Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole is an easy comforting dinner that can be made sweet or spicy. It's packed with delicious Italian sausage, vegetables and tasty seasonings.
Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole is a one pot meal that makes a hearty dinner any time of the year. It's a great family meal or holiday recipe. This crock pot sausage stew is flavored with tomatoes, herbs and spices, and plenty of aromatics like garlic and onions.
It's packed with sweet or spicy Italian sausage and nutritious vegetables like carrots and bell peppers. It's naturally dairy-free and one big serving has only about 400 calories.
This comfort food classic is a crock pot favorite- it's easy and has a quick cooking time on high or can be cooked low and longer depending on the time you have. Along with crock pot pepper steak and one pot slow cooker meatloaf and vegetables, this recipe is perfect for busy weeknights and lazy weekends alike.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It make a great family dinner.
- It has a quick cooking time (4 hours on high).
- It can be made sweet or spicy.
- A one pot meal!
- It's simple- almost a dump and go meal!
- Italian sausage links: any variety of chicken or pork Italian sausage in mild or hot works well. Ground sausage is also a good choice if preferred.
- Uncooked short pasta: such as shells, bow ties, ziti, penne, etc.
- Vegetables: carrots, colorful bell pepper and chopped tomatoes.
- Spices: parsley, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, bay leaf, salt and ground black pepper.
- Sweet onion: yellow onion and red onion also work well.
- Garlic cloves
- Tomato puree
- Chicken broth: or water and bouillon cubes.
STEP 1: Slice the Italian sausage into ½ inch round pieces. In a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium-high. Add the Italian sausage pieces, parsley, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and black pepper. Saute for 5 minutes, or until sausage begins to brown lightly. Turn off the heat and add ¼ cup of cool water. Deglaze the pan with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom to release all brown bits and seasonings.
STEP 2: Add the browned sausage to the slow cooker, including the seasonings and all brown bits scraped from the bottom of the pan. Add carrots, bell pepper, onions, garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato puree, water, chicken bouillon cubes and bay leaf. Add a pinch of sugar to correct acidity. Stir well.
STEP 3: Set the slow cooker to low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. In the last 30 minutes, add the uncooked pasta.
STEP 4: Discard the bay leaf. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Tip 1 - Sausage: any variation of Italian sausage works well in this recipe, including both hot and sweet and chicken and pork types. A combination of sweet Italian pork sausage and spicy Italian chicken sausage is my favorite. Ground Italian sausage also works well.
Tip 2 - Pasta: short pasta types such as shells, farfalle, rigatoni, penne, and ziti are ideal for casseroles. This stew can be served over white or brown rice, quinoa, or couscous instead of adding the pasta to it. For a lower carb option, cauliflower rice is a good choice.
Tip 3 - Serving: sausage stew makes a great one pot dinner. It pairs well with classic salads and no fuss side dishes, like baby potatoes, mashed potatoes, green beans and parmesan asparagus.
Yes! It's fine to use frozen sausage in your slow cooker. It may take an extra hour or so to cook.
This recipe is slow cooked for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
Browning the sausage with the seasonings is technically an optional step but doing so will make the casserole more flavorful as it sears in the juices from the sausage. If you don't want to take this extra step, that's no problem! Just add the sausage and seasonings to the crock pot with all other ingredients (except pasta).
- Add a golden diced potato or sweet potato.
- Make it a cheesy slow cooker sausage casserole by adding cheddar cheese at the end, just until it melts into the stew.
- Add more vegetables: celery, mushrooms, kale, spinach, green beans, peas and asparagus all go well with sausage casserole.
How To Store
This recipe keeps in the fridge for up to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
If you enjoyed this recipe, make sure to give it a star rating and let me know what you thought in the comments! And follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for more delicious recipes!
Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole
- 2 lbs Italian sausage links *see notes
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 carrots chopped
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 1 large sweet onion chopped
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 1 can diced tomatoes 15 oz
- 1 ½ cups water
- 4 chicken bouillon cubes
- 1 bay leaf
- pinch of sugar
- 12 oz uncooked pasta *see notes
- Slice the Italian sausage into ½ inch round pieces. In a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium-high. Add the Italian sausage pieces, parsley, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and black pepper. Saute for 5 minutes, or until sausage begins to brown lightly. Turn off the heat and add ¼ cup of cool water. Deglaze the pan with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom to release all brown bits and seasonings.
- Add the browned sausage to the slow cooker, including the seasonings and all brown bits scraped from the bottom of the pan. Add carrots, bell pepper, onions, garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato puree, water, chicken bouillon cubes and bay leaf. Add a pinch of sugar to correct acidity. Stir well.
- Set the slow cooker to low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. In the last 30 minutes, add the uncooked pasta.
- Discard the bay leaf. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Loved the recipe basics, but way too salty!
An easy adjustment for sure, as we all have a different tolerance for salt. 🙂 Salt level will also be affected by the brand of broth and sausage too.
Kari Heron | Chef and Steward
I always wondered how pasta would come out if cooked in a slow cooker and you answered my question in this post. Will definitely try because my son loves recipes like this.
I've served this slow cooker sausage casserole twice in the last week. Once with potato purèe and once with rice. It's a fab cook once eat twice recipe!
My kind of meal! I made this with garbanzo beans instead of pasta, and OMG, what a flavorful, comforting, delicious dish! Thanks for the inspiration!
A hearty and satisfying meal for the seasons but not too difficult to make either which is so nice! Looks absolutely delicious 😀
Perfect weeknight meal to add to the rotation. My husband loves sausage, and I love the simplicity of the slow cooker 😉 Thanks!
This recipe is amazing! I just made it for dinner and my whole family loved it 😉
I made this last night, and it was so delicious! The hands-on prep time was really quick, so it's perfect for those weeknights, and it was super cozy for fall. Will put this on our rotation.
This is definitely my comfort food. Nutritious and healthy. Love the combination of Sausage and veggies. A comforting Bowl of goodness.
This is like my favorite Italian pasta cooked low and slow. It was super delicious and definitely a great dinner for busy weeknights.
I loved how easy and full of flavor this slow cooker sausage casserole it. We didn't even have leftovers, it was so tasty.