Main Course

Sweet Italian Sausage

By: Ginny Mahar

Dietary Compliance: Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Almost-Paleo, Paleo, Low-Carb, Keto

This homemade sweet Italian sausage is 100% free of funky, artificial ingredients you might find in the factory-made stuff. This recipe makes a large, 3-pound batch that can be portioned and frozen for later use, but can easily be reduced to a 1-pound (1/3 recipe) batch.

After scouring the web to find a recipe that promised to be as good as, if not better than, pre-packaged Italian sausage, I found this one, posted to All Recipes by Michelle Leigh Gossman. Hundreds of reviewers claimed to have found the recipe that inspired them to abandon factory-made Italian sausage forever. What gives it that special something is a winning combination of seasoning, combined with the natural fat of the pork, and the acidity of red wine vinegar.

Acid + Salt + Fat = Yum. (That’s a second-hand culinary school tip for you.)

My recipe below is adapted slightly from hers. I swapped out garlic and onion powder for fresh, but offer dry measurements as a convenience option. I also applied a bit of heat to the seasonings to bring the flavors into full bloom. Although it contains red chili flakes, the sausage is still mild, and slightly sweetened with a touch of honey.


Here’s some info about the thyroid-friendly nutrients in this dish:

4.6 from 5 votes

Sweet Italian Sausage

This big-batch recipe for homemade sweet Italian sausage is 100% free of funky, artificial ingredients you might find in the factory-made stuff. Dietary Compliance: Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Almost-Paleo, Paleo, Low-Carb, Keto. 


Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 12


  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups finely diced onion, about 1 1/2 medium (or sub. 1 tbsp. onion powder)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Italian Herb Seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground fennel
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp red chili flakes(for mild heat)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp freshly minced garlic, about 6-8 clovesor sub. 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 3 lbs ground pork
  • 1 tbsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar


  1. In a medium skillet, over medium heat, combine olive oil and onion. Cook 3-5 minutes or until soft (no color).

  2. While onions are cooking, add Italian herbs, ground fennel, paprika, chili flakes, and honey. NOTE: If using onion powder, simply add with other herbs and spices to the oil, and heat to help the flavors "bloom", until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.

  3. Add chopped garlic to the pan and cook 1 minute more or until fragrant (no color). Remove pan from heat and let cool for a couple minutes.

  4. In a medium mixing bowl combine ground pork, sea salt, black pepper, and red wine vinegar. Use a heatproof rubber spatula to scrape in the herb and spice oil. Mix with your hands to combine. Use or freeze as desired.

Nutritional Info Print
Nutrition Facts
Sweet Italian Sausage
Amount Per Serving
Calories 354 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Fat 27g42%
Saturated Fat 9g45%
Cholesterol 81mg27%
Sodium 649mg27%
Potassium 397mg11%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 19g38%
Vitamin A 125IU3%
Vitamin C 3.8mg5%
Calcium 44mg4%
Iron 1.5mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

About the Author

Thyroid Refresh Co-founder Ginny Mahar is the mom and recipe blogger formerly known as Hypothyroid Chef. After struggling with the residual symptoms of Hashimoto’s for over four years, she embarked on her own process of adopting a thyroid-specific diet and lifestyle. Within one year, she restored her vitality and lowered her thyroid antibodies by half. Ginny is a passionate advocate of supporting others on their journeys toward better health. She is a Cordon Bleu trained chef, cooking instructor, writer, and entrepreneur.