These slow cooker sausage balls can be magical. These sausage balls are a great alternative to traditional Italian meatballs. They also come faster than regular meatballs. Just brown the meatballs on a skillet and then put them in a slow cooker for about an hour. Serve as appetizers or family meals. It’s impossible to go wrong with these meatballs!
The secret ingredient: Cheese
These sausage balls are similar to meatballs but they’re less fussy. The recipe doesn’t require breadcrumbs, eggs or any other add-ins. It does require cheese, but only two types: cream cheese or cheddar cheese. Combine these with Italian sausage.
Do not skip the Browning Step
Although I was concerned that the meatballs might fall apart while slow cooking or browning, they held their shape well and were very stable. Browning helps with this. It also gives the sausage balls great flavor.
You should allow enough time for the sausage balls to brown in a skillet with olive oil before transferring them to a slow cooker to preserve their flavor and shape as they simmer.
Get ready for stuffed sausage balls with these tips
You can make these sausage balls up to three hours before you need them. You can make them even further ahead of time. Make the sausage balls, then store them in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
In terms of flexibility with slow-cooking, I also left a batch in a slow cooker for 2 hours on high and 8 hours on low. Both were delicious.
Ideas for Sausage Balls
So. Many. Serving. Ideas! These are some of our favorite ways to serve these stuffed sausage balls.
- Use them as appetizers. Place some toothpicks on top of the large platter of meatballs.
- Make dinner from them: Cook some spaghetti and then add a few tablespoons of marinara sauce to the slow cooker. After the pasta has been cooked, serve the spaghetti with sausage balls, fresh parsley, and chopped green onions.
- Enjoy a hearty weekend meal:Toss these sausage balls in a hamburger with provolone cheese to make the best meatball sub.
Storing and Reheating Stuffed Sausage balls
These sausage balls can be kept in the refrigerator for up to five days. They can be frozen in a freezer-safe container up to 3 months. They can be cooked in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat with a little water or in a slow cooker on low heat. They will taste just as good the second day.
Easy Slow Cooker Sausage Balls
PREP TIME – 10 minutes
COOK TIME – 20 minutes
SLOW COOKER – 2 hours
TOTAL TIME – 2 hours 30 minutes
SERVINGS – 30 meatballs
- 2 pounds Italian sausage in bulk or taken from the casing
- 4 ounces (1 Cup) grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon kosher Salt
- Olive oil, for browning
- 3 cups marinara sauce (store-bought, homemade)
- Garnish with fresh parsley
- Pasta for serving (optional).
- Make sausage ballsMix together the Italian sausage, cheddar cheese and cream cheese in a large bowl. Season with kosher salt. Mix the mixture well with your hands so that there aren’t any large chunks of cream cheese.
Make small balls from the mixture. Tip: It’s easier to form the balls if your hands have been wet and cold. You can also use a cookie scoop to make the meatballs. The mixture should yield approximately 30 balls. Place the meatballs onto a plate.
- Brown the sausage ballsA small amount of oil can be added to a medium skillet on medium heat. You will need to add a batch of sausage balls. Flip the sausage balls once every two minutes to brown them. You don’t need to cook the sausage balls completely.
Continue with the remaining sausage balls, until all are browned. It will likely take three batches to brown all of them. Once the sausage balls are cooked, transfer them to a slow cooker.
- Make sausage ballsOnce all the sausage balls have been browned, place them in a slow cooker. Stir in the marinara sauce gently (the sausage balls might be fragile). Cook on high heat for 2 to 4 hours or low heat up to 8 hours.
For a complete meal, serve finished sausage balls with garnishes of parsley.
Remaining leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 6 days. Heat the sausage balls in a saucepan over low heat and add a little water. The sausage balls can be frozen in a freezer-safe container up to 3 months.