Whether you’re looking for picnic food ideas or simply yearning for a savoury snack, these sausage roll recipes will tick every box.
The reopening of the hospitality industry is on the horizon – but if you’re anything like us, you’ll have noticed that it’s nigh-on impossible to book a table at many restaurants and cafes. Venues with outdoor terraces and seating have been inundated with reservations ahead of their reopening dates, meaning that if you haven’t planned your re-entry into society with military precision, you may not be able to dine at your favourite spot until late spring.
Thankfully, there are no bookings required at our local parks (yet). As a result, picnics are likely to continue being an integral part of our social lives well into summer 2021. The question is: what food should one pack for a picnic? An inventive potato salad is always a good idea, whether you add blue cheese and radishes or artichokes and garlic mayo (just remember to pack a stick of gum, too). Posh sandwiches will also please a crowd – click here to see five mouth-watering options, including a stuffed picnic loaf with pesto, salami and mozzarella.
But one of the most iconic picnic recipes has to be the sausage roll. Heavily seasoned meat (or a delicious vegetarian alternative) encased in golden flaky pastry is arguably the ideal savoury snack, while the size and shape of a sausage roll makes it eminently portable. And while shop-bought options are often tasty, there’s something very satisfying – not to mention impressive – about making your own.
Of course, sausage rolls aren’t just for picnics. They’re also perfect for tiding you over on those afternoons when the gap between lunch and dinner feels a little too wide – and a cold sausage roll for breakfast can occasionally be the stuff of dreams, too. So with that in mind, we have five recipes for you to try below.
For a classic sausage roll, go for Laura Mason’s wonderfully easy recipe featuring shop-bought sausages and premade puff pastry. If you’re looking for a luxury option, try Sophie Hansen’s apple, fennel and pork sausage rolls, which she recommends serving with a quick spiced tomato chutney. Brontë Aurell’s Danish sausage rolls, meanwhile, are a Scandi twist on the British picnic standby, with wiener-style sausages wrapped in bread dough.
Vegetarian? Give Tim Hayward and Alison Wright’s recipe a go: the traditional meaty filling is replaced with a garlicky, lemony blend of chestnut mushrooms, spinach and ricotta. And finally, if you can’t stomach the wheat in standard puff pastry, Becky Excell’s showstopping gluten-free sausage rolls will become your picnic saviour. Meet you at the park gates…
Classic sausage rolls
Laura Mason says: “I’ve yet to meet a child who doesn’t like sausage rolls, and most adults seem to like them too. They are very simple to make and homemade ones are generally much nicer than bought.”
Makes 20 small sausage rolls or 8 large ones
- 600g good-quality sausage meat (buy your favourite sausages and remove the skins)
- extra seasoning, to taste, such as 1 tsp finely chopped fresh sage leaves and 2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- flour, for dusting
- 250g puff pastry, thawed if frozen
- 1 medium egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Put the sausage meat in a bowl and stir it to make a homogenous mass, adding the extra seasoning if needed.
Dust a work surface with flour and roll out the pastry to a rectangle roughly 32 x 15cm. Cut in half lengthways.
Divide the sausage meat into 2 and form into long rolls the length of the pastry. Put the meat along the long edge of each piece of pastry. Brush water down one side and roll up neatly, then cut each in 10 short lengths (for little rolls) or 4 (for large ones).
Transfer to a baking tray and brush with the beaten egg. Bake small rolls for 20–25 minutes or large ones for 25–30 minutes until puffed and golden. Cool on a wire rack.
From The Picnic Cookbook: Outdoor Feasts For Every Occasion by Laura Mason (£18.99, National Trust Books), out now
Apple, fennel and pork sausage rolls
Sophie Hansen says: “These sausage rolls are excellent for smoko break [an Australian term for a break from work], lunch or dinner. If serving them as a main meal, add a big salad full of peppery greens and a spicy tomato chutney like the one below. Make up a double batch of sausage rolls and freeze them (uncooked) in long logs, ready to bake from frozen, and you’ll be ready to feed the hungry hordes in minutes.”
