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Bolognese sauce on white plate on bed of noodles
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5 from 5 votes

Classic Bolognese Sauce

Learn three ways to make Classic Bolognese Sauce with instructions for the stovetop, Instant Pot, and slow cooker. This traditional Italian red sauce is savory, rich, and full of flavor.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 20 mins
Course: Sauce, Sauces
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Bolognese
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 676kcal


  • 1 pound ground sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 large white onion diced
  • 1/4 cup finely diced carrot
  • 1/4 cup finely diced celery
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
  • 1 cup whole milk


  • In a large pot over medium heat, add in ground sausage and ground beef. Use a spoon to break up the meat into small pieces. Brown 5 minutes. Drain off any excess grease.
  • Add in onion, carrot, and celery and cook another 5 to 7 minutes until onions are soft and meat is cooked through.
  • Add in garlic and tomato paste and garlic and cook 2 minutes, until tomato paste starts to toast.
  • Pour in crushed tomatoes, white wine, beef broth, and milk. Stir in fresh basil, parsley, and oregano (if using) and season with salt and pepper. Herbs are optional for additional flavor, but not a part of traditional bolognese sauce.
  • Stir well and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 1 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Flavors will continue to develop the longer you allow the sauce to simmer, so simmer for up to 4 hours if time permits.
  • Taste and add more salt and pepper to suit personal taste preference.




  1. Follow steps 1 through 3 to sear ground meats and saute vegetables, garlic, and tomato paste in a skillet or large pot on the stovetop.
  2. Transfer meat and veggie mixture to a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker. Add in remaining ingredients.
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 to 5 hours. Taste, and adjust seasonings as desired.


  1. Heat electric pressure cooker to sear setting and follow steps 1 through 3 in the recipe to sear ground meats and saute vegetables, garlic, and tomato paste before adding liquids.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients and place lid on electric pressure cooker. Ensure valve is in the closed position.
  3. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. Release steam. Taste, and adjust seasonings as desired. 


Calories: 676kcal | Carbohydrates: 133g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 3145mg | Potassium: 5812mg | Fiber: 33g | Sugar: 81g | Vitamin A: 5834IU | Vitamin C: 163mg | Calcium: 592mg | Iron: 24mg