Crock Pot Bolognese Sauce

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Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce is a staple in my home! A slow cooked ragú made with lean ground beef, pancetta, onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, wine, and cream is one of my favorite Italian sauces.

Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce is a staple in my home! 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.

I’ve been taking some of my existing stove top recipes and recreating them for the slow cooker 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 Bolognese Recipe. I also have an Instant Pot Bolognese Recipe.

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, zucchini noodles or roast some spaghetti squash, perhaps make a salad and you have a delicious meal!
And since so many are asking, although I have and love my Instant Pot, I still love my slow cooker! I have the 6 Quart Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker (affil link). I love it because you can adjust the time you want it to cook, and it automatically turns to warm when it’s done. It also has a probe for meat that automatically shuts off when done. I hated my old crock pot, it burnt everything and my food had a weird taste. This slow cooker is so great, I actually own several!

How To Make Bolognese Sauce

Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce is a staple in my home! A slow cooked ragú made with lean ground beef, pancetta, onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, wine, and cream is one of my favorite Italian sauces.
Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce is a staple in my home! A slow cooked ragú made with lean ground beef, pancetta, onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, wine, and cream is one of my favorite Italian sauces.
Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce is a staple in my home! A slow cooked ragú made with lean ground beef, pancetta, onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, wine, and cream is one of my favorite Italian sauces.
Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce is a staple in my home! A slow cooked ragú made with lean ground beef, pancetta, onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, wine, and cream is one of my favorite Italian sauces.
Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce is a staple in my home! A slow cooked ragú made with lean ground beef, pancetta, onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, wine, and cream is one of my favorite Italian sauces.
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4.56 from 18 votes
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Crock Pot Bolognese Sauce

146.1 Cals 6.7 Protein 6.8 Carbs 8.7 Fats
Total Time: 6 hrs 15 mins
Yield: 20
COURSE: Dinner
CUISINE: American
Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce is a staple in my home! A slow cooked ragú made with lean ground beef, pancetta, onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, wine, and cream is one of my favorite Italian sauces.


  • 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.


Serving: 1/2 cup sauce, Calories: 146.1kcal, Carbohydrates: 6.8g, Protein: 6.7g, Fat: 8.7g, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 4g
WW Points Plus: 4
Keywords: crock pot, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, slow cooker bolognese sauce

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  1. Can I turn the crock pot to high and cook for 3 hours instead? 

  2. My family really enjoyed this dish, but felt it needed more seasoning – it was a bit too bland for us. I’m wondering what type of seasoning could give it more flavor… We added red pepper flakes and parmesan, but it needs more spices..

  3. One of my favs. Now that I’ve made it a few times I’m venturing out. This time added red pepper flakes and leftover pork ribs. Came out great! 

  4. I made this tonight and it was delicious!!!  I used red wine instead of white because that is what I had opened and used 2% milk instead of the half & half.  I also substituted  3 cups beef broth instead of 1 can of the crushed tomatoes  (to resemble my original bolognese sauce). And I added a few cloves of garlic,  I will definitely be making this recipe again!!

  5. Sometimes I substitute the half & half with 1/2 cup fat free evaporated milk to knock down the calorie

  6. Just made this yesterday! Cooking in the Time of Quarantine: This is a great pantry recipe and takes well to substitution. I’m in self-quarantine, so decided to make the whole batch and freeze most of it for later. Subbed pancetta with bacon, white onion for sweet, and no salt added tomatoes as that was what the store had left. Came out great! A bit greasy–you really have to pour off as much fat as possible with the bacon, and the no-salt added tomatoes were kind of bland. Some extra salt helped, and red pepper flakes helped cut the grease a bit. All in all, a win! 🙂

    • Have you ever tried the fat free half n half? I never thought of FF evap milk. Usually If I see a recipe that calls for heavy cream or half-and-half I just always use the fat-free half-and-half. 😊

  7. I wouldn’t call this a ‘skinny’ recipe, as it has bacon and ground beef as the meat, and finishes with creamer.

    We also minced up a few garlic cloves and added at least a tablespoon of italian seasoning. I think if you choose crushed tomatoes that already have italian seasonings you might not need as much? The bay leaves and s/p weren’t enough seasoning for us without additions.

  8. If you are dairy free what can you substitute for the cream?

  9. Hi! I have a bunch of fresh tomatoes I’d like to use up before they go bad, but wondering how you think those will taste and how much to use?

  10. It is delicious and it makes a lot and it’s easy to freeze

  11. Hi, Gina! We love your recipes in our house and eat the bolognese sauce at least 2-3 times a month! I usually make the crock pot version but recently checked out the stove top version and instant pot recipe. The ingredients look the same but the freestyle point amounts vary from 3 to 4 to 7 per serving. I was just wondering if I was missing something. Thank you so much for all of your great recipes and help – much appreciated! 

  12. I absolutely LOVE this recipe, exactly as is 🙂 Thank you, Gina! I have made this several times, and have put portions in the freezer for future dinners-ALWAYS DELISH!

  13. Just made this with ground venison.  Wow!  

  14. Reminds me of grown-up Beefaroni! So delicious!

  15. I was skeptical about the lack of seasonings, but this is very good! My 4-year-old liked it so much, he licked his bowl!

  16. I entered the ingredients into the WW app build a recipe and  I came up with 5 FS points.

  17. I just made this and when I put it into my WW calculator it came up 4 points on a freestyle scale. Am i doing something wrong?! IT IS AMAZING THOUGH!!! but you know, one point can make a difference!

  18. We don’t eat pork.  What can I use instead of the bacon??


    I LOVE all of your recipes…..

  19. I’m really tempted to add minced garlic to this?!  Maybe it doesn’t work so well in the crockpot?

  20. I made this with 1 1/2 lbs trimmed and 1/2 inch cubed skirt steak in place if the ground beef and it is so good! I also added a bit more wine during the deglazing process, and 2 tbsp of tomato paste, thyme, and an old Parmesan rind to the crockpot. It was much easier than the traditional bolognese I made before, and just as delicious! Thank you for the inspiration!

