Transform Sausage Links Into Almost-Instant Meatballs

It's hard to beat that dreamy scent of a home-cooked meal wafting through your kitchen. And if you grew up in family that loves homemade meatballs, you know exactly what that smells like. But what if there were a way to get all the flavor and smell of homemade meatballs with half the effort? Next time you head out shopping, bypass the grocery store ground beef and head straight to the sausage.


If you've ever picked up a container of sausage links or ground sausage, you already know that it's pre-seasoned and ready to cook, unlike other meats like ground beef or ground chicken. So, if you want to make meatballs in a pinch, you can just remove the casing around those sausage links, roll them into balls, and sear them or bake them in the slow cooker. There are a few ways to make sure you get the most flavor here, though, including checking the label to make sure the sausage is seasoned with Italian seasonings or anything else you would normally add to your meatball recipe.

Be careful about what sausage you buy for almost-instant meatballs

Not all sausage is created equal. For this meatball trick, you'll likely want to purchase sweet Italian sausage links — or even hot and spicy sausage links, if you prefer some heat. Italian sausage is usually pre-seasoned with similar flavors that you'd add to your ground beef meatballs, such as garlic powder, parsley, and some fennel seed, making it the best option.


Avoid breakfast sausage, which is usually too sweet for meatballs. And this trick might not work if you're trying to make Swedish meatballs because the pre-packaged sausage flavor won't be suitable for Swedish meatballs' profile, which usually includes spices like allspice and nutmeg.

Once the sausage meatballs are shaped, you can cook them as desired by either giving them a quick sear on the stove, baking them in the oven, or adding them to a slow cooker with a little liquid and letting them heat through low and slow all day. Once they're done, pair them with pasta and red sauce or even turn them into meatball subs with mozzarella and Parmesan on a loaf of Italian bread.