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Bratwurst vs. Italian Sausage: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 22, 2024
Bratwurst is a German sausage made from pork, veal, or beef, often seasoned with nutmeg and coriander, while Italian sausage is an Italian pork sausage flavored with fennel and garlic.

Key Differences

Bratwurst, a German sausage, typically combines pork, veal, or beef. Italian sausage, by contrast, is an Italian creation primarily using pork.
Bratwurst is known for its subtle blend of spices like nutmeg and coriander. Italian sausage stands out with its robust fennel and garlic flavor.
The texture of bratwurst is usually finer, often linked to its preparation methods like grilling. Italian sausage, frequently coarser, is versatile in cooking, including grilling and sautéing.
Bratwurst is a staple in German cuisine, often served with sauerkraut. Italian sausage is integral to Italian-American cooking, commonly found in pastas and sandwiches.
Bratwurst comes in many regional varieties across Germany. Italian sausage, meanwhile, varies in spice level, from sweet to spicy.

Comparison Chart

Main Ingredients

Pork, veal, or beef

Signature Seasonings

Nutmeg, coriander
Fennel, garlic




Finer, smoother

Common Serving Methods

Grilled, served with sauerkraut
Grilled, in pastas and sandwiches

Bratwurst and Italian Sausage Definitions


A German sausage of pork, veal, or beef.
We grilled bratwurst at the Oktoberfest celebration.

Italian Sausage

Characterized by fennel and garlic seasoning.
The Italian sausage added a fennel kick to the dish.


Varieties differ regionally across Germany.
Each region in Germany boasts its unique bratwurst recipe.

Italian Sausage

A staple in Italian festive cooking.
Every holiday, we make a special dish with Italian sausage.


Traditionally seasoned with nutmeg and coriander.
The bratwurst had a distinct nutmeg flavor.

Italian Sausage

Available in sweet and spicy varieties.
I prefer sweet Italian sausage in my cooking.


Often linked to German cultural and culinary traditions.
Bratwurst is essential at German food festivals.

Italian Sausage

A pork sausage prominent in Italian-American cuisine.
Italian sausage is key in our family's spaghetti recipe.


Commonly grilled and served in a bun.
I enjoy my bratwurst in a fresh bun with mustard.

Italian Sausage

Often used in pastas, sandwiches, and stews.
We added Italian sausage to the stew for extra flavor.


A small sausage of highly seasoned fresh pork, usually served fried.


A small pork sausage, usually served fried.
Yesterday we had bratwurst for dinner.


A small pork sausage seasoned with spices and herbs, and usually served broiled or sauteed.


A small pork sausage


What is bratwurst?

Bratwurst is a German sausage made from pork, veal, or beef, and seasoned with spices like nutmeg.

What is Italian sausage?

Italian sausage is a pork sausage, commonly found in Italian-American cuisine, flavored with spices like fennel and garlic.

Is Italian sausage spicy?

It can be, available in both sweet and spicy varieties.

What makes Italian sausage unique?

Its unique blend of fennel and garlic seasoning.

How is bratwurst typically cooked?

Bratwurst is often grilled or fried.

What are some quick meal ideas with Italian sausage?

Italian sausage can be added to omelets, pizzas, and pasta sauces.

Are there different types of bratwurst?

Yes, there are many regional varieties of bratwurst in Germany.

Can bratwurst be eaten alone?

Yes, it's often served in a bun or with sauerkraut.

Can Italian sausage be used in vegetarian dishes?

Traditional Italian sausage is meat-based, but there are vegetarian alternatives.

What are common dishes with Italian sausage?

Italian sausage is frequently used in pastas, pizzas, and sandwiches.

What's the best way to store bratwurst?

Keep it refrigerated and consume it within a few days of purchase.

Is Italian sausage healthy?

It's rich in protein, but moderation is key due to its fat content.

Can I make Italian sausage at home?

Yes, with ground pork and the right seasonings, you can make it at home.

Can bratwurst be frozen?

Yes, it freezes well for longer storage.

Is bratwurst a breakfast food?

It's more commonly eaten for lunch or dinner, but can be served at breakfast.

What are some health considerations with Italian sausage?

Be aware of its sodium and saturated fat content.

Is bratwurst suitable for barbecues?

Absolutely, it's a popular choice for grilling.

How does the taste of Italian sausage differ from bratwurst?

Italian sausage has a more robust and spicy flavor compared to the milder bratwurst.

Are there low-fat versions of bratwurst?

Some manufacturers offer lower-fat options.

Is bratwurst gluten-free?

Generally, yes, but always check the label for additives.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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