I have looked for the answer online, but no luck so far.

Does the ice "burn" the meat and it gets white?

How does it work?

  • Ice is used in sausage making to prevent the proteins in the meat from coagulating, since the rotary knives that mince the meat produce heat. This is not specific to Weißwurst, so I don't think this is mainly responsible for the color.
    – user27055
    Commented Sep 21, 2021 at 7:37

3 Answers 3


The real question should be "what makes sausages pink" - but more later.

All meat turns greyish-white or brown when cooked. This is due to the myoglobin, which makes raw meat look pink or red, being not heat stable. When cooked it denaturates to metmyoglobin, which is grey-brown.

For pinkish sausages, curing salts are used. They contain sodium nitrite, which transforms the myoglobin to a more stable form nitrosomyoglobin, that becomes Nitrosomyochromogen when heated - and is red.

For Weisswurst, simple table salt is used in a sausage mixture that contains light coloured meats (veal, sometimes pork), fat and water, hence the whiteish-grey colour. Curing salts have a preserving effect that simple table salt does not have. Traditionally, Weisswurst was therefore supposed to eaten before noon. Modern refrigerators have made this former necessity obsolete, yet the custom remains.

  • Very detailed answer and very interesting. The photos from Weisswurst I have seen online, however, seem whiter than the whitest meats I know, almost as white as milk.
    – tarball
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 17:23
  • @tarball, they aren't that white. Speaking from experience.
    – Stephie
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 18:01
  • So, in real life they're not as white as in the pictures of the english Wikipedia article link ?
    – tarball
    Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 18:34
  • 1
    @tarball compare to the white plate: about the same colour as poached veal or chicken breast. Whiteish, but not milk-white.
    – Stephie
    Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 19:15

According to Wikipedia, it's because of the lack of preservatives and the low cooking temperature. Veal is a light coloured meat if the calf is slaughtered at an early age and milk fed.

I don't know why you think ice is involved.

  • He thinks there is ice involved, because that's how weisswurst is made, with ice.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 15:12
  • Yes, exactly :) As soon as someone described a white sausage to me and showed me the pictures, I looked into recipes online to try and find something unusual. The only thing that seemed unusual was the ice, hence my sypposition.
    – tarball
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 17:22
  • The ice has to do with texture, not colour - hot dog / frankfurter type sausages are made with ice, too.
    – Stephie
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 18:03

White sausages such as these contain milk powder to enhance the white color

  • 2
    Do you have a source for that claim? At least for the German/Bavarian version, milk or milk powder is not used.
    – Stephie
    Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 5:39

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