Easy to make rich and rustic Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese, with a sauce packed with so much flavour to coat your pasta (or vegetables) of choice!
Making bolognese is so simple over stove top, BUT, in the slow cooker? Even better when the slow cooker does all the work! You will LOVE this Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese recipe!
The ONLY way we love our bolognese is cooked in a slow cooker or crockpot. With meat so incredibly soft and tender, it falls apart all over your pasta.
This family recipe makes enough to freeze any left overs for any emergency dinner situations, OR enough for the next day. Just boil up some more pasta and you have a restaurant quality meal two days in a row! NO COOKING! Well, except for boiling the pasta, which is simple itself. OR, do what we do and use the leftovers to smother ALL over toast.
Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese
What I have found over the years of making this sauce is browning the meat first before adding it into the slow cooker tastes incredible. I used to throw it all in the slow cooker without browning the meat first, but we had an aversion to the ‘stewed meat’ flavour.
I also found frying off your onion and garlic first creates a delicious depth of flavour.
The sauce is so versatile, you can serve it over pasta, like the spaghetti pictured here, BUT I usually opt to serve this sauce over zucchini noodles, or steamed vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and pumpkin when following a low carb diet or calorie counting.
The sauce is so thick and rich, full of unmistakable Italian flavours.
The addition of carrots in my sauce adds some sweetness through the tomatoes. You will no doubt love this sauce just as much as we do!
Love Slow Cooker Meals? Try these!
Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
Slow Cooker Creamy Tortellini Soup
Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 onions finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced (or 1 tablespoon minced garlic)
- 2 pounds (1 kg) lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) red wine or beef broth/stock (optional)
- 2 x 28-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup (250 ml) beef stock
- 6 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 large carrot chopped
- 1 tablespoon stock powder or crushed beef bouillon
- 2-3 teaspoons salt adjust to your tastes
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano (or 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped)
- 2 teaspoons dried basil (or 2 teaspoons fresh basil, finely chopped)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Cracked pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
- 17 ounces (500 g) dry pasta (spaghetti)
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or pan over medium-high heat. Sauté onion until softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
- Brown beef, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon, until just beginning to brown (about 2-3 minutes). Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker bowl.
- Return the skillet to the stove; pour in the wine while scraping any bits of the fried meat from the pan. Bring to a gentle simmer and transfer to the slow cooker bowl.
- To the slow cooker bowl, add in the crushed tomatoes, beef stock, tomato paste, carrot, stock powder (or crushed bouillon cubes), salt, oregano, basil, sugar and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or high for 3-4 hours. Add in the chopped parsley before serving.
- In the last 15 minutes of cooking time, boil pasta in salted water following packet instructions.
- Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Pour the reserved water back into the pasta along with 2 cups cooked bolognese sauce. Stir until the sauce is thick enough to coat the pasta.
- Serve with parmesan cheese and (extra) chopped parsley, if desired.
Nutrition information is based on per serve out of 9 serves. The recipe states serves 8, but you will have about 2 serves of left overs!
Lovely recipe but not sure I did the tomatoes right. Should they be drained before putting in?
I used chopped tomatoes as couldn’t see crushed in the supermarket.
Hi, could I use Passats instead of crushed tomatoes? Just want the consistency to be be right. Thanks!
Pam joseph says
Hi we are trying not to eat too much red meat would this recipe work with Turkey mince and should I change/add any ingredients ?
That would be fine Pam!
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Rahul Digital says
OMG! this looks delicious!! I can think of about a million ways to enjoy this!
This turned out great! I browned the beef and onions the night before so I could just dump everything in the slow cooker before work the next morning. I loved how all the flavors blended together, the texture was perfect, we served with spaghetti. I chose to add a large package of baby bella mushrooms. My only change is I would either lessen or omit the wine next time, we don’t cook with alcohol often and I found the flavor a little overpowering. This was a great weeknight meal, and I will definitely make again!
My crockpot is just 4L, can I still do the same quantity?
Thank u so much!
I would cut the recipe in half. Hope that helps! Enjoy! XO
I followed it word for word, it’s definitely going into the family recipe box! Thank you!!!!
Fiorella Barnes says
I have about 2 hours left on the low setting but need to have dinner ready in about an hour. Can I change it to high for the last hour?
Yes, of course! You are welcome to make any adjustments that are needed.
I made this last night and unfortunately it had heaps of liquid left after 10 hours on low in the slow cooker. I had to reduce on the stove top for half an hour before we could eat it. Not sure where I went wrong as I followed the recipe exactly. Is it definitely 2 x 28 ounce cans of tomatoes? In Australia we get 14 oz cans (400ml) so I put 4 cans in which seems like heaps. Do you drain them first? If I make this again I will cut it back to 2 x 400ml cans.
Hi Tamara! I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you. I’m in Australia also! That’s definitely the right amount of tomatoes. SO weird! Did you add the tomato paste?
It sounds like she used diced or stewed tomatoes, not crushed tomatoes. There’s no way one could ‘drain’ crushed tomatoes and have much left to add to the sauce.
Finally a delicious bolognese in the slow cooker! I’ve tried dozens of recipes and they’ve all been dull. Until now. Thank you so much, you’ve combined my two loves; my slow cookers & bolognese. Mangia bene!
Debra Davis says
Absolutely loved this! So good and oh so easy!!
My boyfriend and I tried this yesterday and it was incredible! Definitely one of the best bolognese recipes we’ve tried and we were looking for something to remind us of Italy, which this did. We didn’t do the bit at the end with half a cup of the pasta water, because we found the bolognese sauce itself to be ‘watery’ enough so didn’t want to add more. It was perfect.
Barry Hugg says
Remarkably easy to follow except that I am quite confused about the final step which is to add half a cup of the pasta cooking water back to the drained pasta along with two cups of the bolognese – etc. Then serve??? Two cups is not going to feed 8 diners – what is this step for. I would have thought that the pasta would be served on the plate and then the required amount of bolgnese spooned onto it for a serve? Have I misunderstood the instruction?
Hi Barry! That step is to first coat the pasta in sauce to get all the flavours, before serving as you would normally with extra sauce over the top. Coating the pasta in a mixture of pasta water and sauce ensures the sauce sticks to the pasta nicely, before serving, while giving you more flavour. I hope that helps!
Pam S. says
This is a great recipe. I’ve made bolognese, but never in the slow cooker. Followed your recipe, but used half ground turkey and half spicy turkey sausage (my husband likes things spicy). Was very good and had plenty to freeze!
Love a good Spaghetti Bolognese
It’s 5:24 in the evening and I haven’t cooked yet but as soon as I saw your delicious post, I told myself I need to get up and cook! This looks amazingly good!