Baked Italian Sausage and Peppers is the one dish meal you NEED in your life!
This is just like the classic, but faster and even tastier! Packed with flavor and so simple it can go from the fridge to oven in as little as 10 minutes, this Sausage and Peppers recipe is well loved by the WHOLE family.
This post is sponsored by the Iowa Corn Growers Promotion Board. All experiences, opinions, and recipes are my own.
Sausage and Peppers in the Oven
One thing I LOVE to do at Easy Family Recipes is take classic recipes we love and give them a makeover to simplify the recipe so that it is doable even on the busiest night, and anyone can feel comfortable making them.
This Italian Sausage and Peppers recipe worked out to not only be easier to make, but more delicious than ever!
There are two main things that make this recipe so impossibly easy:
- It is made in just one baking dish
- It cooks in the oven– no babysitting necessary!
The great thing about the way this dish comes together is that since everything is layered to bake together with the sausage right on top, you get the best of both worlds with the sauce taking on all of the delicious flavors and the sausage getting that great crispy skin on the outside.
If you love simplicity and flavor, make sure to check out some of our other reader favorite classics made easy, like Baked Chicken Marsala, Easy Chicken Cacciatore, and Chicken Piccata Casserole. Yum!
How to Serve Sausage and Peppers
When this dish hits the dinner table, it will definitely be the star of the show! There are some serving ideas and sides that pair to make it next level though!
- Hoagies- The most traditional way to serve Sausage and Peppers, still holds true with this easy oven baked version. Just grab a hoagie roll, toast it if you want, then cut it half and spoon a big serving of sausage, peppers and onions with sauce over it. Fold it back and enjoy!
- Pasta- If you don’t go with a hoagie, then pasta is the second most popular way to serve. Just spoon it right over your favorite variety.
- Sautéed Spinach– I like to keep this light an healthy for myself and serve it right over a bed of sautéed spinach.
- Cauliflower rice- Top off cauli rice with a scoop of Italian Sausage Peppers and onions for a filling meal.
If you want to round out the meal, you can add a side dish or two which will both fill up the plate and help to make the meal go further. A few of our favorite sides to serve with Baked Sausage and Peppers are:
- Side Salad with Balsamic Dressing
- Garlic Cheese Bread
- Kettle chips (if you make it as a hoagie sandwich)
It starts with the pork…
I had the privilege to travel to Iowa as a guest of the Iowa Corn and Iowa Pork where I learned that 99% of corn grown in our country is not sweet corn for human consumption. One of the huge uses of that 99% is feeding the livestock grown to feed us!
The most eye opening experience we had for me was visiting a farrowing barn at AMVC. I didn’t know what that was going in, but soon found out it was basically the maternity ward for pigs.
We may think of pigs as dirty animals that roll around in the mud, but that is no where close to how they are raised today. The farmers take the fact that their job provides food to hundreds, thousands, and most likely millions of people very seriously and run a tight ship with a lot of pride!
This pig maternity ward was run more stringently than any of the human ones that I have visited! We had to take a complete shower including washing our hair immediately before entering the barn to prevent any illness or foreign germs from entering with us. Everything from the place where the pigs gave birth to the halls we walked through were immaculate!
There was no cutting corners or short cuts, but just hard working people doing their best to bring the best food to us! And the best part might just have been the newborn baby pig I got to cuddle which I am sure you saw if you follow my Instagram Stories! If you want to hear more about my trip, see my recap on my Mexican Beef Skillet recipe post.
Tips for Making Baked Sausage and Peppers
This recipe is super simple, but there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure this recipe is even tastier than the original.
I am going to walk through some of my tips and tricks, go over substitutions and dietary modifications, freezing instructions and more. Make sure to find the FULL printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
This recipe calls for 19 oz of sweet Italian sausage. You will look for sausage links (usually 5-6 in a package) found in the refrigerated section, usually near the breakfast sausage.
This is a standard package size sold at most stores. If your store carries, packages that are slightly different, ranging from 18-24 oz, you can use them interchangeably in this recipe. It won’t change the taste.
In the directions you will see that the sausage is sliced before baking. The reason for this is two-fold.
First, it helps the dish to cook faster, and second, it makes serving easier. That said, if you prefer full links, you can omit the cutting and prepare it that way instead using the same directions! It may need a couple extra minutes in the oven though.
I like to use a combination of peppers, mainly to make the dish look as delicious as possible. I generally use one green, since they are a little less sweet, and then one yellow, red or orange pepper.
You can mix and match the colors based on your preferences or what you have on hand.
For the onion, I prefer to use a sweet onion, but really any onion will work- white, yellow, or red.
The KEY here is to slice it really thinly so it is able to fully cook through and take on it’s maximum sweetness.
A simple sauce is made using crushed tomatoes. I like the texture of crushed tomatoes because it is almost smooth but has a bit of texture left. I use the can that already has basil added both to simplify and to gain that extra boost of flavor you get when the flavors have been married so long.
The seasoning and vinegar is added to give the dish it’s signature flavor. You can experiment with the quantities and types of seasonings you use if you are the type who likes to play in the kitchen.
The Baking Dish Matters!
When you make Italian Sausage and Peppers in the oven, the dish you choose will make a big difference in the result!
The BEST dish for this recipe is a larger, more shallow dish like a 9×13 pyrex, rather than a smaller, deeper casserole dish.
The reason for this is that the large shallow dish provides more surface area to allow the meal to cook more quickly and evenly.
Equally important, a larger dish also gives the sausage a lot of room to spread out so it can brown and get that delicious crispy skin.
How long to Bake Sausage and Peppers in the Oven
The beauty of the recipe is the quick prep, paired with the hands off cooking in the oven.
