Hug in a Mug: Slow Cook Bolognese Sauce

The sunshine has come out today! However, the weekend was a different story with wind, rain and all the garden furniture being blown about! So, it was a weekend of slow cooking, starting with this lovely slow cook Bolognese, which I served with some noodles, in mugs, which made us all feel cosy and warm. This recipe can be made either in an electric slow cooker or it can be cooked on the stove and left  to slowly bubble away for up to two hours. I credit my Italian brother-in-law for first showing me how to cook Bolognese sauce when I was a teenager. The longer you leave it the better and using a combination of lean beef and pork mince gives you an even better flavour.

I’m excited to be linking this up to a new blog event, hosted by my local blogging friend Mediocre Mum, called Slow Cooker Sunday. Sorry it’s a day late!  Do pop along and link up your favourite slow cooker recipes and check out all the other links for lots of easy cooking inspiration!


Slow Cook Bolognese Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 1 heaped tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 kg lean beef mince
  • 3 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 l beef stock
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes/passata
  • 1 tablespoon mixed herbs
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Add the olive oil to a large frying pan or stovetop casserole pan and gently fry the finely chopped onions, celery, carrots and garlic for around 7 minutes on a low heat. Add in 500g of the mince and fry for another few minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Add the second lot of 500g mince and fry for a further five minutes.
  2. If you are using an electric slow cooker, tip all of this into the slow cooker and carry on to step 3. If cooking on the stove, carry on to step 3.
  3. Make up the beef stock with hot water and add three tablespoons tomato puree to the stock, mix well until there are no lumps. Add this liquid to the meat and stir well. If you are cooking on the stovetop, let this bubble down on a high heat for around five mintes. If using a slow cooker carry on to step 4.
  4. Add in the mixed herbs, chopped tomatoes and a good sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. If using an electric slow cooker, put the lid on, and cook on low/medium for 8 hours.
  5. For stovetop cooking, turn the heat right down and leave the Bolognese sauce to cook on a very gentle simmer, uncovered, for around an hour and a half, to two hours. Stir it every now again and if it looks like it is getting too dry, add an extra cup of hot water or stock and stir again. By the end of your cooking time (two hours stovetop, 8 hours slow cooker) your Bolognese should be lovely and saucy and the meat and all the vegetables should be soft. Serve with spaghetti, any type of pasta or even quicker noodles. Grate some fresh Parmesan cheese over the top before eating.
If you are using an electric slow cooker, the total cooking time will be 8 hours. At the end of the cooking time, if you want to freeze a few portions, let the Bolognese cool down completely and then freeze in small containers.

I’m also linking this up to Family Friendly Fridays here on Fabulicious Food! as this is a clear family favourite!


What do you like to cook when its cold outside or you have to feed a crowd?



    • Ren says

      Ah thanks, quite by accident, all my bowls were dirty. Then I realised it looked quite comforting :-) x

  1. says

    What a great idea, Ren. I would have never thought of doing a Bolognese in a slow cooker, but of course, why not? Lovely. I shall check out the other offerings for Slow Cooker Sunday, especially as it is still dreary and cold up here in Edinburgh. I even bought a big pile of venison at my butcher today. Definitely slow cooking this! Probably with sour cherries and dried porcini.

    • Ren says

      Hi Kellie, I think there is a cold snap everywhere! My slow cooker seems to be on everyday at the moment :-) The venison sounds amazing as do the sour cherries and porcinis! Will keep checking your blog for inspiration. x

  2. says

    Oh yum. We all love bolognese so I don’t know why I don’t cook it more often. I’m yet to buy a slow cooker, I wasn’t sure at first but I’m seeing so many brilliant recipes that I think I will be succumbing soon.

    • Ren says

      I’ve been using a Tefal multicooker and I’m totally hooked. I can’t wait for the next recipe, so easy, just stick it on and leave it for a bit. Slow cookers in general are coming down in price though, even most supermarkets have basic ones. Look out for a giveaway soon!

  3. says

    How funny – I ended up cooking Bolognese yesterday too!

    I made a veg-rich sauce with onions, tomatoes, herbs, grated carrots and mushrooms and then blitzed them with a stick blender to create a child-friendly non-whinge inducing sauce which I then added to the ground beef! I put a glug of red wine in too. Sam ate three helpings :-)
    I’ll have to try using pork mince – bet that’s really tasty with the beef.

    • Ren says

      Always a great meal for the family. I do often blitz mine, but I find by slow cooking it for a long time the meat goes very soft in any case. It’s a great vehicle for adding extra veggies, though this one is just a classic, I often add lentils, too for extra texture. Pork and beef is a great combo, more popular in Tuscany. x

  4. says

    As you know I have only just entered the world of electric slow cookers, I’ll be adding this to my ever growing list of things to try.

  5. says

    Either a bolognese or a chilli con carne for me. Probably the latter for a crowd as I can make a vegetarian one too. I’ve cooked chilli for 50 so I guess that’s a crowd! Always nice to go back to the basics Ren.