The Best Bolognese Sauce Recipe (video)

homemade bolognese sauce with basil in copper pot

The best Bolognese sauce recipe! This incredible meaty sauce is so aromatic and delicious, perfect for a large variety of pastas! It’s made with a combination of ground beef and pork, plus red wine, tomato sauce, aromatics and dried herbs. Try this homemade pasta sauce recipe next time you’re making lasagna, spaghetti or tagliatelle! I use this sauce for my ‘Cheesy Stuffed Pasta Shells’, made with 3 types of cheese!

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Preparing the Meat

Making this Bolognese sauce recipe at home is a breeze! I love how quickly this recipe comes together!

  1. The first step to making Bolognese is preparing the ground meat. For my recipe, I use a classic combination of ground beef and ground pork. I recommend going with 85% lean meats – the extra fat will add lots of great flavor to the sauce!
  2. Brown the ground meat all over in a large frying pan with a little bit of oil. As you’re browning the meat, break it apart into small little bits; you don’t want to have any large pieces in your Bolognese sauce!
  3. Once it’s browned, transfer the meat into a large braising pot.

Putting together the Bolognese Sauce

Once you have the meat browned, it’s time to prepare the aromatics for this beef Bolognese sauce recipe!

  1. I like to saute the carrots, onion and celery with salted butter. The butter adds so much great flavor! Saute the finely diced veggies for about 5 minutes, until they’re soft and tender. Then add in some minced garlic.
  2. Next, comes the wine! I add ½ cup of red wine to the aromatics and let it cook down for a few minutes. Traditionally, white wine is used but both will work great for this recipe!
  3. Next, combine all the ingredients in a large braising pot: dried herbs, beef broth, milk, diced canned tomatoes, and tomato paste.

close up of bolognese pasta sauce with fresh basil

Cooking Bolognese Sauce

Once you have everything combined together in a large pot, it’s time to let the Bolognese sauce cook away! I bring the sauce up to a simmer over high heat, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. For the best flavor, cook the sauce over low heat for 2 hours, up to 3 hours if you have the time.

This slow-cooked pasta sauce is ridiculously delicious! The slow cooking process allows for incredible flavors to form and for the sauce to reduce. Sprinkle some freshly chopped basil on top when ready to enjoy!

Alternative Cooking Methods

Love to make homemade beef Bolognese but don’t have the time? You can also use this sauce recipe in a slow cooker or a pressure cooker! Just follow the instructions below!

  • Slow Cooker Instructions: prepare the recipe as written, combining all the ingredients in a slow-cooker pot. Cook the sauce on the ‘high’ setting for 6 to 8 hours, stirring every couple of hours. For a thicker sauce, reduce the beef broth from 1 cup down to ¾ cup.
  • Pressure Cooker Instructions: prepare the recipe as written, combining all the ingredients in the pressure cooker. Reduce the amount of beef broth from 1 cup down to ¾ cup. Cook the sauce under high pressure for 25 to 30 minutes.

traditional bolognese sauce recipe prepared in copper pot

How to Store Bolognese Sauce

This pasta sauce recipe makes quite a bit of sauce and you might not use all of it, depending on what recipe you’re using. Not to worry! This sauce stores so well in the refrigerator and freezer! For refrigerating, place the sauce into an airtight container and store for 1 week. For freezing, place the sauce into a plastic, freezer-friendly container and seal tightly. The sauce can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Ways to Enjoy Bolognese Sauce

You have your sauce ready and now you want to enjoy it! Here are some great ways to enjoy the Bolognese sauce:

  • Cheesy Stuffed Pasta Shells – the ultimate Italian comfort food! These are stuffed with 3 types of cheese, spinach and onions and baked over a bed of my homemade sauce!
  • Cheesy Baked Rigatoni – this classic comfort food recipe is made with hearty bolognese and three types of cheese! So delicious!
  • Lasagne alla Bolognese – another traditional recipe that uses Bolognese! Lasagna without this sauce is not lasagna! Make sure to check out my recipe for the best lasagna of your life! And if you can make your own fresh pasta, it’s even better!
  • Cheesy Lasagna Roll-Ups – replace the original sauce from my recipe for roll-ups with this one to enjoy a classic and easy dish!
  • Easy Lasagna Skillet – enjoy a cheat lasagna with this easy skillet recipe!
  • Tagliatelle al ragu – one of the traditional ways to enjoy Bolognese is with wide pasta noodles called tagliatelle. Just prepare the pasta according to package instructions and toss it together with this incredible sauce. Garnish the pasta with grated Parmesan cheese and parsley.
  • Spaghetti – simply toss some freshly cooked spaghetti with this homemade pasta sauce, add a sprinkle of cheese and enjoy!

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How to Make Bolognese Sauce video recipe

The Best Bolognese Sauce Recipe (video)

20 mins prep + 2 hrs cook
8 cups
Learn how to make the best, slow-cooked Bolognese sauce. Perfect for spaghetti and lasagna!

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb ground beef, 85% lean
  • ½ lb ground pork, 85% or 90% lean
  • Salt
  • Cooking Oil
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely diced
  • 2 medium celery sticks, finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • ½ cup red wine or beef broth
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 28- oz canned petite diced tomatoes
  • 12- oz canned tomato paste
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp EACH: dried rosemary, thyme, basil
  • 1 tsp EACH: salt, sugar
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • small bunch fresh basil

Instructions

  • Preheat a large frying pan over high heat and add a drizzle of cooking oil. Once the pan is hot, add the ground beef and ground pork. Brown the meat all over for 7 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned all over. As the meat is cooking, use a spatula to break it apart into small pieces. Watch my video recipe to see how it’s done. Transfer the browned meat into a braising pot.
  • Next, add the butter into the same pan and allow it to melt. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, carrots and celery. Sauté the mixture for 3 to 5 minutes, until the aromatics are tender. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Next, pour in the wine and let it cook for a few minutes, until almost completely reduced. Transfer this mixture into the braising pot.
  • Combine the remaining ingredients with the browned meat and the aromatics in the braising pot. Add the beef broth, milk, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, dried herbs, salt, sugar and pepper, mixing well.
  • Bring the Bolognese up to a simmer over high heat, then cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Slow cook the Bolognese over low heat for 2 to 2 ½ or even 3 hours, until the sauce is well reduced and aromatic. Once the sauce is done, sprinkle some freshly chopped basil over the top. Sauce is ready to be used right away.
  • For storing instructions and alternative cooking methods, see my post above.

Nutrition

Calories: 363kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 1274mg | Potassium: 1189mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 3663IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 132mg | Iron: 5mg