  21. If I wanted to mix in sauted mushrooms would it freeze well? I’ve made it a few times and I freeze it in small amounts to make for myself on busy nights. I really like mushrooms and thought it might be good. Thanks

  22. I made this earlier in the week and have been enjoying it over pasta or spaghetti squash. Today I made the two ingredient dough, divided it into 4 pieces then rolled them out thin. I put about a 1/3 cup of the Bolognese sauce in the middle of each with a little cheese. Folded them up and pinched the edges. Topped with an egg wash and a little sprinkle of garlic salt and baked for about 15 minutes.  They were fantastic!  Thanks for all your recipes. 

  23. Has Gina or anyone used this for stuffed peppers, taco salad or other recipes?  I think it has a lot of possibilities.

  24. Could I cut the recipe in half? Only cooking for two. Same cook times?

  25. Made the recipe exact. Found that it was to acidic and needed sugar. It was bland as well. I don’t recommend this recipe. It tasted better after I tweaked it a bit and added fennel and fresh basil.

  26. My family LOVES this recipe.  It’s fun to make and goes together so easy.  I’ve never used a crock pot.  I simmer it on the stove in my Dutch oven.  I like to make it when people come over.  I put it together a few hours before they come over.  The house smells yummy and we can eat when we’re ready. 

  27. Have you by chance converted this into an Instant Pot recipe yet? Thanks!

  28. Pingback: Bolognese Sauce Recipe (Instant Pot) - Simple Cooking Recipes

  29. Gina, can you somehow do this in the instapot??


  30. Could this be converted to an Instant Pot recipe?

  31. How long in the instant pot? I’ve retired my crockpots!

  32. Pingback: Dinners w/o: 10/15 | Conrad Weekly Dinners

  33. Could I leave out the pancetta without losing the depth and flavor? Also, instead of using the 95% lean ground beef, could I use a regular beef? I don’t have the lean beef in my freezer at the moment. Thank you!

  34. If I half the recipe does it change the cooking time?

  35. What kind of white wine do you use for this recipe? I’ve never cooked with wine before so I’m a little intimidated by the thought. What white wines do you recommend for cooking with and how do you know which ones to use in which dish? Sorry for all the questions. My husband and I are big fans of all your recipes we’ve had so far!

  36. This is the same recipe I make on the stove. I don’t know why I didn’t think to do it in the crock myself! What a time saver rather than standing over it for hours! Excellent recipe! Thank you!

  37. I’m prepping to double this… how does the cooking time in crock pot change.   Thanks 

  38. I love this recipe. I have some digestive issues and have to watch my fat content so I used fat free milk instead of cream and it was still delicious. Thank you gina for all you do.

  39. I made this in the crockpot and how Devine! I did add 2 cloves of garlic, some garlic powder…..I looooove garlic lol and some fried Italian seasoning. Instead of white wine I used about 1/2 cup beef stock. My whole family lived it! All of the kids ate it up. The best part is you can’t even tell it’s full of veggies. I love pulling a fast one over my husband when it comes to feeding him healthier options. This recipe is a keeper for the books in our household. Thanks skinnytaste I love your website and Facebook page. You really make weekly dinner planning much simplier.

  40. Hi! I’ve mad really this before and it is so good. Have you tried it in the instant pot? I’m  trying to figure out how long I should put it on for.

  41. Has anyone used ground turkey?

  42. This is my new favorite recipe! It makes a huuuuge amount, so we froze most of it in small containers. It’s super easy to defrost in a hot water bath and then reheat in the microwave. So nice to know that it’s always there when I need it.

  43. Thiamine recipe is delicious!! It’s a part of our regular rotation now. It makes a lot which I freeze and can take out for a quick meal. I’m always shocked how good it tastes leftover after frozen. Sometimes add fennel seed to the recipe as my husband likes bolognese. Either way it’s excellent 

  44. can you cook this on high in the crock pot to reduce the cookin time?

  45. Simply wonderful.  Made it twice already in the past two weeks.  But when I calculated the points, I came up with 5 pts. Per half a cup.  How did you get 3 pts.?

  46. Made in the instant pot and was delicious. Followed directions exactly sautéing in the pressure cooker. Added garlic as other commenters noted. Cooked meat through, and used red wine instead of white bc of what was already open, it gave it some nice depth so it was a good coincidence. Added a touch of basil/oregano but that’s my preference. Pressed the meat/stew button and turned it down to 30 minutes. Let it rest naturally 15 minutes once done. Was delicious and will make again.

  47. What happened to the stove top version? The links are broken 🙁

  48. We made this Monday and it is delicious! Knew it would last us a few meals, but I think I should freeze some. Only 2 of us in the house. Do you have ant tips or how to’s for freezing this yummy sauce? 

  49. I made this yesterday and let it “meld” in the fridge overnight. It truly is amazing. My local store had Tuttorosso products for $1.00 a can. Only change I did was I added 2 cloves of crushed garlic. This is a 2 thumbs up recipe. Filled a quart Jar to give to my son tomorrow as an early Christmas gift along with box of pasta and salad fixings! Thanks Gina.

  50. Can this be made in the instant pot?

  51. I just made this tonight! Oh my goodness! So good! I think this will be my new ‘go-to sauce for pasta! It’s perfect on that Sunday when you have lots of planning to do to get ready for the week — just a little prep, and let it cook most of the afternoon!

  52. I made this yesterday for the first time and could not wait until it was done to sneak some bites. I served it over zoodles and it was really delicious. Made half ground sirloin and half ground turkey. Will definitely make it again!

