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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4.58 from 19 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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Nutrition

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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253 comments

  1. This is amazing. The fam is swooning. So many leftovers 😁. I added about a tablespoon of crushed garlic, about a tablespoon of Italian seasoning, some basil leaves (the plant is dying so I wanted to get as much mileage as possible!) and maybe a teaspoon of oregano. We are happy campers. My daughter is not a veggie eater and I love that the sauce is full of food-processed veggies 😆

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

  3. 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..

  4. 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! 

  5. 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!!

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

  7. 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. 😊

  8. 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.

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