Do You Cook Sausage Before Adding to Pizza?

Yes, cooking sausage before adding it to your pizza would be best. This ensures the sausage is thoroughly cooked and the flavors meld well with the rest of the toppings.

It’s not strange to find yourself staring at a raw sausage, then at your pizza dough, and thinking, what goes first? I would say it’s a ubiquitous question for home cooks.

The world of pizza toppings is as wide as it is delicious. But it can make you confused as well. The question of precooking toppings, especially sausage, has puzzled many home chefs, including me.

Think about it: a slice of pizza is a beautiful symphony of flavors. Each ingredient plays its part perfectly. So, it’s essential that each topping is at its best.

But with sausage, there’s an extra layer of complexity. This isn’t just about taste; it’s also a question of food safety. So, we’re about to explore cook sausage before adding it to pizza and solve this culinary conundrum.

What is Sausage?

Do You Cook Sausage Before Adding to Pizza - What is Sausage

Sausage is a popular topping choice for many pizza lovers. Its rich, savoury flavour and satisfying texture perfectly complement the tangy tomato sauce, gooey cheese, and crispy crust of a pizza.

But there’s more to using sausage as a topping than just throwing it on top of your pizza. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Types of Sausage

There are many different types of sausage that you can use as a pizza topping. Italian sausage, both sweet and spicy, is a classic choice. It’s made from pork and seasoned with fennel and anise.

Other options include chorizo (a spicy Spanish sausage), andouille (a smoked sausage used in Cajun cooking), or even breakfast sausage.

Each type of sausage brings a different flavor profile to your pizza, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

2. Precooking is Key

As discussed earlier, precooking your sausage before adding it to your pizza is essential.

This ensures that the sausage is safe to eat, prevents your pizza from becoming greasy, and allows the sausage to develop a crispy texture and deep flavor.

3. Portioning

When it comes to sausage, a little can go a long way. You want to ensure that every slice of pizza gets a fair share of sausage, but you don’t want to overload it.

Too much sausage can make your pizza heavy and overly greasy. Generally, a medium-sized pizza can handle about half to three-quarters of a cup of cooked, crumbled sausage.

4. Pairing with Other Toppings

Sausage pairs well with a variety of other toppings. Onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms are classic accompaniments.

Try pairing sausage with fresh spinach, pineapple, or even a sprinkle of feta cheese for something different.

The key is to balance the strong, savory flavor of the sausage with other toppings that provide contrast.

Why Cook Sausage Before Adding to Your Pizza?

Do You Cook Sausage Before Adding to Pizza - Why Cook Sausage Before Adding to Your Pizza

Cooking sausage before adding it to your pizza is a common practice for several reasons:

1. Safety

When I cook, safety is always my top priority. Raw sausage contains bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses. These bacteria are killed when the sausage reaches a specific internal temperature.

Adding raw sausage to your pizza might not get this temperature during cooking. So, to ensure your pizza is safe to eat, I recommend cooking the sausage first.

2. Texture

In my experience, the texture of food can be just as important as its taste. When you precook sausage, it becomes fully browned and crispy. This can add a delightful contrast to the softer pizza dough and cheese textures.

3. Flavor

The flavor of sausage intensifies when it’s browned. This is due to the Maillard reaction, which occurs when certain foods are cooked. Precooking your sausage ensures this reaction occurs, making your pizza more flavorful.

4. Fat Content

Sausage contains a high amount of fat. When you cook it, this fat is rendered out. This fat can make your pizza greasy if you add raw sausage. By cooking the sausage first, you can drain off this excess fat.

5. Even Cooking

Cooking ensures that the sausage is evenly cooked throughout. If you add raw sausage to your pizza, some parts might be overcooked while others might be undercooked. Precooking eliminates this issue.

6. Prevents Soggy Pizza

Nobody likes a soggy pizza. If you add raw sausage to your pizza, the moisture from the sausage can seep into the pizza while it cooks, resulting in a soggy crust. Precooking the sausage prevents this from happening.

7. Control Over Doneness

Everyone has their preference for how well they like their sausage. Some people like it slightly underdone, while others prefer it well-done. By precooking your sausage, you can control its level of doneness.

8. Time Management

Precooking your sausage can help you manage your cooking time more effectively. Once the sausage is on the pizza, you won’t have to worry about whether it’s cooked through. This can save you time and stress.

9. Versatility

Precooked sausage isn’t just for pizza. You can use it in other dishes, like pasta, sandwiches, and salads. This makes it a versatile ingredient to have in your kitchen.

