An easy snack, and delicious treat with drinks, these English sausage rolls will up your entertaining game with their savoury filling and flaky pastry. Your guests won’t stop thanking you!
Years ago now, I was travelling on the train in the UK for the first time. Being rather naive about the whole thing, I didn’t fully understand how the train stations worked. So arriving at Norwich station, I promptly missed my train connection and had to wait for another 45min for the next one. Slightly stressed, and annoyed by the whole affair I determined I was hungry, so went to a shop on the platform to get something to eat.
As I was still new to the country, I enjoyed walking inside shops to see what they sold that was different from back home. This shop had a warming cabinet with pastries in them, including sausage rolls. Now I had not had these before, but essentially it is flaky pastry with savoury sausage meat cooked inside. There is nothing remotely healthy about these, but boy are they tasty. A lot of people will buy them from bakeries, such as Gregg’s, but I’ve always found their sausage rolls a bit too greasy. It is, however (at least for my inlaws), a British Christmas tradition that you have sausage rolls during the festive season.
Better than Gregg’s sausage rolls
So, last year I decided as I was hosting Christmas dinner, that I would whip up a batch of my sausage rolls. I made a rough puff pastry and went to the butcher to get some fresh sausage meat. Now in the past, I’ve made cranberry sausage rolls, and a firm favourite, hickory-smoked sausage rolls. This time, however, I chose to go a little different. I wanted some fresh herbs, some spices, and after a little sleuthing got some ideas from different places that I amalgamated into these tasty parcels. For me, the best bit is the little fennel seeds on top that give it a good crunch.
They are so easy to make, these English sausage rolls will definitely be a crowd-pleaser this Christmas!
How to make sausage rolls
1. Make the pastry
Now, if you want to save the time, you can buy off the shelf puff pastry. If you want it to be extra special, check out my rough puff pastry recipe here.
- Make your sausage meat – Ask your butcher or meat department to give you some plain sausage meat, and add the spices and herbs yourself. Mix just until combined, and stick back in the fridge. You want the fat to be cold before you shove it in the oven.
- Roll out the dough into a long rectangle (give dimensions 20in by 5 in, about ¼ inch thick (about 5mm). If you are making an extra big batch you can make longer but keep the width similar. I’d suggest, though, just making two batches for ease.
- Wet your hands, and shape the sausage meat into a tube, about
an 1– 1 ½ inch in diameter. Place this onto the pastry 1 inch from the edge. Brush this pastry edge with a little egg wash and fold the other side of the pastry over the top of the filling to enclose it. Press the edges together lightly with a fork to seal.
- With a sharp knife or a bread knife, cut the giant sausage rolls into 2 ½ inch pieces, giving you about 8 rolls.
- Brush with the remaining egg wash, sprinkle with fennel seeds and place into your oven for 40min. Check the meat is fully cooked, if not give it another 10min and cool and enjoy.
What goes with sausage rolls
You need something to cut through the richness of the sausage rolls, so I’d go for either Pilsner or some Fizz.
Check out the new Christmas Feast playlist over in the Music section.
Here are some great dishes to go with English sausage rolls
- Sriracha Maple Snack Mix – Total Feasts
- Knäckebröd: Perfect Biscuits for Cheese – Total Feasts
- Jalapeño Bacon Ranch Cheeseball – The Beach House Kitchen
What is the difference between pigs in blankets and sausage rolls?
Even this question is different depending on which side of the Atlantic you are on. In the UK, pigs in blankets can refer to small sausages wrapped in bacon. Whereas in America, they are usually hotdogs wrapped in a pastry or bread. English sausage rolls, however, use pastry but uncooked sausage meat. So, essentially a mix of both.
What herbs can you add to sausage rolls?
Savoury works best here, herbs such as sage, rosemary and thyme are classic.
What type of pastry do you need for sausage rolls?
Puff pastry is the classic, which you can make or buy (which I must admit, I do frequently). Personally, I enjoy a rough puff, which is easy to make and tastes delicious. If you want something cool, buy a pack of refrigerate crescent rolls, and make use this as your pastry to make some delicious sausage crescent rolls.
How long will sausage rolls last
Fresh, they will keep at least a day or two in the fridge. However, best eaten right away!
Can you freeze sausage rolls?
Absolutely, I do this all the time. Cook and cool the sausage rolls, then bag and freeze. Take them out a couple of hours before serving to defrost. They are best if you heat them in the oven for 5min at 350c to warm up.
Can you use ground pork in sausage rolls
This is a tricky one, as in theory, it is the same meat. There is nothing stopping you from trying this, and they will taste good. However, ground pork will not have the same fat content as sausage meat. This means it might dry out a bit more. Also, some ground pork does have a higher water content, which might make it soggy. I’d suggest 50% more breadcrumbs.
