Good bolognese sauce (Italian Ragu) is cooked slowly, puttering away as deep meaty flavors develop. This slow cooker bolognese recipe couldn't be easier! | natashaskitchen.com

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This slow cooker Bolognese is a twist on a classic Italian Ragu sauce. A good bolognese sauce is cooked slowly, puttering away on the stove for hours as the deep meaty flavors develop but it’s so easy in the slow cooker!

This slow cooker bolognese recipe allows you to set it and forget it. Watch everyone’s eyes light up as their warm pasta bowls are filled with noodles, an irresistible meat sauce, and pummeled with cheese. Buy one of these hand-cranked Cheese Grater doodads and it will almost feel like dining out because lets face it, dinner is way more fun pretending you’re at an Italian restaurant (we have kids). This sauce freezes and reheats well so you’ll have leftovers ready for another meal.

Big thank you to our friends at Reynolds® who sponsored this bolognese recipe and made it way too easy to clean my slow cooker, actually I didn’t even have to (more on that below)!

Slow Cooker Bolognese Recipe

If you love traditional Bolognese Sauce, you’ll love the ease of making it in a slow cooker. The meat becomes incredibly tender and rich in flavor as it slow cooks in the crockpot.

Ingredients for Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce:

1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 celery sticks, finely diced
2 medium carrots, grated
2 lb ground beef (we prefer beef with 15% or 20% fat content)
Salt and black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley, plus more to serve
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup dry white wine (Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay)
2 (28 oz each) canned crushed tomatoes (or canned whole tomatoes crushed by hand)*
1 cup whole milk
1 bay leaf, optional

Pasta and Parmesan (or your favorite Italian cheese) to serve

What You’ll Need:

Large skillet or dutch oven, slow cooker and Reynolds® Slow Cooker Liner

Good bolognese sauce (Italian Ragu) is cooked slowly, puttering away as deep meaty flavors develop. This slow cooker bolognese recipe couldn't be easier! | natashaskitchen.com

*I know many chefs esteem Imported Italian whole plum tomatoes, but if you can’t find them in your grocery store (as was the case with me), the best quality you can buy will do! 🙂

Hold the phone! Have you tried these Reynolds slow cooker liners? They are so handy. I’m particularly fond of them for slow cooker meat dishes because those are the ones that need the longest cooking times and you otherwise have to soak or scrub your slow cooker for awhile. You’ll see below when I removed the liner; it was clean clean!

slow-cooker-bolognese-sauce-3

How to Make Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce:

1. In a large deep pan or dutch oven, heat 1/4 cup olive oil. Add onion, celery and carrots and sauté until softened (8-10 mins). Add minced garlic and 1/2 cup parsley and stir 30 seconds or until garlic is fragrant. Transfer to a slow cooker.

slow-cooker-bolognese-sauce-8

2. In the same pan (without washing it), add ground beef, season with 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and sauté until cooked through and no longer red (6-10 mins). For a leaner sauce, you can spoon off and discard excess oil at this point keeping 3 Tbsp oil in the pan. Add 1 cup white wine and sauté on med/high heat until wine has completely evaporated (8-10 mins) Transfer to slow cooker.

slow-cooker-bolognese-sauce-9

3. Add 1 cup milk, 1 bay leaf, 1 Tbsp sugar, and both cans of tomatoes with their juice. Stir to combine.

Good bolognese sauce (Italian Ragu) is cooked slowly, puttering away as deep meaty flavors develop. This slow cooker bolognese recipe couldn't be easier! | natashaskitchen.com

4. Cover and cook on low 8 hours or on high 3-4 hours. If it it seems too liquidy, let it cook with the lid off for the last 30 minutes. See how clean it is after I took out the bag? I just wiped the condensation with a paper towel. Easy peasy!

slow-cooker-bolognese-sauce-11

5. Season with more salt to taste (I added nearly 1 tsp more salt). Serve generous amounts of bolognese sauce over your favorite pasta, topped with cheese and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

Good bolognese sauce (Italian Ragu) is cooked slowly, puttering away as deep meaty flavors develop. This slow cooker bolognese recipe couldn't be easier! | natashaskitchen.com

Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce (Pasta Meat Sauce)

4.98 from 107 votes
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
A good bolognese sauce is cooked slowly, puttering away on the stove for hours as the deep meaty flavors develop but it's so easy in the slow cooker!
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 25 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 8 -10 servings

For the Bolognese Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 celery sticks, finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • 2 lb ground beef, we prefer beef with 15% or 20% fat content
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley, plus more to serve
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dry white wine, Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay
  • 2 28 oz each canned crushed tomatoes (or canned whole tomatoes, crushed)*
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 bay leaf, optional

To Serve:

  • Pasta, Parsley and Parmesan, or your favorite Italian cheese to serve

What You'll Need:

