Sliders are a fun lunch idea and make the best party food! This recipe for Caramelized Onion Sausage Sliders shows you how to make these gourmet-tasting sliders using vegan sausage *or* Italian sausage.
The sweet and spicy combo of these sausage sliders is amazing. I’ll also show you how to make the most amazing Balsamic Caramelized Onions.
We love sliders
Sliders are a great sandwich concept and make the best party food. Here’s why:
You get to indulge in a mini burger and still have room for all the appetizers, sides, and desserts that most parties and potlucks have.
Sausage and caramelized onions
These tasty little sliders are made with sausage and balsamic caramelized onions, and it is such a great flavor combination. The spicy sausage flavor goes so well with sweet caramelized onions.
You’re going to want to eat more than one slider. And that’s OK, it’s totally allowed.
What kind of sausage to use
I used vegan sausage this time, but I’ve made these with Italian sausage made from ground pork too. They turn out amazing either way!
Here are tips for how to make these sliders no matter what kind of sausage you start with:
- Breakfast sausage patties (vegan *or* pork) – these are the perfect size for sausage sliders and are ready to cook as-is! (I use pre-made patties most of the time, this time I used Pure Farmland vegan sausage)
- Italian sausages – use your hands to squeeze out the sausage meat out of the casings into a bowl, then form small patties with your hands. 1 lb of sausage is typically 4-5 sausage links.
- Ground sausage meat – this is sold packaged like ground beef, and is ready to use and form into patties.
Fresh homemade caramelized onions are so delicious.
The downside is onions take time to truly caramelize – about 40 minutes of cooking and frequent stirring. Many people are purists about caramelized onions and enjoy this process. I don’t mind it when I have the time and I am not cooking while hungry!
But I like to make a big batch of caramelized onions and keep it in the fridge for a week.
This recipe uses about 3/4 cups balsamic caramelized onions, which requires about 3-4 onions to start with (about 3 cups sliced onions). Use 4 onions just in case – it’s better to have a bit leftover than to not have enough!
Balsamic caramelized onions
I love adding balsamic vinegar to my caramelized onions to deglaze the pan and give them some flavor. The balsamic vinegar gives the onions a nice rich brown color and a nice flavor.
The balsamic flavor is mild because I add the balsamic vinegar halfway through the cooking process and a lot of the flavor gets cooked out. If you like a stronger balsamic flavor, add a splash of balsamic vinegar right before turning off the heat from the caramelized onions.
- If you prepare the balsamic caramelized onions in advance, then this whole sausage slider recipe takes about 10 minutes to make from start to finish.
- You can use store-bought onion jam or onion spread (such as this or this) instead of making caramelized onions. The packaged stuff is usually much sweeter (more like a jam) so it all depends on whether you would like that with sausage, but it will cut this recipe down by a lot.
Spicy mayo sauce
The spicy mayo sauce is totally optional but I do think it adds a little something something to these sliders! It’s a simple sauce that I always make for my Ground Pork Burgers:
- Mayo (1/2 cup)
- Ketchup (2 tablespoons)
- Sriracha (1-2 tablespoons, to taste)
Whatever kind of bun you use, don’t forget to toast it! Toasted buns make every burger and slider taste so much better.
Some great options for slider buns are:
- Dinner rolls
- King’s Hawaiian rolls (they are always amaaaazing, no matter which variety you get)
If you have thicker dinner rolls, you might want to scoop out some of the bread so that the sausage-to-bread ratio in these sliders is optimal. 🙂
What to serve with sausage sliders
Deciding on a side dish for sausage sliders really depends on the occasion.
Making these for lunch or dinner for your family and trying to keep it on the healthy side? Try one of these salads:
- Beet and blue cheese spinach salad with a homemade vinaigrette
- Spiralized zucchini carrot salad with lemon garlic dressing (vegetarian, or vegan if you skip the feta)
- Shaved carrot and daikon salad with sesame ginger dressing (vegan, if you’re making vegan sausage sliders!)
Making these for lunch or dinner and want to indulge?
- Then chips, French fries, or potato wedges are a great choice!
Making these for a party? Try these awesome side dishes:
- Coleslaw orzo salad – half coleslaw, half pasta salad with a light and citrusy dressing (vegan!)
- No-mayo potato salad with feta and olives (vegetarian or vegan if you skip the feta, gluten-free)4
- Shrimp and vegetable couscous salad
Or check out these easy party appetizers for more fun party ideas.
Looking for more burgers?
- Juicy ground pork burgers
- Juicy turkey burgers with guacamole
- Venison burgers
- Chickpea and sweet potato burgers with feta and sriracha (a great vegetarian option, or skip the feta for a vegan burger)
If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don’t forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!
Sausage Caramelized Onion Sliders
- Large skillet
For the sliders
- 1 lb sausage meat (or vegan sausage meat, see notes)
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 10 slider buns
- 1 cup caramelized onion (see below)
For the caramelized onions (see notes too!)
Spicy mayo sauce
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons ketchup or more to taste
- 1 tablespoon sriracha or more to taste
Prepare the caramelized onions
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the sliced yellow onions. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat for 20 minutes, taking care not to burn the onions. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and salt. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for another 10-20 minutes, or until the onions are cooked to your liking. If you like a stronger balsamic flavor, add a small splash of balsamic vinegar right before turning off the stove.
Cook the sausage
- Scoop out 3-4 tablespoons of ground sausage mixture with your hands and form a thin patty that is the same size as your slider buns. **OR** Use pre-made patties.
- Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add the sausage patties and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until sausage is brown and fully cooked.
Prepare the spicy mayo sauce
- Combine the mayo, ketchup, and sriracha in a small bowl and mix.
Assemble the sliders
- Toast the buns. Spread some mayo sauce on the bottom bun. Top with a cooked sausage patty and 1-2 tablespoons of caramelized onions. Enjoy!
- Breakfast sausage patties (vegan *or* pork) - these are the perfect size for sausage sliders and are ready to cook as-is!
- Italian sausages - use your hands to squeeze out the sausage meat out of the casings into a bowl, then form small patties with your hands. 1 lb of sausage is typically 4-5 sausage links.
- Ground sausage meat - this is sold packaged like ground beef, and is ready to use and form into patties.