sausage seasoning guide

Seasoning is king. When you decide to make sausage from scratch, choosing the right mix of flavors can mean the difference between a memorable meat experience and a frustrating food flop.

You’ll find loads of sausage recipes in books and online. I find they’re a great starting point but don’t be afraid to give each recipe your own special twist. Once you’ve combined your meat with herbs and spices, the next step is crucial. Take a small sample of the meat and cook it, taste test and make changes as required. Without doing this you’re cooking blind – possibly heading for sausage failure.

The importance of taste testing increases massively as the batch of meat you’re making increases.

“A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.” Thomas Keller.

What are seasonings?

Anything that enhances the flavor of food, such as salt, herbs or spices. Seasonings can be both pungent and aromatic, typically of plant source. They breathe life into dull food. Without herbs and spices food would taste bland – a dining experience that’s best left for camping holidays.

Meat with seasoning

Rule 1 of sausage making: taste test seasonings.

Taste preferences vary

It’s important to remember that taste is a very subjective thing. Within one household, you’ll often find a variety of preferences. There’s often one that loves very spicy, hot food, the next one can’t stand any heat. And then there’s the one who hates pepper. Pleasing everyone can be a challenge!

No-one understands the taste preferences of your family like you. This works in your favour. You can take the seasonings on this page and dial them up or down to suit.

Best sausage seasoning for each meat

Use these flavors as a starting point. Get a little creative with your combinations.


  • Salt and pepper

  • Garlic

  • Onion

  • Rosemary

  • Oregano

  • Thyme


  • Salt and pepper

  • Basil

  • Garlic

  • Onion

  • Mint

  • Marjoram


  • Salt and pepper

  • Paprika

  • Sage

  • Fennel

  • Ginger

  • Cilantro


  • Salt and pepper

  • Garlic

  • Paprika

  • Parsley

  • Mace

  • Basil

10 popular seasonings for sausage

Here are a collection of seasonings that have become synonymous with the sausage.

1. Salt and Pepper

The gold standard in all cooking unless you are on a salt restricted diet. Salt and pepper breathe life into any dish, taking in from tasteless to delicious. From soups to steak, potato chips to roasted veggies, and everything in between, they almost always taste better.

Salt is hugely important when making sausages. It’s not just a seasoning. It also magnifies the flavour of the other ingredients and assists with tenderizing the meat.

2. Garlic

Garlic is closely related to the onion and comes is many formats: fresh or dried, diced, minced, granules or powder. Pungent and full of flavor, garlic is a household standard alongside salt and pepper. Its spicy flavor softens and sweetens with cooking.

3. Ginger

Ginger was one of the first spices to be imported during spice trading. It was used by Greek and Roman ancient civilizations as it provides a powerful punch in cooking. After one bite you can see why this hot, aromatic spice is a winner in sausage making. Looking to make rabbit sausage, ginger would be your go to spice.

4. Thyme

A member of the mint family is an evergreen herb used extensively in cooking. In Egypt it was used in embalming and in the baths of the Greeks! Having a distinctive taste and aroma it makes for a lovely Mediterranean inspired homemade sausage with feta.

5. Sage

An evergreen shrub from the mint family that grows in abundance throughout the Mediterranean. It makes a perfect compliment to a country or breakfast sausage using pork or turkey. What about a turkey, sage and bread stuffing sausage?

6. Chilli Powder

Looking to add some spicy excitement to your next sausage creation? How about a spicy Italian sausage with a solid hit of chilli? Chilli pepper is native to Mexico and used extensively in cooking worldwide. On your next taco night try spicy Mexican sausages served in a soft taco.

How to Season Sausages

Chilli gives sausage a lovely flavor hit.

7. Parsley

Widely used in cooking as well as being a garnish we usually push to the side of the dish and ignore. It contains many varieties with varying flavors. At your next dinner for two, give it centre stage by working it into a fish sausage.

8. Fennel Seed

A flowering plant related to the carrot that tastes like anise. Fennel is a rich source of protein, vitamins and minerals that contain a good portion of carbohydrates. Using pork or beef, fennel seed will make a perfect addition to your next mild Italian sausage recipe.

9. Onion

A vegetable related to garlic and handy when hunting vampires. Diced or dried, onion compliments almost any homemade sausage recipe. How about a twist on traditional sausage, peppers and onions on a roll?

10. Paprika

The ground spice of the dried red fruit of the Capsicum Annuum. Paprika offers spiciness that ranges from mild to very hot. This ingredient is popular in Hungarian cuisine. Also, you can combine ground beef, finely minced beets, paprika and a few other ingredients to make burgundy soup rolled into a sausage!

A few classic sausage flavors to try

  • Hungarian: Paprika and caraway
  • Italian: tomato, basil, garlic
  • Indian: ginger, curry, onion, garlic


When you are looking to create the perfect tasting sausage, seasonings provide you with the ticket. Mixing herbs and spices can provide endless possibilities.

Longing for African food tonight? Try making spicy African sausage made of ground peanuts and chicken, salt, pepper, onion, garlic, ginger, sweet potato, tomato, thyme and cayenne. Encased and served over rice, provides a tasty, satisfying and unique way to serve homemade sausage.

The possibilities are limitless. That’s the joy of making your own sausage – allowing your culinary creativity to run wild.