The Best Homemade Bolognese Sauce

5 from 1 vote

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Big, bold flavors and simple ingredients come together to make this Homemade Bolognese Sauce. A hearty and delicious red pasta sauce that’s perfect for spaghetti, lasagna, pappardelle and more classic Italian recipes.

round white bowl of spaghetti with homemade bolognese sauce and garnish
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Mmm, Bolognese sauce. I just love this rustic, meaty red sauce that is almost like a stew, it’s so packed full of good veggies, ground beef and pork, and big flavors. If you’ve never made it before, don’t let the fancy name stress you out. While it’s a classic Italian pasta sauce, it’s definitely not tricky if you have about a half-hour on your hands to whip it up. Try pairing it with these Easy Breadsticks, Buttery Garlic Knots, or this Arugula Salad .

Table of Contents:

Why You’ll Love this Recipe:

  • Easy to make
  • Delicious and goes with so many different meals
  • Standard ingredients you should have on hand or are easy to find at the store
  • One pot sauce

Ingredients:

closeup image of a pot of homemade bolognese sauce
  • Butter– To sauté the veggies
  • Sweet Onion
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Lean Ground Beef
  • Ground Pork or Ground Sausage
  • Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Tomato Paste
  • Dry Red Wine– Or apple, pomegranate, or grape juice
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes
  • Canned Crushed Tomatoes
  • Half and Half or Whole Milk
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper– To taste
  • Your Favorite Pasta

See recipe card below for full information on ingredients and quantities

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Bolognese?

Bolognese is an Italian cuisine-based red meat sauce, originally from the city of Bologna. It often goes over pasta or is used in lasagna dishes. It is made commonly using ground meat, chopped veggies, and diced tomatoes.

How do you pronounce Bolognese?

Bolognese is super easy to make, but maybe not to easy to say. So, how do you pronounce it? The “g” is silent, so you say bow-luh-naise. That last part is pronounced like the “naise” in “mayonaise”.

What is the difference between Bolognese and marinara sauce?

They are both red sauces, but Bolognese usually has meat and an assortment of veggies in it besides the tomatoes. By contrast, marinara sauce is often made of just tomatoes, olive oil, and garlic.

What is the best pasta to pair with Bolognese sauce?

My favorite pastas to use with Bolognese are spaghetti, lasagna, pappardelle, and rigatoni. Tagliatelle is also amazing with this sauce. Really, any pasta would be great.

Can I make Bolognese sauce in advance?

Yes, in fact, just like chili, Bolognese sauce is often better on day two or three after the flavors have set. Make the sauce as the instructions call for, let it cool, store in an airtight container in the fridge for a day or two, and reheat in the oven before serving.

Can I make Bolognese in the Crock Pot?

Yes! I’d recommend browning the meat in a separate pan beforehand. Once browned, add to the Crock Pot, along with the remaining ingredients, (except the half and half and parmesan), give everything a gentle stir, and cover to cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 5 to 6 hours. Stir in the half and half and parmesan after the cook time has completed.

Can I make Bolognese sauce in the Instant Pot?

Yes! Again, brown the meat beforehand. Add cooked meat, and remaining ingredients minus the half and half and parmesan to the Instant Pot, select the manual setting on high pressure, and set the timer for 20 minutes. After the time’s up, quick release the pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Stir in the half and half and parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Can I freeze Bolognese sauce?

Yes! And this recipe makes a big batch, so freezing leftovers may be smart depending on how many mouths you have to feed. Just store cooled Bolognese in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 4 months. That in the fridge overnight when ready to use, and heat up on stove or in Dutch oven to serve.

bolognese sauce over spaghetti pasta

Pasta Recipes You Might Like:

round white bowl of homemade bolognese sauce with garnish on white tablecloth
5 from 1 vote

The Best Homemade Bolognese Sauce

Big, bold flavors and simple ingredients come together to make this Homemade Bolognese Sauce.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients 

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced (about ½ cup)
  • 1 medium rib celery, diced (about ½ cup)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork or pork sausage
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine, (or apple, pomegranate, or white grape juice)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, (14 ounces)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes, (28 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half or whole milk
  • 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan
  • Additional salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 pounds of your favorite pasta, cooked, for serving
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Instructions 

  • In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt the butter and add the onion, carrot, and celery. Cook until the vegetables are very tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, ground beef, and ground pork and stir until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink, breaking it up in pieces as you stir.
  • Add the salt, black pepper, dried basil, dried parsley, and dried oregano, and stir to combine.
  • Add the tomato paste and stir to combine.
  • Add red wine or juice and stir, scraping up any bits that might be stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and half-and-half. Stir to combine.
  • Cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the lid and stir in the parmesan, and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve over your favorite pasta.

Notes

  • I like to chop the onion, carrot, and celery very small so that they disappear when cooked.
  • This recipes makes a bunch! Feel free to freeze half the batch.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 of 12 servings, Calories: 538kcal, Carbohydrates: 67g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 64mg, Sodium: 459mg, Potassium: 765mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 1284IU, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 113mg, Iron: 4mg
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