  53. I am about to make this sauce for my upcoming work week. I work 3 12 hour night shifts at the hospital. I wont be able to freeze and reheat at work. Will the sauce be ok if it goes into the fridge (instead of freezer) and then i microwave it at lunch time? My only option but dont want it to be ruined.

  54. Made this tonight and my family was not a fan. I put leftovers in two freezer bags. I will try adding garlic and oregano. For all the recipes I’ve made from Skinnytastefastandslow have been great. Don’t know what went wrong. Maybe our taste buds are off. Oh well… I’m not giving up. 

  55. I can’t wait to try this, but I was hoping for the sat fat info to confirm the smart points value. Using the info as is, I come up with 7 smart points. I also plan on using turkey instead of beef – would that change points? Thanks for all your hard work that makes your site a favorite!

  56. Made this recipe today and my family loved it. Thank you for the great healthy options 

  57. This is my favorite recipes! I’m attending a crock pot swap next Saturday and would lovery to ring this to share. Can I put all the raw ingredients in a freezer bag or should I cook it and then portion and freeze? Also, can you freeze noodles? Thank you

  58. Hi Gina!  I just got back from Rome, and was craving bolognese.  Found your recipe and made it yesterday. So easy…so good.  Another winner from your site.  Thank you!!!!

  59. Hi Gina. I want to congratulate you! This sauce is the ONLY sauce my picky kid will eat. We have been cooking it for years. It’s on a regular rotation no matter what the season. I have just purchased an InstaPot. Think I can make it in that? Was wondering if you have ever tried and if you have tips or tricks. Even if you haven’t tried any of the tips, I’d be happy to give it a whirl and report back! Again, thank you for all you do. We love this site and have used it for years.

  60. I can’t have dairy… Is there a substitute I can use in place of the cream because this sounds delicious!!!! 

  61. What is the best way to mince carrots and celery?

  62. Is there a wine alternative?

  63. What kind of wine should I use? There are so many different kinds and I’m not a wine drinker so I’m not sure. Thanks! 

  64. Making this right now and it smells so good! Waiting on husband to get home to add the cream and parsley and am serving it over my new favorite thing-zoodles (zucchini spirals). Love your recipes and use them all the time-thanks! 

  65. Hi Gina! Would the recipe change at all if I used ground turkey meat? 

  66. Can you do the prep work the night before and throw in crockpot in the morning?

  67. I made this last night and followed the directions exactly (except for adding some fresh garlic to the sauteed veggies/meat). It tasted pretty good, but was too liquidy, the tomato juices ran all over the plate – the consistency was not “sauce-like.” If I made this again, I might try half tomato paste instead – anyone tried that?

  68. Gina – what can we use instead of wine? 

  69. How about this in the InstaPot electric pressure cooker. Would it be as good.

  70. Made this today. Wow, delicious! I put it over zucchini noodles and didn't even miss the pasta because of how flavorful the sauce is! Thank you 🙂

  71. Gina could you puree the tomatoes as my kids are not a fan of chunky tomatoes or would this make the sauce too watery?

  72. Made this today and it is a great recipe. The only change I made was the addition of some minced garlic added when the veggies were done, one minute before adding the beef. Served it over half & half pasta–1 oz. linguine and a nice amount zucchini "pasta". Just finished packaging it up in singles servings to freeze. I foresee eating this at least once a week all winter. Thanks for the conversion to Smart Points.

  73. Is the cream only for topping at the end? Or does it go into the recipe itself?

  74. Made this tonight instead of the same old spaghetti sauce and it was a tremendous hit! Fabulous recipe, Thank You!!!!!

  75. I was adding this to my WW tracker and the calculations are off. I am showing that it is 4 Smart Points. Also the Sat Fat is not listed. Am I seeing things wrong?

  76. I made this to your exact recipe and it is the best I ever or no…
    froze some for another time….Thank you…I am sure converting everything to smartpoints is time consuming…Thank you for your efforts. I appreciate it more than you know!!

  77. I forgot the wine :(((( and it's already in the crockpot…is it ruined???

  78. This is an awesome recipe. I however did not chop my celery small enough or saute it long enough. Even after 4 hours in the crockpot, it's still very solid. (and inconsistent with the overall lovely meat-sauce consistency.

    Also didn't add the half and half (just forgot). Still great.

  79. Hello, I don't think my previous comment made it, I was wondering if it is possible to half this recipe? And then would I half the cook time?

  80. I looked and looked for the right recipe. Can always count on finding it on your site. My husband doesn't like tomatoey sauce but loves meat. I made it just as you instructed. He's in the other side of the house and has said how good it smells. I can't wait until 6:30 when we get to try the finished product. It was fun making and I can't wait to eat it. I'm sure there will be a toast to the dish. Thank you for your great ideas and God Bless!

  81. I realize this is an older recipe but I made it for the first time last night to rave reviews. I altered it a bit; using half ground beef and half ground turkey but otherwise everything was the same. I served it with Parmesan cheese and a chiffonade of fresh basil over rigatoni. A perfect husband friendly meal.

  82. I only have a pound of meat. Should i half the other ingredients?

  83. Hey, Gina! I know I'm late to the party on this recipe, but I have a question. I'm thinking of making this for a crowd of 15-20 people, including some "healthy" men. Do you suggest I double and make in two crockpots?

  84. Goodness people…if you think the only way to "season" is with a teaspoon of basil and oregano, you're missing the boat. When you brown onions, carrots and celery…it imparts a richness and flavor to your sauce! The same thing goes with browning the meat. I've made this sauce and it rocks! If anything, add some fresh chopped garlic. It's a keeper Gina. You are so gracious to your critics, and a treasure to those of us searching for proven-to-be-delicious recipes!

  85. This was very bland as is. I ended up adding garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasonings and oregano to give it a little flavor.

  86. I can't imagine making this using only Bay leaves. No oregano or basil? Also, any options for lactose intolerant people? Thanks!