- 1 tbsp (20g) butter
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 granny smith apples, cut into small pieces
- 1 red onion, diced
- 500g pork mince
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves
- 3 sheets butter puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg, lightly whisked
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp sea salt
- quick tomato chutney (see recipe below), to serve
Melt the butter in a heavy-based frying pan over medium–high heat.
Add three-quarters of the fennel seeds and the apple pieces and cook for a few minutes or until softened. Reduce the heat to low, add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
In a large bowl, mix the pork and thyme with the cooled apple mixture, and season with salt and pepper. Take a third of this mixture and place it on one of the thawed pastry sheets, making a sausage shape along the bottom third of the sheet. Roll as tightly as you can to create one long sausage. Repeat with the remaining pastry and pork mixture.
If you’re freezing the sausage rolls at this point, wrap them in plastic wrap and pop them in the freezer. Otherwise, onwards! Using a pastry brush (or your fingers if you don’t have one), brush the egg over each sausage roll. Sprinkle the sesame seeds, sea salt and remaining fennel seeds over the top.
Bake for 35–40 minutes or until the sausage rolls are golden brown.
Cut into pieces and serve warm or at room temperature with the tomato chutney.
Quick tomato chutney
- 1 kg tomatoes
- 4 red onions
- 2 bird’s eye chillies (or to taste)
- 280g firmly packed soft brown sugar
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 170ml apple cider vinegar
Chop the tomatoes and red onions. Seed and chop the bird’s eye chillies. Combine the tomato, onion and chilli in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the soft brown sugar, sea salt and apple cider vinegar.
Bring to the boil and cook, stirring often (so you don’t burn the base of the pan), for 40 minutes or until the chutney is thick and glossy. Divide among sterilised jars and seal.
From A Basket By The Door: Recipes For Comforting Gifts And Joyful Gatherings by Sophie Hansen (£18.99, Murdoch Books), out now
Danish sausage rolls
Brontë Aurell says: “This is a must-have for picnics and lunchboxes across Denmark. Forget the flaky pastry and British-style sausages – we like ours with wiener-style sausages wrapped in yeasty bread dough. I use Swedish ‘Prinskorv’ or wiener sausages, but you can use any good quality hotdog sausages.
“Try not to use a mass-produced ketchup, as these tend to be full of additives and bake poorly. If you can’t find a decent one, add a little tomato purée to thicken it up a bit. Ideally these should be eaten on the same day they are made, but if stored, they should be kept in the fridge, though this will make them go stale quicker. Freezing is a good option if by chance you actually have any leftover.”
Makes 16 sausage rolls
- 25g fresh yeast or 13g active dried yeast
- 250ml lukewarm water (35–37°C)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 400–500g white/strong bread flour
- 100g plain yogurt
- 50ml olive or rapeseed oil
- ½ egg (reserve the other half for brushing)
- 500g (approx.) wiener sausages cut into sixteen 6–7 cm pieces
- good quality tomato ketchup (see introduction)
- white sesame seeds, to garnish
You’ll also need
- 2 baking sheets, lined with non-stick baking parchment
Put the fresh yeast and lukewarm water in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attached and mix until dissolved. If using active dried yeast, follow the instructions on the packet – usually whisk together the lukewarm liquid and yeast in a bowl and leave in a warm place for 15 minutes to activate and become frothy before using.
Once activated, pour into the bowl of your stand mixer.
Add the sugar and stir again. Mix the salt into the flour and then, while mixing at a medium speed, start to add the flour – around half of it – and mix until well combined.
Add the yogurt, oil and egg and keep mixing.
Add more flour slowly, stopping when you have a mixture that starts to let go of the sides of the bowl. This will take around 5 minutes and you might not need all the flour.
Leave the dough to rise in a warm place, in a bowl covered with clingfilm, for around 40 minutes or until doubled in size.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface, then split into two equal balls. Roll the first ball out into a circle of around 30 cm in diameter, then use a pizza cutter to divide the dough into 8 triangles. Brush each triangle with ketchup (mostly at the wide section, leaving the tip clear), then place a sausage piece at the thick end and roll up, like a croissant, with the sausage at the centre. Place on the prepared baking sheets with end of the fold underneath.