How do you stop the knife from sticking when you cut sausage rolls.
I used to be driven nuts by bits or sausage and pastry sticking to my knife. A simple trick to get a clean-cut, and a clean knife, is to run your blade under some warm water for 30 seconds. Also, keep a piece of damp kitchen towel near you. After every cut or two, quickly wipe the blade clean and keep it slightly moist.
English Sausage Rolls
- 2 lbs Sausage meat
- 1 tsp thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp sage leaves
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 cup dry breadcumbs
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp flaky salt
- 1/2 pound ready-make puff pastry block Or make from scratch
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp milk
- Mix all herbs, breadcumbs and sausage meat until just combined, and stick back in the fridge.
- Roll out the pastry dough into a long rectangle (give dimensions 20in by 5 in, about ¼ inch thick (about 5mm). Whisk the egg with the milk to make egg wash.
- Wet your hands, and shape the sausage meat into a tube, about an 1- 1 ½ inch in diameter. Place this onto the pastry 1 inch from the edge. Brush this pastry edge with a little egg wash and fold the other side of the pastry over the top of the filling to enclose it. Press the edges together lightly with a fork to seal.
- With a sharp knife or a bread knife, cut the giant sausage rolls into 2 ½ inch pieces, giving you about 8 rolls. Place in the fridge for 10-15min to firm up.
- Brush with the remaining egg wash, sprinkle with fennel seeds and place into your oven for 40min. Check the meat is fully cooked, if not give it another 10min and cool and EAT!
David @ Spiced says
Oh these sausage rolls sound amazing! We do breakfast sausage on biscuits (American style biscuits that is!) as a Christmas tradition each year. I would be all about this savory version as a new holiday tradition now. The fennel seeds on top is a great idea, too! Oh, and the hickory smoked sausage rolls? That has my name all over it!
They are delicious!
We adore sausages rolls and I can’t wait to try your recipe. Love all the wonderful spices that you put in the meat mixture.
Bernice Hill says
YUM! I think you’ve read my mind…I’ve been craving sausage rolls big time for about 2 weeks now. They are a favourite of ours ever since we lived in Australia.
I know what you mean, I’m just surprised they aren’t as big in Canada given the historic connections to Britain!
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen says
Always a holiday favorite here Matt! Your English version looks just splendid! Pinned and excited to try!
Thanks Mary Ann!
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen says
And thanks so much for sharing my cheese ball!
I really, really, love sausage rolls, but I usually just buy them at the bakery or deli. Now I’m inspired to make them. These look so good!
Dawn - Girl Heart Food says
Ok, I seriously want these for breakfast right now! There’s a local place that does the most amazing sausage rolls and I bet your version is even better. Delish!!
I haven’t traveled on the train for many years now, but I remember that trains often made me hungry haha. And there’s certainly something charming about the food you could get on the platform…well probably the fact it’s never really healthy 🙂
Anyway, these sausage rolls look splendid; perfectly golden crust and succulent filling. Excellent party material!
Katherine | Love In My Oven says
I can just picture these little rolls being sold abroad at a train station! This is something my husband would definitely gravitate towards. I will have to surprise him with your recipe some time!
These are the perfect appetizer for entertaining! I must admit, any time I’ve had sausage rolls, they’ve been store-bought. I’m feeling totally inspired to make these this holiday season. Happy weekend Matt! Pinning!
Definitely agree with you Matt that Gregg’s sausage rolls are too greasy! The only way to make great sausage rolls is to make your own, as you’ve done here. Lot’s of lovely herbs and spices in that homemade sausage meat of yours, which I certainly don’t think you get in Gregg’s ones! Looks delicious. I’d have these for lunch with a side of baked beans as is traditional here in Scotland!
Jeff the Chef says
I’m not sure what “sausage meat” is. I’ll have to see if I can find some at the butcher shop, because these rolls look amazing. I’m inclined to make all the other dishes you suggest, too. That’d be one he’ll of a cocktail party!
Thanks Jeff, your butcher should be able to get you what you need. Just make sure they don’t give you the stuff that they mass produce for the North American breakfast sausages. It’s quality is too poor!
These are one of the quintessential beer snacks in our fam:) I like the seasonings you use, definitely will be making your version to enjoy with a couple of IPAs.
What temperature are these supposed to be cooked at?
Oh dear, I must have deleted it when I updated the post. I’d cook it at 375f. Just be sure to pre heat the oven first.
Good to know! I cooked them at 400 and they turned out well, but will try 375 next time. I really loved the spice combo you have here!! Only added half of the breadcrumbs though. Thanks for the delicious recipe!