Slow-Cooker Bolognese

Slow-Cooker Bolognese

recipe image


Bolognese is one of our favorite recipes to make during the winter: It instantly warms you up and makes you feel sooo cozy. 

Do I need to cook the meat on the stovetop before?

OK, so this is one step that some people will be like “Ugh, seriously?!”, but I firmly believe it just makes the sauce that much better. We start the recipe by sautéing onion, carrots, and celery (the holy trinity that’s mandatory in all bolognese) and then once that’s going add the ground beef to brown it. The vegetables will steam in the slow cooker, but they’ll never sauté, so we prefer to get them a little golden to help coax out some flavor before hitting the slow cooker.

The meat will brown on the stovetop—whereas it’ll just steam in the slow cooker—and you can drain its fat before it goes into the slow cooker, which is a huge bonus.

Will my milk curdle in the slow cooker?

Weirdly no—we were worried about this, too.

Can I also cook the pasta in the slow cooker?

You actually can—but this recipe makes so much bolognese sauce that we like to add some to pasta we cook separately before freezing the rest of the bolognese for later use.

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Total Time:
6 hrs 20 mins
  • 1 tbsp.

    extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1

    large onion, chopped

  • 2

    large carrots, chopped

  • 3

    celery stalks, chopped

  • 4

    cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 tbsp.

    tomato paste

  • 2 lb.

    ground beef

  • 1 oz.

    (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes

  • 1 tbsp.

    dried oregano

  • 1 tbsp.

    dried thyme

  • 1

    bay leaf

  • 1 tsp.

    kosher salt

  • 1 c.

    whole milk

  • 1/4 c.

    dry red wine

  • Freshly ground black pepper


    1. Step 1In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook until tender, 6 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir until combined, then add ground beef and cook until no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer mixture with a slotted spoon to slow cooker.
    2. Step 2Add crushed tomatoes, oregano, thyme, bay leaf, salt, milk, and red wine. Season with pepper and stir until combined. 
    3. Step 3Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Discard bay leaf.
    4. Step 4Serve over cooked pasta.

Slow-Cooker Bolognese -


Parker Feierbach

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Headshot of Lindsay Funston

Lindsay Funston

Former Executive Editor

Lindsay Funston is the former Executive Editor at Delish, where she managed all food, culture, video and social content. She had worn many hats at the brand over the years: traveling the country in pursuit of pickles, creating gravity-defying “cheese pulls”, and almost burning down the Delish kitchen with marshmallow cupcakes.

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