Learn how to cook frozen sausages. You can cook them in the oven, you can pan fry or grill them. All three methods are fast, easy, and thoroughly delicious!
Cooking sausages from frozen could not be easier! And it’s definitely much faster than you might think.
Did you ever buy too many sausages for a grill party? It happens to me all the time, I always buy too many of them, just in case… So, what to do with them afterward? You can keep them in the fridge if you plan to eat them within the “sell-by” date on the package, but most of the time, after having grilled sausages at the weekend, you don’t really feel like having them again during the following week.
The best way to store them is to freeze them. Then they will be perfectly ok (when it comes to taste and texture) for about 2-4 months. But you can keep them frozen even longer than that and they will be safe and good to eat.
What kind of sausages can be frozen?
Most types. You might want to check the package just to be sure that you can freeze them. If you can’t, then it will most likely be indicated on the package.
You should never freeze sausages that have been already frozen and then defrosted. Just the way it is will all kinds of food. You should NEVER freeze food that was already defrosted!
The kind of sausages I freeze most of the time are bratwurst or brats, they are the typical German ones and I live in Germany. And if you like bratwurst, learn how to cook Brats in the Oven or Brats on the Stove. Or make some Brats in the Air Fryer.
Other ones you can freeze are Italian sausages, smoked ones (like Cabanossi or kielbasa), semi-cured, or pre-cooked ones like Wiener, Frankfurters, hot dog sausages.
How to cook pre-cooked frozen sausages?
- They are the easiest ones to cook. Place hot dogs, Wiener, Frankfurters, etc. in a pot, cover with water (boiled from a kettle to make it even faster), and heat through. They should be piping hot inside.
- You can also place small/thin Wiener or Frankfurters directly in the hot soup and heat them there when making German Lentil Soup, for instance.
- When it comes to smoked ones (which are also cooked), I usually leave them on the counter until soft enough to slice (about 30 minutes), slice them and add to soups or stews. Try this Polish Bean Stew or this Pumpkin Potato and Sausage Bake made with smoked Cabanossi.
- If I want to fry or grill them, I do that at low temperature turning very often. Keeping the temperature low is vital, only this way you can ensure that the sausages will be thoroughly defrosted and hot on the inside without the skin burning completely before that happens.
How to cook raw frozen sausages?
So, let’s get to the main part of this guide. How to cook raw sausages that have been frozen? How to make sure that they are perfectly juicy and safely cooked on the inside while remaining golden brown and delicious on the outside?
There are three ways of cooking them: in the oven, in the pan, in a grill pan (or on a grill). All methods are incredibly easy, and the results are always great!
Cook frozen sausages in the oven
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit – conventional oven or 180 degrees Celsius/ 375 degrees Fahrenheit – fan oven. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil. Brush it very lightly with oil. It is sufficient to brush it in the middle, on the spot where you will place the frozen sausages.
- Remove the sausage from their package. They will probably be frozen in a clump and you will not be able to take them apart immediately. No problem. Just place them on the prepared baking tray as they are. (1)
- Place the tray in the preheated oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven, you will now be able to take the brats apart. Take them apart, brush them lightly with oil and arrange them on the tray leaving a bit of space between them. (2)
- Return the tray to the oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the internal temperature is achieved. Don’t forget to flip them 1 or 2 times in between. Increase the temperature to 220 degrees Celsius/ 430 degrees Fahrenheit during the last 5 minutes of the cooking time to help them get the desired golden-brown color. (3)
- The baking time depends on their thickness. It doesn’t matter too much if they are longer or shorter, but the thickness matters. Always make sure that they are cooked through by checking with a meat thermometer or by cutting one in the middle.
- Don’t leave them longer than required in the oven just to make sure that they are cooked through. If you cook them for too long, they will start to dry out. Just check as instructed above and remove them from the oven as soon as they are cooked through.
- If the sausages are done, but they are still too pale for you, you can place the tray under the hot grill for a couple of minutes, turning at least once in between. Keep a close eye on them, they can go from golden brown to burned very quickly. I rarely bother with broiling them under the grill though, I am usually satisfied with their color.
Cook frozen sausages in a pan
- To cook them in a pan or grill, I prefer to pre-boil them, it is the fastest, safest way I know.
