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This Slow Cooker Bolognese recipe is hands down the easiest Bolognese I have ever made! It’s perfect to get started in the morning before work, taking just 5 minutes to prep. It’s high in protein, great for meal prepping, and is dirt cheap costing just $1.65 per portion.
What Makes Slow Cooking Bolognese So Good?
If you have ever heard about Italian grandmothers cooking bolognese for over 8 hours, or that Bolognese tastes better the next day, there is good reason! With meaty sauces, it takes a lot of time to develop and infuse flavor. Over time the sauce will break down the mince, tenderizing and flavoring it. This is why bolognese and the slow cooker go hand in hand.
Can I Meal Prep This Recipe?
This slow cooker bolognese is perfect to add as a tasty pasta recipe for meal prep! It’s great for people who want high protein meals in their diet or just a really easy batched cooked recipe. I normally freeze half the batch of bolognese for later in the month, then portion the other half in containers with pasta. If you are looking to be extra healthy, use whole-grain pasta. They are more complex carbohydrates that are high in fiber, which is great for maintaining good energy levels throughout the day.
100g of Spaghetti & Bolognese – Nutrition Label
100g of Wholegrain Pasta & Bolognese – Nutrition Label
To store, transfer the bolognese into an airtight container and leave to cool. The Bolognese will last for up to 3 days in the refrigerator and 6 months in the freezer.
To store the pasta, toss in olive oil to keep it from sticking together and place in an airtight container. The pasta will last for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Ingredient & Cost Information
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil, it doesn’t need to be cold-pressed or anything extra fancy. – $0.25
Onion – The best onion to use in this recipe is a yellow or brown onion. Make sure to dice it very finely! – $0.30
Garlic – Use fresh garlic cloves, they taste much better than pre-minced garlic. – $0.15
Beef Mince – You can use either 10% or 20% mincemeat. 10% will make a healthier bolognese, whilst 20% will make a richer one. – $7
Red Wine – Make sure to use a dry red wine, this will add a lot more flavor to the bolognese than sweet wine. This can be replaced with either dry white wine or double concentrated beef stock. – $2
Chopped Tomatoes – Use the best-chopped tomatoes available, it will make a huge difference to the sauce. – $3
Basil – Use fresh basil, it adds much more flavor than dry basil. If you can’t find fresh basil swap it for fresh parsley – $0.50
For 8 Servings this recipe costs $13.2 which adds up to $1.65 per portion. With spaghetti, it’s around $16.2 which is $2.03 per portion.
What Size Slow Cooker Should I Use?
It’s important to use the right-sized slow cooker for the recipe to avoid undercooking or overcooking. I used a 3.5 quarts slow cooker for this recipe, but you could get away with anything between 3.5 quarts to 5 quarts. This will fill your slow cooker between 1/2 to 3/4 full.
Looking for a good quality medium-sized slow cooker?
If you have a smaller slow cooker that’s around 2 quarts, you can easily half the recipe to make 4 portions. This will also require changing the cooking time to 6 hours.
For more information about different sized cookers have a look at this Different Slow Cooker Sizes Guide, and for more recipes to use with your slow cooker check out these 75 Dirt-Cheap Crockpot Recipes.
Step by Step Instructions
1) Add the Beef Mince to the slow cooker. Add a generous amount of Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper. Use a wooden spoon and spend about 1 minute breaking up the Beef Mince.
2) Pour in Red Wine, Tomatoes, Onion, Garlic & half the Basil. Mix the mixture together, place a lid on the slow cooker and turn on low. Leave to cook for 8 hours
4) Carefully take off the lid and break up the mince meat well with a wooden spoon. Mix through a handful of fresh basil. If the Bolognese is still a bit saucy, turn the slow cooker too high and take off the lid. Leave to cook for 30-60 minutes.
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Slow Cooker Bolognese
- 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Onion very finely sliced
- 4 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 kg Beef mince 10% fat
- 175 ml Red Wine dry
- 1 kg Chopped Tomatoes
- 2 handful Basil
- Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper
- Place the Beef Mince into the slow cooker. Add a generous amount of Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper. Use a wooden spoon and spend about 1 minute breaking up the Beef Mince.
- Add Red Wine, Tomatoes, Onion, Garlic and a handful of Basil. Set your slow cooker too slow and cook for 8 hours. Carefully take off the lid and break up any big chunks of Beef Mince and mix through another handful of Basil.
- If the Bolognese is still a bit saucey, take off the lid from the slow cooker and turn to high, leave to cook for 30-60 minutes.
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil about 20 minutes before the Bolognese is ready. Add the Pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the Pasta and serve with a ladle of Bolognese.
Jack Slobodian is the Content Director at Mealprepify. He’s a Blogger and Professional Chef who has worked in many prestigious restaurants including luxurious 5-star hotels and James Beard award-winning restaurants. When he’s not cooking or writing you can find him travelling, exercising or spending time with family and friends.