  • Large skillet or dutch oven, slow cooker

Instructions

  • In a large deep pan, heat 1/4 cup olive oil. Add onion, celery and carrots and sauté until softened (8-10 mins). Add garlic and 1/2 cup parsley and stir 30 seconds or until garlic is fragrant. Transfer to slow cooker.
  • In the same pan (without washing it), add ground beef, season with 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and sauté until cooked through and no longer red (6-10 mins). For leaner sauce, you can spoon off and discard excess oil at this point keeping 3 Tbsp oil in the pan. Add 1 cup white wine and sauté on med/high heat until wine has completely evaporated (8-10 mins). Transfer meat to slow cooker.
  • Add 1 cup milk, 1 bay leaf, 1 Tbsp sugar, and both cans of tomatoes with juice and stir to combine.
  • Cover and cook on low 8 hours or on high 3-4 hours. If it it seems too liquidy, let it cook with the lid off for the last 30 minutes.
  • Season with more salt to taste (I added nearly 1 tsp more salt). Serve generous amounts of bolognese sauce over your favorite pasta, topped with cheese and garnished with fresh parsley.

Notes

*I know many chefs esteem Imported Italian whole plum tomatoes, but if you can't find them in your grocery store (as was the case with me), the best quality you can buy will do!
Course: Lunch, Main Course, Sauce
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: crockpot bolognese, Slow cooker bolognese
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $$
Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

Good bolognese sauce (Italian Ragu) is cooked slowly, puttering away as deep meaty flavors develop. This slow cooker bolognese recipe couldn't be easier! | natashaskitchen.com

???That my friends is the definition of Italian comfort food!

Good bolognese sauce (Italian Ragu) is cooked slowly, puttering away as deep meaty flavors develop. This slow cooker bolognese recipe couldn't be easier! | natashaskitchen.com

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the creator behind Natasha's Kitchen (established in 2009), and I share family-friendly, authentic recipes. I am a New York Times Best-Selling cookbook author and a trusted video personality in the culinary world. My husband, Vadim, and I run this blog together, ensuring every recipe we share is thoroughly tested and approved. Our mission is to provide you with delicious, reliable recipes you can count on. Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you are here.

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Comments

  • Joel feldman
    June 5, 2024

    Love your sense of humor. Of course, your recipes are fantastic.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 5, 2024

      Thank you for that wonderful compliment, Joel!

      Reply

  • Gloria
    January 8, 2024

    Hi Natasha
    I love your cookbook. My husband is disabled from an arthritic disease. He doesn’t have much of an appetite. But if I make one of your recipes he really enjoys eating. Thanks so much❤️

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      January 8, 2024

      Hi Gloria! Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I’m so glad he is loving the recipes.

      Reply

  • Rebecca Hasse
    December 22, 2023

    I made this for a family who just welcomed a baby, and they thought this was fantastic! We really enjoyed it too, and we have plenty of leftovers for dinner tomorrow. I used a mix of pork and beef, one small can of tomato paste for one small can of diced tomatoes, and red wine (since these were all substitutions that I had). I think the red wine added a really nice flavor.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 22, 2023

      I’m so happy you enjoyed that. Thank you for sharing that with us, Rebecca!

      Reply

  • Melissa Marzullo
    November 6, 2023

    I doubled the recipe to have some to freeze. That left way too much liquid and oil. I cooked in the crock for 8 hours and it was still really runny and way too acidic. Added honey to help balance the flavor. I reduced oil as it sat on top every few hours. That helped. If by morning it’s still runny I will take the top off and see what happens. I may alter this using everything to the point of adding tomatoes and turn it in to a cream sauce instead. I spent several years living in northern Italy and just love all the creative ingredients used in dishes over pasta.

    Reply

  • Chiavelli
    July 12, 2023

    To me this is more of a Ragu then a true Italian rooted Bolognese, the difference being that Bolognese uses 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 ground pork or veal. It still sounds yummy and will also try. Thanks!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      July 12, 2023

      I hope you love it!

      Reply

  • Roseann
    March 1, 2023

    Hi Natasha, I have to say I love your recipes I have not sent pictures of the things I have made, but I promise I will the next time. You are my inspiration and I love your family. God bless you and you rock.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 1, 2023

      Thank you so much, Roseanne! I appreciate your love and support. I would love to see pictures. You can tag me on Instagram or Facbeook #natashaskitchen. Be blessed!

      Reply

  • Jane
    February 20, 2023

    Wow! My first attempt at making Bolognese – and it was a big hit with a very discriminating audience! Thank you Natasha!!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      February 20, 2023

      That’s awesome! I’m so glad it was a hit. Thank you for sharing.

      Reply

  • Danielle
    January 16, 2023

    So, so good! Made over the holidays for a big crowd. Amazing. I added some red pepper flakes as another review suggested, and used 1/2 cup sour cream instead of milk. Stays more creamy and less watery. Great recipe!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 16, 2023

      That’s just awesome! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review, Danielle!

      Reply

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