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This Slow Cooker Bolognese recipe is so easy, with NO BROWNING browning necessary! Just leave it to cook all day and come home to a thick, rich beef ragu. Perfect to top spaghetti or use in lasagne.

Slow cooker bolognese sauce in a slow cooker pan, mixed with cooked spaghetti and topped with basil.

Is there a more classic midweek dinner than Spag Bol?! 🍝

I’ve taken this family favourite dish and reinvented it to be cooked while you’re busy all day, totally hands off – no faffing. Meet my Slow Cooker Bolognese.

Yes, I mean it when I say we don’t have to fry off the mince to brown it beforehand, which means this is a true throw-it-all-in slow cooker recipe – AKA a trusty ‘dump bag’ dinner.

I love sharing my newly discovered slow cooker hacks with you, and this is the ULTIMATE time-saving method of making this much-loved dish.

I have made sure it’s packed with rich flavour and the long, slow cooking just enhances the depth of deliciousness. Did I mention how easy it is too?!

I hope you love it as much as we do. ❤️


Why you’ll love this Slow Cooker Bolognese recipe

⭐️ Soft and tender beef

⭐️ Rich and delicious sauce

⭐️ Perfect for batch cooking and freezing


Slow cooker beef bolognese cooked in a crock pot, with basil on top.

How we came up with this recipe

It can sometimes be tricky to get the flavours right with slow cooker recipes, especially if we’re not browning the meat we’re using beforehand. And that’s even truer with beef. 

And so I knew if we were going to get spaghetti bolognese made in a slow cooker, it would have to be perfectly fine-tuned. The adapted version would also have to be worth cooking it differently for.

I am DELIGHTED to say that, after lots of testing, this bolognese recipe ticks all of the boxes…

✅ It’s rich in flavour thanks to a few extra ingredients that you might normally leave out (red wine, Worcestershire sauce, extra quantities of herbs and tomatoes, for example). 

✅ It’s also SO easy. Yes we really do just add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker, switch on and go. We don’t need to brown the mince at all. Which means preparing dinner takes just a few minutes, and the outcome is a rich, thick sauce that will go down with the whole family.

✅ It has a lovely consistency that is very ragu-like. If you give the mince a quick chop up before you add it into the pan, it won’t go into clumps at all.  

✅ You can then serve with spaghetti (make this separately as you’re about to eat), or it can even be used as a base for a lasagne or on top of a jacket potato.


More slow cooker beef mince recipes

⭐️ Slow Cooker Chilli Con Carne ⭐️

⭐️ Homemade Doner Kebab ⭐️

⭐️ Slow Cooker Beef Enchiladas ⭐️


Ingredients

Raw ingredients in a slow cooker for beef bolognese.
  • Beef mince – I like to use a 5% beef fat mince as it avoids excess fattiness in the sauce (as none will be cooking off). Any beef mince will work fine though
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Onion, celery and carrots – I use frozen Soffrito mix (onions, celery and carrots chopped into small cubes). Or you can prepare from scratch (see notes)
  • Garlic – Fresh or jarred/frozen is OK
  • Tomato pureé
  • Red wine
  • Beef stock cubes
  • Dried oregano
  • Bay leaves – Fresh or dried is fine (remove before serving)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Fresh basil

How to make Spaghetti Bolognese in a slow cooker

  1. Put all of the slow cook ingredients into the slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8 hours. 
  2. Add the Worcestershire sauce and fresh basil before serving.

Hint: If you want to serve this with spaghetti, boil the spaghetti for 2-3 minutes less than the usual cooking time. Drain and add to the bolognese sauce, with a splash or two of reserved cooking water. Stir well and allow the pasta to absorb the sauce a little and soften.


Leftovers

In the fridge You can keep this recipe in the fridge for 3 days. Reheat fully by before serving.

In the freezer Yes, you can freeze any leftovers. Defrost and reheat thoroughly when you want to enjoy them.

Alternatively, you can freeze all of the ingredients together in a bag raw as a ‘dump’ meal and then cook.

Top tips

Prep the night before

You can save yourself even more time in the morning for this recipe and prepare the ingredients for your slow cooker THE EVENING BEFORE! 

Simply throw everything for the initial cook into the slow cooker, pop the lid on, then store it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, put it into the slow cooker and don’t forget to switch ‘on’.