- Place them in a saucepan or pot.
- Cover with water and slowly bring to a boil.
- Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Check with a thermometer, they should be cooked through.
- Theoretically, they will be safe to eat now. BUT! They really don’t look good, not like sausages are supposed to look like. And you also want to have those fry or grill flavors. To make them mouth-watering, you will have to pan-fry or grill them.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet or a non-stick pan on high heat. Brush it lightly with oil. (Amazon affiliate links)
- Remove the sausages from the water and pat them dry with kitchen paper.
- Place them in the hot pan and turn the heat down to medium.
- Fry them for about 5 minutes, turning them often using tongs. Make sure that all sides make contact with the pan at one point or another. Turn down the heat slightly if they color too fast.
- When they have achieved the desired color, remove them from the pan and serve.
Cook frozen sausages in a grill pan
- Pre-cook them as instructed above. Remove from the pan and dry well with kitchen paper.
- Heat a grill pan on high heat. Brush with oil and reduce the heat to medium.
- Place the pre-cooked brats in the pan and grill on all sides, turning often, for about 5 minutes or until the desired color is achieved. Turn down the heat slightly if they color too fast. Make sure that all sides make contact with the pan at one point or another.
- If you have an air fryer, you can use it as well.
- Cook them in the preheated air fryer for 6 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius/ 320 degrees Fahrenheit. If they were clumped together, take them apart now. Brush lightly with oil.
- Flip with tongs, increase the temperature to 180 degrees Celsius/ 360 degrees Fahrenheit and cook through.
- Check the internal temperature or cut one in the middle to make sure that they are cooked through.
Safe internal temperature for cooked sausages
The internal temperature should be 71 degrees Celsius/ 160 degrees Fahrenheit. The best way to check is with a meat thermometer (Amazon affiliate link). If you don’t have one, check by cutting one in the middle, the meat should not be pink anymore.
However, let me tell you that a meat thermometer was one of the best things I’ve ever bought for my kitchen. I didn’t think I needed one for years until I bought one and realized how wrong I was before. No more over-cooked meat!
I’ve never had a problem with undercooking anything, I was so scared of serving my family raw food, that I preferred to cook meat a little too long just to make sure. So, I often had dry chicken breasts or whole chickens. Until I got myself a meat thermometer! It changed everything, I use it for everything now and the results are always perfect. Moist, juicy meat, either we’re talking about small parts like steaks, poultry breast or thighs or bratwurst or larger pieces like a roast or a whole bird.
A good meat thermometer doesn’t cost much, and it will last for a long time, It’s worth the investment. I think I bought mine for less than 15 Euro (about 18 dollars) and I’ve had it for ages now, at least 6-7 years.
How to check the internal temperature with a thermometer?
- Insert the tip of the thermometer into the sausage, making sure you stop in the middle of it and don’t go all the way through.
- The temperature should be shown quite quickly. My thermometer goes up quickly at first and slows down once it approaches the temperature it should show.
- If the number shown is below the temperature you are aiming for, continue cooking the sausages for a few more minutes, then check again.
- When possible, try to stick the tip of the thermometer into the same hole as before to reduce the amount of juice escaping the brat.
Are there other ways of checking the internal temperature?
- Of course. Although a meat thermometer is always my first choice, there are other ways to check as well.
- The most obvious and safest one: cut a bratwurst in the middle. It should be no longer pink, but rather grey and it should be hot inside.
- Use a metal cake tester or a metal skewer. Insert it in the sausage, hold it there for 10 seconds and press it against your lip. If it feels hot, the brat should be cooked through. If not, continue cooking for a few more minutes and check again. I often used this method to check if a large whole salmon was cooked through before I got myself a thermometer.
- Check how firm the sausages are. They should be firm to the touch and bounce back slightly when you press them. However, this method requires a bit of experience, you will probably have to try a few times before you learn how exactly a cooked sausage should feel like.
How can I freeze sausages?
- Make sure that they can be frozen, most are. If not, there should be an indication on the package that you cannot do it.
- You can leave them in their original package and freeze them as they are. I do that often when there are only 5 to 8 smaller ones in one package.
- However, if the package is larger or if I have an open package, I freeze them in smaller portions and always consider how many of them are necessary for one family meal.
