Sausage rolls are a traditional British savoury snack. Classic sausage rolls wrap pork sausages in a crisp shortcrust pastry which are then baked in the oven until golden. Sausage rolls vary in size but most maintain the authentic rectangular shape.
Homemade sausage rolls are much tastier and healthier than shop-bought. You know exactly what ingredients are going into them and you can opt for making your pastry from scratch which means you can swap the butter in the pastry for lower fat options like vegan butter or lower-fat spreads.
You can also vary the sausages you use too. Choose extra-lean or low-calorie sausages like chicken or turkey for a healthier sausage roll or swap the meat for Quorn sausages instead for the vegetarian option.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of making sausage rolls from scratch you’ll be able to experiment with flavour too; try venison, which has a deep, rich flavour or chorizo sausages which have a smokey, spicy flavour. Infuse your shortcrust pastry with spices like paprika or herbs like rosemary and thyme.
Top tips for cooking sausage rolls
Sausage rolls: Pastry
If you are making everything from scratch then you need to give yourself plenty of time. Getting everything ready in advance means you can work as quickly as possible with the pastry. You do not want to work with the pastry too much or the gluten in the flour will get over worked. This will make the pastry become stretchy.
Remember if you are making puff pastry from scratch, it can take a while. Our Deputy Food Editor, Rose, likes to use ready made all-butter puff pastry sheets because they have a great texture and it’s easier than making pastry from scratch.
Food Director, Elisa, suggests keeping a bowl of ice water handy when making pastry from scratch – especially in hot weather – to cool your hands down. Elisa says ‘hot pastry makes horrible rolls.’
Once you’ve brushed the pastry with egg and just before baking, you can sprinkle the pastry with sesame seeds or poppy seeds for an attractive finish. If you want to add decoration and flavour, try our recommendation from Food Director, Elisa: ‘Sprinkle with Nigella or even cumin seeds for something a bit different.’
Sausage rolls: Sausages
You can use standard sausages and remove the skin when making sausage rolls as we do in our recipe however you can also use the equivalent weight of sausage meat instead.
If using plain sausage meat, add extra flavour with chopped herbs such as sage, parsley or oregano. Wholegrain mustard, grated cheese such as Cheddar or Stilton, chopped nuts or finely chopped apple all work well too.
How do you keep sausage rolls crispy?
The best way to ensure crispy sausage rolls is to glaze the pastry with a generous amount of egg wash. Egg wash is a beaten egg that is brushed onto the surface of the pastry. It will crisp the pastry up nicely giving it a golden look and flaky crunch.
You also need to make sure you preheat the oven to the correct temperature before cooking. This will ensure your sausage rolls cook evenly and efficiently.
How do you stop sausage rolls from going soggy?
If your sausage rolls are soggy it may be down the sausages you’ve chosen. Higher-fat sausages produce more oil and liquid which can make the bottom of your sausage roll pastry soggy and wet.
Choosing a lower-fat sausage will help to avoid this. Also opt for a good quality sausage too. Sausages with less than 70% meat should be avoided.