This Slow Cooker Bolognese is the easiest Bolognese sauce you will ever make! No browning and no fuss, simply combine all the ingredients in your crockpot and cook low and slow until you have a rich sauce.
Excellent served with my Dough Balls With Garlic Butter
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I dedicate this Slow Cooker Bolognese recipe to all the time-poor cooks out there. To every mum and dad too busy to slave over the stove to make a proper Bolognese sauce… And I of course include myself in the above.
This Bolognese recipe is incredibly easy and requires no browning of the beef, no cooking anything really…
The ingredients are all added to the slow cooker and then you leave it to do its thing while you get on with your day.
Doesn’t hurt that slow cooking is a way to save energy either, not with the cost of living going up and up.
But don’t think that taking the easy route means a bland sauce… I guarantee you that this crockpot Bolognese will taste rich and delicious!
SLOW COOKER BOLOGNESE INGREDIENTS
Your Bolognese will be as good as the ingredient you use, so choose good quality canned tomatoes or Passata Rustica which is a slightly thicker Passata. If you are unfamiliar with passata take a look at this article.
If you can only find plum tomatoes you can always blitz them in a mini chopper or blender until mostly smooth.
Choose good quality ground beef, ideally with a little fat but you can use lean mince if you prefer.
Chopping the onion, celery and carrots is the only hands on effort in this recipe and if that’s too much you can always stick them in a mini chopper!
Pancetta cubes or bacon will add flavour, along with beef bouillon granules, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and red wine.
If you have a small piece of Parmesan rind then don’t forget to drop it in as it will add so much yumminess!
HOW TO MAKE SLOW COOKER BOLOGNESE
Full measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page. Please take a look at the steps and video before attempting this recipe!
Add the ingredients in the slow cooker starting with the tomatoes, celery, carrots, onion, tomato paste, beef stock cube, salt and seasonings. Add the Worcester sauce, vinegar and wine and stir well to combine.
In goes the pancetta, ground beef and minced garlic. Give everything a good stir again, breaking up the meat so that it cooks evenly.
Add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick and parmesan rind, cover and cook on LOW for 8-12 hours or on HIGH for 6 hours. If you can, give the sauce a good stir halfway through.
Discard the rind, cinnamon and bay leaves. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve with spaghetti or any pasta shape of your choice with plenty of freshly grated Parmesan!
RECIPE TIPS & FAQS
Can you put raw mince in a slow cooker? You don’t need to brown the beef before adding to your slow cooker. Add the raw mince and stir well to break it up. The long cooking time will tenderise the beef and cook it until it is tender.
How long do you cook Bolognese sauce for in slow cooker? I find that the longer you cook this sauce the richer it will taste. You can set the slow cooker to cook overnight (8-10 hours on the LOW setting) or cook on HIGH setting for 6-8 hours.
How do you keep a bolognese from being watery in a slow cooker? Your crockpot traps in all the heat and moisture so adding less liquid to begin with ensures the sauce will be just right. I like to use red wine but chicken stock will also work.
What If I need to thicken my meat sauce? If you find the Bolognese is a little watery then you have two options. One is to simmer the sauce on the high setting with the lid off to allow it to reduce. You can also add a little diluted cornflour (cornstarch) or Xanthan gum which will thicken the sauce when heated.
Slow Cooker Bolognese
- 680 g (24 oz) passata preferably Passata Rustica (see notes)
- 3 celery ribs , finely chopped
- 2 carrots , finely chopped
- 1 large onion , finely chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato paste (tomato purée)
- 1 tbsp beef bouillon or two small beef stock cubes, crumbled
- 1 tbsp brown sugar or granulated sweetener
- 1 tbsp dried oregano or Italian herb mix
- 1 tsp celery salt
- 1 tsp garlic granules
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 240 ml (1 cup) red wine or broth
- 100 g (3 ½ oz) cubed pancetta or smoked bacon
- 500 g (just over 1 pound) raw ground beef
- 4 garlic cloves , minced
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ cinnamon stick
- small piece of Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
- Salt and pepper to season
- Grated Parmesan to serve
- Add the ingredients in the slow cooker starting with the tomatoes, celery, carrots, onion, tomato paste, beef stock cubes, salt and seasonings. Add the Worcester sauce, vinegar and wine and stir well to combine.
- In goes the pancetta, ground beef and minced garlic. Stir once again, breaking up the meat so that it cooks evenly.
- Add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick and parmesan rind, cover and cook on LOW for 8-12 hours or on HIGH for 6 hours. If you can, give the sauce a good stir halfway through.
- Discard the rind, cinnamon and bay leaves. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve with spaghetti or any pasta shape of your choice with plenty of freshly grated Parmesan!
Cool the sauce completely before freezing (or storing in fridge). Put in freezer containers, label and use within 4-6 months but ideally within 3. Defrost overnight in the fridge and make sure the sauce is hot all the way through before serving. Nutritional information is always approximate, and will depend on quality of ingredients and serving sizes.