Types of Sausage 101

Here are the sausages you need to know, plus recipes for using each.

Homemade Italian Sausage
Photo by Chef John.

There's a reason sausage is one of the world's most iconic foods. Sausage is indisputably delicious and most world cuisines have at least a few staple versions, from different types of Italian sausage to bratwurst to chorizo, and everything in between. It's frugal, it's tasty, it's a winner. Sausage is delicious on its own, but also perfect for adding flavor and depth to your favorite pantry staples like beans or rice. In the U.S. alone, we have 200 varieties of sausage.

Everyone has their favorite, but why not try them all? Here are some of the ones you might be curious about, with different recipes to help you explore.


Originally from France, smoky andouille sausage is now most often associated with Cajun cuisine in the U.S. It's typically pork-based and flavored with garlic, peppers, onions, and wine. You'll often find it in gumbo, the famed Louisiana stew, along with other Louisiana staples we know and love.

Photo by Meredith.



If you've ever dined at a beer garden, you've likely eaten a "brat" or two. This historic sausage has been a German favorite since about 1313 and there are at least 40 documented varieties of German bratwurst.

The prefix "brat" comes from the old German word brät, meaning "finely chopped meat" and "wurst" means sausage. They can include a range of seasonings but is often mild with a hint of baking spices like ginger or nutmeg. Bratwurst is usually enjoyed with sauerkraut and beer, though it can be thrown in hearty soups or stews.

Homemade Bratwurst
Homemade Bratwurst | Photo by Allrecipes.


Breakfast Sausage

Though it's likely based on an English recipe, breakfast sausage is one variety that we can take credit for in the U.S. Typical breakfast sausage seasonings include pepper and sage. Maple syrup and cured bacon may also be added.

And, the good news is that breakfast sausage can be easily made at home. Tinker with the seasoning blend to make it your own!

Chef John's Breakfast Sausage Patties
Photo by Chef John. Chef John


Blood Sausage

There are many versions of blood sausage throughout the world, from the Spanish and Latin American morcilla to French boudin noir to the Thai sai krok lueat. Blood, as the name suggests, is usually a primary ingredient, after being mixed with a filler like meat, fat, or grains. Blood sausage can be tricky to find in your typical U.S. supermarket, though it's not impossible.

Fabada | Photo by Laughlin Murray Eddy.



Smoky, spicy chorizo comes from both Spain and Mexico, but it's not quite the same thing. European chorizo is a cured pork salami, the kind you'd slice and serve on a charcuterie board, toss into scrambled eggs, or add to paella.

Mexican chorizo is typically fresh ground pork (sometimes beef, chicken, or turkey), which you'd purchase uncooked and cook at home. Most is seasoned with chili powder and garlic, but "green chorizo" can also be found, which is seasoned with tomatillo, cilantro, chili peppers, and garlic.

Chorizo Fundido
Chorizo Fundido | Photo by Chef John.


Italian Sausage

Italian sausage is the generic American term for a seasoned, pork-based sausage. There are different types of Italian sausage, ranging from mild Italian to hot Italian, which has hot red pepper flake spice, to sweet Italian with its sweet basil addition. While each is seasoned a bit differently, anything labeled as "Italian sausage" will likely have fennel among its herbs.

Italian Sausage, Peppers, and Onions
Italian Sausage, Peppers, and Onions | Photo by Allrecipes Magazine.



In Poland, "kielbasa" just means sausage. In the U.S., a kielbasa usually means a curved, U-shaped smoked pork sausage (though uncured versions can also be found). Kielbasa is traditionally served garnished with fried onions, though it can be utilized in soups, stews, and casseroles as well.

Big Rays Kielbasa Cabbage Skillet For a Crowd
Big Rays Kielbasa Cabbage Skillet For a Crowd | Photo by lutzflcat.


Want more? Check out our collection of Sausage Recipes.

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