Pork Sausage vs. Turkey Sausage: Key Differences, Health Benefits, Substitution

Pork Sausage vs Turkey Sausage

Pork Sausage vs. Turkey Sausage: Key Differences, Health Benefits, Substitution

Most times, pork sausage is what you need to sort your sausage craving. However, with all its goodness, turkey sausage deserves a place on your table. It's common to find pig sausages in most homes, unlike the turkey links, which few people recognize. Both are excellent food pieces, almost similar but with crucial differences. Pork sausage is made with ground pork and more fat, while turkey sausage comes from ground turkey and is leaner. 

Let's see how these sausages compare, their health benefits, preparation, and which is better.

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Pork Sausage vs. Turkey Sausage: What Are Their Key Differences?

You may be curious about some differences between pig and turkey sausage. Both are links, but what stands out most is the type of meat used in each. As earlier said, pork sausage comes from ground pork, while turkey sausage is from ground turkey. Besides this, several other factors set the two kinds of sausage apart. 

Sausages fried with spices and herbs, Selective focus
Nothing beats the delicious taste of a tender and juicy pork sausage!


One major characteristic is the fat content in the sausages. Pig sausage has more fat than turkey sausage. The ratio of meat to fat in them is approximately 80 to 20 percent, which is high for a single link. Turkey is leaner, has fewer calories and saturated fat, and is healthier than pork. Ultimately, whichever you prefer depends on your dietary needs and personal liking. But both types are great and have qualities that make each unique. 

The ingredients used also help distinguish the two sausages. Spices, seasoning, and preservatives are common additions to sausages. Since there are many brands in the market, you may need to try various options to identify your best. Dried corn syrup and potato starch are additional ingredients in pork sausage. Generally, it has more additives than turkey sausage, another being sodium. 

The salty flavor of pig sausage is quite recognizable. The taste comes from the curing process or the use of flavor enhancers and preservatives. Due to this, ensure you choose your seasoning carefully so it pairs well with the sausage taste. As for turkey sausage, the flavor is mild, which may seem bland if you are used to the rich taste of pork. However, don’t worry because you can always use popular spices like rosemary, black pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic, etc, to make it tastier. 

The texture is another characteristic we cannot forget. These sausages look and feel different, especially after cooking. The high fat in pork sausage makes it soft, moist, and juicy. It elevates the taste making it the preferred choice by many people. Turkey sausage has very little fat content hence affecting the texture and flavor. Since ground turkey sausage is lean already, so without the fat, the flesh becomes drier. It isn’t easy to improve the texture when using ready-made turkey links. But, if they are homemade, you can add more fat to the ground turkey to better the texture and flavor. Turkey sausage is still an excellent choice for most recipes, and the dry texture isn’t that bad. 

Pork Sausage vs. Turkey Sausage: What Are Their Health Benefits?

Pork Sausage vs Turkey Sausage Nutritional Facts

The health benefits of each sausage are based highly on their nutritional profile. By now, you can tell that pork sausage has more calories than turkey sausage based on the overall fat capacity. The first has approximately 289 calories, while the latter has 140. Pig sausage has 26 grams of fat, with saturated fat being 9 grams and the rest being unsaturated fat. Turkey sausage has 10 grams of total fat and 3 grams of saturated fat. This shows the number of unhealthy fats in each, even though people deem turkey links healthy. Less fat reduces the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and excessive weight gain. 

On the positive side, they contain protein in almost similar measures, i.e., 13 grams for pork sausage and 12 grams for turkey sausage. The high protein levels are good for muscle growth and repair. The turkey version is the best choice if you want to lose weight but can't avoid sausage. It has tryptophan amino acid, which helps control your appetite; hence there is weight loss.  

For sausage lovers, even though turkey sausage is better than pork, remember they are both convenience foods, and you should take them in moderation. Fat is still there no matter the percentage and can be harmful if taken in excess.

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What is Pork Sausage?

Pork is a popular type of meat, and most people associate sausages with it, despite there being sausages made from other meats. It has more to it than just ground pork. It also contains fat, seasonings, and additional ingredients like dried corn syrup and potato starch, contributing to its overall taste. The flesh is usually from the pig’s shoulder or thigh. It is ground coarsely and finally cured before being put into edible casings. 

