Should You Precook Sausage Before Putting It On Pizza?

Tackling a homemade pizza can be intimidating: there's the dough, the sauce, the toppings, and the precise temperature control of the oven. The first few times you make pizza at home, you'll most likely have varying results; after all, you probably don't have a pizza oven at home and your dough can be quite different from the one at your local pizza joint. But let's say you did accomplish the feat of having well made pizza dough, a robust tomato sauce, and high quality mozzarella. Still, when you add toppings into the mix, your pizza might come out unevenly cooked or burnt to a crisp.

One reason for this is the way certain toppings are prepared — especially meats and hearty vegetables. Most people like to add pepperoni, ham, sausage, barbecue chicken, or even ground beef to their pizzas, while some add up to four types of meat for a meat lover's pie. But how are they preparing their toppings? Since most homemade pizza recipes call for a preheated oven ranging from 475 F to 500 F, you might find it intuitive to put your raw meat toppings in with your pizza dough. But will that yield the best results for your meat lover's pie?

You should precook any raw meat

Raw meats like sausage should always be cooked before they're added to the pizza (via Kitchn). As mentioned earlier, most homemade pizza recipes call for very high temperatures of cooking, and a short cook time of around 10 to 12 minutes. This high temperature gives pizza dough its desired crispy outer layer, while cooking the inside of the dough rapidly. Raw meats, on the other hand, require much longer cooking times. 

According to Healthline, precooked sausages require only 10 minutes of boiling, but raw sausages take about 30 minutes. To broil raw sausages, which is to char them in an oven with direct heat, you only need to put them in for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Overall, raw meats like sausages are best added to the pizza dough after they have been cooked fully.

This rule really only applies to raw meats. Cured and smoked meats like salami are safe to eat right out of the package due to the fermentation and drying process, per Foodiosity. It can be easy to confuse salami and pepperoni for raw sausage given their similar reddish hue and pockets of fat, but they are quite different. In fact, it's best to have a minimal cook time for cured meats because cooking will further dry them out. Make sure you know which toppings require cooking, which ones are better off without it,  and also avoid making these common mistakes everyone makes with homemade pizza.