Sausage, Peppers, and Onions

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Such a satisfying combo! Italian sausages cooked with bell peppers, sweet onions, crushed tomatoes, and garlic. Served on a hoagie roll or over pasta or polenta.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Mmmmm. Mmmmm. Mmmmm. Sausage and peppers with onions. This is one of those classic Italian-American street food, lunch cart dishes.

I used to order sausage, peppers, and onions at a hole-in-the-wall lunch counter in Burbank.

You know the type of place—where the big loud guy behind the counter works fast and furious, takes your order (you better know what you want!) and barks back “Sausage, Peppers, and Onions!” to the guys on the line, and within minutes you have a huge roll in your hands, loaded with more sausage and peppers with onions than you think you can possibly eat.

Sausage and Peppers and onions

But eat you do, because that sausage and peppers with onions are so so good. And then you have a food coma for the rest of the afternoon, and you eat steamed broccoli for dinner because after that lunch, you just don’t need much for dinner. Yum!

What Kind of Sausage and Peppers to Use?

This dish is typically made with a several different colors of bell peppers—usually one green, one red, and one either yellow, orange, or purple. That said, use whatever color bell peppers you like! If you don’t like a color, skip it and just use more of another color.

As for sausages, in this recipe we are using a combination of sweet and hot Italian sausages, but if you want a milder dish, use only the sweet sausages and reduce the amount of chili pepper flakes in the recipe. Likewise, if you would like it spicier, use all hot sausages and/or bump up the amount of chili pepper flakes.

How to Store, Keep, and Freeze

Once cooked, the sausage, peppers, and onions will easily keep for 3 to 4 days in the fridge, but you can also freeze it for up to 3 months. Just defrost it in the fridge overnight and reheat in a saucepan over low heat, or pop it in a saucepan with a little bit of water or oil, over low heat, until completely warmed through.

TRY THESE OTHER EASY SAUSAGE RECIPES:

How to make sausage, peppers, and onions (video)

Updated September 9, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle. No changes to the original recipe.

Sausage, Peppers, and Onions Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

You can use different colored bell peppers, or just stick with one color. This recipe uses a combination of sweet and hot sausages, but if you want a milder dish, use only the sweet sausages and reduce the amount of chili pepper flakes in the recipe. Likewise, if you would like it spicier, use hot sausages and/or bump up the amount of chili pepper flakes.

Ingredients

  • 4 Italian sausage links (sweet, hot, or a couple of each)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into 2 to 3 inch-long strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into 2 to 3 inch-long strips
  • 1 bell pepper of another color (yellow or orange or purple), sliced into strips 2-3 inches long
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced into slivers
  • 1 large sweet or yellow onion, sliced into 1/4-inch half-moons
  • 1 small (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup Marsala or red wine (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Method

1 Brown the sausages: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pan that has a lid. When the oil is hot, add the sausages and brown them slowly.

If they sizzle and crackle too much, turn the heat down. You want a gentle browning, not a sear. Cook for several minutes, turning them occasionally so they brown on all sides. When the sausages are browned, remove from the pan and set aside.

brown the Italian sausages

2 Sauté the onions, peppers, and garlic: Increase the heat to high and add the onions and peppers. Toss so they get coated with the oil in the pan and sear them as well as you can, stirring every so often.

Once the onions and peppers soften, sprinkle some salt on them. Once you get some blackening from a good sear on the onions and peppers, add the garlic, and cook for one more minute.

3 Deglaze pan with wine (optional): Add the Marsala or red wine if you are using. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a metal spatula or wooden spoon to release all the browned and blackened bits. Let the wine cook down by half.

4 Simmer all the ingredients: Add the tomatoes, oregano, and red pepper flakes (if using) and stir well to combine. Add the sausages back in. Bring to a simmer. then reduce the heat to low.

Cover and simmer until the peppers are soft and the sausages are cooked through, about 20 minutes.

how to make sausage, peppers, and onions

5 Serve: Serve over polenta, penne pasta, or load it up on a hoagie roll. Sausage and peppers and onions will keep for several days in the fridge.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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135 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Ron

    Never, ever use bell peppers…they are the wrong taste and consistency. Cubanelle, also known as Italian frying peppers, are the only peppers to use.

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Christopher

    My mom always made basically this growing up, we’d use Cajun seasoning and have it over rice. I always loved it and still make it for myself and my wife.

    One day it dawned on me that my mom probably loved when I asked for this because it’s so easy to make.

  3. Ashlie

    I love this recipe. I’ve made it a few different ways. Sometimes I don’t have wine, so I skip that part. Sometimes I add extra tomatoes and seasonings and pour it over spaghetti.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Shatana

    This is a family favorite! For a low carb option, we complete with an over medium egg!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Rosemarie

    This has been my go to recipe for sausage and peppers for the past 5 years.
    Everyone always eats it all when I make it. Thank you for introducing this to the wide world of cooking

    xxxxxyyyyy

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