How many Calories in a serving of ground sausage?

Quick Answer

On average, a 3 ounce serving of ground pork sausage contains around 285 calories. However, the exact calorie count can vary depending on factors like the fat content, brand, and any additional ingredients. Leaner sausages with 90% lean meat may have around 250 calories per serving, while fattier sausages with 80% lean meat can have over 300 calories per 3 ounce serving.

Serving Sizes for Ground Sausage

When looking at nutrition information for ground sausage, pay attention to the listed serving size. A common serving size for ground pork sausage is:

  • 3 ounces – This is about the size of a hockey puck or a deck of cards.
  • 4 ounces (1/4 pound) – The equivalent of 4 small patties.
  • 113 grams

Nutrition facts panels will provide calorie and nutrition information per serving. Be mindful of portion sizes when cooking and consuming ground pork sausage. Consuming multiple servings can quickly increase the calories, fat, and sodium in a meal.

Calories in 3 Ounces of Ground Pork Sausage

For a 3 ounce serving, which is around 85 grams, of ground pork breakfast sausage, you can expect:

  • Total calories: 285 calories
  • Total fat: 24 grams
  • Saturated fat: 8 grams
  • Protein: 13 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams

This is based on average nutrition data for 3 ounces of regular, uncured ground pork sausage. Different brands and varieties may have slightly more or less calories per 3 ounce serving.

Factors Affecting Calories in Ground Sausage

Several factors impact the calories and nutrition content in ground sausage:

Fat content – Fattier sausages contain more calories and saturated fat. For example, sausage with 80% lean meat will have more calories than 90% to 95% lean varieties.

Ingredients – Sausage with added ingredients like cheese, bacon, or vegetables will have more calories than plain pork sausage.

Cooking method – Frying sausage adds extra fat and calories vs oven-baking. Pay attention to how the sausage is prepared.

Portion size – Eating a 6 ounce portion doubles the calories compared to a 3 ounce serving. Stick to recommended serving sizes.

Brand – Nutrition can vary between different brands and manufacturers. Compare labels to find a lower calorie option.

Calories per Ounce of Ground Sausage

If you want to determine the calories in a portion of sausage that isn’t 3 ounces, you can calculate the average calories per ounce:

285 calories ÷ 3 ounces = 95 calories per 1 ounce

So for example, a 6 ounce serving would contain about 570 calories.

Use this math to estimate calories for any portion size:

Sausage Portion Calories
1 ounce 95 calories
2 ounces 190 calories
4 ounces (1/4 pound) 380 calories
8 ounces (1/2 pound) 760 calories

As you can see, calories add up quickly if you eat multiple ounces of ground pork sausage in a meal. Stick with a 3-4 ounce portion to keep calories in a reasonable range.

Comparing Calories in Different Types of Sausage

There are many varieties of sausage with differences in calories, fat, and sodium. Here’s how 3 ounces of some popular types of sausage compare:

Type of Sausage Calories Total Fat Saturated Fat
Ground Pork Breakfast Sausage 285 calories 24g 8g
Italian Pork Sausage 330 calories 29g 10g
Bratwurst (Pork) 330 calories 32g 11g
Andouille Sausage 245 calories 22g 8g
Kielbasa (Pork) 340 calories 32g 12g
Turkey Sausage 200 calories 13g 4g
Chicken Apple Sausage 140 calories 9g 2.5g

As shown above, turkey, chicken and leaner pork sausages generally have fewer calories and less fat compared to fattier, processed pork varieties like kielbasa.

Nutrition Facts for Ground Pork Sausage

Here is more detailed nutrition information per 3 ounce serving of regular ground pork breakfast sausage:

Calories: 285
Fat: 24g
Saturated fat: 8g
Cholesterol: 80mg
Sodium: 480mg
Carbohydrates: 0g
Fiber: 0g
Sugars: 0g
Protein: 13g

As you can see, a 3 ounce serving provides a significant amount of fat and sodium. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to 13 grams per day and sodium to 1500mg per day for optimal heart health. Moderating portions of higher fat pork sausage is important.

Ways to Reduce Calories in Sausage

If you want to lighten up your sausage, here are some tips:

  • Choose turkey, chicken or veggie sausages
  • Look for sausage with at least 90% lean meat
  • Compare brands and select a lower calorie option
  • Limit portion to 2-3 ounces
  • Bake or grill instead of frying in oil
  • Avoid sausages with extra cheese or bacon
  • Drain off any excess fat after cooking
  • Enjoy with lots of vegetables instead of fatty sides

Making small tweaks can help reduce the calories, fat, and sodium in sausage while still enjoying the great taste.

Healthiest Ways to Eat Ground Sausage

While sausage can be high in calories and fat, it can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation. Here are some nutritious ways to enjoy ground pork sausage:

  • Breakfast sandwich: Enjoy 2-3 ounces of sausage with an egg and whole grain toast or English muffin for a balanced breakfast.
  • Sausage gravy: Make a lighter sausage gravy with 2% milk and serve over a small biscuit instead of drowning your plate in gravy.
  • Pizza topping: Sprinkle a little crumbled sausage over your homemade pizza instead of fatty pepperoni.
  • Sausage patties: Make mini 2-3 ounce patties versus 1 big 1/2 pound patty to control portions.
  • In soup or chili: Add some crumbled sausage to bean chili or minestrone soup for extra flavor.
  • Stir fry: Throw a little sausage in your veggie stir fry for added protein.
  • Casserole: Use sausage as a leaner alternative to ground beef in casseroles and pasta bakes.

