This article may contain links from our affiliate partners. Please read how we make money!
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 Cooker Bolognese So Good?
- Can I Meal Prep This Recipe?
- Storage Information
- Ingredient & Cost Information
- What Size Slow Cooker Should I Use?
- Step-by-Step Instructions
- Recipes You May Like
- Slow Cooker Bolognese
What Makes Slow Cooker 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 bolognese 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 it 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 it 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 bolognese 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
- Red Pepper Flakes – (Optional) Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the bolognese for some low heat. – $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.
Ingredient Questions and Answers
Do You Need to Brown Ground Beef Before Putting in Slow Cooker?
If you want to brown mince before putting it in the slow cooker, that’s up to you, but I don’t think it’s necessary. I’ve made plenty of dishes where I just put everything in and turned on the slow cooker, and they came out fine. However, browning ground beef in a large skillet before putting it in your slow cooker helps to avoid meat clumping up or adding too much fat to your cooked food.
Is Bolognese Better the Longer You Cook It?
Bolognese gets better the longer you cook it. It’s general knowledge that cooking a good Bolognese for several hours at a very low temperature is the secret to making it.
This long-simmering makes the flavor gets more profound as the ingredients meld together. The meat gets incredibly tender as it breaks down from long cooking, and finally, the slow cooker bolognese sauce turns into a caramelized powerhouse of deliciousness.
Can You Use Ground Turkey Instead of Beef Mince?
For a leaner bolognese sauce, you can use ground turkey instead of ground beef in most slow cooker recipes that call for the latter. However, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that the texture will be a bit different.
First, turkey mince will dry out more quickly than ground beef because of its lower fat content. Second, ground turkey doesn’t have as much flavor as beef does. You can increase the number of spices or other seasonings in your recipe if you’re trading out one for the other.
If you’re looking for an alternative to ground beef that closely mimics the flavor and texture of the bolognese sauce, try using a combination of half ground turkey, half diced pancetta. The fattiness of the meat will help balance out the texture and add a depth of flavor that is hard to match.
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.
Having a slow cooker is worth it, and if you want 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.
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.
When you make the slow cooker bolognese sauce, you can serve the bolognese sauce over pasta and call it a meal. Indeed, you can serve it on pasta, and it’s absolutely delicious that way too. But if you want to get creative with all the remaining ingredients (which you will), here are some other options:
Use the leftover bolognese sauce to make breakfast tacos with eggs, grated cheese, and tortilla chips or to fill burritos with rice, beans, and cheese.
Or, if you prefer something a little sweeter, you can use the bolognese sauce to make a sweet and savory baked oatmeal.
Mix a cup of bolognese sauce with oats, some grated cheese, and a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar. Bake in the oven at 350°F for 30 minutes and enjoy a delicious breakfast or brunch. My family loves this recipe so much that I even make it for special occasions. For a Mother’s Day brunch one year, I made a giant tray of sweet and savory baked oatmeal, and it was a huge hit with everyone. I topped it off with fresh fruit and a dollop of whipped cream, and it was gone in minutes!
Bolognese Sauce Sandwich
Throw in some cooked ground beef and make “bolognese” sandwiches. One-day last summer, when I had friends over, I decided to experiment with making a type of bolognese sandwich by throwing some cooked ground beef into my slow cooker bolognese sauce, followed by some chopped boiled eggs in between two slices of bread.
The result was delicious! It’s not exactly like an authentic bolognese sauce sandwich which involves grated cheese, but I like to think of it as a close cousin. A new way for your whole family or friends to enjoy your favorite bolognese recipe in a fun new way!
The meaty bolognese is excellent over pasta, but it’s also delicious over baked potatoes or stuffed into ravioli. This recipe has two parts: first, there’s the bolognese sauce itself, and then there’s the baked potato topping.
Another great way to use up the bolognese is to make meaty lasagna, one of my favorite bolognese recipes, using the slow cooking technique (it features bolognese and ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and spinach).
For a warmer, heartier meal, serve slow cooker bolognese sauce over mashed potatoes with chopped fresh mixed herbs.
Top your favorite frozen pizza crust with slow cooker Bolognese. Bake at 350 until the crust is golden brown and the bolognese sauce with tomato sauce bubbles.
Toss egg noodles with cooked slow cooker bolognese sauce and chopped fresh herbs of your choice (I like parsley).
Spoon slow cooker Bolognese into cooked ravioli shells. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper, and return to oven on low heat until melted.
Mix the slow cooker bolognese sauce in the same pan into soup to add flavor without all the calories of cream and milk. Use medium-high heat to bring the broth to a light boil before serving hot.
Recipes You May Like
- Crockpot Glazed Chicken Teriyaki
- Slow Cooker Chipotle Bean Chili
- Quinoa and Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables
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.
Richmond Howard started Meal Prepify in 2019 and has helped over a million people learn how to meal prep, get better at meal planning, and create a kitchen they love to use. He’s an avid home chef and loves to bbq, grill out, and make awesome food for family and friends. He’s been featured on MSN, Renaissance Periodization, and Good Financial Cents.