Sausages are a convenient and tasty protein that can be added to meals, snacks, and appetizers. With so many varieties, from breakfast links to bratwurst and Italian sausage to chorizo, it’s easy to buy more than you need when they go on sale.
This leads many home cooks to ask, Can you freeze cooked sausages? The short answer is yes; you can freeze cooked sausages to extend their shelf life.
However, there are some tips and tricks to follow to ensure they retain maximum flavor and texture when thawed.
Should You Freeze Sausages Before or After Cooking?
This depends on your intended use after thawing. For the best results:
- Freeze the sausages raw if you plan to cook them after thawing. Raw sausages maintain their flavor and texture better through freezing and thawing. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.
- Freeze cooked sausages if you want to reheat and eat them later without additional cooking. Fully cooked sausages can go straight from the freezer to a skillet or microwave for a quick meal.
Either way, sausages should be frozen as soon as possible after purchasing or cooking. Avoid letting them sit in the refrigerator too long before freezing.
How to Freeze Raw Sausages
Follow these steps for freezing uncooked sausages:
- Allow the sausages to rest in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours after bringing them home from the store. This helps prevent purging, the release of water that can lead to freezer burn.
- Pat the sausages dry with paper towels. Remove any packaging and lay them in a single layer on a tray or platter. Place in the freezer until completely frozen, about 2 hours.
- Vacuum seal or wrap freezer-safe plastic wrap around each sausage. This protects them from oxygen and prevents freezer burn.
- Place the wrapped sausages in a labeled freezer bag or airtight container. Squeeze out excess air.
- Freeze for up to 2–3 months for best quality.
- Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before cooking. Cook the sausage immediately; do not refreeze.
Tips for Freezing Cooked Sausages
Follow these guidelines when freezing fully cooked sausages:
- Allow the cooked sausages to cool completely, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate for 1–2 hours uncovered to release steam.
- Blot dry with paper towels. Freeze sausages in a single layer on a tray until hard, about 1 hour.
- Wrap each cooked sausage tightly in plastic wrap or foil. Eliminate air pockets.
- Place wrapped sausages in freezer bags or containers, label, and freeze. Remove as much air as possible.
- For best results, use frozen, cooked sausages within 2 months.
- Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat gently in a skillet, oven, or microwave until heated through.
Best Practices for Freezing Sausages
No matter if you freeze sausages raw or cooked, follow these best practices:
- Use high-quality sausages within 1–2 days of purchase. Don’t freeze sausages past their expiration date.
- Portion sausages for recipes or meals before freezing. Thaw only what you need each time.
- Double-wrap sausages or vacuum seal for maximum freshness. Minimize air exposure.
- Label freezer bags or containers with their contents and freeze-by dates. Track shelf life.
- Avoid freezer burn by limiting time in the freezer. Use within 2–3 months for the best flavor.
- Thaw frozen sausages slowly in the refrigerator, never at room temperature or in hot water.
- Cook raw sausages or reheat cooked sausages immediately after thawing. Don’t refreeze.
Thawing Frozen Sausages
Improper thawing is a common cause of quality loss in frozen sausages. Follow these steps:
- Never thaw sausages at room temperature or in hot water. This allows bacteria to grow.
- Thaw in the refrigerator, allowing 8–10 hours for raw sausages and 4-6 hours for cooked. Place on a plate to catch drips.
- For quicker thawing, place vacuum-sealed or tightly wrapped sausages under cold running water. Rotate frequently, changing water every 30 minutes until thawed.
- Cook raw sausages immediately, or refreeze if unable to use within 1-2 days. Reheat the cooked sausages gently until heated through.
- Microwave thawing is not recommended. It can lead to uneven cooking.
- Do not refreeze sausages after thawing unless they are still partially frozen and cold in the center when ready to reuse.
Safe Handling of Thawed Sausages
Always practice food safety when handling thawed sausages.
- Cook raw sausages within 1-2 days of refrigeration thawing. Do not refreeze raw sausages after thawing completely.
- Reheat cooked sausages to 165°F. Heat thoroughly; do not allow partial thawing during reheating.
- Discard any sausages with an off-odor or appearance after thawing. Do not taste to determine safety.
- When in doubt, throw it out! Do not take risks with foodborne bacteria.
- Keep thawed sausages refrigerated until ready to cook or reheat. Do not leave at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Wash hands, cooking tools, dishes, and surfaces that have touched raw sausages with hot, soapy water.
- Refreeze any leftovers only once, within 3–4 days. Don’t refreeze more than once.
FAQ About Freezing Sausages
Still have questions about successfully freezing sausages? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
How long do sausages last in the freezer?
Raw sausages maintain their best quality for about 2–3 months; cooked sausages for 1-2 months.
Can you refreeze thawed sausages?
Do not refreeze raw sausages after refrigerator thawing. Only refreeze cooked sausages once.
What happens if you freeze sausages twice?
Freezing sausages twice makes them prone to damage like purging, freezer burn, and rancidity. Avoid double freezing.
Yes, sausage patties and links freeze well! Follow the same freezing tips for best results.
How do you know if frozen sausages are bad?
Signs that frozen sausages are past prime include ice crystals, discoloration, an unpleasant odor, or a mushy texture when thawed.
Can you freeze Italian sausage or chorizo?
Most raw sausages freeze well, including spicy varieties like Italian sausage and chorizo.
Is it better to freeze sausages raw or cooked?
For versatility, freeze sausages raw. But for convenience, freeze pre-cooked sausages, ready to reheat anytime.
Should you wrap sausages before freezing?
Yes, tightly wrap or vacuum seal sausages before freezing to prevent freezer burn.
Can you freeze sausage meat or ground sausage?
Absolutely! Form ground sausage into patties or crumbles, then wrap and freeze.
Enjoying Frozen Sausages
Freezing is an easy way to preserve sausages, so you always have them on hand for quick, delicious recipes.
Follow proper methods and food safety guidelines, and you’ll have great-tasting frozen sausages ready for anything from breakfast tacos to dinner casseroles.
Hi, I’m Julie, the passionate foodie and founder of Juliesfamilykitchen.com. I created this blog out of a drive to prove someone wrong, and then I realized how much I truly enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. In my free time, when I’m not running around after my kids or spending quality time with my partner, you can usually find me in the kitchen experimenting with new dishes.