This dish will bake at 400˚F, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes. It may even be slightly longer depending on your oven and elevation.
When it is done, the edges will all be bubbling and the sausage will be 160˚F and will have started to brown as well.
Getting the Perfect Crispy Skinned Sausage
If you want that nice crispy skin on the sausage, there are 3 things to remember:
- Keep the sausage sitting right on top of all of the other ingredients, don’t mix it in!
- Use a big enough dish so it can all be spread out (not packed too tightly together)
- Always bake uncovered!
Make it SPICY!
As written, this recipe has just the smallest kick to it when the optional red pepper flakes are used, and is completely mild and kid and family friendly when they aren’t.
If you want to turn the flavor and heat up in your Sausage, Peppers, and onions, then it is simple to do!
There are two things that you can do:
- Use spicy sausage
- Up the red pepper flakes
You can do just one, or a combination! Both will work to make your Sausage and Peppers spicy!
There are a few substitutions that can be used to change it up to what you have on hand, or your taste preferences.
- Sausage– If you like your sausage and peppers a little (or a lot) spicy, try using half or a whole package of hot Italian sausage.
- Peppers and Onions– If you are in a pinch and don’t have fresh on hand, you can use frozen. Just make sure they are thawed or it may impact baking time.
- Crushed Tomatoes with Basil– When you don’t have tomatoes with basil on hand, you can use regular crushed tomatoes with an added tablespoon of dried basil.
Recipe Short Cuts
If you are EXTRA short on time, there are a few more short cuts you can take to get this meal made and in the oven even faster!
- Use pre-cut peppers and onions– Most major grocery stores will carry pre-cut peppers and onions in the refrigerated area of the produce section or in the freezer section.
- Use pasta sauce– instead of combining crushed tomatoes with herbs and spices to make a sauce, you can save time by using a premade sauce.
If I choose to do this, I like a chunky marinara best as a substitute, and use it in place of the crushed tomatoes, oregano, salt and sugar. You can also omit the garlic if you want, but I always keep it in since, I think you really can’t ever have to much garlic deliciousness!
- Prep ahead! You can prepare this recipe up to 24 hours in advance and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to put it in the oven.
Then bake as directed, adding 5-10 minutes to the cook time as needed. You can also prepare this as a freezer meal. See directions below!
Italian Sausage and Peppers Freezer Meal Instructions
This dish makes a fantastic freezer meal. It can be frozen both before and after cooking. To prepare this before cooking as a freezer meal:
- Combine the crushed tomatoes, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes (optional) and vinegar and mix.
- Place in a zip top bag and add the sliced peppers and onions.
- Slice the sausage then place the pieces in a separate bag in a single layer.
- Freeze both flat.
- When ready to make, thaw in the refrigerator ( 24-48 hours) until thawed.
- Pour the sauce mixture in a large baking dish, then top with the sausage pieces.
- Bake as directed, adding 5-10 minutes if needed from cooking cold.
Baked Sausage and Peppers Leftovers
If you find yourself with leftovers, this meal keeps beautifully to be enjoyed another day.
Simply let the leftovers cool, then package in meal sized portions in an airtight container and store in the:
- refrigerator for 3-4 days
- freezer up to 2 months
Reheat leftovers in the microwave or in a skillet on the stove.
Leftover Recipe Ideas
You can always reheat the leftovers and eat them as is for a delicious meal, but if you want to make them into something new, there are several delicious things you can do with them!
- Sausage and Peppers Stuffed Shells– Prepare large pasta shells as directed. Chop sausage into small bite sized pieces and stuff shells with sausage, peppers and onions. Place some sauce on the bottom of the dish, then pour the rest over the top of the shells. Add mozzarella to the top and bake at 350˚F for 20-25 minutes or until heated through.
- Sausage and Peppers Casserole– Chop sausage in bite sized pieces. Mix sausage peppers and onions with cooked rice in a 1:1 ratio (equal parts.) Place in a casserole dish and cover with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350˚F for 25-30 minutes or until heated though.
- Sausage and Peppers Party Subs– Grab a large loaf of french bread and cut down the middle. Spread with butter, garlic powder and salt. Broil 3-6 minutes or until the top is toasted and the edges are browned. Remove from oven and pile high with leftover sausage and peppers. Sprinkle cheese on the top if desired. Bake at 350˚F for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.
- Sausage and Peppers Soup – Chop leftover sausage, peppers and onions into bite sized pieces then stir back into the sauce. Place the leftover in a pot and cook over medium heat. Add broth (chicken or beef) to the mixture until it becomes a soup-like consistency. Bring to a boil. Add cheese tortellini and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the tortellini is done. Serve warm!
More One Dish Meals!
If you enjoyed the easy and deliciousness of this Sausage and Peppers recipe, make sure to try out a few more quick one dish recipes to make another night!
- Baked Chicken Fajitas
- Italian Sausage and Tortellini Skillet
- Meatballs Parmesan
- Spinach and Artichoke Chicken
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Oven Baked Italian Sausage and Peppers
- 19 oz sweet Italian sausage links
- 1 red bell pepper sliced
- 1 green bell pepper sliced
- 1 sweet yellow onion thinly sliced
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes with basil (1 can)
- 4 cloves garlic pressed
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- fresh parsley chopped
- Place the onions and both sliced peppers in the bottom of a 9×13" baking dish.
- Mix the balsamic vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt, and sugar into the crush tomatoes, then pour over the peppers.
- Slice the sausages into about 4-5 pieces each and arrange on top of the mixture.
- Bake at 400˚F for 30-40 minutes, or until sausage is cooked through (160˚F internal temp.)
- Remove from oven and garnish with parsley. Serve warm. Enjoy!
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)