Sausage Casing Alternatives: Everything You Need to Know

The use of natural casings for sausage production is becoming increasingly popular because they are edible and ideal for producing fresh sausage. But did you know that natural casings are formed from the intestines of animals? Maybe this idea doesn’t sit well with you, or perhaps you have an allergy to anything in particular.

Ground meat, seasoning, fat, and sometimes fillers are put into a casing and afterward tied or knotted at intervals to form individual sausage links. Traditionally, link sausage is filled inside natural casings made from the animal intestines; however, artificial casings are also commercially available.

Fortunately, there are several options, with plastic casing, collagen casing, and vegetarian casing among the most notable. I’ll go over each type in detail below, and I’ll help you decide which of these options the best fit for your needs is. You will find more information on the sausage casing. In addition, you will find answers to some of the frequently asked questions for a better understanding.

Synthetic and natural sausage casings

Synthetic and natural sausage casings

Large and small intestines from animals are used to construct the natural casing. Other organs used to construct the natural casing are the cecum, bladder, and esophagus. Moreover, they are ingestible and do not contain any artificial ingredients. Their shape varies depending on how they adapt to the sausage, although they are usually curved somehow. Natural casings are not resistant to rupture, which makes them difficult to handle (for example, when closing form links). They are indeed fairly soft and chewable.

On the other hand, sausage casings consisting of synthetic materials, such as cellulose and viscose, can be produced. These are not to be consumed. Because they are stronger than natural casings, butchers can easily handle them. The frankfurter sausages are probably what you’ve seen them on before.

The common sausage alternatives

If natural and synthetic sausage casings aren’t an option, what other sausage casing alternatives are there?

1. Collagen sausage casing

sausage casing alternatives

It is yet another form of sausage casing that is commonly used. Although it is derived from animals, it has been treated and deemed artificial. Most of the time, they’re edible unless they’re quite thick. Typically, collagen casings are manufactured from cow or pig tendons, bones, and hides, among other things.

Butchers commonly use them since they are durable and less expensive than other forms of casings, making them a popular choice. There is a good possibility that the casing for sausages is formed of collagen if the sausages are homogeneous in shape and size. Depending on your preference, this sort of casing can be used for both fresh and smoky sausages.

2. Plastic sausage casing

Plastic sausage casing

Plastic is easily identified, and you should avoid consuming it. People often remove it after frying the sausage, which is necessary because this casing is impermeable and must be removed after cooking. Because of this, it cannot be utilized in the production of smoked sausages.

If you peel the casing off some of the sausages, you may see that some of them are still clinging to the casing. This can occur if the inside side of the casing is coated with a polymer that attracts meat protein, which is possible. Plastic casings are available in various materials, including polyethylene and nylon, and are generally used for luncheon or bologna meat. Some plastic casings can shrink throughout the cooking process, allowing the meat to keep its juicy texture and flavor.

3. Vegetarian sausage casing

Vegetarian sausage casing

There are vegetarian burgers available, so why shouldn’t a vegan sausage casing also be available to consumers? As one of the latest sausage casing substitutes, it has gained popularity as the world’s population of vegetarians has grown in recent years. Store them in a plastic container and dry environment to ensure long shelf life.

It is made from plants to make the vegetarian sausage casing. While you may require specialized equipment to create it, unlike other forms of casings, they do not require soaking. Not to mention that cellulose sausage casings are suitable for those following a vegan lifestyle.

4. No casing

Lastly, I’d like to point out that you don’t need a casing to make sausages. It is possible to produce fresh sausages without a casing using skinless sausages.

Alternative casings

Alternative casings

If you do not have access to artificial or natural casings, or if you do not want to use them, but you still want to manufacture sausage links, you can make your casings out of muslin strips. Cut strips approximately six inches wide and sixteen inches long to construct casings approximately 1 ½ inch diameter. To make tubes, fold the paper half lengthwise and stitch the edges together.

If you choose not to use casings, you can still construct links by wrapping the mixture in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refreezing until it is solid. When making sausage, you must include a binder to keep the meat from splitting when cooking. A binder should account for 5 percent to 10 percent of the total sausage mix weight.

When making sausage, the casing (sometimes known as the sausage skin or simply casing) surrounds the filling inside the casing. Human intestines and skin serve as natural casings; artificial casings were first used in the early twentieth century and are composed of collagen and cellulose.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Which can be used other than the sausage casing?

If you want to smoke your sausage without using a casing, I recommend molding it into a leaf, grape, banana, or corn husk and wrapping it with bacon. The banana and maize husk are not edible; however, the grape leaf is fine to eat with no problems.


It is not enough to purchase high-quality sausage if you want to create a beautiful, delectable sausage. The casing can impact the flavor and tenderness of the sausage; therefore, it’s important to think about it.

Natural or synthetic casings may not be the greatest option for your sausages, so you may want to examine some of the sausage casing options I’ve discussed in this post. You may find that collagen, plastic, or vegan casings are more suitable for you. Finally, it’s time to choose your favorite.