14 Best Italian Sausage Recipes

There's something that feels particularly indulgent about recipes featuring Italian sausage. Certainly, the taste doesn't hurt anything, with its salty, earthy, umami flavors focused on garlic, fennel, and Italian herbs. Then, of course, there's the fact that it's easy to cook and is perfectly suited to add to classic comfort foods like pasta, pizzas, and hearty winter soups. Whatever the reason for its naturally tempting nature, Italian sausage is a force to be reckoned with in the world of proteins. 

Of course, Italian sausage may not get the same level of press as, say, filet mignon or perfectly roasted chicken, but recipes featuring this ground pork meat are almost always family favorites that get utilized over and over again. But like any ingredient, it's easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to trying new things. If you've been craving Italian sausage, but you're ready to sideline your go-to menu items to put a few new recipes into the rotation, here you'll find 14 mouthwatering options to add to your repertoire. 

One-Pan Orecchiette with Sausage

If you're not familiar with orecchiette pasta, you're going to want to put it to the test with this fast and delicious recipe. In addition to the ear-shaped pasta pieces that are perfect for scooping and holding onto the creamy, cheesy, tomato-based sauce, the sweet Italian sausage deepens the pasta's flavor profile and makes it the perfect meal for "tucking in" on a wet or cold night. It only takes about 25 minutes to make and pairs perfectly with crusty bread and a side of roasted veggies. 

Recipe: One-Pan Orecchiette with Sausage

Classic Baked Ziti

While you can certainly make baked ziti with ground beef, if you've never made the recipe at home, it's best to keep the ingredients as classic as they come. Here, the standard ingredients include sweet Italian sausage, cooked ziti noodles, and a tangy tomato-based sauce. 

Then, of course, there's the cheese. Lots and lots of cheese — ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella. When the whole dish is combined and baked, you end up with a meal that's designed to make the whole family ask for seconds. 

Recipe: Classic Baked Ziti

Sourdough Sausage Stuffing

Stuffing is a natural choice around the holidays, but there's no rule saying you can't enjoy the hearty Thanksgiving favorite at other times of the year. Plus, when a stuffing recipe includes a protein like sweet or hot Italian sausage (take your pick for this recipe), you can literally use the dish as the main course, rather than a side. 

This sourdough sausage stuffing recipe features the sausage along with chunks of sourdough bread, celery, onions, carrots, browned butter, white wine, and herbs. You can eat it on its own or alongside a beautiful slice of turkey — either way, you're sure to come away from the table with a smile. 

Recipe: Sourdough Sausage Stuffing 

Simple Sausage Gravy

Italian sausage doesn't have to be reserved for the dinner menu. This recipe for a simple sausage gravy is hearty and rich and is perfect when piled on top of homemade biscuits for the ultimate comfort food breakfast. The recipe only takes about 20 minutes to make, so even if that's more time than you'd typically spend cooking on busy mornings, it's an easy addition to a lazy weekend brunch. 

Recipe: Simple Sausage Gravy

Bubbly Cheesy Mostaccioli

It really should come as no surprise that Italian sausage is a perennial choice for Italian-inspired dishes like this cheesy mostaccioli recipe. The overall style of the entree is similar to baked ziti, but the pasta features additional veggies like carrots, bell pepper, and shallots. This gives the whole dish a slightly brighter flavor, making it perfect to eat year-round and to pair alongside a fresh, green salad, roasted veggies, and crusty bread. 

Recipe: Bubbly Cheesy Mostaccioli 

Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Calling all lasagna lovers — if you love the combo of sausage, veggies, and lots of cheese tucked between layers of pasta, you're going to love this slightly less labor-intensive recipe for stuffed shells. In addition to the ingredients included right in the title, each of these jumbo shells is packed with a garlicky cream sauce and more than its fair share of cheese. 

Just remember, to end up with perfect shells at the end of the recipe, they should only be parboiled at the start, not fully cooked. This allows them to finish cooking when the casserole is in the oven and the cheeses are melting together without ending up overcooked. 

Recipe: Sausage And Spinach Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Pasta shells aren't the only food that gets upgraded with the addition of Italian sausage. When fall rolls around and you're looking for ways to take advantage of the season's squashes and gourds, you'll want to try this recipe for stuffed acorn squash. 