10. Prevents Shrinkage

Sausage can shrink while it cooks. Adding raw sausage to your pizza might shrink during cooking, leaving gaps in your topping coverage. Precooking the sausage ensures that you have the right amount for your pizza.

Here’s a table summarizing the benefits of pre-cooking sausage for pizza:

SafetyEnsures sausage reaches a safe temperature
TextureAdds a crispy texture to contrast with softer pizza ingredients
FlavorEnhances flavor through the Maillard reaction
Fat ContentIt prevents pizza from becoming greasy
Even CookingEnsures sausage is evenly cooked
Prevents Soggy PizzaIt keeps moisture from the sausage from making the crust soggy
Control Over DonenessAllows you to cook the sausage to your preferred level of doneness
Time ManagementSaves time during the pizza cooking process
VersatilityAllows pre-cooked sausage to be used in other dishes
Prevents ShrinkageEnsures you have the right amount of sausage for your pizza

I hope this explanation helps you understand why cooking sausage before adding it to your pizza is a good idea.

How to Precook Ground Sausage for Pizza?

Do You Cook Sausage Before Adding to Pizza - How to Precook Ground Sausage for Pizza

Cooking sausage before adding it to your pizza is a simple process. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Choose Your Sausage

First, you need to pick your sausage. Italian sausage, both sweet and spicy, is a classic choice. But don’t be afraid to experiment. Chorizo, andouille, or even breakfast sausage can add unique flavors to your pizza.

Step 2: Remove the Casing

Next, you’ll want to remove the casing from the sausage. The thin, often edible skin holds the sausage meat together. To do this, cut a slit down the length of the sausage with a sharp knife and peel off the casing.

Step 3: Cook the Sausage

Now, it’s time to cook the sausage. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and break it up into smaller pieces with a spatula. You’ll want to cook the sausage until it’s no longer pink. This usually takes about 10 minutes.

Step 4: Drain the Fat

Sausage contains a lot of fat, which can make your pizza greasy. To avoid this, drain the fat from the cooked sausage. You can transfer the sausage to a plate lined with paper towels.

Step 5: Let it Cool

Before adding the sausage to your pizza, let it cool for a few minutes. This will make handling easier and prevent it from cooking further on the hot pizza.

Step 6: Add to Your Pizza

Finally, sprinkle the cooked sausage evenly over your pizza. Remember, a little goes a long way. Too much sausage can make your pizza heavy and overly greasy.

Can You Put Raw Sausage on Pizza in the Oven?

Yes, you can put raw sausage on pizza in the oven. However, there are a few things to consider. When I make pizza at home, I usually cook the sausage first.

This is because raw sausage can release a lot of fat and moisture as it cooks, which might make the pizza greasy or soggy.

Additionally, pizza often cooks at a high temperature for a short time, which might not be enough to cook the sausage thoroughly.

That said, they could cook fully when baking the pizza if you’re using skinny slices of sausage or small crumbles.

If you choose raw sausage, I recommend sparingly and evenly distributing it to ensure it cooks thoroughly. Always check the sausage is fully cooked before eating.

Other Considerations When Using Sausage as a Topping

While sausage is a beloved topping for many dishes, from pizza to pasta, you must remember several factors. The right choice of sausage can elevate your meal and add a burst of flavor and texture.

But it’s essential to consider the following:

  • Variety: The type of sausage you choose dramatically affects the flavor of your dish. The options are endless, from spicy Italian sausage to sweet apple-infused variations. Be sure to pick a sausage that complements the other ingredients in your container.
  • Cooking Method: You can cook sausage in various ways, like grilling, baking, or pan-frying. The method you choose will change the texture and flavor of the sausage, so consider this carefully. For example, grilling can impart a smoky flavor, while pan-frying can give a crispier exterior.
  • Ingredient Quality: As with any food, the quality of the ingredients can make a big difference in the end product. Try to select sausage made from high-quality, responsibly raised meats. And avoid those with artificial additives and preservatives when possible.
  • Nutritional Content: Sausage is high in fat and sodium. So, if you’re watching your diet, consider lower-fat, lower-sodium options. You can also use sausage sparingly as a flavorful accent rather than the main component of your dish.
  • Allergens: Some sausages may contain allergens, such as gluten or dairy. Always check the ingredient list if you or anyone you’re cooking for has food allergies or sensitivities.

5 Best Store-bought Sausage for Pizza

Do You Cook Sausage Before Adding to Pizza - Best Store-bought Sausage for Pizza

 All sausages are not created equal. For the pizza lover seeking the best store-bought sausage, here are five notable contenders, each with unique merits.

