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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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I would love for you to leave a rating and a comment below! How’d you do?! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

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Spagetti Bolognese

5 from 13 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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41 comments on “Spaghetti Bolognese”

  1. This was delicious. I had everything in my fridge besides the red wine so I omitted that and used some chicken broth instead. I’m sure that the flavor would have been deeper with the wine but I’m still happy with the flavor. I also added a little salt and pepper with each step. I definitely will be making it again!

    • I’m so happy you liked it Tanya! It’s true, in my opinion you can’t beat the wine, but chicken broth is a nice sub. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review!💖

  2. Hi, 
    If I want to use red wine vinegar as a non-alcoholic substitute, am I using one cup?
    Many thanks.

  3. I also had an Italian grandmother and mom since I was born in northern Italy.  Your sauce starts with carrots, onion and celery… mirepoix…bravo!  Our bolognese sauce never includes sausage, basil or’s a no no.
    Your cooking process is similar including the red wine but our spices are bay leaves, allspice, touch of cloves, rosemary; tad unusual but coming from a region in Bologna ( where the sauce gets its name) it’s what my famiky has used for generations.
    Just wanted to bring a different perspective to Bolognese sugo di carne!
    I love your recipes and have used many of them especially your sausage and tortellini soup…BRAVA!!

    • Hi Lynda!! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this!! I agree, the seasonings are definitely different here- I actually got this recipe from The Olive Garden awhile ago! So funny, right? Otherwise I think I would approached the seasonings differently, but I really like the way they taste! I’m so happy that you are enjoying the recipes, I love your positive energy- it’s contagious! 🙂

  4. This is probably the 15th recipe I’ve tried from here. I had purchased your cookbook for my daughter, who the other night made this spaghetti, she called me to tell me how good it was and her 3 year old daughter who doesn’t like anything, loved this as did her husband and other daughter. So, I decided to give it a try tonight. REALLY good!!!! I scaled this for 10 servings, since I often feed my sister and her kids, who live down the road because she’s busy working full time. Based on your notes, I did use 1 bay leaf and cream cheese. 1 extra carrot and the recipe scaled to 10 only called for 1/4 tsp of both Rosemary and sage, I used 1/2 tsp. Other than that, I followed it to the letter. Once again, this is picky husband approved (although I have to put all tomatoes, yes even crushed, into the blender or he won’t eat it SMH!)
    This is the only site I have found that is suitable for my VERY picky husband. You knock these recipes out of the park, every. single. time. Keep them coming 🙂

    • Wow I love hearing such great comments Julie, it makes me so happy when even the picky eaters in the family enjoy these meals. I have picky eaters at home too so every recipe goes through serious testing lol! Thanks so much for the great comments and review!💗💗💗

  5. I grew up with an Italian grandmother and mother, so I’ve been making and eating pasta sauces my whole life. I have to admit, I’ve never tasted a meat sauce so flavorful! I was a little skeptical since my usual spices weren’t included in this recipe (oregano and basil) and it called for spices that I didn’t even know would work in Italian food. Not to mention, I’ve never added carrots or celery to a pasta sauce. It all came together perfectly and I’m not sure I’ll ever make a meat sauce any other way.
    SO delicious…thank you so much!!

    • Wow this really is the ultimate compliment coming from someone with an Italian grandmother! Thanks so much for the great comments and for taking the time to leave a review Rosemary!❤️

  6. You’re recipes are adorably put. I guess the apple doesn’t fall from the tree!!! Lol

  7. This was awesome!! I have made bolognese sauce before, but yours had a few new twists for me that really elevated it – adding sausage, red wine, and the fresh herbs.  It was truly outstanding and so easy.  I served with bucatini pasta (my fave) garlic bread and of course red wine 🍷 😁.  Thank you for another perfect recipe!

  8. Thank you for this simple and perfectly explained recipe!

  9. Hello, I was wondering if a Malbec or Red blend would work for the wine? That is just what we have. If I were to to go buy a new bottle, what would be your #1 choice?

    • Hey Randi! Malbec should be just fine! It does have a hint of sweetness to it but it’s still dry enough to cook with! If you’d prefer to get a new bottle, Merlot would be my first choice! 🙂

  10. I made this last night and WOW! Bought my meats from a local Butcher and that just enhanced the flavors in  this Bolognese to MIND BLOWING! Thank you fir sharing this! It was PERFECTION!! Can’t wait to make it again! P.S. I used a really nice CAB in the sauce! 

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