  87. Made this for a family gathering and everyone loved it!!!! Thanks so much, I enjoy your site and look forward to using more of your recipes!!

  88. Making this right now! I also put a tin of your zucchini tots in the oven a few mins ago. love your site! I work long hours and then go workout, so to keep me from stopping for fast food or going out to restaurants, I love checking out your healthy/delish/simple meals! Thank you. I can't wait to eat this (with zucchini noodles) tomorrow!

  89. Made this last night for dinner tonight, was able to split the portions and freeze half for another time. It is yummy, my daughter was cleaning out the crockpot with a piece of bread, telling me I needed to share the recipe with her.

  90. Gina, this is truly one of my favorites of yours! I make it all the time and freeze it in about 2 cup portions. It is so easy to thaw and then reheat for a quick meal!

  91. this is really fantastic!! I added an extra stalk of celery and 8 oz of mushrooms. also, I kept in on low in the crock pot for about 8 hours instead of 6 because I was away from the house. finally – I added a whole cup of half and half and it didn't change the points! great!

  92. My husband and I, after some serious medical conditions, are determined to enter summer as healthier individuals. Somehow I stumbled upon your fascinating and exciting site and began compiling a recipe box.

    We enjoyed our first SkinnyTaste meal, Crock Pot Bolognese Sauce, earlier this week and it was fabulous. I made it exactly as written and it was excellent. Generally I avoid reviewing recipes and purchases but you. Gina, and your site are too marvelous to ignore; I am eager to continue incorporating more SkinnyTaste recipes into our improving lifestyle and health.

    Thank you, Gina.

  93. Obsessed with this recipe! Prepared the recipe Sunday night and put it in the slow cooker Monday morning! I absolutely loved it. VERY tasty. I paired it with polenta made in the rice cooker as a pasta alternative. I am also planning on using some of the left overs as a slow cooked baked potato topping! Froze the rest and will use it for pasta in the next few weeks! Very happy with this recipe! Thank you!

  94. I totally made this for valentine's day dinner with the exact thought that I didn't want to be in the kitchen the whole night. Best way to a man's heart is through his stomach!

  95. Just took my first taste out of the crock pot and it is AMAZING!! I prepped everything last night and threw it all in the crock pot this morning before I went to class. I made a few changes just because I didn't have everything I needed on hand. Instead of 2 lbs. of ground beef, I used 1 lb of ground beef and 1 lb of mild Italian sausage. Then I was a can short and instead of 2 – 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes I used 3 – 15 oz cans of crushed tomatoes, a 15 oz can of tomato sauce, and about 2 tbsp. of Italian style tomato paste to compensate for the difference in thickness. Also used red wine instead of white wine and threw in some garlic as well. Can't wait to pour it over pasta for dinner tonight, thanks for the great recipe!!

  96. Gina, when you say you can start the recipe the night before do you mean brown the meat with the veggies the night before and then put the mixture in the fridge? thanks.

  97. I've always made a traditional bolognese sauce. Full of fat. I made this for dinner the other night expecting it to be good but not quite as good as my traditional recipe. Nothing could be further from the truth. Turns out I like bolognese better when it's low fat! Plus this is so much easier to make. Thank you so much for this recipe. It is delicious! My husband, 9 year old and two toddlers love it as well!

  98. Looking forward to what I suspect will be another amazing dish! You've yet to disappoint me Gina! My husband needs to hurry home, or we may just eat without him. 😉

  99. I've been a "lurker" for about a year, and have enjoyed every recipe I've tried. This one is so good, though, that I have to comment on it. I followed the recipe exactly, and served it over ziti. My husband, friends and I absolutely loved it … and the two of us enjoyed the leftovers. Love this site, and hope you can keep it up forever!

  100. I made this this week for an easy, yet delicious weeknight meal that would last me several meals. I highly suggest prepping the night before because I came home and prepped this on my lunch hour and it took a little longer than I had expected. However, the recipe was a hit! Everyone loved it. I used red wine instead of white, and used 1/2 cup instead of 1/4, added a few cloves of garlic, and it was oh so good. Thank you for all of your help in the kitchen Gina! My friends and family all love the things I make from here. Keep up the good work 🙂

  101. this is the best red sauce I've ever made… I make it with ground veal (my fiancee hunts) and all of the flavours really cut down on the gamey-ness of wild meat. Definitely a must-try if you come from a hunting family. (buffalo and moose meat works well too)

  102. I made this yesterday and it is so delicious; thanks for yet another great recipe! I do have a question about the points and PLEASE forgive me if someone already asked, or if I am missing something in the recipes. Why is the point total for the crock pot version higher than the stove top one?

  103. I don't have time for the crock pot, so I made it in the dutch oven and put it in the oven for a few hours. My house smells divine!
    My son asked if we could have something for dinner besides TURKEY, since I've been making every type of meal with turkey or chicken lately.
    So, Beef Bolognese it is and yes, I will add the cream for just tad bit of richness to the finished product.

  104. CREAM!?YIKES! A real authentic Bolognese sauce does not include cream. Omit the cream, butter and use lean ground veal instead of beef for a leaner more authentic sauce. Save the cream for Alredo's and rose sauces.

    • The beauty of cooking is you can make it however you please. I love the touch of cream, my favorite Italian restaurant adds heavy cream and yes, they use veal, but I try not to cook veal too often.

    • Thank you, Anonymous food snob. 

  105. I have cooked alot of sauces and this recipe is the best red sauce I have ever tasted or made! I used "San Marzano" crushed tomatoes and center cut bacon. Cooked exactly as recipe called for but added fresh minced garlic.

  106. I made this yesterday for my family who is rather picky and it was definitely a hit! I left out the half and half and I used half ground beef and half ground turkey. Thank you for sharing. I will be making this again!

