Mom’s Classic Bolognese Sauce

Ground beef to make Mom's Classic Bolognese Sauce by


Mom’s Classic Bolognese Sauce is a rich, savory tomato sauce loaded with lean ground beef, along with chopped onions, carrots, celery, wine, and Italian imported peeled tomatoes.  Then it’s slowly cooked down to a rich, thick, and savory sauce, creating the BEST-tasting bolognese sauce!  Dish some with your favorite pasta, or gnocchi, or add it to your lasagna and make the meal memorable!


Mom’s Classic Bolognese Sauce is our all-time favorite ragu sauce – hands down!  

Just as we shared our mom’s recipes for her other tomato sauces, like mom’s quick marinara sauce, her best pork ragu recipe, or her rigatoni alla’matriciana, just to name a few.

But when it comes to the richest and most savory sauce of them all? 

Bolognese is at the top of that list.  Hands Down!

 It is also known as one of our recipes for The Sunday Sauce. 

Bolognese is a tomato sauce our mom always made on Sunday for dinner.  Growing up, we can remember our mom starting early in the morning and allowing her sauce to slowly cook for hours. 

And, she would have everything ready for the family to eat at 2 pm.

These days, we can make it in less time and still be delicious.  Of course, you can get it done in less time (about 35 minutes) and have a delicious-tasting sauce.

But if you want it to be rich, thick, and SENSATIONAL? 

Then you will need a little more time and patience… and it’s all worth it!


Moms' Classic Bolognese Sauce by


Homemade bolognese sauce is truly worth making

As always, homemade is far better than any jar sauce. 

Once you learn how to make mom’s classic bolognese sauce, there’s no need to buy the jar anymore.  …(at least we think so)

With 4 easy steps, you’ll have the most delicious-tasting Bolognese sauce ever!


Mom's Classic Bolognese Sauce by

What you will need…

  • Vegetables – carrots, celery, onion, and garlic

  • Ground Beef – leanest chopped beef

  • Seasonings – salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper

  • Fresh Herbs -fresh basil and fresh Italian parsley

  • Wine – some red wine (or white wine)

  • Peeled Tomatoes – canned imported peeled tomatoes are the best

How to make our Mom’s Classic Bolognese Sauce?

(*full recipe card below!)

With these 4-Easy Steps, you too can make our mom’s classic bolognese sauce.

Chopped onions in a food chopper, and a photo of chopped meat on brown paper. by

For this recipe, the four steps include:

Step 1:  Mincing all the vegetables first, then saute them in a large saucepan.

Step 2:  Next, add the ground meat and brown it, breaking it up with a wooden spoon.

Step 3:  Pour in the wine and toss in the fresh herbs.

Step 4:  Finally add the tomatoes and water, cover, and let it simmer for at least one hour.


A photo of vegetables on the bottom of a sauce pot, and the other with ground beef. by

This Bolognese sauce is so simple to make, you’ll enjoy making it all year long.  It stores and freezes beautifully too! 


Cook’s Notes and Tips:  

  • It’s best to use Italian Imported Tomatoes.  Cento, San Marzano is the brand we like to use.  You will need 2 large (28-ounce) cans of peeled tomatoes.

  • Fresh vegetables are best.  I used 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 1 large onion (or two medium), and 4 garlic cloves for mom’s classic bolognese sauce.  Mincing them is so much easier if you use a mini food chopper. 

  • For a fresh flavor and taste, it’s best to use fresh herbs when making this sauce. Either fresh basil or fresh parsley; both can be used.

  • When choosing the meat.  Always buy ground lean beef: I used about 1.5 pounds and it should be the leanest, between 90% to 95% lean ground beef.

  • Optional:  for additional flavor, sometimes we like to add some pork to the sauce. You can add 2 sausage links (with casings removed) and crumble them. Then brown them along with the beef.

  • Need Wine!  You need about 1/2 cup of red or white wine for this recipe,  more or less is not a deal-breaker.  I prefer red wine.

  • Don’t forget to add in the cayenne pepper. Sometimes the littlest ingredient makes a huge difference.

  • Water is needed with this recipe.  If the sauce gets too thick, you can always add a little more water.

Can We Make Bolognese Sauce in Slow Cooker?

Yes, but you cannot toss all the ingredients and walk away.  You still have to saute the vegetables and brown the meat at the beginning, followed by wine, herbs, tomatoes, and water.  Then cover and cook on a low setting for 6 to 8 hours.

What’s the difference between Spaghetti Sauce and Bolognese Sauce?

