Crock Pot Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese sauce, a slow cooked ragú made with lean ground beef, pancetta, onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, wine, and cream is one of my favorite Italian sauces. I make this sauce whenever I need to feed a large crowd, or just to keep in my freezer. Serve this over pasta with a big Italian salad and everyone is happy!

Because Bolognese sauce needs to cook slow and low for several hours, the crock pot is ideal for this. You can make this with ground turkey, buffalo, veal, or whatever meat you prefer. I always make it with beef, using the leanest ground beef I can find.

Since purchasing my new crock pot a few months ago after reading so many reviews (which I love by the way, it’s the Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker), it’s been parked on my counter to ensure that I use it at least once a week. I’ve been taking some of my existing stove top recipes and trying them out in the crock pot which usually require some minor tweaks to make them work. Because liquids don’t evaporate as much in the crock pot, this recipe is slightly different than my stove top version.

By the way, first time trying out Reynold’s slow cooker liners, talk about an easy clean-up!

This sauce starts out on the stove, which is essential to brown the meat then slowly simmers in the crock pot for the rest of the day. You can start this the night before if you want this for a weeknight meal, then turn it on in the morning and go to work. When you get home, all you will need to do is boil some pasta, or roast some spaghetti squash, perhaps make a salad and you have a delicious meal! (Over a 2 oz dry/1 cup cooked serving of pasta, it’s a 9 points plus meal.)

Crock Pot Bolognese Sauce
Servings: 20 • Serving Size: 1/2 cup sauce • Points+: 4 pts • Smart Points: 3
Calories: 146.1 • Fat: 8.7 g • Protein: 6.7 g • Carb: 6.8 g • Fiber: 0.4 g • Sugar: 4 g
Sodium: 316 mg (without added salt)  


  • 4 oz pancetta, chopped (or center cut bacon)
  • 1 tbsp butter (or olive oil)
  • 1 large white onion, minced
  • 2 celery stalks (about 3/4 cup), minced
  • 2 carrots (about 3/4 cup), minced
  • 2 lb 95% lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 – 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes (I love Tuttorosso)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup half & half cream


In a large deep saute pan, sauté pancetta on low heat until the fat melts, about 4-5 minutes. Add butter, onions, celery and carrots and cook on medium-low heat until soft, about 5 minutes.

Increase flame to medium-high; add meat, season with salt and pepper and sauté until browned. Drain the fat then add wine; cook until it reduces down, about 3-4 minutes.  

Add to crock pot. Add tomatoes, bay leaves, salt and pepper; cover and set slow cooker to LOW 6 hours.  

After the 6 hours, adjust salt and pepper to taste, add half & half and parsley; stir and serve over your favorite pasta or spaghetti squash.

Makes about 10 cups. Leftovers can be frozen for future meals. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator then reheat on the stove or crock pot.

Stove top version here.