a quick, store-bought meal to a restaurant-worthy feast that covers all the bases.

To make it, you'll need chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, cream, spinach, garlic, and Parmesan. It takes less than 30 minutes and is strikingly superior to plain old boiled tortellini.

Recipe: Easy Tortellini

Instant Pot Zuppa Tuscana

Zuppa Tuscana
Zuppa Tuscana - Ksenia Prints/Mashed

Popularized by Olive Garden rather than the sunny northern coast of Italy, Zuppa Tuscana is a rich blend of Italian sausage, cream, potatoes, bacon, and kale. It's a hearty dish that will suffuse you with warmth on winter days and satisfy a craving for comfort food year-round. Our version, from recipe developer Ksenia Prints, follows a simple formula to produce a soup that is remarkably similar to the Olive Garden one.

Cook it in the Instant Pot to save time and make sure to serve it with Parmesan and chili flakes.

Recipe: Instant Pot Zuppa Tuscana

Giada's Turkey Meatballs With A Twist

Turkey meatballs
Turkey meatballs - Mackenzie Ryan/Mashed

There are many recipes for meatballs, but we can't help but feel like this one, courtesy of chef Mackenzie Ryan, has an edge over the rest. For one thing, it draws its foundations from famed Italian American chef Giada De Laurentiis, but as if that wasn't enough, it adds a cheese filling. That gooey mozzarella center might just be the mic-drop of meatball recipes.

This version also calls for a mixture of Italian sausage meat and turkey, making it flavorful and not as rich as other variations.

Recipe: Giada's Turkey Meatballs With A Twist

Easy Instant Pot Sausage And Peppers

Sausage and peppers
Sausage and peppers - Hayley MacLean/Mashed

If you want a recipe that can be used as the basis for several different dishes, sausage and peppers is the answer. Whether you want to make a hearty sandwich for lunch or a stir-fry for dinner, it can be adapted into whatever you need and will even stay fresh in the fridge for up to four days.

With the Instant Pot, this recipe takes less than 30 minutes. Its flavor is already sweet from the peppers and tomatoes, but if you want to double down, opt for sweet Italian sausage.

Recipe: Easy Instant Pot Sausage And Peppers

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Unstuffed cabbage rolls
Unstuffed cabbage rolls - Jason Goldstein/Mashed

Forget about any negative feelings you have about cabbage. This recipe will change the way you see the cruciferous veggie for good, and may even make it a grocery list staple.

To make it, you'll need cabbage (of course), along with an onion, pepper, garlic powder, sweet Italian sausage, marinara sauce, and rice. All of these ingredients will go into the slow cooker for over six hours, where the notoriously tough leaves of the cabbage will become soft and buttery. Serve it with crusty bread to soak up the flavor.

Recipe: Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Copycat Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana

Zuppa Toscana
Zuppa Toscana - Lindsay D. Mattison/Mashed

Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana is one of the chain's most beloved menu items. Simultaneously rich and light, it's perfect for a light lunch or dinner, especially when served with crusty bread. Recipe developer Lindsay Mattison got to work recreating the recipe and added a special twist.

Alongside the cream, potatoes, bacon, Italian sausage, and kale is apple cider vinegar. Rather than giving the soup an unpleasant taste of pickles, it brightens the flavors of the other ingredients without adding a recognizable flavor of its own.

Recipe: Copycat Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana

Giada's Lasagna With A Twist

Giada's Lasagna With A Twist
Giada's Lasagna With A Twist - Kristen Carli/Mashed

Giada De Laurentiis' lasagna recipe does not hold anything back. Made with three kinds of cheese, homemade bechamel, and topped with chunks of butter, it is rich in the extreme, and all the better for it.

This variation on De Laurentiis' recipe is created by registered dietician Kristen Carli, so you can be rest assured that you're in safe hands. Carli substitutes homemade red sauce with store-bought, and half the ground beef with mild Italian sausage, offering a quicker and more flavorful spin that has a light spiciness to cut through all the cream.

Recipe: Giada's Lasagna With A Twist

Authentic Chicken Scarpariello

Chicken scarpariello
Chicken scarpariello - Ksenia Prints/Mashed

Translated as "shoemaker's chicken," pollo allo scarpariello is an Italian American dish that includes chicken, Italian sausage, and a mixture of veggies combined in a sweet and sour sauce.

