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The internal temperature of breakfast sausage when done is 160 degrees Fahrenheit/71 degrees Celsius. This is the minimum safe temperature guidance for breakfast sausage made from ground pork according to the USDA.
However, most of the advice you’ll find online recommends cooking times that will have you massively overcooking your breakfast sausage.
You will see some recommendations that you should cook your breakfast sausage two to three times longer than the amount of time it actually takes to reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s a good thing pork breakfast sausage is very resilient to overcooking due to its high-fat content. But still, cooking times that are two to three times longer seems excessive.
This cooking time guidance also doesn’t bode well for breakfast sausage that is made from leaner types of meat such as ground chicken or turkey.
If you are cooking breakfast sausage made from ground chicken or turkey, then you will need to cook your breakfast sausage to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Most breakfast sausage patties and links are small in size and cook relatively fast. You need to be careful not to overcook them.
A typical breakfast sausage link will weigh 0.8 ounces and a typical breakfast sausage patty will weigh 1.5 ounces.
How long does it take for the typical breakfast sausage link to reach an internal temperature above 160 degrees Fahrenheit? A typical breakfast sausage link will reach at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit in nine to ten minutes in a 350ºF oven or in a preheated pan over medium heat on the stove.
In this post, I will show you how long it takes to cook both frozen and unfrozen breakfast sausage links and patties on the stovetop and in the oven. It’s faster than you think.
How Long to Cook Breakfast Sausage Links?
The length of time it takes to cook a breakfast sausage depends on its size, what cooking method you choose, and the cooking temperature.
I know that not everyone has a meat thermometer so it can be helpful to have a general timeframe of how long it takes to cook certain food items.
I monitored the temperature and time in different cooking scenarios to give you a general sense of how long it takes to cook the typical breakfast sausage.
The most common ways of cooking breakfast sausage links and patties in both frozen and unfrozen forms are in the oven and on the stovetop in a pan.
The following cooking times for breakfast sausage links are based on the standard breakfast sausage size of 0.8 ounces.
Prominent breakfast sausage manufacturers Johnsonville, Bob Evans, and many national supermarket chains sell breakfast sausage links in 12 0z packages with 14 sausage links per package. This equates to around 0.8 ounces per sausage link.
How long does it take for a typical breakfast sausage link weighing 0.8 ounces to cook? A typical breakfast sausage link of 0.8 ounces will take between nine to ten minutes to cook in a 350°F oven or on the stovetop over medium heat.
Let me show you.
How Long to Cook Breakfast Sausage Links in the Oven?
The typical breakfast sausage link will take between nine to ten minutes to cook in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Here’s a twenty-second time-lapse video of a typical breakfast sausage reaching 160 degrees Fahrenheit in nine minutes and nineteen seconds in a preheated 350-degree oven.
I also tracked the time and temperature in the WiFi meat thermometer’s mobile application, here’s the time and temperature graph of the sausage cooking in the video above.
You’ll also note from the video and the graph that it takes less than 30 seconds for the breakfast sausage to go from 160°F to 170°F.
That’s why you need to pay close attention to your breakfast sausage so that it doesn’t overcook. You need to be checking your sausage by at least the ten-minute mark to see if it’s done.
Luckily, traditional breakfast sausage made from pork is high in fat so it is very forgiving even if you do go over 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Breakfast sausage made from poultry products like chicken and turkey is incredibly lean. You will need to be very observant when cooking them.
As you can see, it will take them less than ten minutes to reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the minimum safe temperature for ground poultry products.
How Long to Cook Breakfast Sausage Links in a Pan
It will take a little over nine minutes and thirty seconds to cook breakfast sausage links in a preheated pan on a stovetop over medium heat.
This time is based on cooking the typical breakfast sausage weighing 0.8 ounces in a pan that was preheated for five minutes over medium heat on the stovetop.
The breakfast sausage was also flipped over at around 4 minutes and 30 seconds to finish cooking evenly.
Here’s another time-lapse video showing the time and temperature progress of a breakfast sausage cooking on the stovetop.
And here’s the corresponding time and temperature chart for the video above:
Another thing to keep in mind is that I only flipped the sausage over once because of not wanting to disturb the temperature probe too much.