Hack: Frozen mixed vegetables base

You can replace the individual carrots, celery and onion ingredients for a frozen bag of ‘soffritto’, which comes already pre-chopped and all together in one bag. (I love this cheat for lots of recipes!) It might be called ‘vegetable base mix’ or something similar in some supermarkets.

FAQs

Which slow cooker do you use and recommend?

I use: Morphy Richards Sear & Stew Slow Cooker (it’s light and you can use it for browning on the hob too).

For induction hob users: Lakeland Digital 6.5l Slow Cooker.

Also! Top tip, buy a WiFi plug for it so you can switch it on or off from your phone when you’re out. What a time to be alive! I have this: Tp Link Tapo Smart Plug (Also you can set up with your Google or Alexa to say: “Switch on slow cooker” WHATTT? 🤯

Can I make this on the hob?

This recipe is designed for the slow cooker, so I’d suggest you use my Easy Spaghetti Bolognese recipe here instead (there are also oven instructions with this one).

Can you really put raw mince into a slow cooker?

Yes you can! The reasons to brown mince before cooking in the slow cooker (or crock pot) is to add flavour, to avoid excess fat and to stop the meat clumping.

You can avoid needing to do that by: adding lots of extra flavour, using lean mince and chopping up the mince before adding.

All that said, if you do want to brown the mince, go for it, I’m just always looking for a time saving hack.

Let me know how you got on and what you thought of these recipes. Please rate the recipe using the ⭐️ below.

Also I’d LOVE to see your cooking creations. If you’d like to share yours with me, you can tag me on Instagram (@tamingtwins).

5 from 225 votes

Slow Cooker Bolognese {No Browning Recipe!}

This Slow Cooker Bolognese recipe is so easy – no browning needed. Just leave it to cook all day and come home to a thick, rich beef ragu. Perfect to top spaghetti or use in lasagne.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 4 People

Ingredients 

To Slow Cook:

  • 500 g Beef mince
  • 800 g Tinned tomatoes, (800g = 2 x 400g tins)
  • 3 Sticks Celery, Chopped finely
  • 3 Carrots, Peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 Onion, Peeled and chopped finely
  • 6 Cloves of garlic, Peeled and crushed
  • 75 g Tomato pureé
  • 125 ml Red wine
  • 2 Beef stock cubes
  • 2 tsp Dried oregano
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Serve:

  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 15 g Fresh basil, Finely chopped

Instructions 

  • Put all of the slow cook ingredients into the slow cooker and cook for 6 hours on HIGH or 8 hours on LOW.
  • Add the Worcestershire sauce and fresh basil.

Optional:

  • If you want to serve with spaghetti, boil the spaghetti for 2-3 minutes less than the usual cooking time. Drain and add to the bolognese sauce, with a splash or two of reserved cooking water. Stir well and allow the pasta to absorb the sauce a little and soften.

Notes

Mince: Chopping your mince finely before adding to the slow cooker will avoid any big meat lumps
Bay leaves: Fresh or dried is fine, remove before serving
Vegetables: I buy a ‘soffritto’ mix if available to save having to chop the celery, carrots and onions. A 400g or 500g bag is fine. It might be called ‘vegetable base mix’ or something similar in some supermarkets
Nutritional information: The nutritional information does not include any spaghetti or other dishes to serve

Nutrition

Calories: 321kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 32gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 933mgPotassium: 1489mgFiber: 7gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 8528IUVitamin C: 29mgCalcium: 156mgIron: 7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
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Sarah Rossi founder of TamingTwins.com and author of 'What's for Dinner?' books.

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Hi, I'm Sarah. I help busy people decide 'What's for Dinner?' Find hundreds of recipes here, and also in my bestselling recipe book. Hope my recipes make your life easier ❤️

5 from 225 votes (205 ratings without comment)

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28 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is a fantastic spaghetti bolognese, the whole family loved including my 5 year-old and 1 year-old (just left out adding salt)! I’ve never come across the vegetable base mix before but what a time, money and waste saver!

  2. 5 stars
    Another winner! Even my ‘meat n two veg’ husband had seconds!!
    I just love a one pot meal and this was delicious!

  3. 5 stars
    We make this weekly, it’s a real hit!
    I do brown my mince because I prefer it that way but even adding that step it’s still super quick!