As a busy mom, slow cooker recipes are essential. This sweet & spicy marinara sauce is perfect when paired with meatballs in the slow cooker and it’s very easy to make. It can be used as an appetizer for large crowds, or made into meatball marinara sliders (or subs) for a main dish. While this Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Marinara Sauce recipe is a sponsored post for Farm Rich, all opinions are my own.

Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Marinara Sauce + Meatball Sliders

Did you know that January is National Slow Cooking Month? A whole month dedicated to making food in a slow cooker. It’s quite fitting for me, as it seems that our slow cooker gets more use in January than any other month.

Maybe it’s because I am trying to get organized in the new year and slow cooker recipes typically allow me more time to focus on other things than being in the kitchen. Or maybe it’s as the temperatures are getting colder, a warm slow cooker meal is comforting. Either way, my three slow cookers definitely earn their keep in my kitchen.

How to Make Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Marinara Sauce

Recipes that are versatile are good to have on hand. This sweet and spicy meatball marinara can be used for dinner, lunch, as leftovers, appetizers, during gatherings, football parties, and more. The meatballs can be served on their own, part of a platter, as sliders, sandwiches, or subs. It can also be paired with noodles. Each time you make it, the recipe can be served differently, giving your family variety.

How to Make Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Marinara Sauce

The meatballs we use with the recipe are Farm Rich Italian Style Meatballs. Made with ground beef and pork, the fully-cooked frozen meatballs are convenient for me to have in my freezer. Plus, their meatballs are gluten free, and come in two more varieties – Turkey and Original – with up to 13g of protein per serving.

Farm Rich Meatballs

Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Marinara Sauce Recipe

Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Marinara Sauce Recipe

(printable recipe at the end of this post)

Ingredients:

  • 2 28oz cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 6oz cans tomato paste
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ tablespoon black pepper
  • ½ cup sugar

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients in a large slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours.

After 3 hours on high, mix in 2 packages of Farm Rich Italian Style Meatballs. Cook on high for 3-4 more hours.

Serve as desired. This recipe can be cut in half to use with just 1 package of meatballs.

Slower Cooker Sweet & Spicy Marinara Sauce + Meatball Sliders

For sweet & spicy meatball marinara sliders, I like to melt some butter and brush it into the top and bottom of the slider halves placed on a baking sheet. Add mozzarella cheese slices to the bottom buns.

Bake on 375° for  5-6 minutes.

Slower Cooker Sweet & Spicy Marinara Sauce + Meatball Sliders

Remove from the oven and immediately scoop meatballs into the bottom buns and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Slower Cooker Sweet & Spicy Marinara Sauce + Meatball Sliders

Add the top buns and cut into individual sliders. Serve as an appetizer or as a main dish for dinner.

Slower Cooker Sweet & Spicy Marinara Sauce + Meatball Sliders

Looking for inspiration and new food ideas? The Farm Rich Meatball Truck Tour will be coming to greater St. Louis, MO Walmart Supercenter locations. At each stop, there will be free Meatball samples, recipes ideas, and food inspirations to help busy shoppers during the New Year. Check the list here for specific times and store locations. Note: they will be in the St. Louis area this week January 11th through the 15th!

Slower Cooker Sweet & Spicy Meatball Marinara Sliders

Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Marinara Sauce
 
Easy sweet and spicy marinara sauce, perfect for meatballs made in the slow cooker.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 28oz cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 6oz cans tomato paste
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ tablespoon black pepper
  • ½ cup sugar
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly in slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 6 hours (or high for 3 hours)
  3. To serve with meatballs, after 3 hours on high, add 2 packages of Farm Rich Italian Style Meatballs. Cook for 3-4 more hours on high.
  4. *Note: recipe can be cut in half for 1 package of meatballs.

Slower Cooker Sweet & Spicy Meatball Marinara SlidersWhat is your favorite way to serve meatballs?