Cheesy Slow Cooker Sausage Balls
Cheesy Slow Cooker Sausage Balls

Slow Cooker Sausage Balls are cheesy, easy to make and super delicious. Serve them as a party appetizer, spoon them over pasta, or make a meatball sub! You choose.

These slow cooker sausage balls are all kinds of magic. They’re kind of better than your standard Italian meatball, but also Easier-Simply brown the meatballs in a skillet, toss them in a slow cooker for a few hours, then serve as a party appetizer or family dinner. You can’t go wrong!

These sausage balls are basically meatballs, but less fussy; The recipe doesn’t call for breadcrumbs, eggs, or a bunch of other add-ins. What it takes is cheese (actually two types): Cream cheese and cheddar cheese. Stir these together with Italian sausage and you’re in business!

Don’t skip the tanning step

I was worried the meatballs would fall apart in the slow cooker or while browning, but they firmed up nicely and held their shape. The browning helped with this and also adds great flavor to the sausage balls, so don’t skip this step!

Allow enough time to brown the sausage balls in a pan with a little olive oil Before Transfer them to a slow cooker so they develop flavor and hold their shape as they simmer.

Make-ahead tips for stuffed sausage balls

These sausage balls can be made up to a few hours before serving. If you need to do them further in advance, that’s fine. Assemble the sausage balls and refrigerate for 2-3 days until ready to cook.

Also with regard to how flexible you can be with the slow cook time, I left a batch of these in a slow cooker two hours high and up to eight hours low and both were excellent.

Ideas for serving sausage balls

So many. Portion. ideas! Here are a few popular serving ideas for these stuffed sausage balls:

  1. Serve as an appetizer: Toss some toothpicks next to a large platter of meatballs and the appetizers are ready.
  2. Make a dinner out of it: Cook some spaghetti, stir in a few spoonfuls of slow cooker marinara sauce after the pasta is cooked, then serve with sausage balls and fresh parsley.
  3. Treat yourself to a hearty weekend lunch: Toss some of these sausage balls in a provolone cheese hoagie for the best meatball sub!

Other ideas for this? Leave a comment!

Storage and heating of stuffed sausage balls

These sausage balls keep perfectly in the fridge for about five days. You can also freeze them in a freezer-safe container for up to three months. It’s best to reheat them in a saucepan on the stove with a splash of water, or toss them back into the slow cooker on low. You will be just as good as the first day.

More ways to eat Italian sausage

  • Grilled Italian sausages with peppers, onions and arugula
  • Sausage Breakfast Casserole
  • Potato Spinach Sausage Casserole
  • Polenta sausage mozzarella casserole
  • Sausage stuffed zucchini

Cheesy Slow Cooker Sausage Balls

preparation time
10 mins

cooking time
20 minutes

slow cooker
2 hours

total time
2 hrs 30 mins

30 meatballs


  • 2 pounds of Italian sausage, either loose or removed 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 or homemade

  • Fresh parsley, garnish

  • pasta, for serving (optional)


  1. Make the Sausage Balls:

    In a medium bowl, mix together Italian sausage, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and kosher salt. Using your hands, mix the mixture really well so there aren’t any large chunks of cream cheese left behind.

    Form tablespoon-sized balls from the mixture. (Tip: It’s easier to make the balls if your hands are cold and wet!) Alternatively, you can use a small cookie scoop to make the meatballs. You should get about 30 balls out of the mixture. Place the meatballs on a plate.

  2. Brown the Sausage Balls:

    In a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat, add a small splash of oil. Add a batch of sausage balls (about 12-14 balls, or as many as you can fit in your pan without crowding). Fry for 2-3 minutes, turning once to get some browning on at least two sides. The sausage balls don’t have to be fully cooked through.

    Repeat with the remaining sausage balls until all of the balls are browned. (It will probably take three batches to brown them all.) When done, place the sausage balls in a slow saucepan.

  3. Cook Sausage Balls:

    When all of the sausage balls are browned and in the slow cooker, gently stir in the marinara sauce (the sausage balls may be fragile) and cook on high heat for 2 hours or on low heat for up to 8 hours.

    Serve ready-made sausage balls garnished with parsley and secured with toothpicks as an appetizer or over pasta for a full meal.

    Leftovers keep in the fridge for 5-6 days. Warm in a saucepan over low heat with a splash of water. You can also freeze the sausage balls in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.

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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!