Recipe: $1.00 | Per Serving: $0.06 | Yield: 4 Tablespoons (16 servings)
Homemade Italian sausage in 5 minutes? It’s possible! Well, sort of → easy Italian Sausage Seasoning to the rescue! There are a few posts on here about sausage soup and bolognese and homemade sausage, but I’m sort of lying…just a little bit. Sausage requires aging and curing, and that is not something I do.
This post is here to clear it all up! I’ve been making sausage SEASONING recipes (of various types) for the last couple of years. I love Maple Sage Breakfast Sausage for breakfast, but this Italian Sausage Seasoning mixture is perfect for…basically all other situations.
If you live in Italy…or New Jersey…and you regularly hit up the butcher shop for high-end sausage, I’m sure this isn’t the same thing. It is, however, a much cheaper (& healthier) way to get your sausage fix. And since it’s a seasoning blend, you can add it to roasted potatoes (OMGyum), bolognese, lentils, roasted chickpeas, etc. Or when you’re having spinach & eggs for breakfast, mix it in with the spinach for a totally meat-free awesome sausage flavor. It’s awesome. Versatility, my friends.
What is Italian Sausage Seasoning Made of?
This is actually a great question – and it varies. Generally speaking, Italian seasoning is made from a blend of Italian herbs – parsley, basil, sage, oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary. To make Italian sausage seasoning, you can use your desired blend of Italian herbs alongside stronger, deeper flavors like paprika, ground fennel, and black pepper.
Most sweet Italian sausage seasoning will use sweet paprika, while spicy Italian sausage seasoning is likely to have cayenne or red pepper flakes added.
You will also see ground celery seed added to store-bought sausage as a source of naturally occurring nitrates for curing and preserving meat. Celery seed is also rich in flavor, so feel free to add that to your seasoning blend if desired!
You can use this on vegetables and vegan dishes, but I like to make ground beef, pork, chicken, or turkey “sausage” with this stuff. Just mix it into the ground meat and cook it as normal.
Is Homemade Italian Sausage Seasoning Cheaper?
As for the price. I generally assume between 5 cents – 10 cents for dried herbs & spices. This definitely varies based on the spices you purchase, but when it comes to sausage, it is definitely cheaper to make your own homemade sausage seasoning!
Most of the time, high quality sausage is $8 a pound. I can get pastured ground pork for $4.99 a pound, and make this Italian sausage seasoning for $0.25 per pound of meat. That’s definitely cheaper! Plus, we all know cured meats are sort of questionable for our health, so you can very very similar great flavor more often without worrying about sausage in moderation.
Where Do You Buy Italian Sausage Spices?
This is the crucial question – where to get all these great spices without spending an arm and a leg? Generally speaking, I’m somewhat partial to organic spices. We know that some herbs are super porous, and therefore absorb a lot of pesticides. Most peppers are also loaded with pesticides, so going for organic is going to reduce the overall pesticide burden.
However, spices are expensive, and organic spices are CRAZY expensive at most stores! When I’m in a bind, I’ll sometimes check out the sales at the regular grocery stores and go for Simply Organic, Frontier Co-op, or O-Organics when they’re buy two get one free (if I need that many spices).
I do often buy some spices at Trader Joe’s for just $1.99, but they have pretty limited options for organic, so it’s not usually my first choice.
How to Save Money on Spices:
Instead, what I try to do is save all my jars and buy bagged spices from Thrive Market! Each of these bags of organic spices was just $2.99 on Thrive – significantly cheaper than most other locations. I love ordering from Thrive and I highly recommend it if you don’t live in an area with easy access to health food stores, or if you like saving 20-50% on non perishable pantry goods! (Not sponsored, but affiliate link! 25% off with my Thrive Market link!)
You can also use bulk bins at stores like Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Mom’s Organic Market if you just want to get a small amount of each spice. Often, this is the cheapest option if you just want a few teaspoons of a single spice rather than a whole jar.
How to Make Italian Sausage Seasoning
This is the easiest recipe of all time. Basically, you just want to stir together 2-4 of your favorite dried Italian herbs (I use oregano and basil), add spices like ground fennel, paprika (smoked or not), black pepper, and ground garlic. You can change up the herbs or add ground onion or celery seed, but I think the fennel and paprika are super important!
I like mine spicy, so I add cayenne pepper. Red pepper flakes work too, but I find that their large size is somewhat of a barrier to them blending well and they tend to sit on the top – making your first few dishes spicier than the rest!
The earlier you mix the seasoning into the meat, the more “sausage-like” texture the meat will get. (Check out this awesome article by The Food Lab for more deets on that.)
If you’d like to use this for making soup or cooking beans, I recommend omitting the salt and adding it to the final steps of cooking instead. This way you can have more control over how much salt you use, and it won’t contribute to longer cooking times for things like beans and grains.
Anyway, it’s a delicious seasoning blend and I highly recommend it. :)
- 2 teaspoons salt*
- 2 teaspoons fennel
- 2 teaspoons spicy cayenne
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- optional: ground onion, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, ground celery seed, smoked paprika
- Combine all ingredients in a jar or small dish and stir well. Store in an airtight container. (Refrigeration not necessary.)
- To use: Stir 1 Tablespoons seasoning into 1 pound ground meat. Mix well and use immediately, or let rest for 30 minutes (up to overnight (in the fridge). Form into patties, or cook as you would any regular crumbled sausage. Alternatively, you can brown beef and sauté vegetables as usual, and add the seasoning during cooking.
*Feel free to omit the salt. You can choose to add more or less salt while cooking instead.
Use 1 Tablespoon for 1 pound of meat.
It’s also a delicious addition to potatoes, vegetables, soup, beans, rice, and more.