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10 Best & Worst Chicken Sausage Brands, According to RDs

Chicken sausage may be healthier than the pork variety, but some brands are better than others.
FACT CHECKED BY Samantha Boesch

Chicken sausages are chock-full of flavor and are leaner than their traditional pork counterparts, which makes them an excellent protein to throw on the grill at cookouts, pan-fry and toss into an omelet for breakfast, or just enjoy in a sandwich. Plus, they're easy to prepare and cook up in minutes. While chicken sausage might be healthier than the pork variety, they're still a processed food, and some brands are much healthier than others.

Because of this, you'll want to read nutrition labels carefully and choose a product that's low in the nutrients you'll want to limit, including sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars. Below, dietitians share what to look for in a healthy chicken sausage:

  • Watch out for sodium: "An important consideration when buying chicken sausages is their sodium content, as high-sodium diets can increase blood pressure and [contribute to] other heart problems," says Destini Moody, RDN with Top Nutrition Coaching. "Now, this is tricky, as adding salt is part of the sausage-making process," she says.  Aim to find a chicken sausage that has a daily value for sodium of 20% or less, which is around 460 milligrams, per serving, Moody suggests.
  • Look out for saturated fat: Compared to pork sausage, chicken sausage tends to be much lower in saturated fat, which has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease. However, some brands may still add these fats simply to enhance the flavor and moisture of their product. "Compare the total fat per serving and saturated fat on the nutrition facts label. For example, if there are 15 grams of total fat and 12 of those grams are saturated, this would not be an ideal selection,"  Moody says. Aim for the lowest amount of saturated fat, ideally sticking to under 20% of your daily value, which would be around 3 grams.
  • Limit added sugars: Certain chicken sausage flavors—think barbecue or chicken-apple—can sneak in added sugars. Eating a diet high in added sugars is linked to a higher risk of obesity, heart disease, and other chronic issues, according to the American Heart Association, which recommends no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day for women and a maximum of 36 grams per day for men. When it comes to chicken sausage, the less sugar the better. Aim for no more than 5 grams per link.

Now, read on for the best and worst chicken sausages to look out for in the grocery store. And for a delectable sandwich, pair them with any of these 6 Healthiest Breads to Eat for Weight Loss, Dietitians Say.

The Best Chicken Sausages

Best: Al Fresco Spinach Feta Chicken Sausage

al fresco spinach feta chicken sausage
Al Fresco

120 calories, 7 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 390 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 12 g protein

The Al Fresco brand is proud of its all-natural chicken products, and for good reason. At only 390 milligrams per serving, the sodium content of this product is very low compared to the majority of chicken sausage products on the market, says Andrea Jones, RDN, LDN, a dietitian with Top Nutrition Coaching.

This sausage has 12 grams of protein per serving and no added sugars. What's more, this pick is gluten-free and contains a bit of iron, potassium, and calcium. "All of this, combined with the moderate fat content, makes it a winner," Jones says. Not to mention, the added tanginess of the feta and freshness from the rosemary make this the perfect sausage to slice up and toss with spaghetti.

RELATED: 10 Best & Worst Breakfast Sausage Brands

Best: Aidells Italian Style Smoked Chicken Sausage

Aidells italian style sausage
160 calories, 11 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 570 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 14 g protein

Aidells' Italian-Style Sausage is made with smoked chicken and stuffed with creamy mozzarella for the perfect pasta-night companion. "At first glance, you may think that the sodium content toes the line a bit, but this is only because these links are larger than the average sausage link," Jones says.

This sausage has a solid 14 grams of protein per serving, and more protein helps keep us satisfied longer, Jones adds. What's more, this sausage doesn't contain any added nitrites or nitrates, which are substances in processed meats that are linked to cell damage, per a March 2020 Antioxidants report.

Best: Gilbert's Caprese Chicken Sausage

Gilbert's craft caprese sausages
130 calories, 7 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 530 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 13 g protein

With mozzarella, basil, and sun-dried tomatoes, this savory sausage might just transport you to summertime in Capri. And nutritionally speaking, it's good enough to keep in your weekly rotation.

"Due to the sun-dried tomatoes, this product contains a uniquely high amount of vitamin C and lycopene, both of which are strong antioxidants," Jones says. Another potential plus: "Although chicken sausage isn't pork sausage, most chicken sausage is contained in a pork casing. However, this product has a beef collagen casing, rather than a pork casing, which is very good news for anyone who has to completely stay away from pork products," Jones points out.

