I could eat far too many of these Italian sausage rolls. They’re filled with Italian ingredients like Italian sausages, zucchini, basil and sun dried tomatoes, wrapped in flaky puff, then baked to golden perfection.
- Fun and easy to make.
- Perfect appetizers, game day snacks or lunch.
- Mild or spicy – it’s up to you!
- Perfect to make ahead and freeze-able as well.
- No pre-cooking required.
I do love a sausage roll. If you’ve seen my best homemade sausage rolls, then you know they’re a very nostalgic snack for me. I wanted to give the classic recipe a spin by using Italian sausage and complimenting Italian flavours – it’s a bold and delicious result.
Italian sausage rolls need nothing else, though you could serve them with a marinara sauce for dipping. They’re absolutely crave-worthy straight from the oven (cool them for a few minutes so you don’t burn your tongue though).
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Ingredients you’ll need
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Italian sausages: Starting with Italian sausages means you’ve already got loads of Italian flavour. You can use mild or spicy, the choice is totally up to you.
- Zucchini: The zucchini adds a little moisture to the mixture. Make sure to grate it finely and there is no need to drain the zucchini.
- Onion: The onion should be coarsely grated. It adds both flavour and a touch of sweetness.
- Sun dried tomatoes: Is there anything more Italian than robust sun dried tomatoes. They add great umami, flavour and touch of sweetness too.
- Bread crumbs: The breadcrumbs aren’t here as filler and don’t detract from the flavour. They do soak up excess moisture though and help to give the filling some structure. Use fine dry bread crumbs.
- Dried basil: If you have fresh basil on hand, feel free to chop up a nice handful of that instead but dried basil adds a nice herby zing. You could swap this for dried oregano, dried parsley or mixed dried Italian herbs.
- Salt: Just a little salt is added as the sausage will already have some.
- Puff pastry: Use a good quality store-bought puff pastry. I use pre-rolled squares so that I can just lay them out and start filling.
- Flour: A little flour is used to help roll out the filling without it sticking to your hands.
- Egg: You’ll need to brush the top of the pastry with an egg wash. I like to use just a yolk and a dash of milk to give the pastry a lovely golden brown sheen.
- Seeds – fennel and black sesame: For an added bit of Italian flavour, I sprinkle fennel seeds over the top. I mix them with black sesame seeds for contrast and a touch of flaky sea salt.
How to make Italian sausage rolls (step-by-step)
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Prepare the puff pastry: Allow the puff pastry to thaw overnight, in the refrigerator. Make sure to keep it cold at all times to get the best rise. I work with just one sheet at a time while the rest stay in the fridge.
- Prepare the filling: Start by removing the casings from the sausages. Just use a sharp knife to cut all the way along, then peel it away from the meat. Mix the meat with the rest of the filling ingredients (photo 1) until everything is well dispersed and you can roll it into balls.
- Roll the filling: Take ⅓ cups of the filling mixture and coat it in flour, then roll it into a long log, almost as long as your puff pastry (photo 2).
How to roll sausage rolls
There are a number of ways you can roll sausage rolls, the easiest being literally to just roll it up into a log and leave the seam side of the pastry underneath. I much prefer the way my mum taught me though – it is slightly more effort but not much and it results in glorious crunchy edges every sausage roll.
- Roll the sausage rolls: Run a little water along the side and top edge of pastry. Fold the pastry over the filling and let it meet on the other side (photo 3), then press it together – the water will help to stick it together. Cut the roll away from the rest of the pastry sheet, then use a fork to seal all 3 edges (photo 4) nice and tight. Trim them so they look neat.
- Finish and bake: Now, cut the log into 5 pieces and cut small vent holes in the top of each (photo 5). Brush over the egg wash, then sprinkle over the seed mix (photo 6). Bake for 20-25 minutes until the sausage rolls are golden brown and calling your name.
- Other pastry / dough: For me, you can’t beat the crispy, crunchy, flaky layers of buttery puff pastry but you certainly can try other options too. These would be lovely in very thin pizza dough (maybe spread over some tomato paste or pizza sauce first). You could use shortcrust pastry or, if it’s available where you are, you could try crescent roll dough too.
