The Ultimate Slow-Cooked Bolognese Sauce

Ultimate Slow-Cooker Bolognese Sauce: Authentic Italian Recipe

Get ready for the most mouthwatering, rich, and hearty Bolognese sauce you’ve ever tasted. This authentic Italian recipe takes time and love, but the results are absolutely worth it. Your kitchen will be filled with irresistible aromas as this meaty sauce simmers to perfection.

What Makes This Bolognese So Special?

Our recipe combines ground beef, pork, and lamb for incredible depth of flavor. We elevate it further with pancetta, chicken livers, and a secret umami boost from fish sauce. Slow-cooking in the oven creates magical caramelized bits that get stirred back in. The result? A silky, intensely savory sauce that clings beautifully to pasta.


  • 1 quart (1L) low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 to 1 1/2 ounces powdered gelatin (4 to 6 packets; 30 to 45g)
  • 1 (28-ounce; 800g) can peeled whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • 1/2 pound (225g) finely minced chicken livers
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound (450g) ground beef chuck (about 20% fat)
  • 1 pound (450g) ground pork shoulder (about 20% fat)
  • 1 pound (450g) ground lamb shoulder (about 20% fat)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons (60g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 pound (225g) finely diced pancetta
  • 1 large onion, finely minced (about 8 ounces; 225g)
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped (about 8 ounces; 225g)
  • 4 ribs celery, finely chopped (about 8 ounces; 225g)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup (about 25g) minced fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup (about 50g) minced fresh parsley leaves, divided
  • 2 cups (475 ml) dry white or red wine
  • 1 cup (235 ml) whole milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup (235 ml) heavy cream
  • 3 ounces (85g) finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce

To Serve:

  • 2 pounds dried or fresh pasta, preferably pappardelle, tagliatelle, or penne


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Place stock in a bowl and sprinkle with gelatin. Set aside. Purée tomatoes and chicken livers separately using an immersion blender.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Add ground meats, season, and cook until no longer pink. Remove from heat and stir in puréed chicken livers.
  3. In a separate skillet, cook pancetta and butter until fat renders. Add vegetables, garlic, sage, and half the parsley. Cook until softened but not browned. Add to meat mixture.
  4. Return Dutch oven to high heat and cook until most liquid evaporates.
  5. Add wine and cook until mostly evaporated. Add stock, tomatoes, milk, and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Bring to a simmer, then transfer to oven, uncovered. Cook for 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally, until thick with a layer of fat on top.
  7. Skim off excess fat, leaving about 1 cup. Stir in cream, Parmesan, fish sauce, and remaining parsley. Bring to a boil on stovetop, stirring to emulsify. Season to taste.
  8. To serve, heat sauce and cook pasta until al dente. Combine pasta with sauce, adding some pasta water. Cook over high heat until pasta is well-coated. Serve immediately with extra Parmesan.

Pro Tips for Bolognese Success

  • Use a mix of meats for the best flavor and texture
  • Don’t rush the cooking process – low and slow is key
  • Skim off excess fat, but keep some for richness
  • Let it rest overnight for even better flavor
  • Pair with wide pasta like pappardelle or tagliatelle

While it takes time, this Bolognese is surprisingly easy to make. The oven does most of the work for you. Serve it to guests and prepare for rave reviews. Or batch cook and freeze portions for quick weeknight dinners that taste like they took all day.


If using homemade chicken stock that gels when refrigerated, use only four packets of gelatin. To dissolve gelatin, heat stock just enough to liquefy, whisk in gelatin, and let it bloom completely.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
904 Calories
48g Fat
63g Carbs
50g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 904
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 48g 62%
Saturated Fat 20g 102%
Cholesterol 310mg 103%
Sodium 1032mg 45%
Total Carbohydrate 63g 23%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 50g
Vitamin C 27mg 133%
Calcium 208mg 16%
Iron 8mg 45%
Potassium 1079mg 23%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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