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Here’s how to make a quick and easy, super-satisfying sausage pizza topping to use on a classic sausage pie.

sausage pizza topping in a pan
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Why we love this recipe

Once you get into making pizza at home, you’ll tend to find things escalating quickly. Sourcing the perfect toppings for classic pies doesn’t have to be complicated, but sometimes it’s easier to just take matters into your own hands.

This sausage pizza topping is:

  • Absolutely classic
  • With gently amplified flavors
  • Perfect for a good old sausage pie, supreme, or any other variation you can imagine
  • Make-ahead and even freezer-friendly
  • Adaptable — see the section below for easy variations

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • You can buy sweet Italian sausage in bulk (which is easier and usually less expensive) or buy sausage links and remove it from the casings if that’s what you can find. If you’d like a spicier pie, you can use hot Italian sausage. Scroll down for more variations, too.
  • Italian sausage already contains some fennel seed, and I like to add a little bit more. (In fact, the two are so nearly synonymous that adding some fennel seed to vegetarian dishes can almost convince your palate that there’s sausage in the mix.) Giving the seeds a quick bash with a mortar and pestle helps release the natural flavors and distribute them throughout the topping.
  • Beyond that, all you need is plenty of garlic, some red pepper flakes if you like, and a little olive oil to get things started. You’ll drain off excess fat at the end.

My favorite sources for meat & pantry staples

For years, I’ve been sourcing our meat from ButcherBox. We love this curated meat delivery service, which provides grass-finished beef, heritage breed pork, organic chicken, and more from small farms direct to the customer. You can learn more in my extensive Butcher Box review and unboxing.

I love Thrive Market for a wide variety of products. Often described as one part Whole Foods, one part Costco, they’re a membership-based online market for healthier products at discounted prices. Plus, they’re mission-driven, engaged in the community, and not currently owned by a giant corporation. You can learn more in my Thrive Market review and unboxing.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make sausage pizza topping. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. First you’ll cook the garlic, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes in the olive oil.
  2. Add the sausage.
  3. Cook, breaking it up into bite-sized pieces and and stirring from time to time, until opaque throughout and lightly browned.
  4. Drain on paper towels before using. That’s it!
a supreme pizza on a cutting board

Expert tips and FAQs

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

Absolutely. Once cooled, sausage topping can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or the freezer for a year, making it a wildly practical addition to all your last-minute pizzas.

A few easy variations

Vegan

You might think that a topping based on sausage would be hard to veganize, but in fact this recipe lends itself beautifully to an easy vegan variation. Simply swap in a vegan Italian sausage meat for the pork version and proceed as directed. That’s it!

Lightened up

To lighten up this topping a bit, you could use a bulk Italian sausage made of chicken or turkey rather than pork. Just check the label for nutritional info if it’s important to you. Chicken and turkey sausages are frequently lower in fat and calories, but they’re not always.

More favorite ways with Italian sausage

sausage pizza topping in a pan

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sausage pizza topping in a pan
4.67 from 3 votes

Sausage Pizza Topping

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Here's how to make a quick and easy, super-satisfying sausage pizza topping to use on a classic sausage pie.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 large sausage pizzas-worth
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Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 pound (454 grams) bulk sweet Italian sausage

Instructions 

  • Warm the olive oil in a 10-inch frying pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the garlic, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, for a minute or so, until very fragrant.
  • Add the sausage. Cook, breaking up with a spatula into small bite-sized pieces and moving around the pan from time to time, until opaque throughout and lightly browned.
  • Drain well on multiple layers of paper towels.

Notes

  1. You can buy sweet Italian sausage in bulk (which is easier and usually less expensive) or buy sausage links and remove it from the casings if that's what you can find. If you'd like a spicier pie, you can use hot Italian sausage.
  2. Italian sausage already contains some fennel seed, and I like to add a little bit more. (In fact, the two are so nearly synonymous that adding some fennel seed to vegetarian dishes can almost convince your palate that there's sausage in the mix.) Giving the seeds a quick bash with a mortar and pestle helps release the natural flavors and distribute them throughout the topping.
  3. Beyond that, all you need is plenty of garlic, some red pepper flakes if you like, and a little olive oil to get things started. You'll drain off excess fat at the end.
  4. Once cooled, sausage topping can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or the freezer for a year, making it a wildly practical addition to all your last-minute pizzas.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 35kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 3mg, Sodium: 60mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Pork
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

Hungry for More?
Subscribe to Umami Girl's email updates, and follow along on Instagram.
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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.67 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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