Homemade Bolognese Sauce

Homemade Bolognese Sauce is what Sunday dinners are all about! This pasta sauce is cooked low and slow with red wine, so have a glass while it’s cooking!

bolognese sauce over pasta on a red and white checkered tablecloth

What Is Bolognese Sauce?

Bolognese is an Italian, meat based sauce that is usually slow simmered with red wine and or cream. Bolognese sauce is a thick and hearty sauce that is usually used over tagliatelle or pappardelle. Sometimes we serve this meat sauce over rotini, which isn’t traditional but we love it.

The thick Homemade Bolognese Sauce clings to all the little ridges in rotini pasta, getting you the most meat sauce per bite.

Some recipes for bolognese sauce call for cooking the sauce a long period of time, up to 4 hours. You can definitely do this if you have the time, the flavors will concentrate the longer you cook the sauce. But we found that about an hour and a half is just the right amount of cooking time.

Now for the good stuff. The wine.

Don’t run out and buy an expensive wine to make this sauce, but don’t grab anything to cheap either. We use whatever we’re drinking or have open, you don’t need a lot but the flavor will become concentrated as the sauce cooks so we like to cook with what we like to drink.

bolognese sauce in a pot with a wooden spoon

What Kind Of Meat Is Used To Make Bolognese?

For this recipe we used ground beef to keep it simple. You can use small dices of steak or roast, ground pork or chops, even bacon or pancetta. But having easy to make ground beef recipes like this one in your back pocket makes weekend cooking so much easier!

While the sauce is simmering, depending on what kind of meat you’ve used, there might be some fat that pools to the top of the pot. There’s two ways to tackle this, either stir it right back in or skim it off the top.

We do a combination fo both, if you grab a small ladle or spoon you can easily skim off some of the grease, but also…it doesn’t bother me too much. Bolognese sauce is a hearty, rich sauce so a little bit of grease isn’t going to scare me off.

pasta with meat sauce in a white bowl with basil

How To Serve Bolognese Sauce

Like I said before, you can grab your favorite pasta shape to toss with this meat sauce but typically a thick, wide noodle is used. Try different types of pasta shapes to see which one is your families favorite but try to stay away from spaghetti or other thin noodles that won’t cling on to the sauce.

You can also serve this sauce on spaghetti squash or spooned over a baked potato. Just add your favorite garlic bread recipe and a homemade Caesar Salad on the side and dinner is served!

bolognese sauce in a white bowl with forks

Experiment with this recipe and customize it to make it your own! Once you make this sauce over and over again the little touches that you add will become your family recipe!

Sunday dinner with this Bolognese Sauce recipe are what gets me through the week…not only does this sauce taste amazing but your house smells just like Grandma’s while it’s cooking. So be sure to carve out some time in your afternoon to get this sauce going!

Looking For More Pasta Recipes?

bolognese sauce in a white bowl with forks

Bolognese Sauce

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings 1x

This thick and hearty Bolognese Sauce sauce recipe is sure to become a family favorite! Perfect for meal prepping during the week and for Sunday dinners!



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper (plus more to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon (a few grates) fresh nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (85% lean)
  • 23 large garlic cloves, crushed or left whole
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (28 ounces)


  1. Add the oil to a dutch oven, or heavy bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the carrots, celery and onion and brown for 15 minutes
  2. Turn the heat up to medium, then add the ground beef to the pot and cook until browned though. Drain any grease from the pot, then season with salt, pepper nutmeg and fresh garlic.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste, then pour in the wine, making sure to scrape up the bottom of the pot. Bring to a simmer and leet reduce for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Pour in the milk and tomatoes, stir and bring to a simmer.
  5. Turn the heat back to low, stir and then let the sauce cook for for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Recipe Notes

You can partially cover the pot while the sauce is cooking, just don’t cover the pot completely because the sauce needs to reduce while it cooks.

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

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