You can undoubtedly shave some time off the above recommendations by simply rolling the sausage over to evenly cook it from every angle.
How Long to Cook Frozen Breakfast Sausage Links?
How long does it take to cook frozen breakfast sausage links? You would think it would take a lot longer than the unfrozen version, but in reality, they don’t because they are relatively small and thaw easily.
A typical frozen breakfast sausage link weighing 0.8 ounces will take less than 11 minutes to cook in a preheated 350°F oven.
Below is a time-lapse video of a frozen breakfast sausage link cooking in a preheated 350°F oven.
Here’s the corresponding time and temperature graph of the WiFi meat thermometer monitoring the breakfast sausage link and oven temperature in the video.
Not fast enough? You can also cook frozen breakfast links in a covered pan with just enough water to cover the bottom on the stovetop over medium-high heat.
Here’s a video of a frozen breakfast sausage link cooking to 160 degrees Fahrenheit in less than six minutes in a covered pan on the stove. If you’re cooking more than a few links in the pan you might need to add a couple of minutes to your time.
And here’s the corresponding time and temperature graph for the video above.
When you are cooking anything frozen in a pan you will need to add water and cover it to allow it to heat evenly.
If you cook frozen breakfast sausage in a pan with no water added over direct heat you will definitely burn the outside before the middle of the sausage is even close to being ready to eat.
How Long to Cook Breakfast Sausage Patties
Fresh pork sausage patties will usually come in twelve-ounce packages, with eight patties to a package. A standard pork breakfast sausage patty weighs 1.5 ounces.
I cooked the above pork sausage breakfast patty on the stovetop in a pan that preheated for five minutes on medium heat. I flipped the patty over at around the five-minute mark.
The breakfast sausage patty reached an internal temperature of 16o degrees Fahrenheit in less than eight minutes.
Here is a time and temperature graph of the breakfast sausage patty I tracked with a probe thermometer while cooking on the stovetop.
How Long to Cook Breakfast Sausage Patties in the Oven?
A breakfast sausage patty will take ten minutes to cook in a preheated 350°F oven. This time is based on a 1.5-ounce pork breakfast sausage patty cooking on the center rack on aluminum foil.
The sausage patty was not flipped at all during cooking. The time and temperature graph for the cook is below.
Please be aware that the above cooking scenario is strictly for showing the time for a pork breakfast sausage patty to reach its minimum safe temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cooking a breakfast sausage patty directly on a baking sheet that preheats along with the oven is definitely preferable to cooking it in foil. In fact, this will cook the sausage patty even faster, with some nice browning as well.
The main takeaway from this is that you need to be aware of the timeframe of when your sausage is ready to eat.
With some food blogs telling you to cook your breakfast sausage patties for fifteen minutes in a 400°F oven and then flipping them to cook another fifteen minutes, this temperature and time guidance is extremely important.
How Long to Cook Frozen Breakfast Sausage Patties
A standard 1.5-ounce frozen pork breakfast sausage patty will take around fourteen minutes to cook to a minimum safe temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit in a 350°F oven.
Here’s the time and temperature graph of cooking a frozen pork breakfast sausage patty in a 350-degree oven.
You can also cook frozen breakfast sausages in a pan on the stovetop. If you’re cooking them from frozen it’s recommended you add some water to the pan and cover the pan with a lid.
This allows the entire sausage patty to come up to a minimum safe temperature evenly and not burn the outside with a raw center.
A frozen breakfast sausage patty weighing 1.5 ounces will cook to a minimum safe temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit in eight minutes using this technique.
Here’s the time and temperature graph for cooking a frozen breakfast sausage patty in a skillet on the stovetop.
As you can see in the multiple cooking scenarios that I’ve documented, cooking breakfast sausages to a minimum safe temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit takes considerably less time than the current popular advice on the internet.
The best way to cook breakfast sausage, fresh or frozen, is to use the above cooking scenarios and their time guidelines to help inform your cooking at home.
Now that you know that breakfast sausage links and patties can reach a minimum safe temperature of 160 degrees in around ten minutes or less, or fourteen minutes or less if they’re frozen, you will be better equipped not to overcook them.