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Slow Cooker Bolognese

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Quick to prepare and full of flavour, this easy Slow Cooker Bolognese is a delicious and healthy homemade pasta sauce – just serve stirred through freshly cooked spaghetti or even spooned into jacket potatoes, with a sprinkling of grated cheese.

One of the best parts about cooking on cold days is definitely using the slow cooker and getting it doing all of the hard work.

Our totally delicious family-friendly Slow Cooker Bolognese is great for a busy weeknight and it’s super easy to prepare – just dump, stir and cook. It’s that simple!

We add some ‘hidden’ veggies to our spaghetti bolognese sauce, just because I’m a mum and squeezing in the extra portions of vegetables is my thing!

And this is a really easy minced beef recipe – literally 5 minutes of preparation in the morning and then 8 hours later you’ll be coming home to a yummy rich slow cooker bolognese sauce that just needs tossing through some freshly cooked spaghetti.

slow cooker bolognese stirred into spaghetti in a serving dish alongside green beans, salad and grated cheese

Slow Cooker Bolognese Ingredients

You’ll just need a handful of ingredients to throw together our slow cooker Spag Bol!

slow cooker bolognese ingredients - minced beef, chopped celery, chopped onions, chopped garlic, grated carrots, olive oil, dried oregano and minced beef all in bowls ready to cook alongside 2 tins of tomatoes and a saucer of tomato puree
  • 1/2 tbs olive oil – you can swap this for sunflower or rapeseed oil if you prefer.
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 1 onion – chopped
  • 2 sticks celery – finely sliced
  • 2 carrots – grated
  • 2 cloves garlic – grated
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbs tomato puree
  • 2 tsp dried oregano – or you can swap this for Italian seasoning.
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch black pepper

Get more really delicious easy minced beef recipes here

Equipment Needed To Make Bolognese In The Slow Cooker

  • Chopping board
  • Vegetable knife
  • Grater
  • Wooden spoon
  • Tablespoon
  • Teaspoon
  • Slow cooker

Get loads more easy dinner recipes here

How To Make Slow Cooker Bolognese

You are just going to love how easy our slow cooker pasta sauce is to throw together!

Step One – preheat the slow cooker

  • Turn the slow cooker on – either low for 8 hours cooking time or hight for 4 hours cooking time.
  • Use the olive oil to wipe around the inside of the slow cooker bowl, just to prevent the food sticking.

Step Two – Add your slow cooker pasta sauce ingredients

  • Tip in the beef mince meat and break it up using a wooden spoon.
minced beef in the slow cooker pan being broken up with a wooden spoon
  • Add in the grated carrots, sliced celery and chopped onions.
  • Then stir them into the mince and mix everything together.
  • Next tip in the tins of chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, the dried oregano, salt and black pepper.
  • Mix all the ingredients together well so that all the flavours and well combined.
  • Put the slow cooker bowl/pan into the slow cooker base and cook for your preferred time – low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
slow cooker bolognese sauce in the slow cooker pan

Cooks Tip! Once the sauce is cooked – if it needs thickening up then do this by adding a couple of heaped tsp of cornflour to a cup and mixing into a paste with some cold water. Then stir this through the sauce and cook for a few minutes to thicken.

Get more easy ground beef recipes here

What To Serve With Spaghetti Bolognese

Our favourite side dishes to serve with a bowl of pasta bolognese!

  • Vegetables – slow cooker bolognese goes great with some green vegetables – think broccoli, peas, green beans or a nice big garden salad.
  • Sweetcorn – kids love corn alongside most dinners! You could serve corn cobs or a little pile of sweetcorn, my kids love the sweetcorn and pea frozen veg mix.
  • Garlic bread – this just goes perfectly with bolognese – you could try our homemade garlic bread cheat recipe for an easy version you can make yourself.
  • Homemade Coleslaw – homemade slaw is a great way to pack vegetables into your diet – try our ranch coleslaw recipe here.
  • Pappardelle – use our slow cooker bolognese sauce to serve up pappardelle bolognese – these thicker ribbons of pasta make a nice change to spaghetti.

