Slow Cooker Hot Italian Sausage Red Sauce

Slow Cooker Hot Italian Sausage Red Sauce

Sometimes red sauce is missing something.
All to often people use plain ol’ ground beef as the source of protein for the Italian pasta dishes.
When you use ground beef, you have to rely on adding several other spices and ingredients to get a good flavor.

Well I totally have the cure for your boring red sauce pasta dish.
Johnsonville® Hot Italian Sausage basically saves the day. Swap it out for the ground beef! The sausage adds an amazing depth of flavor and because I used the “Hot” Variety, the sauce has a nice kick.
So next time you go to reach for the ground beef(or ground chicken), grab the sausage instead!

Slow Cooker Hot Italian Sausage Red Sauce



5.0 from 1 reviews
Slow Cooker Hot Italian Sausage Red Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 28oz. can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 28oz. can Tomato Sauce
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon Sugar
  • 1 package Johnsonville® Hot Italian Sausage Links, divided
  • Pasta, cooked to package directions
  1. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, minced garlic,bay leaves,Italian seasoning and sugar to slow cooker, stir to incorporate.
  2. In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown 3 sausage links for 2 minutes per side.
  3. Remove from pan and add to slow cooker.
  4. Remove casing from 2 remaining sausage links and add sausgae to same pan.
  5. Cook sausage until no longer pink, breaking up the pieces with a spatula or wooden spoon.
  6. Drain and add to slow cooker.
  7. Make sure sausage links are completely covered with sauce.
  8. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
  9. Serve over your favorite pasta.

*As part of my partnership with Johnsonville®, I have been compensated to represent the brand. All opinions are 100% mine*


  1. 1

    I couldn’t agree with you more about the sausage. I buy the Johnsonville Ground Hot Sausage all the time!

  2. 3

    I love making sauce in my Slow cooker. I will throw some sausage in there next time for sure.

  3. 4

    Now this is my kind of dinner recipe! Can’t wait to see you soon girl!! Let’s wear matching outfits again, haha!

  4. 6

    It’s cold and icy here today…this sauce looks like the perfect dinner!

  5. 8

    Nice recipe! Yes, Italian sausage is the way to go for dishes like this. My mom’s lasagna calls for half ground beef and half Italian sausage. One time I messed up and did it with only beef, and it was just NOT the same. I could have cried, especially after all that work building the lasagna. Love that you did this in a slow cooker! Pinned!

  6. 10

    We love use spicy sausages in our pasta dishes (and risotto and…). This sounds like the perfect cold weather meal.

  7. 12

    Love quick meals like this for during the week (and weekends too sometimes!). This looks delicious!

  8. 14

    Italian sausage does add a little something-something that you don’t get from ground beef. This looks wonderful!

  9. 15

    Love being able to use the slow cooker for heart meals like this!

  10. 17

    Love this!! What a great way to spice up your sauce!

  11. 18

    Looks like DINNER! Yum!