- Spice it up: I use regular or mild Italian sausage in these. I love food with a bit of spice and these would be great with either a good pinch of dried chilli flakes (red pepper flakes) added to the mix or start with spicy sausages.
- Add some cheese: I’ve also added cheese to these before. Take strips of mozzarella and push them into the filling, then wrapping the filling around it. When they bake, you will have some cheese ooze out the ends but you’ll still have plenty inside too. You could also add some finely shredded parmesan cheese to the filling mixture.
- Don’t like zucchini? Swap it for carrot or just leave it out. If you do swap or leave it out, reduce the bread crumbs to ¼ cup.
Yield and storage
This Italian sausage roll recipe makes about 35 mini sausage rolls and when I say mini, these, like all my sausage roll recipes, are 2-3 bites. You can cut them smaller or larger and they bake in roughly the same time.
These sausage rolls are by far best when they are fresh and hot but you can eat them cold. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Making them ahead
You can make the sausage rolls ahead of time too. They’ll be best baked fresh but you can get them completely made and onto baking trays, then leave them in the fridge overnight ready to bake the next day. You can reheat them in the oven or even in the microwave, though they won’t be as crispy.
Ever wondered about freezing sausage rolls. Well, you can. Again, make them up completely. You can even egg wash them, then place them on a tray in the freezer. Once they’re solid, transfer to an airtight container with baking paper between the layers.
You can bake the sausage rolls from frozen, just add an extra 10 minutes cooking time.
Did you try this Italian sausage rolls recipe?
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Italian Sausage Rolls
- 500 g Italian style pork sausages, (mild or spicy, your preference) (1.1lb)
- ½ cup finely grated zucchini (85g)
- ¼ cup coarsely grated onion (approx. 1 very small onion) (40g)
- ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, very finely chopped (40g)
- ½ cup fine dry bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon dried basil (or mixed Italian herbs)
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 4 square puff pastry sheets, ready rolled
- ¼ cup plain flour (all-purp flour)
- 1-2 egg yolk, beaten with a dash of water or milk
- Optional topping: ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds, ½ teaspoon black sesame seeds and a pinch of sea salt flakes.
For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided
- Preheat oven to 395F / 200C / 180C fan. Line one or two baking sheets with baking paper.
- Use a sharp knife to split the skins of the sausages and then just peel the skins away and discard.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the sausage meat, zucchini, onion, sun dried tomatoes, bread crumbs, basil and salt. Mix well until everything is full combined.
- You can see pictures of the rolling and folding method in the post above.
- Use a large ice cream scoop of the mixture (roughly ⅓ of a cup), then two forks to roll it lightly in the flour so that your hands don’t get sticky. Roll it out into an even log on top of the puff pastry. Lay it 1cm from the side and front edge (closest to you) of the pastry, then use your finger to run some water around the edge of pastry closest to you and along the sides.
- Fold the pastry away from you, over the top of the meat, keeping it tight, and press the join down firmly on the other side of the sausage meat to make a flat join. Use the knife to cut away the other half of the sheet, then press down all along the joins with the fork to seal them together. Trim away a little of the joined edges to neaten them.
- Cut each log into 5 pieces, then jab with the knife 2 little vent holes in the top of each one to allow steam to escape. Sit them onto the baking tray then repeat with the rest of the pastry and meat mix.
- Once all the sausage rolls are sitting on the baking sheets, brush them with the egg wash, then scatter over the combined seed topping.
- You can freeze them at this point by laying them on a baking sheet in the freezer, then once frozen, transfer them all to a plastic bag or container. Or you can go straight ahead and bake them.
- Bake for around 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Give them a couple of minutes to cool down before taking a bite.
- Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.
- Using two forks to turn the meat over in the flour keeps your hands clean.
- Make sure when folding the pastry over the sausage meat, to keep it tight. The meat will shrink as it cooks and if the pastry isn’t tight around it, the sausage meat will fall out of the pastry when you serve them.
- Make sure the knife you use to cut the log into 5 pieces is very sharp to make a nice clean cut.
- Keep the pastry in the fridge, covered, while you’re not using it so that it doesn’t soften too much or dry out. If it softens too much it won’t puff up as well in the oven.
- Freeze the unbaked sausage rolls for up to 2 months. First until solid on a baking tray, then transfer them to an airtight container with baking paper between the layers.
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