Beef/ Pasta/ Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese

Indulge your pasta craving with this creamy, slow cooker spaghetti Bolognese. This rich and cozy sauce is cooked long and slow to bring out the best, melt-in-your-mouth meat pasta for a comforting and hearty home-cooked meal.

A bowl of slow cooker spaghetti Bolognese on a white plate with shaved Parmesan cheese.

Everyone loves a cozy but elegant plate of spaghetti Bolognese. So today we’re making some slow cooker spaghetti Bolognese that’s cooked long and slow to give it plenty of time for the flavors to marry. It’s the perfect use of a slow cooker. Instead of simmering it for hours and babysitting it over the stovetop like the good old days, you let the slow cooker do all the hard work and come back to a rustic and rich meat sauce.

This one is all about indulging, so prepare yourself for some serious hearty comfort food which is a great antidote to cold, chilly days. Or throw this together for a romantic and elegant pasta date night. Serve it with garlic Parmesan knots, homemade garlic bread, or some French onion soup for a restaurant-quality meal cooked from the comfort of your home. Let’s start slow cooking!

Slow cooker spaghetti Bolognese on a white plate with shaved Parmesan cheese.


Pasta – I used spaghetti but you can also use pappardelle, linguine, or fettuccine. The bolognese sauce also pairs well with tube-type pasta if you prefer those.

Vegetables – The holy trinity base of diced onions, carrots and celery is the famous base for this sauce. You’ll want to sauté them to bring out the best flavors. While you can technically throw all the ingredients in the slow cooker and call it a day, this little extra step is worth it.

Ground beef – You’ll want to use extra lean ground beef for this. The leaner it is, the less you have to drain the fat. Also, with lean ground beef, you can skip the sautéing step on the stovetop and toss everything in the slow cooker (for those lazy, quick meal days).

White wine –  The wine is optional but adds a little more flavor. If you add this, you must cook it down completely over the stovetop so the sauce isn’t too watery. If you decided to skip sautéing everything and want to dump everything in the slow cooker, try using 1/4 cup of wine instead.

Tomato paste – I use Cento tomato paste that comes in a tube as it keeps and stores better than the ones in the can.

Nutmeg – Nutmeg is the secret ingredient that coaxes out the richness in a meat sauce. I use it for this sauce and other things like this hamburger quiche. You only need a tiny bit to make a huge difference.

Heavy cream – This is what makes the sauce super creamy. It’s a wonderful addition to the tomato-based sauce that takes it from hearty to rich. Add it in towards the end so there’s less chance of it curdling if cooked too long.

Slow cooker spaghetti Bolognese on a white plate with shaved Parmesan cheese.

You could serve it two ways: dish out a plate of pasta and top it with the Bolognese sauce, or mix it all together so it’s evenly distributed and people won’t be fighting over getting more meat sauce (which happens a lot in my house).

I tend to go with the latter since the eye will fool you into thinking you need more meat sauce to pasta ratio than you actually do. So the best way to not fall for this is to toss the bulk of it together. Problem solved. No more meat sauce hogging!

And that’s about it. Enjoy your comforting bowl of pasta and let me know how you like it. It’s one of my favorite recipes 🙂


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Slow cooker spaghetti Bolognese on a white plate with shaved Parmesan cheese.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese

  • Author: The Cooking Jar
  • Total Time: 6 hours 35 mins
  • Yield: 6-8 1x


This rich and creamy, slow cooker spaghetti Bolognese brings out the best, melt-in-your-mouth meat pasta for a hearty home-cooked meal.


Units Scale
  • 1 lb. pasta, cooked al dente
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 3 celery hearts, diced
  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 cup white wine (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  1. Over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef until browned. Drain any excess fat, remove beef and set aside.
  2. Melt butter, add in olive oil and sauté the onions, carrots and celery until soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the ground beef back in and stir to combine.
  4. [Optional step] Pour in the wine and cook until it evaporates, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add tomato paste, nutmeg, beef bouillon cubes and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Transfer meat sauce to a 6 qt. slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  7. About 30 minutes before it is finished cooking, pour in the heavy cream and stir to mix. Cover and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.
  8. Toss the sauce with the pasta, dish and serve warm with shaved Parmesan cheese.
  9. Enjoy!


Cook it over the stovetop: Follow steps 1-5. Reduce heat to medium and add in heavy cream. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes or until cream has reduced and incorporated fully into the sauce. Toss with pasta and serve hot.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 6 hours 20 mins

♡ Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn commissions from qualifying purchases from You can learn more about it here.


  • Reply
    April 4, 2022 at 5:50 PM

    Made this today , Yummy. My husband and 2year old daughter both loved it ( they are picky eaters ) . Thanks!!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      April 11, 2022 at 8:04 PM

      You are very welcome. This is STILL one of my favorite recipes on the blog. I need to make it this year 🙂

  • Reply
    December 22, 2016 at 3:00 PM

    Aaaaaaaaamazing- Thank you so much for this recipe!
    My boyfriend said, “Not only is this the best thing you’ve ever made, it’s one of the best thing I’ve ever tasted!”

