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Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce Recipe


slow cooker bolognese sauce Hip2Save

If you’re looking for an outstanding, restaurant quality pasta dish from your slow cooker, then this is a winner! Pasta with Bolognese sauce is one of my favorite dishes to order at fancy Italian restaurants and although it requires a few more steps than traditional spaghetti, it’s totally worth the extra work! This meal will make your kitchen smell amazing (and for me, cooking with white wine always makes me feel like a gourmet cook 🙂 ).

Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce

(adapted from Skinnytaste.com)


3 oz pancetta, chopped (or center cut bacon)
1 tbsp butter (or olive oil)
1/2 large white onion, minced
2 celery stalks (about 3/4 cup), finely chopped
2 carrots (about 3/4 cup), finely chopped
2 lb 95% lean ground beef
1/4 cup white wine
2 – 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
3 bay leaves
salt and fresh pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup half & half cream
chopped parsley to garnish

How to make bolognese sauce Hip2Save


In a large skillet on the stove, sauté pancetta for about 5 minutes on med-high. Add butter, celery, onions, carrots, and cook on medium-low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add meat, season with salt and pepper and sauté until browned on med high heat. Drain the fat then add wine; cook until it reduces down, about 3-4 minutes.

Put mixture in the slow cooker. Add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Stir, cover and cook on low for about 4-6 hours. (I could only wait 4 hours and it was still amazing.)

Before serving add half and half, parsley, and salt/pepper to taste. Serve over your favorite pasta. Garnish with a little more chopped parsley.

Slow Cooker Bolognese Hip2Save
This recipe makes about 10 cups of sauce so we had lots of left overs. This dish does well frozen and reheated when you’re ready to serve again!

Easy Penne Bolognese Hip2Save
This was a meal success at my house, and I hope it is in yours as well. Enjoy!

[h2s_box]Written by Lina for Hip2Save. Lina is a proud mom of 2 small kids who loves photography, all holidays, cooking, thrift store makeovers, bargain shopping, and DIY makeovers. Her goal is to create a beautiful life and stylish home on a dime! To see all of Lina’s recipes created just for Hip2Save, click here.[/h2s_box]

Join The Discussion

Comments 37

  1. Pharmchick

    Oh it looks delicious!! Are there any other meat substitutions for bacon? And for the wine? Thanks!

    • Beckie

      I would like to know as well. I can’t use pork or alcohol 🙂 would love suggestions!

      • 78Brownie

        I was going to ask the same question about the pork. Cooking wine is fine with me. Table/ ordinary wine…I have to drink that 😉

      • Stephanie

        I used rice wine vinegar instead of alcohol Direct substitution. The pork fat isn’t necessary. I drop of liquid smoke might work.

    • Em

      If you don’t eat pork add just a smudge of olive oil for fat. The wine can be replaced with a stock. Though, it really won’t taste as good as wine is a big part of the bolognese flavor

      • Rae

        Be careful with turkey bacon and read the ingredients because they sometimes have added in a little pork fat.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      I’ve heard of stock or apple juice, although I haven’t tried in this specific recipe. You could use a different kind of bacon?

      • Pharmchick

        Maybe I’ll try the stock option, but I can’t have any kind of pork. Would like, turkey bacon work? Or extra ground meat?

        • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

          I like the idea of adding more oil or using a higher % fat content ground beef.

        • Em

          You could add Turkey but you still need to add the fat. The bacon adds a bit of flavor and fat. You won’t miss the flavor but you need the fat

        • ann

          Morningstar brand makes really good meat replacements. I think that their vegetarian sausage tastes very, very similar to real sausage. Their bacon is okay, but I am not sure how it would do in sauce recipe (would likely get squishy and kinda gross). I think this recipe would work very well with a little veggie sausage.

          Could also try turkey bacon.

    • Alison Matalanis

      If you’re ok with alcohol, one substitute I just found for white wine is dry vermouth. It is pretty inexpensive (~$5 a bottle), and it will last awhile in your frig. I like wine, but I don’t drink it on a regular basis. So, buying a bottle of dry vermouth is a frugal way to have wine on hand for cooking. I agree, Em. Wine adds a nice flavor. Thanks for the recipe, Lina!

      • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

        Great idea! Thanks Allison 🙂

    • Bunny

      Hello Pharmchick,

      I’ve read that a smoked turkey leg is a good substitution for recipes that call for pork products. Gives that smoky flavor you’re looking for without the pig 😉

      And yes stock or apple juice would be a great sub in for the wine.

      • jenn

        Yum! Smoked turkey would be really yummy, and give it a nice depth of flavor.

      • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

        Great idea bunny!! Thanks

      • pharm_chick

        thank you all for the suggestions!!! i will def try it! I’ve always wanted to make bolognese but never could because i couldn’t figure out how to do without the pork and alcohol. i can’t wait to try it!

  2. Gen

    Omg your stuff looks like them foods on tv! All nice and in place! Im coming over!

  3. An

    This is my last attempt. If anyone has a shutterfly $20 code that was supposed to expire yesterday that was extended I would really appreciate it. I am trying to make my daughter a cup for her bday. If you could email if to me at sweetcandlegirl@yahoo.com that would be great. I have a free calendar code j could trade you. Thanks 😉

    • Sarah

      Sent you mine. Hope it’s not too late.

  4. Kathy

    Yay, Collin! Remember, I asked you if you would make a Recipes tab on your website recently? I am so glad that you did. Thank you for these great recipes, and now much easier access to them. 🙂

  5. cheapcheap goes the mommy

    Will def try this one. Love all that color I like to sneak veggies in meatloaf..thank goodness for my chopper 🙂 Can’t wait to try thanks!

  6. Fairy

    Shutterfly $15 off 30 code is happy15

  7. Kerry

    I have already made this today – it is the slow cooker now! I know its not classic bolognese but I don’t have any wine and my family LOVES vodka pasta sauce so I substituted vodka for the wine. I’m hoping it turns out. I will update you all when it is done! Smells delicious so far. 🙂

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Great idea! Enjoy 🙂

  8. Barb

    Lina I love all your recipes, they are wonderful. But I would like to ask why you are not making videos, and why are you not in any of the photos? I would love to see what the cook looks like!!! You are so talented, but I think all of us would like to meet you!!!!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Thanks Barb for the nice feedback!

  9. Stefanie

    I’m loving Lina’s addition to the site. The recipes and the detailed pictures are so helpful!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Thanks Stephanie!! I’m a visual learner for sure. especially with recipes 🙂

  10. ashley

    I forget who makes them, but at the store, with the frozen vegetables, those already cut up packages of different vegetables are wonderful. I just used the carrots, celery, and onion one for my chicken noodle soup the other day and it was so easy! That would be perfect for this recipe. Think of the time you would save, but sorry, I forget the name of the product.

  11. VictoriaF

    Thank you for your recipe, Lina! I have several questions. What is “half & half cream” for and will the recipe work without it? Any substitutions? Also, I have diced tomatoes in a can. With they work instead of crashed? I can’t wait to try your recipe! Thank you again.

  12. Kerry

    Update: my family absolutely inhaled this last night. As I stated in an earlier post! I substituted vodka for the wine (its wht I had on hand and we love vodka pasta sauce anyway). My two tweens and husband loved it. They were happy campers! Made enough for dinner, leftovers for lunch today and half went into the freezer for a later date. Thank you for an awesome recipe!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Yeah! That is great thanks for telling us!

  13. amelia

    Made for some very special guests. Lots of ‘yums’. Thanks for your great recipes

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Yeah that is great news thanks!

  14. Stefanie

    Hi Lina! I was saving this recipe since you posted it because i have been dying to make it. I prepared everything last night, and after all my meat was cooked, I realized I certainly did not have a large enough crock pot for everything. (I have the little one) So I divided the meat in half and only used one can of tomatoes in the crock put. I let it cook over night on low, and let me tell you it came out AMAZING! Also, with the leftover meat – I mixed it with a prepared box of stove top and made “stuffed peppers”. It was great! Thanks for the great recipe, and I look forward to trying more of your recipes!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Oh wow I’m glad! Yeah 🙂 thanks for telling us!

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