  107. Mmmm … made this today. We couldn't wait to eat until it was totally finished, and wow! was it good. And, that's with forgetting to add the half and half. 🙂

    Thanks again for all the wonderful recipes!

  108. I feel I must issue a warning for this recipe….it is extremely DANGEROUS to make this if you are pregnant and hungry because you will burn the crap out of your tongue stealing bites!! It is SO GOOD I can't stop eating it straight out of the crock pot!!!! Add to that, I made a fresh loaf of nice thick bread and it's just begging to be dunked in the sauce! My sweet little fetus is demanding I send more down…what's a mom to do? 😉

  109. This was amazing. I did add a small squash and 3 garlic cloves into the food processor with the carrots and celery Kids and hubby didn't even know there are vegetables in the sauce. Which is great because they refuse to eat anything that even looks like a vegetable. What they do not know will do their bodies good. Keep up the great work.

  110. I can can say is ,,, wonderful.

  111. For all of you simply filling technique peeps:
    10 servings (1 cup)= 2points

  112. I have been searching for a bolognese sauce for YEARS and this is now my base recipe! I do make some MINOR adjustments and it is still amazing! I use a non stick pan so I don't include the butter/oil (I find the pancetta provides some oil for the onion/carrots/celery) I also exclude the cream and use a good quality chicken stock instead of wine. I also add a tablespoon of tomato paste to give it a little more richness. Really, really tasty thanks! I have lost 17 pounds since following your recipes 🙂

  113. Loved this recipe! I added mixed herbs, dried parsley and cinnamon to it and it really worked! I got the idea from an amazing lasagne I had from an Italian restaurant that I am sure had cinnamon in it. Sounds weird, but SERIOUSLY try it! Would this recipe work with red wine as well?

    • my mom always put a pinch of cinnamon in her sauce and it's the best 🙂 I do it now, too and people always rave about my sauce.

  114. This recipe is awesome! Made it today and had friends over to try it and everyone loved it and couldn't believe it was made in a crockpot. The only substitution I made was using Evaporated Milk instead of half and half. I will never buy spaghetti sauce in a jar again. This is definitely a recipe that I will make again and again and always have some in my freezer! Thanks Gina!

  115. This was amazing! I love your slow cooker recipes!

  116. made this two nights ago and everyone LOVED it. My picky boys couldn't get enough. With so much left over any ideas on how to incorporate it into something else? I was thinking stuffed peppers?

  117. hi gina, recipe is great, thank you! question, i measured out 15 portions not 20…did you use a liquid measuring cup or a dry measuring cup to measure out the 20 portions? i used a liquid…let me know, please! thanks!

  118. 12 years ago as a newlywed, I was fumbling around the kitchen in an effort to make spaghetti for dinner. I added a dash of mustard powder to give it a little kick and it forever became known as "mustard spaghetti" and the night we had to order pizza. I have been in retirement from spaghetti making and my husband takes over when we have it. Yesterday, I threw this together in the crock pot for dinner and unfortunately, I think I am out of retirement from my spaghetti making. Oh well, we still have taco retirement but that is another cooking disaster story. Thanks for the great recipe!!

  119. I made this yesterday and just loved it.

  120. If I wanted to put this on HIGH instead of LOW, how long would I cook it? Put it in the crockpot at 4:00 and don't want to wait until 10:00 to eat. Will it have the same flavor on HIGH for a shorter cook time?

  121. I made this last night for my sweetheart on Valentine's day and it was delicious! I have never had a fail from your site yet! Thank you so much for the inspiration to enjoy cooking again!

  122. Made this last night, I'll review with my few changes (just had to sub!) used peppered bacon vs pancetta, flat leaf parsley (a little more peppery flavor), and fat free 1/2 and 1/2, and omitted the wine because I didn't have any. It was a good way to hide few extra veggies – my kids didn't notice. Served it with rigatoni (ridges caught the sauce). Hope this helps someone!

  123. Wow, what an awesome recipe.

  124. Thanks for another wonderful recipe Gina! Have you ever tried milk instead of the half n half? I use 1 pound italian sausage and 1 cup whole milk, and it has that lovely velvety texture once its simmered. Love the crockpot idea! Can't believe I've never done it before…

  125. Hey Gina, I couldn't have screwed up this recipe more, only had one pound beef so threw in one pound turkey, only had diced tomatoes so threw in a THIRD can of crushed after it cooked for 6 hours and a run to the store. I also blitzed it with my immersion blender to "hide" the veggies from my picky son. He ate THREE bowls, which is truly amazing because he is really hard to get protein into. Not only did it turn out amazing, but after all my unintentional tweaks a half a cup came to 2 pts!!

    I am making it again right now this time I made sure to have all the right ingredients on hand.

  126. A crock pot?! Brilliant! Our food lovers would LOVE this! You should share this on our community page!

  127. In the crock pot now! smells heavenly 🙂 I love all your recipes!! Thank you!

  128. Made this last night it was awesome!!!!!!

  129. Once again, another recipe to add to my regular meals! You rock! This was so delicious and so easy to make! I used turkey bacon instead on pancetta and ground turkey instead of ground beef..turned out amazing!!

  130. If I am getting this ready the night before-do I add everything before putting in the fridge?

  131. I made this last night, and it had so much flavor! I used fat free half and half (the store didn't have the regular)and the two bog strapping men I each had full plate seconds! Definitey a keeper.

  132. I'm a bit late to the game, but I just made this today with 96% lean ground beef, which was all they had at my supermarket, and it dropped the P+ down to just 3! And it was delicious! Thank you so much for all of the great recipes–I have about 20 cookbooks but I find myself coming here for inspiration first!

  133. I made this last week and my family loved it. It was delicious and I froze about 1/2 of it for later use. I can't wait to try many, many more of your recipes! Thanks so much!

  134. Thanks for sharing. This was great. We made a few changes to it since we are on Dukan, but it was still great! Thank you!