    Do you have any suggestions on how to incorporate this into a lasagna???

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      February 20, 2017 at 9:46 AM

      It’s still the number one pasta sauce we adore in our house! As for lasagna, I would use the meat sauce as regular sauce in a lasagna recipe you trust or one that uses the same amount of sauce (2 lb.). Do the usual layering (ie. sauce/pasta/mozzarella/ricotta) and rinse repeat until you have your final layers of sauce and mozzarella. One final tip is to use good quality ricotta. It makes a HUGE difference!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2016 at 12:39 PM

    The temperature dropped 2 degrees here in San Diego, this is in the crockpot right now….YUMMMMM

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      November 17, 2016 at 1:25 PM

      I prepped the beef ahead of time, forgot about it for a couple of days in the fridge then decided to freeze it until I’m ready to go. But it’s on the menu! Seems we are in sync again, Josie 😉

  • Reply
    June 9, 2015 at 7:20 PM

    I was so bummed, I made this and put it in the crockpot for dinner, left for 5 hours…it was on LOW…and it was nearly burned when I got home. I was so disappointed. I just wanted to add this so others won’t have this happen. Maybe my crockpot cooks hotter or something but…sadness now. ;(

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      June 9, 2015 at 8:37 PM

      Oh wow, I’m sorry to hear that! I admit I have heard some horror stories on certain models of slow cookers running too hot even on low. Apparently they don’t run the same and there is no standard which makes things really confusing! So I really recommend reading the comments before trying out a slow cooker. I like going to Amazon to read comments, their community seems to be reliable for that.

      Really sorry that happened to you and with this recipe too! It’s really worth it and one of my favorites 🙁 If you’re not entirely sure how your slow cooker cooks, try cooking it on low for half the time. The sauce essentially is ready to eat right off the stove top but the slow cooking is just to bring out its flavor. So the 6-8 hours is not the mandatory time for it to cook, just how long you want flavors to marry. Thanks for coming here and putting this out there, so others can be vigilant!

  • Reply
    April 16, 2015 at 3:10 PM

    Is it too soon to make it again 🙂

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      April 17, 2015 at 2:22 AM

      Never too soon! I have 1 lb. of pappardelle that’s been sitting there on backup for the next time I make mine 😉

      • Reply
        April 30, 2015 at 6:14 PM

        I find I can’t make any other spaghetti dish but this one and I can’t get enough 🙂

        • Reply
          The Cooking Jar
          May 1, 2015 at 2:43 AM

          I just had some leftovers tonight, cause all your comments made me crave it again! There’s just one more bowl left and I’m hiding it for myself!

  • Reply
    April 7, 2015 at 12:40 PM

    making this AGAIN today 🙂

  • Reply
    March 26, 2015 at 1:08 PM

    I made this last week and OMG I was in carb heaven. Best pasta dish I have had in along time. YUMMMMM

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      March 26, 2015 at 10:46 PM

      Yesssss! Someone finally sees how absolutely DELICIOUS this is! It isn’t very popular which is so sad because it’s one of my favorite pasta sauces. My hubby and I fight over it all the time and I’ve made it dozens of times this past winter for comfort food.

  • Reply
    Kaitlin | The Woks of Life
    January 15, 2015 at 12:11 PM

    Hi Farah, my gosh, I swear that when I read the words “slow cooker rich meat sauce” I actually started salivating! This looks too easy to not try!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      January 16, 2015 at 12:36 PM

      It’s seriously one of my favorite meals this season. I’ve made it twice already this winter and I’m gonna make it again next week. So comforting! It’s a pity it doesn’t get that much attention, it’s so good it should be shared!

  • Reply
    Muna Kenny
    December 4, 2014 at 5:32 AM

    Adding cream must have made this dish more yummy … Farah, coming to your blog always made me hungry and that’s not good for my waist 🙂 … I want to try this recipe for our weekend dinner, I just hope to remember taking pictures before we finish eating it!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      December 4, 2014 at 5:11 PM

      Take pics! I was really bummed when we finished this up. We ended up squabbling over who got the last serving. It tastes even better the next day and if you mix it altogether, it gets even better the closer you get to the bottom of the bowl. Hence squabbling over that last serving!

  • Reply
    December 1, 2014 at 10:03 AM

    As far as I’m concerned bolognese is and always will be my favorite comfort food! Never made it in a slow cooker though, and I will now. I love that it is cooked for 8 hours – which means I can leave it while I’m at work.

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      December 1, 2014 at 4:33 PM

      Well this is a slight variation, think of it as a creamier version of Bolognese with the heavy cream. So very yummy though. I have to stop myself from hogging it all!

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