Pork Sausage vs. Italian Sausage: (Similarities and Differences Explained)

Both pork and Italian sausage follow the same formula, but if you ask for a sausage at a meat market and these two are available, you’ll need to be more specific.

The main difference between pork and Italian sausage is their taste, while many other features are similar.

Read on to learn the similarities and differences in this pork sausage vs. Italian sausage comparison.

pork sausage vs italian sausage

What Is Pork Sausage?

Pork sausage is made by grinding pork meat and fat, with salt and other seasonings added and preservatives and filers in some types.

Some sausages may include thyme, marjoram, nutmeg, or allspice for an enhanced flavor.

They can be sold as patties or packed into a casing to create links.

Numerous pork sausages are made from pork; however, you can also find chicken, veal, veggie, and even seafood sausages.

A pork sausage can be fresh (like Italian sausage), smoked (like Andouille), cooked (like hot dogs), or cured and dried (like salami).

Sausages were first created to preserve meat before refrigerators were available.

Pork sausages have been around for centuries and are one of America’s favorite dishes.

What Is Italian Sausage?

Italian sausage follows the same basic formula as pork sausage.

In North America, the Italian sausage is a pork sausage known for being flavored with fennel as the main seasoning.

In addition to ground meat, its other ingredients include salt (sometimes including curing salts), pepper, and garlic powder.

The taste varies depending on the region of Italy it’s based on since Italians have different tastes in food and recipes in different areas of the country.

Supermarkets’ most common Italian sausage varieties are sweet, hot, and mild.

The main difference between hot and mild is the inclusion of hot red chili flakes in the spice mix.

The difference between the mild and sweet is the addition of sweet basil.

Here are some popular types of Italian sausage.

  • Salamella
  • Mortadella
  • Sopressato
  • Nduja
  • Salami

Italian sausage is typically sold raw.

It’s often added to Italian dishes like pizza and lasagna, where the sausage is sliced before being baked on top of the dish.

The sausage can be fried with oil for breakfast or grilled at a BBQ.

If required for pasta dishes, usually the casing is removed when cooking in a sauce.

What Are the Similarities Between Pork Sausages and Italian Sausage?

Pork and Italian sausage are different but have a few things in common. Here are their similarities.

Both Made Using Pork

Pork sausages are clearly made from pork.

However, Italian sausage can be made with meat other than pork.

The most popular and traditional type of Italian sausage is made from ground pork.

Both Types of Processed Meat

Sausage is generally processed meat to enhance its taste or lengthen its shelf life.

Both types have been preserved by smoking, curing, salting, or adding other preservatives.

Same Nutritional Content

As pork and Italian sausage are made from the same ingredients, excluding fennel seed, they offer the same vitamins and nutrients.

Since they are preserved, fresh pork or Italian sausage bought from the meat market is healthier.

Same Texture

Pork and Italian sausage are made using ground pork and seasonings, so they have the same mushy texture.

Can Be Used Interchangeably

They taste fantastic when grilled, roasted, or pan-fried and make an ideal side dish for breakfast with some eggs, bread, or toast.

What Are the Differences Between Pork Sausage and Italian Sausage?

Italian Sausage Seasoning

When it comes to pork sausage vs. Italian sausage, the stand-out difference is the seasoning.

The fennel is one ingredient that makes the Italian sausage unique.

Fennel is a licorice-scented herb that gives Italian sausage its unique taste.

Different Variations

The variations of Italian sausage fall under three main types: sweet, mild, and hot.

There are also several variations of pork sausage.

Fat Content

The ground pork mixture for pork sausage is lean pork meat and fat parts of the pork.

It typically contains around 15% fat and works well as filling, stuffing, sauces, or molded into patties and meatloaf.

Italian sausage generally consists of ground pork meat and contains 25-30% fat.

Summary Table: Pork Sausage vs. Italian Sausage

 Pork SausageItalian Sausage
OriginThe breakfast pork sausage originated in the United States.Italy
Regular IngredientsSalt, fat, basil, thyme, coriander seeds, sage, and smoked paprika are regular pork sausage ingredients.Fennel seeds, garlic, red chili pepper, or black pepper enhance Italian sausage.
VariationsSeveral types of pork sausage are available, depending on the seasoning and preparation.The Italian sausage is available in several variations that are either sweet, mild, or hot.
PreparationPork sausage is typically smoked before being sold.Italian sausage is generally sold raw.
TasteMeaty, smoky, savory, earthy, and tangy, depending on the preparation.Usually mild and earthy, with distinctive fennel and garlic flavor. Other types of Italian sausage are hot or sweet.
Fat Content and NutritionOne 23-gram link contains around 75 calories, 6.5 grams of total fat, and 187 milligrams of sodium. Nutritional value includes 4.3 grams of protein, vitamins A and C, Calcium, and Iron.One 23-gram link contains 79 calories, 6.3 grams of total fat, and 278 milligrams of sodium. Nutritional value includes 4.4 grams of protein, vitamins A, B, and C, Calcium, and Iron.

In Summary

The similarities between pork and Italian sausage include their nutritional value and texture.

However, the main difference between the two is the Italian sausage’s characteristic fennel and garlic flavor, while they both have the same main ingredient of pork.

From a health standpoint, Italian sausage is not the best type to eat regularly.

Although nutritional stats can vary, it contains the same vitamins and nutrients as pork sausage.

However, its measurements tend to run higher in the fat and calories per link, so maybe consider indulging as an occasional treat.