Classic Sausage and Peppers is the original one-pan dinner! Seared Italian sausage is paired with jammy sautéed onions and bell peppers for a hearty dinner packed with bold, savory flavors. You’ll love it served over pasta, rice, or on a hoagie roll—or just eat it as-is! Old-Fashioned Italian Sausage and Peppers is an easy weeknight dinner you can pull off on even the busiest days.
Classic Sausage and Peppers – The EASY Way!
With some recipes, it’s all about the ingredients you use. This recipe for Sausage and Peppers is about the ingredients, but it’s also about the cooking method—a surprising amount of flavor in the finished dish simply comes from the method you use to cook everything.
Searing the sausage until it’s blackened and blistered in spots, deglazing the pan to incorporate all those browned bits into dish, and cooking the onions and peppers until they’re sweet and jammy makes for a flavor-packed dinner your whole family will devour.
This is a quick, easy recipe with classic flavors you know and love. In fact, I’d say this recipe for Old-Fashioned Italian Sausage and Peppers is the original one-pan dinner! For decades, it’s been a go-to family meal, and for good reason—it comes together quickly, it’s completely unfussy (no hard-to-find ingredients here!), and cleanup is a breeze thanks to that single skillet.
Why I LOVE this recipe!
- One-pan – Yes, I’ve already mentioned the one pan, but it bears repeating! You’ll only have a skillet, a cutting board, and a few utensils to clean after cooking this Italian Sausage and Peppers recipe.
- Family-friendly – Choose a mild Italian sausage and even the pickiest eaters will enjoy this dinner. And yep, that means the onions too—they cook up sweet and jammy, taking away that sharp bite that so many kids dislike!
- Versatile – There are endless options when it comes to serving this recipe. Pair it with rice or pasta, make it into a sandwich, or even spoon it onto baked potatoes with shredded mozzarella.
- Quick and easy – When you’ve got just a little bit of time to cook dinner between soccer practice and gymnastics, this is the kind of recipe that will help you make it work. It’s fast and requires minimal effort for amazing results.
- Satisfying – The flavors! The hearty sausage! All those veggies! Everything about this Sausage and Peppers recipe is supremely satisfying and filling.
What to Serve with Old-Fashioned Italian Sausage and Peppers
Since this dish has the classic flavors of Italian food, it will pair well with many of your favorite Italian-inspired side dishes. There are both classic options and some healthy options to keep it light.
Side Dish Ideas
- Pesto Cheese Bread – You can eat this on the side with your Sausage and Peppers, or pile the Sausage and Peppers onto the bread for an epic open-faced sandwich.
- Italian Quinoa Salad – Prefer to keep things light? This protein-packed salad is the perfect complement to hearty Italian Sausage and Peppers.
- Antipasto Salad
- Garlic Bread
- Tomato Basil and Mozzarella Salad – The classic Italian flavors in this salad pair beautifully with Sausage and Peppers.
You can choose one or add a few sides to make a wholesome, well rounded dinner.
This Classic Sausage and Peppers recipe is as simple as promised! Just one skillet and a few minutes for a family friendly meal.
In this section I am going to go through a few tips and tricks I use when making this recipe to get the absolute best and most delicious results.
Make sure to scroll to the bottom for the FULL recipe card.
Ingredients + Substitutions
- Sweet Italian sausage links – You can substitute a spicier Italian sausage if you’d like; both options work well with the flavors in this dish.
- Sweet yellow onion – Walla Walla, Vidalia, or any other sweet onion variety. A regular yellow onion will work too, but sweet onions are a little softer to start with, allowing you to get jammy onions without an hour of caramelizing.
- Red onion
- Green bell pepper
- Red bell pepper – Orange or yellow bell peppers work too; they all have a similar flavor.
- Seasonings– We use a combination of garlic, dried oregano, dried basil, and salt
- Chicken broth or dry white wine – If you choose to use wine, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc are good options.
- Start with a large skillet – You’re going to need a lot of room to cook everything to perfection! If you cram all of the ingredients into a smaller skillet, they’ll steam and they won’t have the same depth of flavor.
- Get the pan nice and hot – Be patient here! It will pay off in the end because a hot skillet will put a nice sear on the outside of the sausage. You don’t need to cook it all the way through the first time around because you’ll remove it from the pan, slice it, and cook it again.
- Give the pan a good deglazing – When you add the wine or broth, wait a minute or two, then take a wooden spatula and scrape all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. The liquid will have loosened everything up so you can scrape the pan clean and incorporate all that flavor into the Sausage and Peppers.