Pork sausage is not always fresh. Not because it’s gone bad but because it has been aged to prolong its shelf life. Fresh pig sausages have a shorter shelf life. Whichever you choose, pork offers excellent versatility when cooking and creating recipes. You can add the spices you like to the sausage, but it’s a bit limiting because of the existing rich and salty flavor. Making homemade sausages helps you avoid all these limitations as your links taste and look better. You get to pick what seasoning you want, the amount to use the fat content to add while avoiding the unnecessary fillers and preservatives that come in store-bought sausages. 

What is Turkey Sausage?

Turkey sausage isn’t quite as popular as pork sausage, but it’s the ideal alternative for sausage lovers who prefer lean meat. It is made from ground turkey, with less fat content and additives like sodium. This gives it a mild flavor which you can enhance by adding various seasonings to your desired level.

Grilled sausages with spices on a wooden serving Board
Though not as popular as pork sausages, turkey sausages are just as delicious!

©Lyudmila Zavyalova/Shutterstock.com

The low fat and sodium make turkey sausage a suitable healthy option. However, it affects the texture and taste. Compared to pork sausage, which is moist and juicier due to high-fat levels, turkey sausage is dry and grainy. Homemade turkey links have an advantage over those from the store because you can add fat to make them softer and more flavorful. 

Different brands of turkey sausage exist, so don’t be shocked if they all taste different. Generally, the flavor is mild, but manufacturing companies can add certain ingredients to distinguish them from others. It’s best to experiment with them until you find one with the right flavor balance and texture. Also, the sausages can be pre-cooked or fresh, but the last has a short shelf life. 

Can You Substitute Pork Sausage With Turkey Sausage and Vice Versa?

Using either in place of the other is possible, but remember that the flavor and textures vary. If you use turkey sausages in pork sausage recipes, use proper spices or ingredients that help cover up the taste difference. Good examples include paprika, sea salt, and pork casings. The texture wouldn’t be 100% similar to pork links, but if you can overlook that, you can enjoy the dish. 

Replacing turkey sausage with pork sausage is neither familiar nor strange. It happens a few times due to taste, texture, and health profile. When substituting turkey for pork sausage, note that the latter is already salty and fatty. Avoid adding spices if you prefer the mild turkey link flavor. Also, use very minimal fat in the recipe. Alternatively, you can always make turkey sausages at home if you don’t want substitution.  

Pork Sausage vs. Turkey Sausage: How to Cook Them

There is no one way to cook sausages. Pork and turkey sausages have multiple ways of preparation. The pork especially is perfect whether fried, grilled, baked, or used as an ingredient in pasta or pizza recipes. As for turkey sausage, you can also fry, bake, grill, or boil it. Remember that they are already dry, so be careful not to dry them further when cooking. 

Cute little girl eating tasty sausage on white background
Whatever you do, remember to eat sausages in moderation.



Infographic comparing pork and turkey sausage
Pork sausage has a more intense flavor than turkey sausage.
  • Some turkey sausages have added spices to give them more flavor, but most are going to have a mild taste.
  • Turkey sausage, due to its lower fat and sodium content, tends to be a healthier choice than pork sausage.
  • The higher fat content in pork sausage makes it moist and juicy, compared to turkey sausage's drier and grainier texture.
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Pork and turkey sausages have distinct differences that set them apart. They are great options for various recipes but with unique limitations. Pork links have more fat, making them soft but may be a healthwise negative. On the other hand, turkey sausages are better for your health, but the low fat makes them dry and less tasty. Nevertheless, they make good easy-to-make dishes but should be consumed in moderation.

We highly recommend this smoked sausage stir fry:

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Grilled sausages with spices on a wooden serving Board

Smoked Turkey Sausage Stir Fry

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  • Author: Moms Who Think
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x



1 pound fully cooked smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup julienned green pepper
1/2 cup julienned sweet red pepper
1 small onion, sliced and separated into rings
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
4 cups hot cooked rice


1. In a nonstick skillet or wok, stir fry sausage in oil over medium heat until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

2. Add the peppers, onion and seasonings. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp tender, stirring occasionally.

3. Add the tomatoes; cook 1 minute longer. Serve over rice.


  • Serving Size: ¾ cup sausage mixture with 1 cup rice
  • Calories: 421
  • Sodium: 981mg
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Carbohydrates: 64g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 20g
  • Cholesterol: 51mg
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