How to Cook Italian Sausage & Make Sure It Is Done

Italian sausage is a versatile and tasty basis for any meal. Traditional Italian sausage contains pork and sometimes veal, but if you are looking for a low-fat alternative, turkey Italian sausage is also available. Cooking Italian sausage is not difficult. Pan-frying it and then braising it in sauce ensures that the sausage cooks through without scorching the casing or drying out the ground filling. Use an instant-read thermometer to make sure the sausage is safely done.

Smoked Italian sausage on a cutting board.
Credit: ulkan/iStock/Getty Images

Step 1

Heat a large skillet over medium heat for 45 seconds to one minute.

Step 2

Coat the bottom of the skillet with olive oil and let it heat just until you can smell the oil.

Step 3

Add your Italian sausages. Stand back because sometimes they spit and splatter when they touch the hot oil.

Step 4

Cook the sausages for three to five minutes, turning them with tongs rather than a fork to keep from puncturing them.

Step 5

Add just enough tomato sauce to the skillet to cover the bottom when the sausages are cooked on all sides.

Step 6

Turn the heat to low and cover the skillet. Cook the sausages for at least 30 minutes.

Step 7

Insert an instant-read thermometer into the center of the thickest sausage, making sure not to poke it through to the hot pan. Prok sausages are done at 160 degrees Fahrenheit; turkey sausages are ready at 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Things You'll Need

  • Skillet with lid

  • Olive oil

  • Tongs

  • Tomato sauce

  • Instant-read thermometer


Add julienned peppers and onion to the pan while the sausage is frying for a quick and simple sandwich filling.


Always rely on the thermometer reading to determine the internal temperature of the sausage.

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