Do you ever crave a huge, saucy bowl of spaghetti? Sometimes we all just need a big dose of down-home, good-ole-Mama’s cookin’ and this Crockpot Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce is just that. It’s the kind of sauce you dream about when you miss home or need a comfort meal. If you are wondering what Bolognese Sauce is, it’s just a fancy name for a meat-based sauce that comes from the region of Bologna, Italy. However, there is a distinct difference between this slow-cooked masterpiece and a 30 minute stove-top sauce. The meat will fall apart in your mouth and the velvety texture will leave you begging for another bite. You’ll slowly feel the heat from the red pepper build in your mouth but the sweetness from the reduced merlot will balance it perfectly. I originally got this recipe from RecipeTin Eats, but I have adapted it to my own particular taste. This is the best Bolognese sauce ever; you simply HAVE to try it!
Start by dicing a large onion and 2 cloves of garlic. Transfer these to a large saute pan and heat them in 1 tablespoon of oil until the onion has gone translucent. It will probably take about 5-7 minutes. Put those in the bottom of your slow cooker and turn it to LOW.
Using the same skillet, brown a pound of ground beef. I use a 90/10 combo but you can also use 80/20 or ground turkey. When that is finished, add it to the slow cooker.
There are probably some browned bits of meat left in your pan. Perfect! Keep them there because you’ll want to scrape them off the sides as you reduce 1/2 cup of merlot. You can also use cabernet sauvignon or malbec, but try to stay with a robust red wine. Don’t use a wine that you wouldn’t drink! If you don’t like to cook with wine, no problem, beef or chicken broth will do just fine. Bring this to a simmer for a minute or two and then add it to the Crockpot.
Now comes the fun part! You’ll need a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 2 crushed beef bouillon cubes, and 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce. Mix those all around and then add the spices: 1.5 teaspoons of oregano, 1 teaspoon thyme, 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
Stir it all around, cover it, and cook it on LOW for 6 hours. I like to stir it throughout the day, but basically that’s just an excuse to come and taste it! Like I said, this is the best spaghetti sauce in the world!
It ladles out like this. Holy smokes, don’t you just want to slurp it up? On a sidenote, I always double this recipe. I will use half for dinner and then freeze the other half for either another pasta dish or maybe even lasagna the following week. I love knowing it’s in the freezer just waiting to be thawed. It sure makes my life as a busy mom that much easier!
For dinner, I typically serve the Bolognese sauce over spaghetti noodles, and top it with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese. If you want to make sure your pasta is cooked as superbly as your Bolognese sauce, read this post on 4 simple tips to perfectly cooked pasta. This spaghetti pairs nicely with a sweet apple blue cheese salad or oven roasted brussel sprouts.
And if you are turning this Crockpot delight into a dinner party, consider a refreshing pistachio and coconut cake or M&M peanut butter bars for dessert. Whether you’re feeding your family or a group of friends, this Bolognese sauce will comfort and delight all of their tummies! And that is what cooking is all about, right?
This Crockpot Bolognese Sauce freezes wonderfully! I often make double or triple batches and freeze the extra. I can use the leftover spaghetti sauce in recipes like Baked Ziti, One Pan Chicken Parmesan, and Spinach Pasta Bake. Please visit my Recipe Index or Pinterest Boards for more great recipes. Happy cooking, y’all!
Crockpot Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 diced onion
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 cup merlot or other red wine
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 crushed bouillon cubes
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1.5 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
- Heat oil, onion, and garlic in large skillet until translucent, about 5-7 min.Transfer to Crockpot.
- Brown beef, transfer to crockpot.
- Reduce heat, add wine and reduce. Let simmer 1-2 minutes.
- Transfer wine to slow cooker.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and spices to the slow cooker and stir.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours.
- Serve over spaghetti noodles and top with parmesan cheese.
Heidi, this looks so yummy!! I will need to make it soon!
You’ll love it! Make a double batch and freeze the second portion. You can use it again in spaghetti or in something else like manicotti, lasagna, or baked ziti. You’ll be glad you did!
This is now a family favorite. Your recipe is super easy to follow. I love the set it and forget it sauce. We will be making this more often. And even when this recipe isn’t doubled there is quite a bit for everyone to eat!
Isn’t it the best sauce ever?! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
I have been searching for a recipe to make my own Marinara instead of using the jarred variety. This Bolognese Sauce it perfect! It was so easy to make in the slow cooker. I used Merlot wine and it made the sauce a rich dark red color. I felt the seasonings all came together perfectly to make a deliciously rich sauce. Hubby loved it! We won’t be ordering take-out from our local Italian restaurant anymore…we will be making this instead! Thank you, Heidi!
Thank you so much for the kind words Nancy! This sauce truly is amazing. Think of all the money you’ll save on that take-out, woohoo!
Wow I can’t wait to try this. I’m going to make it Wednesday and I will report back!
That’s great to hear! I look forward to hearing what you think!
Ok so I normally make spaghetti just because it’s easy – you brown some ground beef, add a jar of spaghetti sauce, cook some noodles and voila! Easy dinner for a weeknight that everyone will eat. But I am so glad I took the extra 20 minutes and whipped up this sauce! My crock pot was occupied today so I let it simmer on low all day and man let me tell you I’ve never had better sauce! My kids each had two bowls, including my 15 month old! She cried when I said there wasn’t anymore!
I will definitely take your advice next time and make a double or triple or even quadruple batch!! This is a WINNER!!! I served it with your Apple Blue Cheese salad, which to my delight the kids won’t eat. That’s ok – more for ME!!! Yum!!!!
I love that you didn’t let the crockpot already being in use deter you from making the sauce! And I’m so happy everybody loved it!