This incredibly easy-to-make stuffed Italian sausage dinner is packed with rich sausage flavor, tangy cream cheese, nutty Parmesan, and Italian seasoning! It's truly a flavor-packed meal that is hearty, filling and a family favorite that everyone can agree on!
All the traditional flavors of Italy in one simple recipe!
If you ever get an invitation to Sunday dinner by an Italian from New York, say yes! Then, prepare for a meal full of rich flavors that will have you wanting to be adopted by an Italian every Sunday!
Many of the rich flavors you'd likely taste come from Italian Sausage (a seasoned sausage that traditionally comes in a sweet, mild, or hot variety).
Italian sausage is used as both a main dish and to add flavor to other dishes (ask an Italian from New York why their homemade red sauce, aka “gravy”, tastes so good and they will probably tell you it’s because it was cooked with Italian sausage).
This stuffed Italian sausage recipe uses the traditional practice of allowing the sausage to flavor the entire dish, by baking the sausage, marinara sauce, and the creamy goodness of two different kinds of cheese all together in one baking dish.
The end result is the perfect blend of traditional flavor in less than 30 minutes.
❤️ Why You'll Love This Recipe!
Super Easy! With only 6 ingredients, this recipe provides a lot of flavor for very little work!
So Tasty! Italian sausages come in 3 different flavors: sweet, mild, or hot. Not sure which flavor to choose? Get one package of sweet and one mild or hot and try both!
It's Versatile! This is an easy recipe to modify to your liking and what you may have in the fridge! Have fresh herbs on hand? Use them! Have string cheese? Try it out!
This recipe uses just 6 ingredients to build a phenomenally tasty entree! Grab some fresh ingredients and you're ready to go!
- Marinara Sauce - A traditional red sauce used in Italian cooking. It can be found in jars in the pasta aisle of your local grocery store, or you can see my homemade marinara sauce recipe here.
- Italian sausages - Find these in the meat section of the grocery store. They will be labeled as Italian sausages along with either, sweet, mild, or hot.
- Cream cheese - For maximum melt and flavor, purchase the full-fat regular cream cheese that comes in a block.
- Parmesan cheese - Fresh Parmesan is ideal and can be found in the cheese section of the grocery store and sometimes near the deli. Purchase already grated cheese to make things simple.
- Italian seasoning - This common seasoning is a combination of several other seasonings: dried basil, dried oregano, dried rosemary, dried thyme, dried marjoram, and sometimes sage. No need to buy all these different seasonings though, Italian seasoning is pre-made and a great staple to have in your cupboard.
- Breadcrumbs - Combine to make a topping that adds a layer of extra “crunch” for a great texture contrast.
Chicken Sausage: If you don’t eat pork or you are looking for a leaner protein option, switch out traditional Italian Sausage with Italian Chicken Sausage. Many brands make an Italian seasoned Chicken sausage that still has all the amazing flavor of a traditional sausage.
Just look for a label that says “Chicken Sausage: Italian Seasoning” or “Italian Chicken Sausage.”
Ricotta Cheese: If you don’t like cream cheese, or you want an even more authentic Italian dish, switch out the cream cheese for ricotta. Ricotta is a soft cheese that you will find in the dairy section, but it is usually closer to the cottage cheese and sour cream (rather than the shredded or block cheese). You will find it in a plastic container like a cottage cheese container.
Replace the 1 ½ blocks of cream cheese with 1 ½ cups of Ricotta cheese. *Follow the other directions as noted to mix with Parmesan and seasoning.
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
Before you jump into cooking, take the cream cheese out of your fridge and let it sit on the counter for about 20-30 minutes to soften. This will make it easier to combine with the other ingredients.
When the cream cheese is soft, gather the rest of your ingredients, along with a paring knife and a baking dish (*see below for size suggestion).
Preheat Oven and Prepare Sausages
- Preheat. Set your oven to 400°F (205°C) and pour 24 ounces of marinara sauce into your baking dish and spread in an even layer. *I used an 11x13 lasagna pan for this hearty recipe.