- Place the portions into good-quality, thick freezer bags. Close them, squeezing out as much air as possible. Freeze.
Can I freeze defrosted raw sausages again?
- Never do that. Either when it comes to sausages or any other food, including plain vegetables.
Can I freeze defrosted and cooked sausages again?
- If you’ve defrosted and cooked them, you can freeze the cooked ones again. But only once. Don’t defrost them and then freeze them again, even if they are cooked.
How to defrost them?
- The best way is to defrost them slowly by leaving them in the fridge overnight.
- Or defrost in the microwave. Place them on a plate and place them in the microwave at defrost setting. It will take about 4-5 minutes, but make sure to check the instructions of your microwave.
- You can also defrost them in water. Place in a pot, cover with water and defrost for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Not my favorite method of defrosting anything though.
How long to keep in the fridge after thawing?
- Sausages that have been defrosted in the fridge might be kept there for 1 more day. Those defrosted in water or in the microwave should be cooked immediately.
How to tell if defrosted sausages are bad?
- It could happen if you waited too long to freeze them. Look at them and smell them. If they smell sour, have a weird color, or are slimy, throw them away.
Can I cook frozen sausages on a BBQ?
- Yes. Pre-cook them as instructed above, and brown on the BBQ, flipping them often until the desired color is achieved.
How to store?
- As you cannot refreeze already defrosted food, make sure you cook all the sausages contained in the package. You can refreeze some of the sausages once they are thoroughly cooked and cooled. Pack them in freezer bags and freeze for about 1-2 months.
- Leftovers keep well in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
What to do with leftovers?
- You can reheat them in the microwave or in the oven and serve them as you did the previous day.
- Chop the cold sausages and add them soups, stews, or casseroles, to potato or noodle salad, to risotto or other rice dishes.
How to serve?
The easiest way of serving them: stuff them in a bun, add mustard, and/or ketchup. If you like, you can add cooked sauerkraut, roasted or raw onions, sliced sour cucumbers, and so on.
Serve with any kind of potatoes: fries, potato salad, smashed potatoes, oven potatoes, mashed potatoes, and so on. You could also serve them with Barbecue Rice, Jollof Rice or any other simple rice dish you like, I prefer something spicy.
More sausage recipes:
- Choripan con Chimichurri
- Pretzel Pigs in a Blanket
- Pasta e Fagioli Soup
- Halloween Spider Meatloaf
- 6 raw frozen sausages (bratwurst or Italian sausages)
- 1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit - conventional oven or 180 degrees Celsius/ 375 degrees Fahrenheit – fan oven. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil. Brush it very lightly with oil.
- Remove the sausages from their package. Even if they still stick together, place them on the prepared baking tray. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven, you will now be able to take the sausages apart.
- Brush them lightly with oil and arrange them on the tray leaving a bit of space between them. Bake for another 15-20 minutes until the internal temperature of 71 degrees Celsius/ 160 degrees Fahrenheit is achieved, flipping once or twice in between.
- Increase the temperature to 220 degrees Celsius/ 430 degrees Fahrenheit during the last 5 minutes of the cooking time so that they can get golden-brown. (Notes)
- Pre-cook the sausages. Place them in a saucepan or pot. Cover with water and slowly bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Check with a thermometer, they should be cooked through.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet or a non-stick pan on high heat. Brush it lightly with oil.
- Remove the sausages from the water and pat them dry with kitchen paper.
- Place them in the hot pan and turn the heat down to medium. Fry them for about 5 minutes, turning them often using tongs. Make sure that all sides make contact with the pan. Turn down the heat slightly if they color too fast. When they have achieved the desired color, remove them from the pan and serve.
- Follow the instructions for pre-cooking the sausages.
- Heat a grill pan, brush it with oil and cook the sausages as instructed above.
- You can also cook the pre-cooked sausages on a grill outside. Turn the sausages on the grill until nicely colored all over.
The baking time depends on their thickness. It doesn’t matter too much if they are longer or shorter, but the thickness matters. You can also broil them during the last 5 minutes of the cooking time, but keep an eye on them, so that they get too dark.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 sausage
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 296Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 719mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 12g
Nutritional information is not always accurate.