Think about it...

By Stacey Ballis
Updated August 27, 2018
Credit: Photo by Stacey Ballis

There is just something about a pig in a blanket. Whether it’s a little cocktail frank lovingly enrobed in crescent roll dough or a breakfast link snuggled into a pancake sleeping bag, a classic European sausage roll with puff pastry or the very American full-size hot dog wrapped in a spiral of pretzel or bagel dough. Spiced sausage and carbs are a partnership that spans the ages.

They can, however, be a bit predictable. No one is ever really surprised by a pig in a blanket.

But hear me out: What if the pig IS the blanket?

In my devotion to the cause of making-the-old-new-again cookery, I give you the inside out pig in a blanket. By wrapping doughnut holes in a thin carapace of breakfast sausage, and baking them in the oven, you have an easy-to-make brunch treat that can easily serve a crowd. The optional spicy maple dipping sauce can really up the ante.

Once you know the technique, you can make these meaty bites in all sorts of varieties. Use a jelly-filled doughnut hole for an extra surprise and to up the sweet-salty factor. Use a soft pretzel nugget instead of the doughnut hole and wrap in spicy Italian sausage meat for a more savory punch.

Inside Out Pigs In Blankets

Credit: Photo by Stacey Ballis

Serves 4, but you can multiply up as needed


8 doughnut holes of your preferred flavor, plain, glazed, cinnamon and jelly-filled all work well
1 package of 8 breakfast sausage patties


Preheat your oven to 350. Prep a baking sheet by lining with foil or parchment and then spraying the foil generously with nonstick spray.

To assemble, take a sausage patty and place it between two sheets of parchment or wax paper, and using a rolling pin, roll the sausage meat out to a disk about 4 inches across. Peel the top paper off, replace it and flip the whole over, and peel the other sheet of parchment off so that the disk of sausage meat is not stuck to either. Remove the top piece of parchment and place a donut hole in the center of the sausage disk, gently pulling the sausage meat over the donut hole to completely encase it in sausage, pinching the edges closed, and giving it a roll around in your palm to be sure it is all sealed and even. Place on the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining sausage patties and donut holes, keeping them about two inches apart on the baking sheet.

Bake for 15-18 minutes until the balls are cooked through and browned. If they did not brown enough to your liking you can turn the broiler on high for 30 second or so. Alternatively, if you really like a crispy outside, you can pan-fry these, but be prepared, they spatter and require a lot of minding to prevent burning, which is more than I can really handle in the morning.

You can make these ahead for parties and reheat in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. You can also make them and freeze them raw, just throw them on a sheet pan on parchment into the freezer, and then once frozen, store in a zip-top freezer bag. Bake from frozen for 22-25 minutes.

If you are not cooking right after making them, be sure to bake to an internal temp of 185 to ensure that the donut hole is hot enough to have cooked off any raw meat juices it might have absorbed during the resting.

For optional dipping sauce:


½ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes


In a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring the syrup to a boil and add the pepper flakes. Cook the syrup with the pepper flakes until slightly reduced and thickened, about five minutes.