RELATED: The Best & Worst Bacon Brands, According to a Dietitian

Best: Bilinkski's Mild Italian Chicken Sausage

Bilinski's Mild Italian Chicken Sausage
80 calories, 2.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 480 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 12 g protein

The biggest win for this chicken link is that the fat content is surprisingly low, Jones says. "With only 22.4% of its calories coming from fat, this sausage meets the qualification to be labeled as a low-fat food," she says.

Not only that, you'll get a respectable 12 grams of protein for just 80 calories per sausage, and it's completely free of added sugars.

"This product, which gets both nutritional and ethical accolades from me, is truly organic and is Animal Welfare Certified, meaning that the animals are treated with the highest welfare standards," Jones says.

Best: Thrive Market Organic Spinach & Garlic Chicken Sausage

Thrive Market Organic Spinach & Garlic Chicken Sausage
Thrive Market
80 calories, 2.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 520 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 12 g protein

This casing-free sausage is lean, with just 2.5 grams of fat and a solid 12 grams of protein, deeming it a smart addition to any salad, omelet, or pasta dish. While it's a bit higher in sodium than what our dietitians recommend, it gets points for being free of added sugar and low in saturated fat.

These links are spiced with garlic and fennel for a delectable umami taste; plus, they're made with 100% certified organic chicken.

RELATED: 25 Best Healthy Frozen Pizza Pies, According to Dietitians

Best: Amylu Paleo Andouille Chicken Sausages

Amylu Paleo Andouille Chicken Sausages
Amylu Foods
110 calories, 6 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 500 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 13 g protein

If you've got dietary restrictions, this is probably the chicken sausage you'll want to grab at the grocery store. It's gluten-free, pork-free, and doesn't contain any nitrates or nitrites. And with 13 grams of protein per 110 calories, it's a solid sausage that'll keep you full.

Pair it with fiber-filled veggies or whole-grain toast for extra staying power.

The Worst Chicken Sausages

Worst: Aidells Pineapple Bacon Chicken Sausage

Aidells Pineapple Bacon Chicken Sausage
210 calories, 14 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 630 mg sodium, 8 g carbs (0 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 12 g protein

Though Aidell's is a ubiquitous and popular brand, you really have to watch out for which flavor you choose. There are several different varieties to choose from within the brand, but some are better than others, Moody tells us, adding that the Pineapple Bacon flavor is one of those to be wary of.

"For starters, all 8 grams of carbs come from added sugar," Moody says. "Also, it's a bit counterintuitive to opt for a poultry-based sausage instead of a pork-based sausage in favor of a better nutrition profile and then choose the flavor that has bacon as the second ingredient." Instead, go for Aidells Italian Style Smoked Chicken Sausage, which is on our best list.

RELATED: 20 Healthy Weight Loss Breakfast Recipes for Busy Mornings

Worst: Applegate Organic Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage

applegate organics sweet italian sausage
Applegate Organics
160 calories, 9 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 790 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 13 g protein

We commend Applegate for using organic chicken in its sausage, but the nutritionals in this link aren't up to par with our dietitians' recommendations.

"Despite boasting a gluten-free and sugar-free product, a third of this sausage's fat content comes from saturated fat," Moody says. "The real con, however, is the nearly 800 milligrams of sodium. For perspective, that's the same amount of sodium as nearly three snack-sized bags of pretzels—and that's for just one link!"

Worst: Good & Gather Italian-Style Chicken Sausage

Good & Gather Italian-Style Chicken Sausage
Good & Gather
130 calories, 6 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 670 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 15 g protein

Good & Gather gets some points for not using nitrates in their sausage. "Nitrates are a common ingredient in cured meats and are used to slow spoilage by preventing the growth of bacteria. However, they can significantly boost the sodium content," Moody says.

Still, this sausage manages to pack a staggering 670 milligrams of sodium in one link. "What's more, this chicken sausage is made with a pork casing, which isn't clearly labeled, so here's a big word of caution for those who select chicken sausage to avoid pork for religious reasons," Moody points out.

RELATED: The 10 Best & Worst Frozen Breakfast Burritos

Worst: Boars Head Bacon & Cheddar Chicken Sausage

Boars Head Bacon and Cheddar Chicken Sausage
Boars Head
170 calories, 11 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 590 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 17 g protein

Boar's Head has a generally good selection of chicken sausages, with some flavors containing a high protein content by chicken sausage standards. However, the Uncured Bacon and Cheddar flavor is among the least favorable choices, Moody tells us.

"Filled with cheddar cheese sauce, it's not a shock that there are 4 grams of saturated fat per serving," she says. "There are also 170 calories per link, which is on the high side, so you also want to steer clear if you are switching up your breakfast to lose weight."

April Benshosan
April is a born-and-raised Brooklynite who has a passion for all things health, wellness, and tastebud-related. Read more about April
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