To achieve the perfect flavor balance of the sauce, you'll need pickled peppers, wine, sugar, and fresh rosemary or sage. Traditional recipes often call for Peppadew peppers, but pepperoncini will also work and are more widely available. Make sure to pan-fry the chicken before proceeding with the rest of the recipe, as it will lend an unparalleled depth of savory flavor to the final product.

Recipe: Authentic Chicken Scarpariello


Calzone with tomato sauce
Calzone with tomato sauce - Stephanie Rapone/Mashed

If you look at cuisines all over the world, you'll find many variations of pastries filled with savory ingredients, from Cornish pasties in England to empanadas in Latin America and samosas in India. If you find yourself in Italy, the local variation is calzones, which are essentially stuffed and folded pizzas. Not surprisingly, this recipe is so delicious you'll want to make it weekly.

Buying the pizza dough instead of making it will cut down the cooking time to less than an hour from start to finish. Filled with melted cheese, spinach, and sausage, this dish is a winner all around.

Recipe: Calzones

Easy Spaghetti And Meatballs Casserole

Spaghetti and meatballs casserole
Spaghetti and meatballs casserole - Lindsay D. Mattison/Mashed

You can't go wrong with spaghetti and meatballs, but the dishwashing fallout that this crowd-pleasing dish leads to can be harder to stomach. This is where a good casserole dish comes in handy. Instead of ending up with marinara all over your kitchen, just pour all the ingredients into a single vessel and pop it in the oven.

This recipe calls for a mixture of ground beef and Italian sausage, ensuring that the meatballs are juicy, flavorful, and full of succulent fat. If you're pressed for time, you can always buy pre-made meatballs.

Recipe: Easy Spaghetti And Meatballs Casserole

Meatlovers Supreme Pizza Chili

Pizza chili
Pizza chili - Patterson Watkins/Mashed

If you struggle to choose pizza toppings, this recipe allows you to have them all without worrying about weighing down the dough. Recipe developer Patterson Watkins beefs up this chili with pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon, onions, peppers, kidney beans, and cheese, but if any of your favorite toppings are missing, you can throw them in, too.

When it comes to time, this recipe comes together in less than an hour. If you'd rather prep it and forget about it, however, Watkins says it makes an excellent slow cooker meal as well.

Recipe: Meatlovers Supreme Pizza Chili

20-Minute Fire-Roasted Chili Mac

Fire-roasted chili mac
Fire-roasted chili mac - Miriam Hahn/Mashed

Mac and cheese tastes pretty good in its classic form, but it isn't a particularly well-rounded meal, and all those cheesy carbs might leave you wishing for some veggies and protein. This recipe solves that problem, providing a complete meal that still tastes indulgent.

Made with tomatoes, carrots, bell pepper, kidney beans, and spinach, there are plenty of nutrients in this recipe to satisfy the health-conscious, and enough carbohydrates to satisfy the macaroni lovers. To top it all off, it only takes 20 minutes — about as long as regular mac and cheese.

Recipe: 20-Minute Fire-Roasted Chili Mac

Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole

Unstuffed cabbage roll casserole
Unstuffed cabbage roll casserole - Patterson Watkins/Mashed

When you want a tasty recipe with minimal cleanup, a casserole is the way to go. But instead of throwing together your usual formula, why not try this unstuffed cabbage roll option?

Despite the main ingredient, this casserole does not feel like the obligatory consumption of your least favorite vegetable. In fact, the cabbage is dwarfed in volume and flavor by cheese, tomato sauce, and meat, making it more like lasagna than health food. Keep in mind that the recipe takes about three hours to make in order to achieve the desired consistency.

Recipe: Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole

Best Beer Chili

Beer chili in bowl
Beer chili in bowl - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Meat-based chili provides a hearty, filling meal, but when you have hungry bellies to fill, this recipe kicks things up a notch. Not only does it contain beef and Italian sausage, but it also increases the flavor and richness with a can of lager or stout and three types of beans.

Beer may not seem like an obvious addition to chili. It is an alcoholic beverage, after all. But its heavy, slightly caramelized flavor adds a layer of richness that cannot be matched by plain old beef broth.

Recipe: Best Beer Chili

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