- Prepare the sausages. Use a sharp paring knife to cut 10 Italian sausage casings (38 ounces) open along the top length of each sausage. Be careful that you don't cut all the way through!
Use your finger to press down on one end and run along the center cut to push the sausages open. You can flatten out the center more if desired to make a 'boat' shape.
Mix Cheese & Fill Sausages
- Mix the filling. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine 12 ounces (1 ½ 8-ounce bricks) softened cream cheese, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, and 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning until well combined.
- Fill the sausages. Portion out the filling into each of the split sausages and use a spoon or spatula to smooth the cream cheese mixture.
- (Optional) Top each filled sausage with a sprinkle of the ¼ cup breadcrumbs, Panko, or crushed pork rinds for an extra crunch and texture contrast.
- Bake. Cook the stuffed sausages uncovered at 400°F (205°C) for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted and the internal temperature of the Italian sausages is 160°F (71°C) as read by a digital meat thermometer. Serve immediately.
💭 Tips & Recipe Notes
- Buy your breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs are a cheap and easy ingredient to buy, no need to try and make your own! You will find them on the baking aisle of the grocery store. You can use regular breadcrumbs, Panko, crushed pork rinds, and crushed croutons are also excellent as a back up!
- Choosing a marinara sauce. If you have a marinara sauce that you know you like, such as one you use for spaghetti sauce or lasagna, go ahead and use that same sauce. If you have never used fresh marinara, consider trying it out for a new flavor - check the refrigerator section near the deli and see if your store carries it. Remember this recipe is all about ease, so a jar of Prego or Ragu will also do the trick!
- Fresh Parmesan vs. Canned Parmesan. Fresh Parmesan that you find in the refrigerator section is better for cooking. It will provide a more distinct flavor and melt when it is cooked.
Canned Parmesan, like the one that comes in a green canister on the pantry aisle, won’t add the flavor and gooey goodness of fresh Parmesan. This type of Parmesan is better suited as a topping, after a dish is cooked.
🥡 Storing & Reheating
You can store these sausages in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Properly store them in an airtight storage container with a lid. Glass containers with fitted lids are preferable if you plan to reheat them in the same storage container.
Freezing Stuffed Italian Sausages
You can easily freeze these sausages! They freeze best once they have already been fully cooked.
Make an extra pan and cook it while enjoying the first pan or make a few extra sausages to put into individual containers. Freeze in an airtight freezer storage container for up to 3 months.
Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
Reheat in the oven at 400°F (205°C) for about 15-20 minutes or until warmed to your satisfaction. You can also heat in the microwave for about 1-2 minutes.
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Stuffed Italian Sausages
- 24 oz marinara sauce
- 38 oz Italian sausages (sweet, mild, or hot - 2 packages)
- 12 oz cream cheese (1 ½ 8-ounce bricks, softened)
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoon Italian seasoning (freeze dried - use 2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning)
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (205°C) and pour the marinara sauce into your baking dish and spread in an even layer. *I used an 11x13 lasagna pan for this double recipe.24 oz marinara sauce
- Prepare the sausages by using a sharp paring knife to cut the casings open along the top length of each sausage. Be careful that you don't cut all the way through! Use your finger to press down on one end and run along the center cut to push the sausages open. You can flatten out the center more if desired to make a 'boat' shape.38 oz Italian sausages
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning until well combined. Portion out the filling into each of the split sausages and use a spoon or spatula to smooth the cream cheese mixture.12 oz cream cheese, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- (Optional) Top each filled sausage with breadcrumbs or crushed pork rinds for an extra crunch and texture contrast.¼ cup breadcrumbs
- Bake uncovered at 400°F (205°C) for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted and the internal temperature is 160°F (71°C) as read by a digital meat thermometer. Serve immediately.
- For a keto-friendly version, swap the optional breadcrumbs for crushed pork rinds and use a low-sugar sauce.
- For a gluten-free diet, omit the optional breadcrumb topping.
- Alternatively, a string cheese style mozzarella stick can be used as the cheese filling.
- Set your cream cheese out about 30 minutes before starting to soften.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!