Crockpot Sausage and Peppers
An easy family recipe that’s wildly easy to prepare and yielding crowd-pleasing results, Crockpot Sausage and Peppers requires no browning and makes a simple yet delicious weeknight dinner. It’s a party go-to dish that’s guaranteed to please!
about this crockpot sausage and peppers recipe
Okay, I’ve been holding out on you…
This slow cooker sausage and peppers recipe has been a staple in my kitchen for years, and I honestly thought it already held a spot here along with all my other easy dump and go slow cooker recipes.
Turns out, the recipe was still living in my head, so I set out to fix that problem as soon as possible!
I originally learned this recipe from my mother-in-law, an upstate New York native, where American Italian food is taken very seriously.
She makes this recipe year round, but the ease of prep makes it a staple for her during the warm summer months when they entertain a crowd.
process & tips
Especially since there’s no pre-browning, the prep is an ultra simple chop and drop situation – plus the kitchen stays cool because you don’t have to turn on the stove or oven!
Just add everything to the slow cooker, set the timer and let the crockpot go to work for you.
It’s also super adaptable, so you can throw in extra sausage, extra sauce, and extra veggies to increase the serving size.
That’s the amazing thing about it, no matter how many people you have to feed you can stretch this recipe to make it work.
My mother-in-law also adds meatballs to her sausage and peppers, so if you want to take her lead you can also add a bag of frozen, defrosted meatballs or my favorite meatballs if you like.
why use the slow cooker?
I love using the slow cooker for sausage and peppers, because after you slice the peppers and onions it’s a completely hands off recipe.
As an added bonus your kitchen stays cool in the warmer months, and the food stays hot if you’re feeding a crowd.
During the slow cook-time, all the flavors have a chance to develop and marry together – taking simple ingredients and turning them into a dish that tastes like it took you all day to simmer & stir.
how to make sausage and peppers with sauce
I like sausage and peppers with sauce, and so I use a pre-made marinara to keep the ingredient list and prep time minimal.
Since this recipe uses so few ingredients, look for a marinara sauce with really good flavor, such as Rao’s.
how to make sausage and peppers with no sauce
If you prefer sausage and peppers without sauce, skip the marinara and add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon no-salt added Italian seasoning, and teaspoon kosher salt along with the peppers, onions, and sausage.
Without sauce, I also like to finish sausage and peppers with a splash of pepperoncini juice.
Having that little bit of brightness (that you’d otherwise miss from the tomato-based marinara sauce) really helps lift up all the flavors.
what kind of sausage goes in sausage and peppers?
Traditionally, sweet Italian sausage (which isn’t sweet, but used as a way to differentiate it from spicy Italian sausage) works best for sausage and peppers.
If you prefer it spicy, feel free to use half (or all) spicy Italian sausage in this recipe.
You can also substitute Italian chicken sausage if you prefer.
Tip: You can make peppers and onions (without sausage) in the slow cooker. Just skip the marinara and sausage, then add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon no-salt added Italian seasoning, and teaspoon kosher salt, stir, then cook according to the recipe.
what to serve with sausage and peppers?
There are so many delicious ways to serve sausage and peppers!
You can stuff it into warm hoagie or sausage rolls, toss with cooked pasta of any shape, serve with garlic bread on the side topped with an Italian cheese blend, or go for a low-carb option by serving over cooked spaghetti squash or cauliflower rice.
It would also be great with a simple side salad served with it – just add a healthy dressing, like this easy balsamic vinaigrette, to your favorite fresh greens.
ingredients & modifications
Sweet Italian sausage: I used sweet Italian sausage for this sausage and peppers dish. But if you prefer things a little more on the spicy side, you can use half or all spicy Italian sausage in its place – that works great for this recipe too. Pork sausage yields super tender, flavorful results in this recipe, but if you prefer not to use pork, chicken sausage will also work.
Bell peppers: You can use red, orange, yellow, or green bell peppers. All will taste great in this recipe! I used a mix of different colors of bell peppers but you could use all of just one too.
Onions: The slow cooked onions add so much flavor to this dish without a lot of extra effort on your part. I find yellow onions work best for this recipe.
Marinara sauce: Premade marinara sauce is such a great pantry staple and shortcut recipe ingredient! I look for a marinara sauce with really good flavor, such as Rao’s (since we’re using so few ingredients). For a low sodium option, be sure to use low sodium marinara. You can also make this dish without sauce if you prefer, be sure to see my instructions for how to do that above.
Because of the salt in the marinara and sausages, you’ll notice that this recipe does not call for additional salt. However, because sausage and marinara brands differ in sodium, I suggest tasting the sauce at the end and adding salt if desired.
this recipe is…
more slow cooker recipes
Crockpot Sausage and Peppers
- 2 pounds sweet Italian sausage
- 3 medium bell peppers, thinly sliced (red, orange, yellow, green, or a mix)
- 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 1 (25 ounce) jar marinara sauce
Optional serving suggestions:
- 6 sausage rolls or hoagie rolls, 1 pound cooked pasta (any shape), garlic bread, shredded Italian cheese blend, parmesan cheese, cooked spaghetti squash, or cauliflower rice
- Add the sausage, bell peppers, onion, marinara, and salt to a 6-quart slow cooker.
- Stir to combine, then cover. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours. Do not uncover during this time.
- Carefully remove the sausage and slice into 1-inch pieces. Add back to the slow cooker and stir. Taste, and adjust seasoning if desired.
- Serve warm on rolls, over pasta, with bread, cooked spaghetti squash, or cauliflower rice.