Can You Eat Sausage Casing [Basics with Edibility]




can you eat sausage casing

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Sausages are quick foods. You can have them on any occasion either straight or placed into buns with sauces and seasonings. Thus, there are breakfast sausage, Italian sausage, summer sausage, polish sausage, and many more. Sausages come in natural and artificial casings.

Casings help to keep the meat in shape. You cannot eat the sausage casings made of cellulose, plastic, or artificial casing. The inedible casings are of thick collagen or plastic. In this article, we put forward the types and kinds of sausage casings.

What Are The Types Of Sausage Casings?

The casing or coating of sausages is the outer of the sack that keeps together the meat in shape. Sausage casings are of two types; natural and artificial. The application of the two types depends on the different sausage types and the source. The casings or the outer skin of the sausage makes cooking and eating the meat convenient. The edible type gives a different feel to the mouth.

What are the Types of Sausage Casings?

The two types of natural and artificial casings are again of 5 kinds. Let us look at the characteristics of the 5 kinds.

The five types are:

  1. Natural type
  2. Artificial (Cellulose) type
  3. Artificial (Collagen) made
  4. Plastic made
  5. Vegetarian type

1. Natural Casings

The stomachs or the intestines of animals are the materials used to make the natural casings. The natural casings are permeable to outside air and flavorings at the same time strong and edible. Thus, there are beef, sheep, and hog casing to match the sausage meat. The thickness of the sausage depends on the type of animal source.

They make natural sausage casing from the intestines or stomachs of various animals and are permeable to air and outside flavorings while also being very strong and edible. Natural casings are:

  • Edible
  • The source is intestine (small) of cows, pigs, goats, sheep,and horses.
  • Appearance: cylindrical curved structure.
  • Popular in making Italian sausage, pepperoni, frankfurter, meat sticks, and wieners.

2. Artificial (Cellulose) Casing

There are a few types of the artificial casing for sausages. They make the cellulose type of cellulose that over time dissolves when in moist condition. They made cellulose casings from cotton linter or wood pulp. They are fairly strong, with good sheer, pervious to smoke, and can be peeled off at the end of cooking. The sausage is free of casing before delivery to the market. The characteristics are:

  • Not edible
  • The source material is cotton linter, wood pulp
  • Appearance: Casing looks clear, takes color but no aroma. Sausage takes uniform shape after removal of casing before marketing.
  • Popular in making hot dogs, skinless sausage, wieners, frankfurters.

3. Artificial (Collagen)

Collagen is also an artificial sausage casing. It is a makeup of collagen derived from animal bones and cartilages of animals. The collagen is artificially made but from natural materials and can be edible. They may remove the casing before marketing. The characteristics are:

  • Edible: Yes or No. Not harmful, but not recommended for eating.
  • Source: Animal processed collagen made from bone, hide, tendons and cartilage.
  • Appearance: Different shapes and sizes.
  • Popular for making snack sticks, breakfast sausage, summer sausage, smoked sausage.

4. Plastic Casing

The plastic casings are made of polymers or monomers linked by chemical bonds. The polymers comprise polypropylene and polyamide (nylon). These casings are thick and do not allow bacteria and moisture to enter the meat. The plastic casing keeps the sausage in shape. The characteristics are:

  • Edible: No
  • Source: Consists of artificially made plastic material.
  • Appearance: Round, straight or curved
  • Popular for cooked sausage

5. Vegetarian

They prepare the vegetarian sausage casings with vegetable glycerin, water, and starches or sugars. It is composed of carbohydrates, molded as a rod. The casings are delicate and susceptible to tearing off on rough handling. The characteristics are:

  • Edible: Yes
  • Source: Plant-based, sugars, carbohydrates, vegetable glycerin.
  • Appearance: Delicate, look like meat sausage casing.
  • Popular for making vegetarian sausages.

Should You Remove The Sausage Casing?

Many of the sausage casings that are artificial and edible, comes to the market without the casing. However, if you bring sausage with touch covering like the artificial collagen type in summer sausages, it may be wise to remove the casing.

Can You Eat Sausage Casing

You should remove the artificial plastic casings if you buy with the casing. The sausages with the natural and vegetable casing are perfect as it is without the removal of casings.

How Can You Cook Sausage Without The Casing?

The casings keep the meat of the sausage in shape and make cooking easy. On removal of the casing of the sausage, you can cook the meat.

Cook Sausage

It is customary to separate the meat before cooking. You can do this by slicing lengthwise and then peeling off the casing. It is best to slice and peel off the case if the sausage is in the frozen form or thawed.  The meat inside stays intact as you make it into pieces.

How to Peel Off the Casing?

You will need:

  • Pairing knife
  • Kitchen scissors


  1. Place sausage under the warm water, if frozen.
  2. Transfer to a cutting board.
  3. Split or slice the casing only lengthwise from end to end without cutting the meat.
  4. Open a slit by peeling. You may need to make a few slices like peeling a banana.
  5. Pull out the meat from the casing.
  6. Your sausage is ready to cook as the recipe calls for.


Sausages are great for organizing quick lunches or brunches. However, there are some specific dishes you can prepare with sausage without having to use direct meat. There are various types of casings of sausages. Therefore, you may like to see the labels if you like to have the sausage with natural casing or not take the trouble of peeling the casings at home.

The sausage with natural casing and vegetarian are perfect to dine with no problem. We have outlined the types. Wish this article was helpful.

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