  135. I made this wonderful sauce this weekend and we just loved it! It was so much better than just "fixing" up sauce from a jar. This is going to be a favorite in my house. I love that it is freezable too. Thanks, Gina, for all your great recipes. I have one week left to make Lifetime in WW, and you helped me do it!!

  136. I AM SOOOOOOOOOOOO excited to try this! My husband has been yelling at me that i waste so much money on buying jarred sauce…and now I found your recipe and I can JUST MAKE MY OWN! I can't wait! THANKS. 🙂

  137. I made this recipe of the weekend! Really good taste — I didn't add the 1/2 and 1/2 either. Used fresh garlic, oregano as well.

  138. Soooo excited to try this tomorrow night! Just got it all ready tonight and cooking it tomorrow 🙂

  139. Thank You! Just wondering if "bolognese" sauce only requires certain spices VS. others, to keep it authentic. (as I am no where near Italian!)


  140. This was SO delicious. I live in The Netherlands and lean ground meat is hard to come by so I made it with half beef, half pork and it turned out so flavorful (I did have to do a fair bit of grease draining though! 🙂 It may not have turned out as low-fat as I would have liked, but it was awesome. Thanks Gina!

  141. Just got all the ingredients into my crockpot and can't wait to sneak a taste later this evening. I'm putting together some meals for my family since I'll be out of town, and want healthy meals my family can eat.

    Love this website Gina! Thank you for what you do – my family enjoys all the recipes I make from this site!

  142. made this last night for supper. yummy. although mine did cook for almost 12hrs it was still perfect. i have to make 2 batches in my house and use veggie crumbles for my daughter. i did her's on the stovetop and she too loved it cooked it about 1 hr.

  143. Gene, thanks for clarifying! So convenient!!

    Anonymous, I linked to the stove top version above.

    Rae, I like a bigger cut with this, penne, rigatoni, anything large.

    Beeje, wish you would comment after you made it. Of course, I can't use all the fatty meats a bolognese would normally use. It's a healthier version.

    Alexandra, glad he liked it, perhaps the brand of tomatoes could be more watery, but yes, turning up the heat or leaving it longer (or both) would work.

    To mince the vegetables use a knife, chopper or food processor.

    Tybody, I answered this above, since the liquid doesn't evaporate, I used more.

    This sauce doesn't call for garlic, basil, oregano but if those are flavors you like in your sauce, go for it. There are no rules in cooking, do what works for you. If you like garlic, add it, if you love basil, go for it!

  144. how come people can't stick with the golden rule? If you don't have something nice to say… don't say anything at all. amazing job as always, your blog has been a huge help in my weightloss journey… 60lbs and counting… Thank you!

  145. QUESTION: Why don't you use any basil or oregano in this recipe?

    It tasted a little bland (good for my 4yr old)– but for us, it needed some basil & oregano…. or something with some more zip.


  146. Giana, why did you use 2 lbs of meat in the crock pot version? I was going to do the pot version and only purchased 1 pound of meat also because I wanted to cut the recipe in 1/2. Will it still come out right in the crockpot if I use 1 pound? The rest of the ingredients appear the same.

  147. How would one mince carrots and celery?

  148. I made this last night. Oh my! So good! I served it over Shiritake noodles to lower the PP+.

    My kids had no clue they were eating so healthy!

    I look forward to trying more of your recipes!

  149. This is excellent!! A crowd pleaser and my 4 year old and 19 month old twins loved it. I had enough to freeze for leftovers. We love your recipes!

  150. I made the sauce this weekend and thought it was good. I added fresh basil at the end which was my only deviation. Enjoyed using pancetta which I got at the Publix meat counter. They just cut me off 4 oz. Thought it was a satisfying 8 pt entree. I am greatful for you and your site.

  151. Had this for dinner this evening. It was a big hit in our household, even for my 9 year old that states she doesn't like tomatoes… Thank you!

  152. Hello Gina! Tried this recipe today and it was awesome! My boyfriend who although, always willing to try my new recipes but rarely raves about any did so on this! I used turkey instead of beef. My only issue was that it was a little watery after 6 hrs so I am wondering if A) I should turn up the heat or B)cook it longer? The cans of tomatoes that I had were 14.5 each which could have been the culprit even though it was only 2 oz more than what you used?

  153. I made this today and it was fantastic! Another great recipe…thanks Gina!

  154. I was surprised that there was no garlic in this recipe so I added some and I was a little disapointed at how the sauce doesn't stick to the pasta a little better. I will have to better review when I am not sick and have some taste buds, but tonight it was a little bland. I wonder if I used red wine instead if the flavor would have been a little richer.

  155. Thanks so much for this recipe, I got a crock pot for Christmas and this will be the first recipe I try. I've featured your recipe on my list of healthy and 'easy' crock pot recipes:

  156. Just put this in the slow cooker:) I actually instead of 2 lbs of beef I used 1 lbs and a turkey kielbasa it looks amazing!♥ I also made your asian drumsticks lastnight OMG if anyone is reading this try them they are AMAZING! Thanks Gina

  157. This looks great! I added it to my meal plan and grocery list for the week… Can't wait to try it! ~Lauren

  158. I'm on Weight Watchers and I am loving your recipes! So glad I found your site. This recipe looks amazing.

    However, I must give a word of warning on the slow cooker bags. I ruined TWO different slow cookers, a Rival Crock-Pot and a Hamilton Beach programmable, by using the bags. Both of their ceramic liners developed a huge crack on the inside, all the way across the pot. It wasn't big enough to cause leakage, but it was also only a matter of time. I thought perhaps that I had accidentally broken the first while washing, but when it happened to the second ceramic liner within about 10 uses of the bag, I called Hamilton Beach and they told me that the liners were not recommended for use with their slow cookers for that very reason. So, sadly, I returned to scrubbing my slow cooker after each use.