- Add more liquid if you need to – You might not need it, but if the skillet starts getting dry, add another splash of broth, wine, or, if you’re out of both of those, water. Deglaze the pan again if needed.
Recipe Short Cuts
If you need to make this recipe, but are extra short on time, here are a few ideas that can help make this recipe even faster!
- Buy pre-cut veggies – Most grocery stores sell pre-cut peppers and onions in the produce section or salad bar. You’ll pay a little more, but you’ll save on prep time!
- Skip the sear – If you’re really short on time, you can skip searing the sausage and start with the second step of the recipe. Slice the sausage while the vegetables cook, then add it to the skillet after deglazing the pan.
- Turn up the heat – You can also cook this dish over medium heat to shave a few minutes off the cooking time. The onions and peppers will be softened, but they won’t achieve the same jammy texture as you’d get cooking over low.
If you love this recipe as much as we do and want some quick ways to change it up for variety, these little tips will do the trick!
- Chicken Sausage and Peppers – Swap the Italian sausage for chicken sausage and this will make just as wonderful of a dinner. I also like to add a couple of handfuls of spinach at the end too!
- Vegetarian Sausage and Peppers– There are a lot of really great plant-based Italian sausages on the market today that can be used in this recipe. Perfect for Meatless Monday!
- Spicy Sausage and Peppers – Add some Italian long hot peppers in addition to the bell peppers if you want to add some heat to your Classic Sausage and Peppers. (Can’t find authentic Italian peppers? Another hot pepper variety will work, too.)
- Cajun Sausage and Peppers – Swap the Italian sausage for spicy Cajun sausage and use Cajun seasoning instead of the Italian herbs.
Freezer Meal Instructions
Making this Classic Sausage and Peppers recipe into a freezer meal is simple! Follow the steps below and you can store this recipe in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Transfer the Sausage and Peppers to an airtight freezer-safe container or freezer bag.
- When you’re ready to serve, let the Sausage and Peppers thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then, reheat the dish in the microwave or on the stovetop in a skillet set over medium heat until warmed through.
Classic Sausage and Peppers Leftovers
If you have leftovers after making Sausage and Peppers, then it is your lucky day! They save and reheat well, and can make the start of another delicious dish.
To save leftovers, separate into meal sized portions and then place in an airtight container and store:
- in the refrigerator for 3-4 days
- in the freezer up to 6 months
Here are a few ways to repurpose those leftovers and give them a delicious makeover!
- Old-Fashioned Italian Sausage and Peppers Pizza – Buy a pre-made pizza crust at the grocery store, spoon on your favorite pizza sauce, then top it with leftover Sausage and Peppers and shredded mozzarella. Bake according to the crust instructions.
- Sausage and Pepper Pasta – Make your favorite Italian pasta or even egg noodles and toss them with the leftover Sausage and Peppers and plenty of Parmesan cheese.
- Classic Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches – Warm up the leftovers and pile them onto a hoagie roll with a slice or two of provolone. Wrap the sandwich tightly in foil, then warm it up in a 250ºF oven to let the cheese melt and the flavors come together.
- Sausage and Peppers over Rice – Warm the leftovers and serve over rice. I like to make these power bowl style by adding a few other toppings such as wilted spinach, cherry tomatoes (cook them for a few minutes in a skillet to make them jammy and extra delicious), mozzarella cheese, and fresh herbs like basil and parsley. You can drizzle with a balsamic glaze at the end too.
More Easy Dinner Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe, I really hope you will take a moment to grab a few more easy recipes for another busy night!
You can check out all of my quick and easy dinner recipes here, or see a few of our readers favorite recipes below.
- BEST Crock Pot Tuscan Chicken
- Green Chile Chicken and Rice
- Oven Baked Cream of Mushroom Pork Chops
- Creamy Beef and Shells
- 1.5 pounds sweet Italian sausage links, about 5 links
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium sweet yellow onion, sliced
- 1 medium red onion, sliced
- 1 large green bell pepper, sliced
- 1 large red bell pepper, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chicken broth or dry white wine
- Heat skillet over medium high heat. Brown the sausage links on all sides, then remove them from the skillet, slice into 1/2″ inch slices and set aside. Sausage will not be completely cooked through yet.
- Add sliced onions and bell peppers to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently for 3-5 minutes or until they start to soften. Stir in the garlic, oregano, basil and salt.
- Pour in the chicken broth or wine to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom to loosen any bits as you stir.
- Stir the sausage links back into the onion mixture and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook about 10 minutes. If it starts to get dry, add additional broth or wine to the skillet.