Beef/ Pasta/ Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese

Indulge your pasta craving with this creamy, slow cooker spaghetti Bolognese. This rich and decadent 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.

Today we’re making a comforting, creamy slow cooker spaghetti Bolognese that’s cooked long and slow to give this rich and meaty pasta sauce plenty of time to marry flavors. While traditionally served over a bed of spaghetti, you can also use pappardelle, linguine or fettuccine. The Bolognese sauce also pairs well with tube-type pastas if you prefer those.

This one is all about indulging and decadence, so prepare yourself for some seriously hearty comfort food perfect to combat those cold days or a romantic Italian meal for special nights. Serve it with garlic Parmesan knots, garlic bread or some French onion soup for a restaurant quality meal cooked in the comfort of your home! Let’s get started.

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

SLOW COOKER SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE TIPS AND TRICKS:

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 is nice and thick. If you decided to skip sautéing everything and want to dump everything in the slow cooker, try using 1/4 cup of wine instead.

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.

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 beef and cheese quiche. You only need a tiny bit to make a huge difference.

A bowl of 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 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!

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
A bowl of slow cooker spaghetti Bolognese on a white plate with shaved Parmesan cheese.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese


  • Author: The Cooking Jar
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 6 hours 20 mins
  • Total Time: 6 hours 35 mins
  • Yield: 6-8 1x

Description

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


Ingredients

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

Instructions

  1. Over medium high heat, brown the ground beef until cooked. 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 meat and stir to combine.
  4. Add 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 slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  7. 30 minutes before finishing, 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.

Notes

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.

A no fuss recipe for slow cooker BBQ pulled chicken. It's literally set and forget until it's time to eat. Serve with coleslaw, pickles and chips!

GET THE LATEST RECIPES

Sign Up TO RECEIVE AWESOME RECIPES
RIGHT IN YOUR INBOX

close
Shredded Mississippi pot roast in a bowl with pepperoncini peppers.

GET THE LATEST RECIPES

SIGN UP TO RECEIVE AWESOME RECIPES RIGHT IN YOUR INBOX

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

20 Comments

  • Reply
    Katie
    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
    Josie
    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
    Shirlee
    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
    Josie
    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
        Josie
        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
    Josie
    April 7, 2015 at 12:40 PM

    making this AGAIN today 🙂

  • Reply
    Josie
    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
    Aida
    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!

    Leave a Reply

    Recipe rating

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    1K Shares
    Pin1K
    Share21
    Yum
    Email