Repeat for the rest of the sausages and dough. Leave the dough to rise for a final 15–20 minutes, then brush with beaten egg and scatter with sesame seeds.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Bake the sausage rolls in the preheated oven for around 15 minutes or until the dough is baked through and the rolls are golden.
From ScandiKitchen Midsommar: Simply Delicious Food For Summer Days by Brontë Aurell (£18.99, Ryland Peters & Small), out 11 May
Vegetarian sausage rolls
Makes 8 sausage rolls
- 1kg spinach
- 50g unsalted butter
- 3 shallots, finely diced
- 500g chestnut mushrooms, coarsely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed or grated
- 250g ricotta
- zest of 2 lemons
- grated nutmeg, to taste
- salt, to taste
- ground white pepper, to taste
- 2 medium egg yolks, plus 1 beaten egg for egg washing
- 1 pack ready-made all-butter puff pastry, about 320–375g
Blanch the spinach in boiling water or steam it until it wilts. Plunge into cold water to stop it cooking, then vigorously squeeze out as much water from it as you can manage.
Melt the butter in a frying pan and soften the shallots. Add the mushrooms and garlic, then put a lid on the pan and let everything sweat nicely on a medium heat. Once the mushrooms have softened, remove the lid and continue cooking to drive off extra moisture.
Take the pan off the heat. Roughly chop the spinach and stir it in, followed by the ricotta and seasonings. Taste and adjust. Now stir in the egg yolks. Allow to cool, then cover with cling film and refrigerate for an hour or so.
Roll out the puff pastry lengthways on a lightly floured surface. Try to keep it cool and don’t overwork it. Slice the pastry in half down its length to produce two strips.
Lay one of the pastry strips along the surface in front of you and gently roll or press out the long edge nearest to you to thin it slightly.
With your hands, mould half the veggie filling into a long snake along the middle of the strip of dough. Cooking times will vary if you make the rolls fatter or thinner, so, unless you have a probe thermometer, stick to a thickness of roughly 5cm for the finished roll.
Paint the thinner edge nearest to you with water or the egg wash. Roll the pastry around the veggie filling, pulling the far, long side towards you, tucking it down under the filling and rolling the whole thing over so that it seals where the pastry is thinned and wet. Finish when the roll is resting on the overlap.
Make a neat line of marks along the top surface with the back of a knife. These are not like the cuts you see in a loaf; they just slightly ‘pinch’ the puff pastry down to create an attractive traditional pattern. Brush the top surface with the egg wash and then pause to experience the simple majesty of your work. Repeat with the other strip of pastry and the remaining veggie filling.
Veggie sausage rolls are easier to handle when cold, so it’s a good idea to pop them in the fridge for an hour before slicing.
Cut the rolls into whatever lengths please you most. At this stage you can also freeze them for cooking at a later date.
Preheat the oven to 195°C (175°C fan).
The veggie filling is already cooked, so just 20 minutes of cooking time until the pastry is well coloured will do the trick beautifully.
From Fitzbillies: Stories & Recipes From A 100-Year-Old Cambridge Bakery by Tim Hayward and Alison Wright (£20, Quadrille), out now
Gluten-free sausage rolls
Becky Excell says: “If you’ve missed mini sausage rolls wrapped in buttery, puffy, flaky pastry as much as I have, then you’ll have no qualms about making them yourself! Enjoy as a snack, or whip them up whenever you need some party food canapés.”
Takes 45 minutes
- 650g gluten-free rough puff pastry (see below for recipe)
- 5 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 1 egg, beaten
- handful of sesame seeds
For the filling:
- 500g pork mince
- 3 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp white pepper
Preheat your oven to 180°C fan/200°C.
In a large mixing bowl, add your pork mince, sage, pepper and a generous pinch of salt. Give it a good mix so it’s all nicely dispersed and mash with a fork until the mince is as broken down as possible.
Place the pastry on a large sheet of non-stick baking parchment.
Cut the pastry in half, rewrap one portion in cling film and place in the fridge while you roll out the first portion into a large rectangle, around 20 x 30cm, and 3mm thick.
With a shorter side closest to you, spread half your mustard 1cm off-centre in a 2.5cm line from top to bottom.