  • Spaghetti sauce is usually a classic tomato sauce known as “marinara sauce.”  It is cooked with only 4 ingredients, crushed tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and fresh basil and it’s simmered for about 30 minutes or less.

  • Whereas the Bolognese sauce is loaded with meat, vegetables, wine, fresh herbs, and canned tomatoes.  And it simmers slowly until it cooks down into this rich, thick savory sauce.  Plus, it can be made with a mixture of ground beef, veal, and pork.

What can we serve with Bolognese sauce?

  • Serve bolognese sauce over your favorite pasta, or layer it into a lasagna with no-boil noodles (as we prefer).

  • We love it with spaghetti, fettuccine, and even with pappardelle because the larger noodles are great for the sauce to stick to them.

  • Bolognese sauce (known as “ragu” in Bologna, Italy) is popularly served over polenta, rather than pasta.  And, it’s amazing – to say the least!

  • What about dessert?  There’s nothing better than an easy “No-Bake” dessert to go with this fabulous meal, try The Best Tiramisu!  …and make this meal memorable!

How to store: 

Best to keep bolognese sauce in air-tight containers.  It will stay fresh for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

To freeze:

Bolognese sauce will freeze well for up to one month.  It’s best to allow the sauce to cool completely before freezing.

To reheat: 

Allow the sauce to fully defrost on your counter for a few hours or thaw in the refrigerator overnight.  Then pour it into a saucepot and reheat it on the stovetop on moderate heat. Bring it to a low boil and simmer for only a few minutes, until it’s heated through.

Plus, here is a different kind of Ragu…

Try our authentic Neapolitan dish Pasta with Genovese Sauce. It is a brown-colored ragu made with onions and beef and it is delicious!

Additional recipes to use our Mom’s Classic Bolognese Sauce: 



…Thanks for Pinning!!

 Mom's Classic Bolognese Sauce by


Finally, a few more delicious tomato-based sauces for you to try…

Yield: 2 quarts

Mom's Classic Bolognese Sauce

Mom's Classic Bolognese Sauce by
Mom's Classic Bolognese Sauce is a rich, savory tomato sauce loaded with lean ground beef, along with chopped onions, carrots, celery, wine, and Italian imported peeled tomatoes.  Then it's slowly cooked down to a rich, thick, and savory sauce, creating the BEST tasting bolognese sauce!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 carrots - peeled, minced
  • 2 stalks of celery - cleaned, minced
  • 1 large onion - minced
  • 4 garlic cloves - minced
  • 1.5 pounds of leanest chop beef
  • Optional: 2 sausage links, (casings removed) crumbled
  • 3 tsp. salt - divided
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 dashes of cayenne pepper
  • a handful of fresh basil
  • a handful of fresh parsley- chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine (or white wine)
  • 2 (28-ounces) cans of peeled tomatoes
  • 1 cup of water


  1. Use a mini chopper to mince all the vegetables for this recipe.
  2. Start with a large heavy saucepot to make the sauce. Heat on medium heat, and add the olive oil and butter.
  3. Place the minced carrots, celery, onion, and garlic into the pot. Cover and stir occasionally the veggies, simmering on medium-low heat for 5 to 8 minutes, until softened.
  4. Raise the heat to medium, then add in the meat. Use your hands to crumble the meat as you drop it into the saucepan. Then use a wooden spoon to break up the chunks, until the chopped meat is completely crumbled. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt, then add fresh cracked pepper and 2 dashes of cayenne pepper over the meat mixture.
  5. Cover and allow the meat to fully cook with the veggies, stirring occasionally for about 6 to 8 minutes.
  6. Stir in the fresh basil and fresh parsley and simmer for one minute to be fragrant.
  7. Pour in the WINE and uncover, allow the wine to simmer with the meat mixture until it slightly absorbs into the mixture, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, open the cans of peeled tomatoes. Doing one can at a time, slowly pour the tomatoes into a blender, and pulse to puree the tomatoes. Repeat with the second can of tomatoes. Pour them into the pot.
  9. Then pour 1 cup of water into the pot. Stir in 2 additional teaspoons of salt.
  10. Cover. Bring to a low boil, then lower the heat to the lowest, and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  11. After one hour, taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings to your taste. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a little more water, about 1/4 cup. Turn off the heat. Your bolognese sauce is ready for you to use.

Nutrition Information:


2 quarts

Serving Size:

1/2 cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 107Total Fat: 5.8gCarbohydrates: 1.7gProtein: 10.5g


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That it friends!  

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Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Happy Cooking  🙂

xo Anna and Liz

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  1. That looks delicious! There is nothing like a comforting dish of pasta with red sauce. The sausage sounds like a wonderful addition 🙂