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Spaghetti Bolognese

This traditional Spaghetti Bolognese has an ultra flavorful meat sauce that’s easy to make! Even kids and picky eaters will love this classic Italian meat sauce.

A white bowl filled with spaghetti bolognese with a fork at the top twisting the spaghetti.

Spaghetti Bolognese

There are no words to describe how much my family loves this slow cooked meat sauce. Serve it up with a tall glass of milk and some garlic bread with cheese and you’ve got an award winning meal packed with protein and the best Italian flavors.

Meat to Sauce Ratio

Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese recipes are made with very little marinara. The authentic version is mostly made of meat.

Me? I like a little bit more sauce in my pasta, so feel free to use a 28 oz. can instead of the 18 ounces noted in the recipe. You can always start with 18 ounces and add more as you see fit.

Bolognese Sauce Ingredients

See recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient quantities and instructions.

  • Olive Oil– High quality goes a long way!
  • Yellow Onion
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Garlic– Mince fresh cloves yourself for ultimate flavor
  • Beef- I use 80% lean
  • Italian Sausage- Sweet or Hot, (I use hot)
  • Red Wine– Chianti, Pinot Pior, Merlot are great in Bolognese sauce. See below for substitution options.
  • Crushed Tomatoes- Make sure you get the ground stuff, not chunky diced tomatoes.
  • Rosemary– fresh or dry
  • Sage– fresh or dry
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parsley– to garnish
  • Grated Parmesan– to garnish

Bay Leaves and red pepper flakes may also be added to the sauce prior to simmering.

Want to try creamy Bolognese sauce?

  • Add 1 tablespoon of softened cream cheese to the sauce mixture.


How to Make it

Soften the vegetables and brown the meat.

Side by side image of pot making bolognese sauce with diced vegetables and then with meat added.

Add red wine, crushed tomatoes, and seasonings. Simmer for an hour and stir occasionally.

Process of making bolognese sauce with crushed tomatoes being added and stirred in with a wooden spoon.

Stir in cooked spaghetti. Top with grated Parmesan and serve!

A skillet filled with bolognese sauce with spaghetti being added to it.

Difference between Bolognese Sauce and Spaghetti Sauce

Traditional bolognese sauce is primarily comprised of meat (ground beef), with just a bit of tomato sauce. Spaghetti sauce is mostly made of tomato or marinara sauce and can be completely meat free.

 Red Wine Substitutes

  • Alcoholic Options include white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio or Orvieto.
  • Non-Alcoholic Options:


  • This spaghetti Bolognese reheats well in the microwave or on the stove top.
  • Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it’s best if eaten within three days.


  • Bolognese Sauce makes a great freezer food and is best if you can freeze it separately from the pasta.
  • To freeze, let it cool completely. Store it in a labeled airtight container. It’s best if you use is within 3 months.
  • Boil fresh pasta once ready to serve it.
  • Let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight if possible. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove top.

PSST: If  you do freeze it with the spaghetti mixed in, it’s totally okay. I do it all the time. 😉

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A white bowl filled with spaghetti Bolognese with a fork in the background.

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Spaghetti Bolognese

5 from 14 ratings
Traditional spaghetti Bolognese is easy to make has a perfect balance of flavors. You'll love this classic Italian meat sauce!


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery rib, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ pound ground beef, 80% lean
  • 6 oz. ground Italian sausage, sweet or spicy
  • 1 cup red wine, see note 1
  • 18 oz can ground/crushed tomatoes, see note 2
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, or 1/4 tsp dry
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage, or 1/4 tsp dry
  • Salt/Pepper, to taste
  • 12 oz. spaghetti, (3/4 of a 1 lb. box.)
  • Fresh parsley, to garnish
  • Parmesan cheese, to garnish


  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.
  • Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook until softened. About 5 minutes.
  • Add the ground beef and sausage. Cook and crumble until browned and cooked through, about 7-10 minutes. Add the garlic during the last minute.
  • Deglaze the pan with the wine and use a silicone spatula to "clean" the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the tomatoes and seasonings. Let simmer for one hour, partially covered.
  • Taste it and season with salt and pepper if desired.
  • Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain well. Use kitchen tongs to toss the spaghetti into the saucepan with the pasta sauce.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese and serve!


Note 1: Chianti, Pinot Pior, and Merlot are the best wines for Bolognese sauce. (I’ve also used Cabernet Sauvignon.)
Substitutes for Red Wine in Bolognese Sauce:
Red Wine Alternatives:
  • Alcoholic Options include white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio or Orvieto.
  • Non-Alcoholic Options:

Note 2: I use a full 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes when I make this recipe, you can adjust this based on your preference. Authentic Bolognese has less tomato sauce than this.

A bay leaf and a pinch of red pepper flakes may also be added if desired.

For creamy Bolognese sauce, Add 1 tablespoon of softened cream cheese to the sauce mixture.

Garlic Bread with Cheese and a side salad with Copycat Olive Garden Salad Dressing is perfect with this meal!


Calories: 575kcal, Carbohydrates: 63g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 58mg, Sodium: 430mg, Potassium: 791mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 2258IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 81mg, Iron: 4mg
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43 comments on “Spaghetti Bolognese”

  1. Wow- with only the one hour of simmering this came out amazing. Great combination of herbs. Even my picky toddler ate it!

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