Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce

THE BEST Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce – super simple to make and packed full of amazing flavor! Italian sausage, garlic, onion, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, water, basil, oregano, basil, fennel seed, sugar, salt, and pepper. Cook all day in the crockpot. Hands-down THE BEST spaghetti sauce EVER! Toss with your favorite pasta and enjoy! We make this all the time. Freeze leftovers for a quick meal later!

bowl spaghetti bolognese

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Easy Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce Recipe

I love a good bolognese sauce, but I don’t want to have to be at home all day to make it. This slow cooker bolognese is super simple to make and has SO much amazing flavor! Simply brown the Italian sausage and throw everything in the slow cooker and let it simmer all day. This stuff is delicious! Better than any restaurant! We love to serve it over fresh pasta to an easy weeknight meal that the whole family enjoys.

ladle of spaghetti sauce

Bolognese Sauce with No Wine

This sauce is super easy to make with only a few simple ingredients. In a skillet over medium heat, cook Italian sausage until no longer pink. Drain excess fat. Transfer sausage to the slow cooker. Add dried minced onion, garlic cloves, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, water, sugar, oregano, basil, fennel seed, salt, and black pepper. Cover the crockpot and cook on LOW heat for 8 hours. Cook pasta and toss with the sauce. Serve the pasta in bowls with parmesan cheese.

Helpful Tips & Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can substitute ground beef, ground pork, or ground turkey.
  • This sauce has a small amount of sugar in it. The sugar helps to even out the acidity of the tomatoes. If you are doing a low-carb or keto diet, feel free to leave it out. It will still taste delicious.
  • I used a can of San Marzano tomatoes in this recipe. I HIGHLY recommend splurging on the San Marzano tomatoes. They really make the sauce. 
    • San Marzano tomatoes are only sold as whole canned tomatoes. You will have to crush them yourself. You can either crush them with your hands or throw them in a food processor.
  • I use dried minced onion flakes. You can substitute freshly chopped yellow onion. Add the fresh onion to the skillet when cooking the sausage.
  • Traditional bolognese sauce has carrots and celery in the sauce. We aren’t huge fans of that flavor combination, so I don’t use the vegetables. 
    • If you want to add vegetables, finely chop one carrot and one celery stalk. Cook the vegetables in a tablespoon of olive oil before adding the Italian sausage to the skillet.
  • I tossed the sauce with a pound of cooked linguine. You can use this sauce on any pasta noodle you prefer. Fettuccine, rigatoni, penne,bucatoni, tagliatelle and pappardelle pasta all work great.
  • For an extra kick, add some red pepper flakes or Calabrian chiles.
  • For a creamier sauce, add some heavy cream to the sauce before adding the pasta. 
    • I usually add ¼ to ½ cup of heavy whipping cream.
  • Can I cook Bolognese Sauce on HIGH? Yes! You can cook the sauce on HIGH for 4 hours.
  • Can Bolognese Sauce be frozen? Yes! Cook the sauce and cool completely. Transfer the sauce to freezer bags or a plastic airtight container and freeze. Reheat the sauce in the microwave or on the stovetop.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
closeup of spaghetti and sauce

What to Serve with Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce

Give this recipe a try when you want an easy restaurant-quality meal at home. All you need is some crusty garlic bread and a quick salad for a 5-star dinner. This also tastes great leftover the next day. We actually think it tastes better the next day.

Here are a few of our favorite recipes from the blog that go great with this yummy spaghetti sauce:

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Creamy Italian Dressing Recipe – our favorite salad!!! Romaine, tomatoes, thinly sliced seedless cucumbers, sliced banana peppers, croutons, parmesan cheese,…

Carbone’s Garlic Bread

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Crunchy Romaine Toss

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bowl spaghetti bolognese

THE BEST Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce

Yield: 6 people
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 10 minutes
THE BEST Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce – Italian sausage, garlic crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and spices cook all day in the crock-pot. Hands-down THE BEST spaghetti sauce EVER! Everyone raves about this sauce. We make this all the time. Freeze leftovers for a quick meal later!


  • 1 lb Italian sausage, removed from casings
  • 3 Tbsp minced onion flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (6-oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper


  • Cook Italian Sausage in large skillet until browned. Transfer to 6-quart slow cooker.
  • Stir in all remaining ingredients, mix well. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  • Serve with your favorite pasta.


For a freezer meal- cook the meat and put all ingredients in a gallon ziplock bag. Freeze. When ready to cook, place the contents of the freezer bag into the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
Can cook the sauce and then freeze for later. Reheat in the microwave or stove and serve with pasta.
Can omit sugar for a low-carb/keto-friendly sauce.


Remember this recipe.

Pin this recipe to your favorite board now to remember it later!

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bowl spaghetti bolognese
bowl spaghetti bolognese



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  1. This has been my go-to spaghetti sauce recipe for years! I’m finally coming back to print it out (just had a picture in my Favorites folder on my phone up until now) and also wanted to post my review. Thank you so much for this recipe, I will continue making it for many years to come! I usually make a double batch and freeze in jars, and for the doubled recipe I use 1 lb mild sausage and 1 lb hot sausage – gives it just a little bit of an extra zing that gets those ‘rave reviews’ from my family and guests!

  2. Hi Stephanie,

    Re the bolognese sauce recipe – do you put the browned sausages in whole or cut them into pieces before placing in crockpot?

  3. is this the same recipe as the one that used to be posted with the homemade pasta? it looks like it, with the addition of the san marzano tomatoes! perfect! just making sure because it's my husband's favorite. thanks!

  4. We still havent bought the attachment yet. I went for the meat grinder instead, surprised? ha ha

    Looks great, Steph, I like the sauce too.

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