Get lots more delicious, healthy kid friendly recipes here

slow cooker bolognese stirred into spaghetti in a serving dish alongside green beans, salad and grated cheese

Slow Cooker Bolognese Recipe Tips

There’s lots of ways to really make our slow cooker mince beef bolognese recipe your own – switch the ingredients, serve it differently or bulk it up and freeze it. We’ll run you through our best tips!

How can I serve home made bolognese sauce?

Well, there’s lots of ways to use our slow cooker bolognese sauce – you can serve it with spaghetti or pasta shapes. You could spoon it into baked potatoes or serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables.

You could also use it as a lasagne meat sauce, to stuff cannelloni or even make an Italian inspired cottage pie with either plain mashed potatoes or a mix of sweet potato and white potato mash.

Can I make slow cooker bolognese ahead of time?

Yes – you can make this up the day before you want to eat it. And in fact it tastes even better made in advance as the flavours really marinate.

As long as you make sure to cool it within 90 minutes of it being cooked and store it in an air tight container in the fridge at less than 5C.

To reheat the sauce you can either do this in a saucepan or in the microwave. Be sure to stir often as you reheat to avoid uneven heating. And be sure the food is heated to a minimum of 75C throughout.

Can I freeze bolognese sauce?

If freezing the slow cooker mince beef bolognese be sure to cool the food quickly, within 90 minutes of making and freeze once cool in an airtight, freezer safe container. The bolognese sauce should keep well in the freezer for up to 2 months. 

Defrost thoroughly before reheating and reheat thoroughly until the core temperature is at least 75C when checked with a food thermometer.

Can I add other vegetables to my home made bolognese sauce?

Yes – totally! You can add in grated or chopped courgette, try adding mushrooms or peppers, or even bulk up the mince meat to stretch it further by adding in tinned lentils.

Can I use a different meat than minced beef to make the bolognese?

Yes, you could make this recipe with stewing steak as a ragu sauce. Or you could switch the minced beef for minced lamb, which makes a good tasty bolognese or turkey mince for a turkey bolognese.

Can I make vegetarian bolognese?

Yes – the easiest thing to do is switch the minced beef for a couple of tins of lentils.

Love to eat Italian food? Try out more of our easy Italian recipes here

slow cooker bolognese stirred into spaghetti in a serving dish alongside green beans, salad and grated cheese

How To Use Up Leftover Bolognese

Quick and easy ways to use up leftover bolognese sauce to save waste and money!

  • Use the bolognese sauce as a fajita filling with fresh salad and grated cheese.
  • Stir the leftover sauce through cooked rice for an Italian style dirty rice recipe.
  • Use to top freshly made pizza bases or shop bought pizza bases then scatter with mozzarella and cook.

Get loads more delicious easy pasta dishes here

slow cooker bolognese stirred into spaghetti in a serving dish alongside green beans, salad and grated cheese

More Easy Slow Cooker Dinner Recipes To Try

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Yield: 6

Slow Cooker Bolognese

slow cooker bolognese stirred into spaghetti in a serving dish alongside green beans, salad and grated cheese

An easy slow cooker pasta sauce that's always super popular with the kids!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 large onion - finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery - sliced
  • 2 carrots - grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic - chopped
  • 800g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tsp dried oregano or Italian seasoning
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Turn the slow cooker on – either low for 8 hours cooking time or hight for 4 hours cooking time.
  2. Use the olive oil to wipe around the inside of the slow cooker bowl, just to prevent the food sticking.
  3. Tip in the beef mince meat and break it up using a wooden spoon.
  4. Add in the grated carrots, sliced celery and chopped onions.
  5. Then stir them into the mince and mix everything together
  6. Next tip in the tins of chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, the dried oregano, salt and black pepper.
  7. Mix all the ingredients together well so that all the flavours and well combined.
  8. Put the slow cooker bowl/pan into the slow cooker base and cook for your preferred time – low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  9. Serve stirred through your favourite pasta.

Notes

If you need to thicken the sauce - do so using a couple of tsp of cornflour mixed into a paste with a little cold water then stir through the sauce and cook for a few minutes to thicken.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 285Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 155mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 24g

Nutritional content will vary depending on the exact ingredients you use and how careful you are with measuring - this nutritional information is given as a general guide only and may not be accurate - you should always calculate your own nutritional information especially if you have specific dietary requirements.

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