Each nutty and subtly sweet squash is filled with a mixture of kale, Italian sausage, wild rice, onion, raisins, and dried cherries. Together, the flavor combination offers the perfect answer to your cravings for a cold-weather comfort food that's as nourishing as it is delicious. 

Recipe: Stuffed Acorn Squash 

Easy Zuppa Toscana

"Zuppa" is Italian for soup, so this easy zuppa Toscana translates literally to "Tuscany soup." An Italian favorite, this hearty, sausage and potato soup is full of flavor from shallots, garlic, white wine, and kale. 

This recipe takes about 40 minutes to make, but it's an excellent recipe to double or triple in order to save for leftovers. The taste only improves by day two or three as the flavors of the ingredients have the chance to meld together even more. 

Recipe: Easy Zuppa Toscana 

Deconstructed Lasagna Soup

Where classic lasagna is a labor-intensive dish that's best reserved for big Sunday night family dinners, this deconstructed lasagna soup is the answer for when you're craving lasagna on a weeknight. Packed with all the expected lasagna ingredients — noodles, Italian sausage, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and herbs, it even includes a dollop of ricotta cream sauce to offer a cheesy layer to the soup. Best of all? It only takes 30 minutes to make, cutting down on standard lasagna-making time by roughly half. 

Recipe: Deconstructed Lasagna Soup 

Sausage Balls with Cream Cheese

Move over meatballs and crab cakes! For the next event where you need to bring an appetizer or a snack to share, whip up a batch of these sausage balls with cream cheese. You make them with Italian sausage (or technically, other types of sausage, if you prefer), cream and cheddar cheeses, and chopped chives. The recipe makes 30, bite-sized balls in about 35 minutes, most of which is hands-off cooking time. 

Recipe: Sausage Balls With Cream Cheese

Turkey Roulade with Cherries and Sausage Stuffing

When you want a Thanksgiving-friendly recipe that's a twist on traditional turkey and stuffing, this turkey roulade with a cherry and sausage-stuffed interior is bound to hit the spot. Because you're working with a boneless turkey breast rather than a full bird, the cooking time ends up being less than an hour, with an additional hour of prep work to make the sausage and cherry stuffing. 

This is a great option when you don't have time to cook an entire Thanksgiving feast but still want to enjoy all the best parts of the holiday meal. Served alongside green bean casserole, dinner rolls, and mashed potatoes? You won't even miss fighting over the turkey drumsticks.  

Recipe: Turkey Roulade with Cherries and Sausage Stuffing

Baked Stuffed Shells

If you love the other baked stuffed shells recipe on this list, you'll love this one even more. The flavor profiles of the two dishes are similar — Italian sausage, cheese, and spinach, with a tomato-based sauce — but this recipe is quicker and easier to make, with fewer overall ingredients. While the flavor of this stuffed shells recipe is somewhat less layered and nuanced, it's ready to eat in about 45 minutes, saving you 30 minutes of cooking time. And on a busy weeknight? The recipe will satisfy cravings and fill stomachs without cutting into family time. 

Recipe: Baked Stuffed Shells

Homemade Ravioli

Homemade ravioli sounds hard to make, right? But this recipe for shortcut homemade ravioli stuffed with Italian sausage, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese is surprisingly simple, thanks to the use of premade wonton wrappers in place of homemade pasta. 

In fact, you can have the whole dish ready to serve, topped with marinara sauce, in less than 40 minutes. It's one of those "too good to be true" shortcuts that actually is true — you can enjoy homemade, sausage-stuffed ravioli without too much fuss. 

Recipe: Shortcut Homemade Ravioli Recipe

White Lasagna with Sausage and Ricotta

There's a lot to be said for lasagna-like pasta dishes or deconstructed soups that offer lasagna flavor without the time it takes to make lasagna. But at the end of the day, those other recipes just aren't the same as a true, multi-layered lasagna. While this Italian sausage and ricotta cheese-layered dish takes about 90 minutes to make, the flavors are worth the time the meal takes to prepare. 

Recipe: White Lasagna with Sausage and Ricotta