Spicy Meatballs with Sauce Recipe
Spicy Meatballs with Sauce Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Spicy Meatballs with Sauce Recipe

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I rely on Italian sausage to make my meatballs. Not only do they taste great, but they also cook to perfection in the slow cooker along with a homemade sauce! —Rosanne Bergman, Alta Loma, California
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Cook: 5 hours
MAKES:8 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Cook: 5 hours
MAKES: 8 servings


  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup crushed seasoned salad croutons
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 pound Johnsonville® Mild Ground Italian Sausage
  • SAUCE:
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Hot cooked pasta

Nutritional Facts

1 cup sauce with 5 meatballs equals 369 calories, 17 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 88 mg cholesterol, 1,097 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 21 g protein.


  1. In a large bowl, combine the egg, croutons, onion, green pepper, garlic powder, cumin, oregano and pepper. Crumble turkey and sausage over mixture and mix well. Shape into 1-in. balls. Place in a 5-qt. slow cooker.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cornstarch, sugar and broth until smooth; stir in the tomatoes, carrots, tomato paste, soup mix, garlic, basil and pepper flakes. Pour over meatballs. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until meatballs are cooked through. Serve with pasta.
  3. Serve immediately or cool before placing in a freezer container. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months.
  4. To use frozen meatballs: Completely thaw in the refrigerator. Place meatballs in a large skillet; cover and cook for 10 minutes or until heated through. Serve with pasta. Yield: 8 servings.
Originally published as Spicy Meatballs with Sauce in Taste of Home Everyday Slow Cooker & One Dish Recipes Annual 2008, p27

Nutritional Facts

1 cup sauce with 5 meatballs equals 369 calories, 17 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 88 mg cholesterol, 1,097 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 21 g protein.

Medium-Bodied Red Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied red wine such as Chianti, Sangiovese, Malbec or Zinfandel.

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Reviewed Feb. 8, 2013

"This has become one of our favorites. I do double the red pepper flakes as we like a lot of spice & brown the meatballs in the oven for about 10-15 min to reduce the grease. With just the 2 of us now this makes 3 meals for us. The leftovers freeze very well & make for a great easy week night meal. Gotta love that!"

Reviewed Oct. 1, 2012

"Excellent flavor. I had to make a few changes simply because of what I had on hand. Used 3 pints of home canned tomatoes & 1 pint of home canned tomato juice in place of the 2 - 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes. Also doubled the red pepper flakes because we like a lot of spice. Thanks you for posting this awesome recipe!"

Reviewed Sep. 2, 2012

"The grease from the meatballs made the sauce thin out and the taste was not great."

Reviewed Aug. 31, 2012

"This was an easy and delicious recipe! I did use the new Johnsonville Chicken & Pork sausage rather than the all pork to cut down on the fat a bit, you just have to remove the casings and break up the meat. Once everything is in the pot, you just let it cook away - that's my favorite kind of recipe! Since it's just me and my husband, I froze half."

Reviewed Aug. 22, 2012

"I followed the directions exactly and this was excellent! My entire family enjoyed it. The only thing I might do the next time is brown the meatballs first before placing them into the slow cooker, other than that it's a keeper!"

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