  159. Just finished eating this for dinner!!! Oh Goodness!! Very good. I only made 1/2 a batch because we are just 2. It did make 10 servings (5 cups), and I froze the other 8 for when we have company. It's that good!

  160. I love 99% of your stuff but was disappointed after reading this recipe. Your introduction made it sound as though this would be close to a TRUE Bolognese, but the use of ground beef and excessive tomato product translates to just another Americanized spaghetti sauce. I'll stick with Lynne Rosetto Kasper ragu recipes from The Splendid Table cookbook to get the true ragu experience. Thanks for the effort though, and glad to see others are enjoying it.

  161. I'm making this right now in the crockpot and I can't stop tasting it. It's so good! I'm really debating not putting the half and half in at all, because it's just so darn good as it is.

    What I love about your recipes, is that I never have to be perfect or careful. If I don't have an ingredient, I can just sub something and it still tastes great. You make it so easy. For this one, I didn't have celery, so I used mushrooms. I didn't have 2 cans of crushed tomatoes (just 1), so I pureed a couple of fresh and threw in a can of tomato sauce.

    I'm going to serve this tonight over whole grain penne. Then, I'm going to use the leftovers on a batch of stuffed shells.

  162. Gina, could you give some suggestions for pastas that would hold up well under the weight of this?

    I live in a small rural town in the middle of nowhere, so my pasta options are somewhat limited to brands like Barilla and their most common styles. I just have a feeling this would be too overwhelming on something as thin as spaghetti noodles.

    Any thoughts?

  163. I love the crock pot liners, been using them for years. Great way to clean up those messy sauces and keep the pot looking great!

  164. Hey Gina, your Bolognese is a Recipe Guessing Game on Knapkins. Think your friends can win?

  165. love the new recipe Gina. Can't wait to try this. Thank you also for Ziplist. i was printing out your recipes. forgetting my list. Go back home get list and go back. Now it's all here. I'm loving it. Excited when I go shopping later on and try this sauce.

  166. How long does it cook on the stove if not using a crockpot? Covered? What heat?

  167. Thanks Gina for trying our Reynolds Slow cooker bags. I helped to develop the slow cooker bag five years ago for Reynolds. The material that is used in the production of the slow cooker bags is not made of plastic and is made of a nylon material. We have been selling oven cooking bags for the last fifty years and is a safe product if used as directed and makes wondeful juicy meat products and with the slow cooker bags makes ease of clean up awesome.@kelegirl6- This product has no BPA in it and we have been selling the oven bags for fifty years which is a twin to the slow cooker bag. My wife and I use them weekly because of busy lives, the slow cooker along with Ginas recipes makes life for us so much simpler. I can't wait to try this one in our slow cooker using the Slow Cooker Bags. Again Gina your site is wonderful,and I look forward each day for your new recipes. Thanks

  168. WHERE have I been that I completely miss out on slow cooker bags?! I bet you could make an amazing Vodka sauce in the slow cooker too. I've never made bolognese sauce but yours looks really yummy. I bet you could steam some red and orange veggies and then puree them and add them to the sauce for extra umph

  169. Funny, I just saved/printed a recipe for this from this past week. Will try your's first. Thanks!!!!

  170. Great recipe! I would love it if you posted more skinny crockpot recipes! Love using mine… so easy 🙂

  171. Kelegirl, no idea, ignorance is bliss sometimes!

    Anonymous, I was waiting for someone to ask me! I had a bigger package of meat and since nothing really evaporates in the crock, this worked out perfectly.

    Yes, lot's of people still use the old points so I won't stop posting them.

    Cassandra, no jar sauce for me either, yuck!

    Leigh, yes I think it would work. The reason I don't use fat free half and half is because it really bothers my stomach (no idea why). I find fat free h&h curdles sometimes when added to hot food so you'll have to see how it works.

    Joy, thanks for letting me know! What is the brand?

  172. Hi Gina,
    Have made your stove top recipe several times and we love it so thanks for the crock pot version. I know you don't use FF half and half due to the additives etc. but thought you might like to know I found an all natural fat free version at Walmart of all places. It is their Great Value brand and the ingredients are listed as Milk, fat free milk, Vitamin A and Vitamin D 3! No after taste and no chemicals and it is 1PP per 1/3 cup! I use it daily in my coffee too and it works great and tastes creamy! Thanks for your great recipes!!

  173. I'm excited to try this – we LOVE your other bolognaise recipe. I could easily eat it once a week. I am wondering about using fat free half and half. Do you think it would work in this recipe?

  174. Amazing looking sauce! This goes perfect with all the comfort food I have been craving and making!

  175. I just got to Germany a few months ago and had Bolognese. They have it in packets here just add water and meat. We tried a jar pasta sauce that we ate in the states and it was horrible after Bolognese. lol. I def want to try this because went i get back to the states Im not eating the jar stuff 🙂

  176. Looks great!

  177. Wow, I just found your blog last week, and it's like you literally read my mind. I went to a holiday party two weeks ago with the most amazing lasagna bolognese from a stellar caterer. Haven't been able to stop thinking about it since, to the point where I'd been searching for various bolognese recipes that I could lighten up somehow and include in a lasagna recipe.

    Independently of that, I found your blog and started perusing (and making!) the awesome recipes. Then today, BAM! Those two things collided! How exciting! Totally meant to be! 🙂

    Anyhow, thanks for your awesome blog, and ESPECIALLY thanks for posting the previous Weight Watcher points values alongside the points plus points. I've long since lost the weight, so I don't want or need to learn the new ww points plus system, but still count my points to keep trim! This is invaluable – I know there are many people like me! 🙂

  178. Looks really yummy…..unfortunately I can't eat tomatoes = ( I hope you will post some other pasta sauces soon that do not use tomatoes. Thanks for all the great recipes!!

