What Are the Differences Between Fresh vs. Cured Sausage

Sausages can be broadly categorized into two varieties in the field of sausage making. These include fresh and cured sausages. Regardless of where you live, your neighborhood grocery shop will likely stock some fresh or cured Sausage. However, you need to understand the differences between the two types for the right choice when buying.

For instance, fresh Sausage is usually uncooked, and hence its shelf life is limited, but it is completely capable of being frozen for future use. Breakfast Sausage is an excellent example of fresh sausages. On the other end, Cured Sausage is prepared at relatively low temperature over an extended length of time. The phrase “Cured” refers to a pre-cooking product called Cure.

In this article, we will go through the various specifications of each type, discuss the similarities and differences between fresh and cured sausages, and address some frequently asked issues. Read through the article keenly for a better understanding.

A quick comparison table between Fresh and Cured sausages

Comparison featureFresh sausageCured sausage
Temperature requirementusually uncooked, but can be frozenLow temperatures over a long period
Meat typeGround meatGround meat
CasingDo not require casings for sausage skinsRequire casings
Cold smokingCannot be cold smokedCold smoking can be done
PreservativesThey lack preservatives; produced from raw uncured meatIncludes addition of nitrates in the sausage meat

1. Cured Sausage

Cured Sausage

Although the term “cured” conjures up a variety of thoughts related to sausages, this has nothing to do with your sausages being defective or the animal from which the meat was obtained being ill. Curing is a food preservation technique available in various forms that are applied to different food kinds, such as meat, fish, and vegetables. Curing is a method of preserving meat that is frequently used in the production of sausages. It is applied to meat before cooking.

Curing can be accomplished in various ways, the most frequent being the addition of nitrates or other nitrogenous compounds to the sausage meat. These ingredients help to reduce the amount of water in sausage meat. This reduces the likelihood of germs growing in the flesh, leading to infection such as food poisoning, thus making the sausages safe to consume.

As a result, cured sausages are frequently smoked, resulting in a “low and slow” cooking process; reduced temperatures (about 180°) over a long period. Curing can be used in the production of Sausage, Jerky, Bacon, and Ham. The benefits of the Cure include;

  • Botulism danger in meat is decreased.
  • Significantly aids in meat preservation.
  • It helps improve the end product’s flavor.
  • Provides a pink “cured” color to the finished product (Without the Cure, your Sausage will have a greyish color.)

Cured Sausage can be found in deli meats such as Salami, Summer Sausage, and Bologna. Snack sticks and smoked Sausage are also examples of Cured Sausage. The Cure is undoubtedly a secret to creating unique flavor when preparing Sausage – but it should be used sparingly. Be cautious that you should not overuse the Cure.

2. Fresh Sausage

Fresh Sausage

To further grasp the contrast to cured Sausage, it’s necessary first to understand what sausage manufacturers mean by “fresh Sausage. “When we talk about fresh sausages, some individuals assume we mean they have been freshly manufactured and are ready to be sold, or that they have been freshly purchased and prepped for cooking and eating.

While this may be true in a larger sense, fresh Sausage is defined as Sausage produced from raw meat that has not been cured. However, this is not to say that fresh sausage meat cannot be flavored or seasoned.

Due to the lack of preservatives in fresh sausages, they cannot be refrigerated at room temperature. If they are not cooked shortly after being prepared, they should be frozen or refrigerated until cooking. When preparing fresh sausages, they are frequently grilled or fried in a pan over high heat on the stovetop.

Differences between fresh and cured sausages

fresh vs cured sausage
  • Since fresh Sausage is not maintained in the same way as cured Sausage is, it must be cooked promptly and consumed immediately or frozen.
  • Fresh sausages do not require casings for sausage skins; however, the majority of cured sausages do.
  • Generally, cured Sausage is cooked at relatively low temperature for an extended period.
  • Cured sausages are pink or reddish.

Similarities between two sausages

Similarities between  two sausages
  • Both are composed of ground meat.
  • Both of them are freezer-friendly.
  • Regarding cooking and handling, all food safety guidelines should be followed for both.
  • Both can be smoked.

A guide when buying cured or fresh sausages

A guide when buying cured or fresh sausages
  • Saturated fat – Sausages can be heavy in saturated fat, which we want to avoid as much as possible. I recommend selecting sausages with a saturated fat content of no more than 4g per 100g. Reduce the fat level of your dish by draining excess fat and patting dry with a paper towel after cooking. Additionally, reduce the food sizes – a single sausage may do. 
  • Processed meat – The WHO recommends consuming processed meats in moderation to lower colorectal cancer risks. Processed meat is defined as meat that has been altered in some way, such as by salting, curing, fermenting, smoking, or other methods to enhance flavor or preserve it.
  • Sodium concentration Processed meats are a significant source of sodium in our diet. Sausages are included in this category and have been targeted for salt reduction. I recommend selecting sausages with a salt content of no more than 650 mg per 100g.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Why do sausages require a cure?

Answer: When cooking Sausage, curing salts is a vital precaution against Botulism. Botulism is caused by Clostridium bacteria, which requires an environment that is warm, humid, slightly acidic, and free of oxygen. That is precisely what occurs during the slow smoking of foods (particularly sausages).

  • Is Cure required when freezing Sausage?

Answer: The clear answer to this is no. Freezing raw sausage meat preserves and extends its shelf life even up to two months. This means that once thawed; the food is still appropriate to cook and serve.


Hopefully, after going through this article, you’ll have a better grasp of the distinctions and similarities between Cured and Fresh sausages. Each has a distinct fascination, and both cured and fresh sausages can be made and enjoyed in an endless variety of ways.

In a nutshell, what makes both the fresh and cured sausages so delicious is the seasoning, unique flavors, and versatility they impart to each recipe they touch. Therefore, wear your apron, stuff your trolley with the particular choice of your Sausage, and get into the kitchen for some fun.