Bowl of spaghetti Bolognese with parmesan cheese and fork

Slow cooker Bolognese

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(26 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 7 hrs, 30 mins - 9 hrs, 30 mins


Serves 12

Batch cook a healthy Bolognese using your slow cooker. Freeze the leftovers for easy midweek dinners when you're more pushed for time

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Healthy

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal295
  • fat12g
  • saturates4g
  • carbs13g
  • sugars11g
  • fibre4g
  • protein34g
  • salt0.87g
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  • 4 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 6 smoked bacon rashers, chopped



    Bacon is pork that has been cured one of two ways: dry or wet. It can be bought as both rashers…

  • 1½ kg lean minced beef (or use half beef, half pork mince)
  • 4 onions, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 3 carrots, finely chopped



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 4 celery sticks, finely chopped



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500g mushrooms, sliced



    The mushroom is a fungus which comes in a wide range of varieties that belong to two distinct…

  • 4 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes



    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • 6 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp dried mixed herbs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • large glass red wine (optional)
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar



    Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

  • cooked spaghetti, to serve
  • parmesan, to serve



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the bacon and mince in batches until browned. Add to your slow cooker. 

  2. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, tomato purée, herbs, wine (if using), vinegar, sugar and seasoning to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 6-8 hours, then uncover, turn to High and cook for another hour until thick and saucy.

  3. Serve with cooked spaghetti and grated or shaved parmesan. To cook this entire recipe on the hob, check out our big-batch Bolognese recipe.

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Comments, questions and tips

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5th Apr, 2020
I made this in a 5L slow cooker, and couldn’t put all the mushrooms in. When I say the slow cooker was brimmed I mean it was brimmed! You could make half of this and it would still make a huge quantity - I hope it’s going to be good as me and my boyfriend are gonna be eating this for weeks!!
16th Dec, 2019
Very flavourful and saucy. Cooked a half batch and it almost exactly filled my 3.5 litre slow cooker. I might fry the onions as well as the meat next time but otherwise this works as written.
Shelagh Garside's picture
Shelagh Garside
26th Feb, 2020
Can I ask how long you cooked it for?
1st Feb, 2019
Fantastic, rich, thick bolognaise sauce. I only made half the recipe and the only only addition I made was a beef stockcube. Will definitely make this again.
24th Jan, 2019
I have just made this recipe using a 6l slow cooker. It is absolutely full to the brim and I only got half the mushrooms in. I find it hard to believe that anyone tested this in a 6l slow cooker. I just don't understand how you can fit everything in. I have used a slow cooker for many years and my understanding was that it should never be filled this high otherwise it won't work properly. I will await the results.
risky76's picture
12th Nov, 2018
Or ...... do all of this with a big wok or pan, takes about 45mins from prep to dishing out. 7.5hrs?!!!! That's Crazy. I cook a huge batch at the weekend and portion it out to freeze so that it's ok for dinner in the week with some garlic bread and spaghetti. Doing in the slow cooker is bizarre.
25th Jan, 2019
Slow cooked bolognese is so much nicer though, mince doesn’t break down the same way in 45 minutes
Francesca Oliver's picture
Francesca Oliver
3rd Jul, 2020
If not using wine should I put in additional liquid like water or stock?
lulu_grimes's picture
6th Jul, 2020
Hi, You should have enough liquid without adding anything instead, if once you've got everything in it looks like you might need some more then you can use stock or water. Slow cookers don't evaporate liquid off as they cook so you usually don't need too much. Stir everything a couple of times as it cooks and you can always add a little liquid half way through. I hope this helps, Lulu
Lee Webb's picture
Lee Webb
13th Apr, 2020
Forgive me for I’m a slow cooker novice, I’m also one for following recipes to the letter the first time I try them. So I currently have this recipe on the go. 1 silly question I have is. Once all ingredients are in the slow cooker is it supposed to be stirred to mix or does it get left the way it got put in just put the lid in and let time do the work?
Esther_Deputyfoodeditor's picture
15th Apr, 2020
Hey, Esther from the food team here! I would give everything a good stir then pop the lid on and leave it. you can give it a stir every couple of hours of you like but its not essential! Thanks for your question!
26th Sep, 2019
I don't eat bacon - what could I replace it with or is it fine to just leave it out?
goodfoodteam's picture
28th Sep, 2019
Thanks for your question. You can leave it out altogether if you like or alternatively add a teaspoon of sweet smoked paprika to add a subtle flavour boost.
Luke Allen's picture
Luke Allen
13th Mar, 2019
Hi there, thanks for the recipe, how long would you recommend cooking it for if cooking it on high ? Thanks
goodfoodteam's picture
14th Mar, 2019
Thanks for your question - 4 - 5 hours on High will be sufficient. You'll still need to take the lid off for the last hour.
Preena Bajaria's picture
Preena Bajaria
4th Feb, 2019
If i am adjusting it to serve 3 instead of 12 , should I still slow cook it for 7 hours? or would this be too long?
goodfoodteam's picture
5th Feb, 2019
Thanks for your question. For ease, we'd suggest halving the recipe and cooking exactly as above. You can freeze any leftovers for another day. Defrost and then reheat in a saucepan on the hob.


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