Crockpot Sausage and Peppers combines bell peppers, onions, and sausages with a delicious homemade sauce right in the slow cooker. This dinner recipe is light on work and big on taste.
Overwhelmingly, when I asked readers at the start of this year what types of recipes they would like to see more of, they said slow cooker dinners. This Crockpot Sausage and Peppers recipe is for all of you. It is about fifteen minutes of prep work, and then you can come home to a delicious cooked dinner everyone will love.
This recipe is a spin on my Sausages and Peppers, and I dare say it might be even better in the slow cooker. While the sausages and peppers are perfect in this, it is truly the sauce, cooked low and slow, that sets this recipe apart. Made with simple ingredients that you already have in your pantry, this easy sauce will win over even your pickiest eater.
How to Make Crockpot Sausage and Peppers
- Brown the sausages in a skillet. While this step isn’t absolutely necessary, the point of it is to add another delicious layer of flavor.
- Make the sauce. In the bottom of the crockpot combine the crushed tomatoes, garlic, seasonings, sugar, salt, and pepper.
- Add the remaining ingredients. To the sauce, add the peppers, onions, and browned sausages.
- Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours.
- Melt cheese on top. Add cheese to the top of the sausages, turn the crockpot to high and allow to melt for 15 minutes.
As mentioned above, the sausages in this recipe do not have to be browned. In general when we brown meat before the rest of the cooking, it isn’t to help the meat cook. The point of browning meat is to add a depth of flavor to the dish.
I have a great section about this in my Pot Roast recipe that really explains the benefits of browning. That being said, if you are short on time, skip the browning, you will still enjoy the recipe.
What Sausages to Use
For this recipe, I’m suggesting that you use Italian pork sausages. They typically come in both mild and hot. I really love the Johnsonville mild Italian sausages. If you are looking to make this meal a little leaner, you could use Italian turkey sausages. Jennie-O makes sweet Italian sausages that are delicious and would work great in this.
How to Eat Crockpot Sausages and Peppers
This recipe would be great served multiple different ways. It would be delicious on hoagie rolls or over noodles. You could also just eat it with the vegetables for a great low carb dinner.
Adding Sugar to Sauce
Whenever I post my spaghetti sauce or my meat sauce on social media, I inevitably get the question asking why I add sugar to my sauce. The simple answer is that tomatoes are bitter and adding sugar balances that flavor out. Tomatoes, while they contain sugar, have quite a bit of acidity to them.
Think of a two sided scale. On one side you have the bitterness of the cooked tomatoes weighing down the scale. When you add sugar to the other side of the scale it just makes the scale level. Too little sugar, and the bitterness is still weighing the sauce down and can be tasted. Too much sugar and the sauce is sweet. When you add just a small amount, both flavors are neutralized and the flavor of the sauce can shine through.
You do not. I suggest browning them because of the flavor this adds, but it isn’t necessary. The sausages will fully cook without being browned first.
The sausages should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
You can double the recipe, but you will need to double all of it, including the sauce. Keep in mind that if you double it you will also need to add approximately an hour to the cooking time.
I don’t personally recommend cooking these longer than four hours. After too long in the slow cooker, all of the ingredients will begin to break down a bit too much. If you are hosting a party, you can set the slow cooker to warm and allow guests to serve themselves, but I don’t suggest cooking longer than four hours.
What goes with Sausages and Peppers
This recipe really works as a meal on it’s own. But if you are skipping the noodles and hoagie rolls and looking to keep this this low carb, here are a few suggestions:
If you make this Slow Cooker Sausage and Pepper recipe or any of my other recipes, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!
Crockpot Sausage and Peppers
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound Italian Sausages (if your family doesn't eat pork, there are great Italian turkey sausages on the market – read recommendations here)
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar (read why we add sugar here)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 medium green bell pepper cut into slices
- 1 medium red bell pepper cut into slices
- 1 small yellow onion cut into slices
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil.
- Brown the sausages on both sides, approximately 2 mintues for each side.
- In the base of a slow cooker, whisk together the crushed tomatoes, garlic, oregano, basil, sugar, salt, and epper.
- Add in the peppers and onions and then put the sausages on top. Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours.
- Top the sausages with shredded mozzarella. Turn the crockpot to high and cook for 15 minutes.