Next, spoon half of your pork mixture on top of the long line of mustard from top to bottom. It should be just under 2.5cm high. Brush the smaller side of the pastry with a little beaten egg. Fold the larger side of the pastry over the filling. Using your fingers, gently form the pastry around the filling to remove any gaps.
Trim the excess pastry alongside the filling, leaving just 1cm of pastry along the seam. Crimp the pastry all along the seam, using a fork, to securely seal it shut.
Brush the sausage roll with beaten egg and use a sharp knife to cut diagonal slashes in the top of the pastry, then sprinkle half your sesame seeds all over the top.
Repeat with the other half of your pastry, filling and seeds so that you have two long sausage rolls.
Using the baking parchment to lift them, transfer your sausage rolls to separate baking trays. Cook for 30–35 minutes until golden, then remove from the oven and place onto a wire rack to cool (you can serve them hot or cold).
Slice each long sausage roll into 6 smaller sausage rolls and serve with a little relish on the side.
Remember that when using rough puff pastry, you cannot simply just reroll it (or any off-cuts) into a ball. You’ll destroy the layers you’ve spent time creating! If you do have any off-cuts, you can always bake them and roll them in cinnamon sugar for a sweet, buttery treat.
If you don’t have time to make your own pastry, use store-bought gluten-free pastry instead.
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Gluten-free rough puff pastry
Becky says: “This versatile pastry is light and buttery, with lots of crisp, flaky layers that magically puff up when baked. This once seemed absolutely impossible to make gluten-free… but here we are!”
Takes 30 minutes + 1 hour 15 minutes chilling
- 295g gluten-free plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- pinch of salt
- 225g very cold butter, cut into 1cm cubes
- 1 egg white
- ice-cold water
In a large mixing bowl, mix together your flour, xanthan gum and salt.
Make sure your butter is really cold; if not, put it into the fridge or freezer until nicely chilled. Add your butter to the bowl and stir it into the flour. Gently squeeze the butter with your fingertips, to break the cubes down a little – make sure your hands are cool as we want to avoid the butter getting warm! Definitely don’t try and rub them into the flour as we want to see chunks of butter in the mix at all times.
Add your egg white to a jug and add ice-cold water to the jug until the mixture reaches 130ml in total. Mix briefly to combine. Gradually add three-quarters of the wet mixture to your mixing bowl, tossing the mixture with your hands, or using a knife to cut it in, between pouring. This will allow the mix to hydrate, but don’t try to form a dough at this point.
Once you’ve added three-quarters of the wet mixture, start to add it in even smaller quantities, still tossing in between. If your dough doesn’t start to come together after adding all of it, you might need to add up to an extra 15ml/1 tablespoon water.
Once a dough starts to form, only then begin bringing it together with your hands – you don’t want it to be too dry or sticky, just somewhere in between.
Using your hands, form a rectangle with the dough and wrap in cling film. It should have visible streaks of butter in it. Place in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
Remove your dough from the fridge and remove the cling film. Roll it out on a lightly floured, large piece of non-stick baking parchment until just over 1cm thick. Fold over the bottom of the dough so it meets the centre, then fold the top of the rolled-out dough over that, like a letter in an envelope. Try your best to get the layers fairly evenly folded, but at this stage, it doesn’t matter if it looks messy.
As we need to keep the dough as cold as possible, cover and return to the fridge for about 15 minutes.
Repeat the rolling, folding and chilling 3 more times, turning the pastry 90 degrees each time you roll. On its last trip to the fridge, chill it for no less than 30 minutes before using.
You can freeze this pastry for up to 2 months; defrost fully before using.
Chill! Using cold water, cold butter and chilling the dough makes your gluten-free pastry stronger and more workable. Making any type of pastry on an incredibly hot day isn’t advisable, as the warmer your dough is, the more fragile it will become.
Making it dairy-free? Use a (hard) dairy-free alternative to butter. I find that hard margarine is still a little too soft for rough puff, so use a block that feels very firm when chilled.
From How To Make Anything Gluten Free: Over 100 Recipes For Everything From Home Comforts To Fakeaways by Becky Excell (£20, Quadrille), out now
Photography: Yuki Sugiura; Sophie Hansen; Peter Cassidy © Ryland Peters & Small; © Sam A Harris; © Hannah Hughes