Choosing reduced fat options, watching portions, and pairing sausage with veggies and whole grains can help keep calories under control.

Ground Turkey or Chicken Sausage

For an even healthier option, consider substituting ground turkey or chicken sausage in place of pork sausage. Here’s how they compare in calories and fat for a 3 ounce cooked serving:

Type Calories Total Fat Saturated Fat
Ground Pork Sausage 285 calories 24g 8g
Ground Turkey Sausage 200 calories 13g 4g
Ground Chicken Sausage 140 calories 9g 2.5g

As you can see, both turkey and chicken sausage are significantly lower in calories, total fat, and saturated fat compared to regular pork sausage. The biggest advantage is less saturated fat, making poultry sausages better for heart health.

However, keep in mind that sodium levels are still similar to pork varieties. Look for low sodium or reduced sodium poultry sausages to limit this.

Overall, ground turkey or chicken sausage can be an excellent nutrition swap to reduce your intake of calories, fat, and saturated fat from breakfast meats. Enjoy them the same way you would pork sausage!

Vegetarian and Vegan Sausage Alternatives

For a meatless take on sausage, there are many vegetarian and vegan “sausage” options available made from various plant proteins like soy, seitan, beans, or mushrooms. Some popular options include:

  • MorningStar Farms Veggie Sausage Patties or Links
  • Beyond Meat Plant-Based Breakfast Sausage
  • Field Roast Apple Maple Breakfast Sausage
  • Tofurky Italian Sausage
  • Lightlife Gimme Lean Sausage
  • Dr. Praeger’s Breakfast Sausage Patties

These meatless sausages are made with various plant proteins and ingredients like soy, wheat gluten, mushrooms and beans. By avoiding pork and other meats, they are lower in saturated fat and calories compared to real meat sausages.

For example, a 3 ounce serving of MorningStar Farms veggie sausage patties has:

  • 140 calories
  • 5g fat (0.5g saturated fat)
  • 450mg sodium

That’s nearly half the calories and a fraction of the saturated fat of pork sausage. However, sodium is still quite high in veggie sausages, so keep portions in check.

Overall, vegetarian sausage substitutes can be a healthy swap to reduce your meat intake and get more plant protein. But they aren’t necessarily low calorie foods, so still pay attention to portions.

Healthiest Ways to Cook Sausage

The way you cook sausage also impacts its nutrition profile. Frying sausage in loads of oil or butter can add a lot of extra calories, fat and cholesterol.

Here are some healthy cooking tips:

1. Bake or grill sausage

Baking sausage in the oven or grilling it adds great flavor with little or no added fat. Use a rack so the sausages don’t sit in any rendered grease.

2. Pan fry with minimal oil

If you do sauté sausage, use a nonstick pan and just 1 tsp of olive oil or cooking spray. Cook on medium heat until browned.

3. Microwave or poach

Microwaving fresh sausage patties or links is an easy no-fuss option. Poaching sausage in just a bit of water or broth also minimizes fat.

4. Blot away excess grease

After cooking, blot sausage on paper towels to soak up any extra grease on the surface.

5. Skip sausage casings

Buy fresh sausage meat and form into patties versus getting link sausages. The casings often have extra fat.

6. Add flavor with herbs and spices

To avoid needing extra oil or butter, bump up flavor with garlic, sage, fennel or Italian seasoning.

Following healthy cooking methods can help keep sausage as a leaner protein option in your diet.

Health Risks of Too Much Sausage

While the occasional sausage is perfectly healthy, consuming too much can up your risk for:

  • Weight gain: Sausage is high in calories and fat. Eating too much can lead to excessive calorie intake.
  • Heart disease: Frequent intake of the saturated fat in sausage may raise LDL cholesterol levels, increasing heart disease risk.
  • High blood pressure: The sodium from processed sausages can contribute to hypertension.
  • Cancer: Processed meats like sausage are associated with an increased colorectal cancer risk.
  • GI issues: Some sausages contain preservatives that may irritate digestion.

Moderating portion sizes and avoiding daily consumption can help sidestep these risks. Stick to a few servings per week at most.


A 3 ounce serving of ground pork sausage contains an average of 285 calories, 24 grams of fat, and 8 grams of saturated fat. However, the exact calorie count can vary based on the brand, ingredients, lean-to-fat ratio, and preparation method.

In general, pork sausage is higher in calories and unhealthy saturated fat compared to leaner options like poultry, veggie, or plant-based sausages. Light varieties, watching portions, and consuming sausage only occasionally can keep it healthy. Bake, grill or poach instead of frying to further lighten it up.

Overall, the occasional 2-3 ounce serving of sausage as part of a balanced diet is perfectly fine for most healthy adults. Just be mindful of how much you consume to avoid excess calories, fat and sodium. Sausage can add delicious flavor, but shouldn’t be your daily breakfast meat if you want to stay healthy.

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