Forget store-bought, homemade breakfast sausage is quick and easy to mix together yourself! All you need is a pound of pork (or chicken, or turkey), maple syrup, and a variety of spices with wiggle room to make it your own.
As a savory breakfast enthusiast, breakfast sausage in some form is up there on our weekend breakfast list. I’m not too picky with the type I buy from the store, but after happening upon a seriously good deal on plain ground pork, I decided to try my hand at making my own homemade breakfast sausage.
Spoiler alert: it’s not hard at all!
While I’m not pledging to only make it from scratch from now on (let’s be real), this breakfast sausage recipe has come in handy quite a lot already.
Reasons To Love This Recipe
- While you’ll need to measure out a host of dried spices, the recipe steps are actually very straight-forward. All you need to do is to mix up the ground pork with your preferred seasonings (more on these in a second), shape into patties, and cook in a skillet.
- One pound of ground pork yields eight patties, and makes just the protein to be served alongside eggs, whole wheat waffles, or challah french toast, in breakfast sandwiches or freezer breakfast burritos, you name it.
- With some recipes from food publications calling for you to grind your own pork shoulder and pork fat for homemade sausage, starting with ground pork straddles the line perfectly for a legit semi-homemade shortcut.
Ground pork: Classic breakfast sausage is made with pork. And while my trusty copy of Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio (affiliate link) instructs you to grind pounds of pork shoulder and pork fat together, I take the definitively easier step of using purchased ground pork. Although this means this breakfast sausage recipe isn’t *the most* from scratch it possibly can be, the time savings and efficiency of ingredients make it a very worthy trade-off.
Maple syrup: One flavor I cannot get enough of in breakfast sausage patties is maple, so I’ve added one-quarter cup of pure maple syrup to the mix. Frankly it’s even a dinner favorite in this maple sausage gnocchi skillet, which continues to be in semi-regular rotation in my house. Don’t worry about it making this sausage too sweet or meshing weirdly with the savory spices as it blends in to complement.
Seasonings: Featuring both sweet and savory flavors, this blend of spices works well to provide a nice breakfast sausage seasoning blend. Besides kosher salt and pepper, this mix leans on sage, fennel, thyme, and ginger as primary spices. It’s not really spicy at all despite the crushed red pepper and cayenne (though you could omit if you don’t have/like), and the tiny bit of cinnamon and nutmeg have supporting roles vs. being noticeable, bold flavors.
- Break up the pork and mix everything together in a big bowl — that’s the big step. What will take the longest is measuring out all of the dried herbs and spices.
When mixing things together, take care to really get in there and break up the pockets of plain ground pork into small bits. This way the flavorings are evenly integrated throughout each patty. I use a very sturdy spatula for this part.
- Scoop the breakfast sausage mixture using a quarter-cup scoop and shape into eight equally-sized patties.
- Next heat a large skillet, sprayed with cooking spray, over medium-low heat. You’ll likely have to cook the patties in two batches to ensure they’re in a single layer with some space left in between. Cook them for 3-4 minutes per side, adjusting the time as needed until the center of the thickest part of the patty reaches 160°F for ground pork, and 165°F for ground chicken or turkey (per foodsafety.gov).
- Place the cooked patties on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb excess grease. Don’t let them sit for too long on here as they might start to stick a bit due to the maple syrup. Regardless, if they do begin to stick they should release without much issue for serving.
- The patties certainly don’t have to be perfectly rounded, but do try and make them all the same thickness. That way they’ll cook in the same amount of time.
- There may be small burnt bits in the skillet after cooking your first batch of patties, so wipe out the skillet between batches (carefully as it’s hot!) and give the pan another spritz of cooking spray in order to minimize sticking.
I’ve tested this recipe with leaner meats with success. Of the two, I prefer chicken breakfast sausage over turkey breakfast sausage as I find it has a milder flavor that meshes better with the seasonings. That’s just a personal preference, but either will work.
Because ground chicken and turkey have a lower fat percentage than ground pork, you’ll want to make sure you spray the skillet well with cooking spray to lessen the patties sticking, or use a small amount of your favorite neutral-flavored cooking oil. And do re-spritz/oil between batches.
Yes! Freeze cooked sausage patties in an air-tight container or bag with a sheet of parchment or wax paper between layers to prevent them from sticking together.
More Breakfast Recipes
Breakfast Sausage Recipe
- 1 lb ground pork or chicken/turkey (see note)
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 tsp rubbed sage (see ground/fresh substitutions)
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ¼½ tsp onion powder
- 1/16 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/16 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/16 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- Tiny pinch ground cinnamon
- Add ground pork, maple syrup, garlic, and all herbs and spices to a mixing bowl and stir very well to combine evenly. Work to break up the pockets of plain ground pork so the spices can really get in there and evenly integrate into the mixture.
- Scoop the sausage mixture into a ¼-cup measuring cup, then flatten and shape into patties. Try and make the patties the same thickness so they cook evenly. Set the shaped patties aside on a plate for now.
- Set a large skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat and spray with a little bit of non-stick cooking spray. Add patties in a single layer with a bit of space in between and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until patties are fully cooked (the center registering 160°F for ground pork, 165°F for ground chicken/turkey). You may have to work in batches.
- Once a batch is done, remove cooked patties to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and carefully wipe the skillet a bit to clean the burnt bits, if needed. Repeat with the remaining patties.
- Refrigerate cooked sausage patties for up to 3-4 days.
- Freeze cooked sausage patties in an air-tight container or bag with a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper in-between the layers to prevent sticking.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.