1 year ago

Slow Cooker Bolognese

Take spaghetti night up a notch with this flavorful slow cooker recipe from Twin Cities food blogger greens & chocolate. Serve over spaghetti noodles, pappardelle noodles or even spaghetti squash!

A few weeks ago, I had my sister-in-law over to our house for a full-day session of freezer meal prep. She recently had a baby and just went back to work, and I’m due with our second any day now, so we are both in need of some super-simple meals that we can pull out of the freezer and let the slow cooker do the work for us.

I couldn’t make a batch of freezer slow cooker meals without including this recipe for Bolognese sauce.  Bolognese sauce is typically made on the stovetop and simmered for hours, but I think it is absolutely made for the slow cooker. The reason it’s so good and flavorful is because it is cooked so long – and with the slow cooker, it can cook all day!

This recipe does require a little pre-slow-cooker prep, as the veggies need to be sautéed and the turkey needs to be cooked prior to putting it in the slow cooker. This part of the recipe could be done the night before, or you could do like we did and freeze it, making it ready to be put in the slow cooker at any time!

I made ours with ground turkey, but I’ve also made it the more traditional way with ground beef, and this recipe works just as well with either. I topped it with freshly-chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese, and I’ve heard some people like to give their sauce a splash of heavy cream at the end as well, for additional richness.

Regardless, this Bolognese is delicious and is the perfect way to kick spaghetti night up a notch.  Even my meat-averse toddler ate it up!

One note about this recipe: it makes a LOT! If you have a smaller family, you could definitely freeze half of it and cook the other half right away in the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Bolognese

Makes 8-10 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 6-8 hours

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large white onion, finely diced
3 carrots, peeled and finely diced
3 stalks celery, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
2 pounds ground turkey (or ground beef)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine (or chicken broth)
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a large soup pot or skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper and Worcestershire; cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add turkey and cook until no longer pink, breaking it up into smaller pieces as you go.
  4. Add tomato paste and cook another 2 minutes.
  5. Add red wine and deglaze the pan.
  6. Add crushed tomatoes, salt and pepper.
  7. Transfer to slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.