crockpot bolognese sauce

I’ve always felt that the crockpot is a severely underutilized kitchen tool.

Now, now, don’t get me wrong – I know there are plenty of people out there who swear up and down with this culinary piece of cookware heaven (myself included) , but I feel certain in the fact that many people don’t appreciate all the great things this versatile tool can do. Sure, it’s great for soup and stews…but how many people can say that they use it for other times of year, to make jams and jellies with fresh summer produce, applesauce in the fall, and roasts in the winter? let me know if you do below, and how you like to use it! 

It’s high time that I bring this appliance out into the blog and let it shine. Today, my dears, we’re talking sauce. Bolognese sauce, to be exact.


Let’s just take a minute to appreciate that beauty, the base for our sauce. Wow.

This is by and far one of my husband’s favorite recipes. Thick and rich, gloriously dense and meaty, flavors cooked to perfection – how can you go wrong? Truth be told, you really and truly can’t. It’s chock full of flavors, herbs and spices, the perfect dish to soothe any soul.


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However, and I’m being painfully honest, it’s one sauce that I don’t find myself drawn to making often. The reason?…you ask, scratching your heads and wondering why….

It’s quite simple, actually. Bolognese sauce is painfully long and attention-grabbing to make. While I wish, more often than I care to share, that I could spend all my days in the kitchen, quietly stirring pots of simmering goodness, making bread and cranking out pies and cakes, it’s just not in the cards for me right now. That’s what my weekends are for, and I am extremely thankful I have the opportunity to do just that {the husband doesn’t complain, either!}. But there are just some days when you need the benefits and warm hug of a dish that has been slowly simmered all day, had love poured into it, and that is where we bring in the crockpot.

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I would be lying if I told you that this particular crockpot dish is a simple one. As many of you all know, a vast majority of said recipes require little to no prep work…chop and dice you veggies, brown your meat {if you feel so inclined}, then pour it all in, set the timer, and forget about it until your cooking time has elapsed. With this one, we have a bit of browning, a bit of sauteeing, and a bit of stirring to take on. I find that this is the perfect thing to do the evening before you want to have it for dinner, when there are still dinner dishes piled in the sink {because who wants to do dishes more than once on any evening?} and you still have your cooking groove – because yes, that is a thing. A bit of work the night before makes for a smooth transition to crockpot heaven in the morning. A simple plug in of the appliance, placing in the ingredients, and folding in the tomatoes – DONE! All that’s left do you once it’s almost time for dinner is to prepare the noodles, and pour a glass of a bold and spicy red wine. I can’t be the only one who loves a good red with this type of sauce, eh?


Crockpot Bolognese Sauce

{adapted from Kelsey Nixon via the Cooking Channel}


2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 large carrot, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

6 ounces tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon each rosemary, basil and oregano

1 cup dry red wine

2/3 cup milk {I used 1% because it’s what I had on hand}

Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes

1 pound ground pork

1 pound ground sirloin

Several cheese rinds {I always keep these in the freezer – this time, I had one each of  Romano and Parmesan}

Pasta, for serving

To prepare:

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, carrots, celery and onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste, thyme and nutmeg, and continue cooking until the vegetables have softened and started to brown, about 2 minutes. Deglaze with the wine, pulling up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.


In the same pan, drizzle in a few more tablespoons olive oil. Add in the pork and sirloin, seasoning liberally with salt and pepper. Cook until browned through, then remove any drippings from the pan.

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Carefully transfer the vegetable mixture and meat mixture to the slow cooker. Stir in the milk and tomatoes. Toss in the cheese rinds.

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Cover and cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or on low 8 to 10 hours. Serve with your pasta of choice and, of course, a hearty glass of red wine!

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This, like many of my earlier recipes, is a great one to make a large batch of and freeze for later use. While great reheated and served atop pizza, it’s fun to get a little creative with this sauce! – try ladling it atop pizza, stirred in with a saute of veggies, or even on top of mashed potatoes. It is truly a multipurpose sauce. 

8 thoughts on “crockpot bolognese sauce

  1. I love the idea of using the crockpot so all of the flavors can mingle – makes for such a great sauce with a delicious flavor! Looks and sounds delicious and amazing!

  2. I have 2 crockpots a 4 qt and a 7qt. I use mine 2 to 3 times a week. You can make a delicious home cooked meal while at work and for busy nights like ours I NEED this option. I make crockpot desserts (slow cooked chocolate pudding cake is our favorite) , pork roasts, chuck roasts, potatoes in gravy, beef tips, sirloin steak, spaghetti sauce with italian sausage, meatballs, hot dogs in macaroni & cheese….I could go on and on. In the fall we make all of our applesauce in them and can it. I make oatmeal once a week also as it makes a big batch and the kids can micro it in a hurry before school. Could not live without it!!!

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