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Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce

Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce

This slow cooker Bolognese sauce is easy to make, freezer friendly, and tastes fantastic. A rich, meaty, pasta sauce that the whole family will love!

Slow cooker, freezer friendly, Bolognese sauce

I make a lot of spaghetti. Everyone at my house loves it, so I make it on a pretty regular basis. But I actually hadn’t made Bolognese sauce until about a year ago.

I had my tried and true homemade spaghetti sauce recipe that everyone loved so that’s what I would always make.

And then I saw a recipe for slow cooker Bolognese sauce and decided that we definitely needed to try it.

Crockpot Bolognese Sauce

It takes a little more time then spaghetti sauce. There’s some vegetables to chop up, and you need to plan ahead so it can cook in the slow cooker for 8 hours, but that can be done ahead of time.

It makes a nice change from the usual Marinara Sauce or Easy Spaghetti Sauce for dinner.

Making it in the slow cooker also allows the simmering time to be completely hands off, which I usually prefer when making Bolognese sauce.

slow cooker Bolognese sauce

You don’t have to check every now and then to make sure it isn’t burning and give it a stir.

Not that that’s hard, but turning the slow cooker on and coming back 8-9 hours later is undeniably easier.

If you haven’t tried making Bolognese sauce yet either, I highly recommend this slow cooker version!

Easy to make slow cooker Bolognese pasta sauce

What is the difference between Bolognese sauce and spaghetti sauce?

Bolognese sauce is a thick meat sauce, with some tomato for flavour.

The other liquids in it are usually red wine and milk.

Spaghetti sauce can be either a marinara sauce or a meat sauce, but bolognese has carrots, celery, and bacon in it, as well as milk, which makes it different.

Easy to make Bolognese pasta sauce

Is Bolognese sauce supposed to be thick?

Yes, Bolognese sauce is a rich, thick, meat sauce because it cooks for a long time.

In this recipe the cooking time is in the slow cooker, but you can also simmer it on the stove for at least an hour to get that thick, meaty sauce.

Freezer friendly, slow cooker Bolognese Sauce

How to make Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce:

  • For this Bolognese sauce, you need to cook the bacon, vegetables, and meat on the stovetop first before combining everything in the slow cooker to simmer all day. This can be done the night before and refrigerated if you like.
  • If you prefer not to use red wine to deglaze the pan, you can substitute beef broth for it.
  • The red pepper flakes don’t make the sauce spicy, but you can omit them if you prefer.
  • This pasta sauce freezes very well. It makes a lot, but make the whole recipe anyways, and freeze half for a later meal. Let the sauce cool completely, then freeze it in a large freezer ziplock bag, laid flat so it thaws easily. Reheat it over low heat on the stove, or on low in the slow cooker for 2-3 hours.
  • You can also make this pasta sauce completely on the stove: Easy Bolognese Sauce.
  • If you’re looking for more great pasta sauce recipes, I have 12 Easy Pasta Sauce Recipes here that are all fantastic!

Here are some more great pasta sauces for you:

Yield: serves 10

Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce

Easy to make slow cooker Bolognese sauce

This slow cooker Bolognese sauce is easy to make, freezer friendly, and tastes fantastic. A rich, meaty, pasta sauce that the whole family will love!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes


  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 large carrots, shredded or finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 x 28 ounce cans (796 mL) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 x 5.5 ounce can (156 mL) tomato paste
  • 1 cup milk (I used 2%)
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. In a large non-stick saucepan, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring constantly, until crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside, leaving the bacon drippings in the pan.
  2. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until softened, about 3 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add the ground beef to the pan and cook, stirring often to break it up, until no pink remains. Drain the grease.
  4. Add the vegetables and bacon back to the pan with the beef.
  5. Pour in the red wine, and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly to scrape up any browned bits on the pan, until the wine is almost completely evaporated.
  6. Transfer everything to the crock of a slow cooker.
  7. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, milk, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper to the slow cooker, and stir to combine everything.
  8. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours.
  9. Discard the bay leaf, and serve over hot, cooked pasta.


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Nutrition Information:


serves 10

Serving Size:

1/10 recipe

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 326Total Fat: 9.4gSaturated Fat: 3.5gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 793mgCarbohydrates: 19.7gFiber: 6.1gSugar: 12.8gProtein: 35.8g


Sunday 27th of November 2022

Tried this and while it tasted delicious, it was very watery. I ended up having to drain off most of the liquid. Perhaps the tomatoes should have been drained? Or cooked for a while with the lid off?


Wednesday 30th of November 2022

Did you use diced tomatoes instead of crushed tomatoes? That would make it more watery for sure. You can't really drain crushed tomatoes, it's basically thicker tomato sauce, so that's why I'm wondering if you perhaps used the wrong type. I don't find this sauce watery at all, it's actually quite thick, so maybe that was the problem?

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