Salami vs Sausage

Salami vs Sausage

Salami is often confused for sausage and the opposite is true. This is because these 2 types of meat have almost the same characteristics. However, it is always important to be cognisant of how salami differs from sausage. This is because it will help you in knowing which cooking method you need to apply for either salami or sausage. The article below points out the most common differences that will help you to tell them apart.

What is salami?

Salami is a cured sausage that consist of meat that is fermented and air dried. Salami originally originated from Italy. This is because the peasants were looking for ways of preserving meat for a longer period of time since, there were no refrigerators during that time. Salami is traditionally served cold although it can be heated up.

What is sausage?

A sausage is a meat product that is made using ground meat. The meat can be beef, pork or poultry and it is mixed together with other spices just to elevate the flavours. Sausages are sold raw and they should always be cooked before consumption.

Differences between salami and sausage

Production process

The first difference to note is based on how the 2 are manufactured. Salami is cured sausage that is fermented and air dried whereas a sausage is made using ground meat and it has a skin around it which protects it from falling apart.

Furthermore, salami can only be made using either beef or pork but sausage can be made using a wide range of meats. It is not only restricted to beef and pork.


Salami has a colour that ranges from a light pink to dark red colour as compared to sausage. This is because the ingredients that are used during the curing process leave the meat with that distinct colour.


The taste of salami and sausage is different. Salami is a cured sausage so it has a more concentrated flavour due to the ingredients that are used to make it. Whereas the taste of sausage is based on the ingredients you use to make it. You can make the sausage mild, spicy or hot depending on your preferences whereas you cannot alter the flavour of salami.


The other difference to note between salami and sausage is that salami can last for a number of days at room temperature whereas sausage needs to be refrigerated at all times. This is because sausage does not contain preservatives so if it stored at room temperature it will start to turn bad.


The texture of salami is harder as compared to that of sausage. This is because salami loses some of its moisture during the aging process whereas sausage doesn’t undergo such a process thus it is able to retain its original flavour and texture.

Serving suggestion

Salami is often served as slices as compared to sausage which is usually served as big pieces.

Furthermore, salami can be served while cold whereas sausage needs to be cooked first before it can be served. This is because salami is sold whilst cooked. This difference emanates from the fact that salami is made using meat that is fermented and air dried while sausage is just fresh meat that is ground.

Similarities between salami and sausage

Production process

The first similarity to note between salami and sausage is that they can both be made using beef or pork.


Salami and sausage have the same shape and size so if they are both in the refrigerator you can confuse the 2 at first glance.

Shelf life of salami

Since salami can be stored at room temperature unlike sausage it has the potential to last for up to 6 months without being refrigerated. However, once salami has been cut, it should be stored in the refrigerator. This is because bacteria will start to build on it. Salami that has been cut can last for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator but when placed in the freezer it can last for up to 2 months.

Shelf life of sausages

Raw sausages usually last for 1 to 2 days in the fridge after being bought. However, if they are stored in the freezer they can last for more than 2 months. It is important to always freeze sausages. This is because bacteria will start to grow on them. Cooked sausages can also be refrigerated.

NB: remember to always reheat sausage before eating it.

Signs that your salami and sausage have gone bad

Colour changes

Although salami can be preserved for a longer period of time as compared to other meats, it also has the potential to rot. Rotten salami develops moulds that are either black, grey, green or brown. When you see spots of that colour on your salami then it’s definitely time to throw it away. This is because it will make you sick. On the other hand when sausage has turned bad it usually turns grey in the fridge.

Texture changes

Naturally salami is a bit dry as compared to other types of sausages. However, if you notice that your salami is now extra dry then it’s time to let go of it. Sometimes the salami turns wet and slimy. This is also another sign that the salami is not fit for consumption. When sausage has turned bad it develops a slimy consistency to it which is very unpleasant.

Smell changes

Naturally salami has a distinct smell due to the fact that it is made using fermented and air dried meat. The smell of salami is acidic like and a bit cheesy.  However, if you are very familiar with the original taste of the salami then you will definitely be able to tell when your salami is rotten. In some cases it will have a smell which is reminiscent to that of rotten eggs. On the other hand if you want to see if your sausage has turned bad you will notice that it will also develop an unpleasant smell which is usually a sweet-sour funky smell.

Leave a Comment