Cheesy Slow Cooker Sausage Balls

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

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Slow Cooker time: 2 hours
  • Yield: About 30 meatballs


  • 2 pounds Italian sausage, either bulk or removed from the casing
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 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)

Special equipment:


1 Make the sausage balls: In a medium bowl, mix together Italian sausage, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and kosher salt. Use your hands to mix the mixture really well so there are no huge chunks of cream cheese.

Shape the mixture into tablespoon-sized balls. (Tip: it’s easier to make the balls if your hands are cold and wet!) Alternatively, use a small cookie scoop to create the meatballs. You should get around 30 balls out of the mixture. Put the meatballs on a plate.

Mix ingredients for slow cooker sausage meatballsForm round sausage meatballs for slow cooker

2 Brown the sausage balls: Add a small drizzle of oil to a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add a batch of sausage balls (about 12-14 balls, or as many as will fit in your skillet without crowding). Cook for 2-3 minutes, flipping once to get some browning on at least two sides. The sausage balls do not need to be completely cooked through.

Repeat with the remaining sausage balls until all the balls have been browned. (It will probably take three batches to brown them all.) When finished, add the sausage balls to a slow cooker pot.

Brown sausage meatballs before putting them in the slow cookerPut browned sausage balls into the slow cooker pot

3 Cook the sausage balls: When all 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 low heat for up to 8 hours.

Serve finished sausage balls garnished with parsley and served with toothpicks as an appetizer or over pasta for a full meal.

Cheesy slow cooker sausage meatballs cooked in a crockpot

Leftovers keep fantastically in the fridge for 5-6 days. Reheat in a pot 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.