  179. Can't wait to try this! I love crock pot recipes. I am putting the liners on my shopping list. Thanks Gina.

  180. Hey Gina,
    I love your pasta bolognese sauce and have had a lot of great results with it. I had a question though, I noticed that this is essentially the same recipe but this one calls for two pounds of meat instead of one. Is there any reason you added another pound because of the crock pot?

  181. Because I have had Lap-Band surgery, I don't do pasta well. I do make Bolognese sauce, and put it, hot, into small ramekins, top with herbed biscuit dough, and bake. It's kind of like a pot pie! Thanks for a great site!

  182. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease (!!!!!) post more crockpot recipes. I seriously love the crockpot & would use it constantly if I could.

    This sauce looks delicious and way healthier. A better way to enjoy pasta!

  183. HI Gina this looks awesome- Since eating at a small Italian restaurant I have been searching for bolognese like I had- This looks great! I cook in the crockpot all the time-

    Let me know if you perfect Turkey tettrazini (which I spelled wrong) :O)

  184. OH… forgot to mention.. clean up with it is a breeze.. Nothing stiks to it.. Bolognese Sauce, Mole Pork, Burnt on Pot Roast (left on warm WAY too long).

  185. Do you know if the Reynolds liners leak toxins into the food since the plastic endures quite a bit of heat? Are they BPA free?

    If you're ever in the market for another slow cooker, I am in LOVE with my Hamilton Beach Stovetop Slow Cooker from Target. Its not stoneware but a premium diecast aluminum pot that you can use to cook on the stovetop (electric or gas) and then transfer directly to the Slow Cooker base.

  186. Yum. I love bolognese! 🙂

  187. Thanks Ashley!

    Pmj- I use pancetta, only bacon in a pinch. Or eve sometimes proscuitto.

    Amy, just leave it out.

    Those liners are genius!!

    Kim, you will love it!

    Thanks for spreading Dorice!!

  188. Perfect timing Gina! I bought everything to make your stove top recipe but was going to wait until the weekend when I had enough time for it to simmer. Into the crockpot it goes tomorrow for a delicious dinner tomorrow. p.s. been spreading the word about your blog and posting your address everywhere!

  189. My dad just bought me that exact slow cooker for Christmas! I haven't used it yet, but I plan on doing so this weekend with one of your recipes. I'll definitely have to try this one soon!

  190. Looks delish!!! Could not survive weight watchers without your amazing recipes! I've been using the slow cooker liners for awhile now & they're awesome!!!

  191. SLOW COOKER LINERS — GENIUS!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing. Looks delish.
    Sasha from Kale With Love

  192. I have the same slow cooker as you and agree, no ill effects with the open hole for the thermometer.

  193. instead of wine you can always use stock, water, or even apple juice.

  194. Any idea of what I could use instead of the wine?

  195. I try and stay away from dairy. Do you have any suggestions for a substitutions for 1/2 cup half & half cream?


  196. Looks like a great recipe but I don't like bacon 🙁 Have you tried the recipe without it? Any recommendations on what I can change on the recipe to have similar taste? (I'm not a good cook so I need help!) Thanks!

  197. Great recipe! Similar to the one I make, I will try some of your alternates. The only thing I recommend is to switch the white wine for red wine. Adds a whole other level of depth!

  198. Thanks Gina!! Like I mentioned I still haven't bought a new larger one but REALLY need to. I was looking at a 7-quart Calphalon but it's pricey….not sure I want to spend that kind of money!! Maybe I will go with this one instead.

    • Take a look at the Breville BSC560XL Stainless-Steel 7-Quart Slow Cooker with EasySear Insert ($130 Amazon)! I shopped long and hard for the one that "had it all"! I LOVE it!

  199. I need to buy some of those liners!! I blogged about u today , check it out!!

  200. Any recipe for the crock pot can be made in the pressure cooker, not sure on the time.

    Christine, I know, at first I was confused about the hole. You only leave the probe in when you cook meat, otherwise you take it out and nothing covers it. I thought that was weird but using the crock pot for several months now, it's never been an issue.

    Lisa, I know what you mean!! Which is what's nice about the crock pot.

    Gina, they won't notice!

  201. Bolognese sauce recipe in my family is pretty much sacred. I would love to make it in the slow cooker, serve it to everyone and then see if they notice! 😉

  202. This recipe is almost identical to the bolognese sauce I'm making on the stovetop tonight. Since it's a little late in the day, I'll have to make it in crockpot next time. I always try to simmer this on the stove for at least 1 hour, but my husband can never wait that long. By cooking it in the crockpot it'll get the chance to simmer like it should! This is the very best bolognese recipe I have every tried. Husband and kids LOVE it! Next time it's going in the crockpot per your recipe! Thanks, Gina!

  203. This looks great!!! Can't wait to try it as soon as I get a new larger crock pot :). Got some gift cards for Christmas that will go towards that. Question about your new one – with the insert for testing/keeping track of meat temps, does that stay in the crock pot all the time? Even when not cooking meats? If you take it out at all, is there any problems because of the little hole in the lid? I can't wrap my head around a hole in the lid 🙂 if not using the thermometer probe!!

  204. Any chance this could be made in a pressure cooker? The top to our crock pot broke, and we recently got a pressure cooker. I'm trying to translate all of my old crock pot recipes to pressure cooker now.

  205. Mmm, I'm salavating. This would be perfect to make in bulk and freeze.
    More things to add to my shopping list!

  206. This looks TOOOOO good! I can't wait to make it. My goal is to do a lot more crock pot recipes this year because it's just too awesome to come up from a workout and have dinner ready!

  207. Thank you so much for this awesome recipe!!! I've been a crock pot maniac and I love finding new ones.

  208. Wow. Great recipe. Looks delish. Do we have ESP or something? I just did a (meatless)eggplant bolognese on my blog on Tuesday. I want to try yours. Looks great!