1. Longhini Sausage

Longhini Sausage Company has been handcrafting Italian sausage since 1950 in New Haven, Connecticut.

Their traditional Italian sausage is approved as all-natural. It contains 50% less fat than allowed by the USDA.

It is a lean yet flavour-packed option for your pizza. The company prides itself on using only the finest all-natural ingredients. They also maintain a commitment to three generations of quality.

  • 41 Longhini Ln. New Haven, CT 06519

2. Hormel Italian Sausage

Known for its robust Italian flavour, Hormel’s fully-cooked Italian sausage brings your pizza a convenient and delicious topping. The sausage is rich in protein, with 18g per 100g serving.

Its ingredients include pork, water, salt, spices, sugar, paprika, and garlic powder. It’s also allergen-free, making it a safe choice for those with common food allergies.

  • 1 Hormel Pl, Austin, MN 55912

3. Premio Sausage

Premio Foods, a family-owned business, stakes its reputation on every sausage it makes. They offer a wide range of varieties of sausage. They have almost seven decades of sausage-making tradition.

Whether you prefer hot, mild, or sweet Italian sausages, Premio promises a crispy and juicy bite to keep you craving more.


4. Perri Sausage

Established in 1938, Perri Sausage offers an enticing blend of garlic, oregano, fennel, and sweet basil in their lovely and hot Italian sausages.

The proprietary blend, kept under lock and key, has tantalized taste buds for over 80 years. Their Mozzarella and Monterey Jack Cheese sausage is a must-try for those who enjoy a cheesy bite.

  • Sheboygan Falls, WI 53085

5. Sprouts Farmers Market Sausage

Sprouts’ butcher shop is known for its unique and creative variety of sausages. Their standards are high. Their supplies show proof of proper animal husbandry techniques, pesticide-free diets, and zero growth hormones or antibiotics. 

They offer traditional Italian sausage and flavors like jalapeño-cheddar, hatch green chile, chicken parmesan, and Cajun pork andouille. Their pork and chicken sausages provide flavor to any pizza topping repertoire.



How long does it take to cook pizza with raw sausage?

The cooking time for a pizza topped with raw sausage generally ranges from 15 to 20 minutes at a temperature of around 475°F. The exact time will depend on the thickness of your pizza and the size of the sausage pieces.

Ensure the sausage is fully cooked and the pizza crust is golden brown before removing it from the oven.

Do you need to precook sausages?

To precook sausages before using them as a pizza topping is recommended. Precooking ensures the sausage is fully cooked and safe to eat.

It also helps to render some of the fat, which can enhance the flavor and texture of your pizza. If you decide to use raw sausage, crumble or slice it into small pieces so that it cooks evenly in the oven.

How many sausages should I use on my pizza?

The number of sausages you should use on your pizza will depend on your taste and size. As a general rule, for a large pizza, you might use two to three sausages.

Remember, balance is everything – you want enough sausage to flavor the pizza but not so much that it overwhelms the other toppings or makes it greasy.

Can I use chicken or turkey sausage on my pizza?

Absolutely! Chicken and turkey sausages are an excellent alternative for those who want to enjoy the flavor and texture of sausage on their pizza but are looking for a leaner option. They can be used just like traditional pork or beef sausages.

Can I use precooked sausage on my pizza?

Yes, you can use precooked sausage on your pizza. It can be a time-saver, as you won’t need to cook the sausage thoroughly in the oven. Slice or crumble the precooked sausage onto your pizza before baking.

What other toppings go well with sausage?

Sausage is a versatile topping that pairs well with various other ingredients. Classic combinations include sausage with bell peppers and onions or sausage with mushrooms.

For a bit of sweetness to balance the savory sausage, consider adding caramelized onions or thinly sliced apples. For a punch of flavor, consider pairing sausage with tangy olives or spicy jalapenos.

Remember, the best pizza is one that you love, so don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with your favorite flavors.

Wrapping Up the Great Sausage Pizza Debate: To Precook or Not?

So, we’ve arrived at the end of our tasty debate about whether to cook sausage before adding it to pizza. The truth is, this decision isn’t just about flavor – it’s about safety, too!

Raw sausage on pizza might leave you with undercooked toppings, a serious no-no. But precooked sausage can lose that delightful juiciness we all love—quite a predicament.

But don’t worry; I have a solution up my sleeve. Opt for thin slices of sausage if you add it raw – they’ll cook quicker. Or precook and add a splash of olive oil to keep it juicy. Whatever path you choose, here’s to a perfectly topped pizza every time.

Leave a Comment