Photo: Greg Dupree; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas
Hands-on Time
40 Mins
Total Time
6 Hours 40 Mins
Makes 6 to 8 servings

Traditionally, Bolognese sauce requires hours of babysitting as it simmers on the stove, but our recipe is virtually hands-off.

How to Make It

Step 1

Sauté first 3 ingredients in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 8 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Transfer to a 6-qt. slow cooker.

Step 2

Add beef to skillet, and cook, stirring often, 7 minutes or until crumbled and no longer pink; drain. Stir in kosher salt and next 5 ingredients. Stir in wine, and cook, stirring occasionally, 7 minutes or until almost all liquid evaporates. Add to slow cooker, and stir to combine.

Step 3

Drain tomatoes, reserving liquid. Using your hands, crush tomatoes, and break them apart. Add to slow cooker, and stir to combine.

Step 4

Cover and cook on LOW 6 hours. Stir in cream. Check sauce; it should be thick and creamy. (If soupy, uncover and cook 30 more minutes. If dry, stir in reserved canned tomato liquid, 1 Tbsp. at a time, to thin sauce.) Discard bay leaf.

Step 5

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well. Toss together pasta and 4 cups sauce. (Reserve remaining sauce for another use.) Spoon into serving dishes, and sprinkle with desired amount of cheese. Serve immediately.

Chef's Notes

Refrigerate sauce up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Ratings & Reviews

Agree - The Best!

January 26, 2016
Funny that others said better-than-restaurant.  My husband and I said we felt like we'd eaten dinner at a five-star restaurant. This was spectacular, made exactly as is.  Instead of red wine, I used grape juice with a splash of balsamic vinegar.  This is one of the best dishes I've ever made. 

One of the best dishes I've ever made

December 20, 2017
Very tasty, quite possibly the best bolognese I've ever had.I made this recipe almost to the letter, except I added in some sauteed mushrooms and some sliced black olives, and served it with linguine as my husband likes thinner pasta.I was very skeptical about the cream at the end but it makes a huge difference; the sauce is creamy and delicious.For my mirepoix (onion/celery/carrot) in step 1, I had a few chunks of carrot that were larger than the rest, that remained identifiable in the sauce, and they were delicious. Sweet little nuggets. The celery just disappeared into the sauce (but provided delicious flavor). 10/10, will make again (soon!). 

Slow Cooker Bolognes

October 01, 2015
Cooked it except sub 1/2 pound of loose mild Italian sausage in lieu of ground round. Amazing. As good or better than what I have had in authentic high end Italian restaurants. Highly recommend . Served to family & guests. Loved it.

The Best!

December 11, 2015
This was so good. Better than Italian restaurants in Naples, FL. I used 1lb of hot Italian sausage in lieu of one of the lbs of burger. Otherwise, made as written. This equals what I've had in fine restaurants, as other reviewer said. Will only make this as my spaghetti from now on. Love the pappardelle noodles. They cost more than regular pasta, but really make it special.


January 08, 2017
This recipe made me feel I'd tapped into my inner Italian!  I only had 2 hours, not 6, so I did not use slow cooker.  Like the other reviewers I used a pound of good Italian sausages (ssweet with fennel) for a pound of the beef. Other than that I followed the recipe closely.  Really good.