Bolognese Sauce is an easy to make tomato-based meat sauce perfect on any pasta!

I this recipe, beef and pork are combined with onion, garlic and seasonings and cooked until thick and rich. This recipe freezes and reheats well making it the perfect weeknight meal!

Bolognese sauce on noodles on a white plate

Who doesn’t love pasta with a homemade meat sauce? It’s got a special taste of home that you just can’t get from a jar. From a typical marinara to this Bolognese sauce, homemade is always best!

What Is Bolognese?

Ever wonder what makes Bolognese different than a typical spaghetti sauce? While it is a tomato-based meat sauce made with garlic and onion, it also includes the addition of celery and carrot plus a little bit of milk. It may sound unusual but these ingredients add a distinct flavor, a bit of richness, and some sweetness.

This sauce is great over pasta but it’s also a delicious addition to homemade lasagna or even a favorite when added to baked casseroles like ziti!

Left image is raw ingredients for bolognese sauce and right image is cooked ingredients for bolognese sauce in a pot

Ingredients & Variations

Vegetables: The traditional onions, carrots, and celery really should be in this dish.

I prefer to keep it simple with just those. If you’d like other veggies, chop them finely and add them in.

Meat: A combination of ground pork and beef adds amazing flavor, but you can make it with just ground beef if you prefer.

Ground veal is another flavorful addition.

Tomatoes: Canned whole tomatoes always tend to have a thicker consistency than diced so we always use them in this recipe.

If you only have canned diced tomatoes, those will work too (as will crushed tomatoes) but they may change the consistency slightly.

Wine: A dry red is great (but any red will do). I usually use a cabernet or merlot. Wine adds a lot of depth to this sauce (and the alcohol evaporates).

If you cannot use wine, you can use a bit of beef broth but it will alter the flavor slightly.

Milk: An unusual but traditional ingredient in an authentic bolognese sauce.

Cream being poured into a pot for bolognese sauce


How To Make Bolognese Sauce

This bolognese sauce takes time to make but it really is easy! Once the prep work is done this recipe just simmers away until thickened.

  1. Cook Veggies & Meat: Brown the chopped veggies and the meat, then drain off any fat.
  2. Add Wine/Milk: Add the wine and let it simmer away. Next, add the milk and allow that to simmer away too.
  3. Simmer: Add remaining ingredients (per recipe below) and allow it to simmer until thick.

While the sauce simmers, cook pasta according to directions. Add salt and pepper and parmesan, serve and enjoy!

Bolognese sauce in a pot with parsley as garnish

What To Serve With It

I like to serve this bolognese over pappardelle or tagliatelle, but any type of long pasta is great. If you want to offer gluten-free pasta, this sauce would work well with it. (Just be sure to check your spices and other ingredients.)

Serve this dish with the same sides you’d add to spaghetti and meatballs.

Bolognese sauce on noodles with Parmesan cheese and parsley as garnish

Storing Leftover Bolognese Sauce

This is a great pasta sauce to make ahead, dishes with tomatoes and spices “meld and marry.” as they sit and have even better flavor (like a chili recipe).

According to FDA guidelines leftover meat dishes will keep 4 days in the fridge. After that, freeze them for 2 to 3 months.

  • To store in the fridge, just use an airtight container or cover a dish tightly with plastic wrap.
  • For freezing, leave about an inch for expansion and cover tightly. Or you could use a tightly sealed zippered freezer bag.
  • Reheating is a breeze, just defrost and prepare it on the stovetop or in the microwave, stirring every 15 to 20 seconds until steaming hot and ready to eat!

You’re sure to find that this Bolognese recipe is an easy and delicious staple sauce you’ll use for lasagna, pasta, or even on homemade pizza. It’s perfecto!

More Italian Inspiration

Did you enjoy this Homemade Bolognese Sauce? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

Bolognese sauce on noodles on a white plate
4.93 from 211 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Homemade Bolognese Sauce (Pappardelle)

Rich tomato based meat sauce with beef and pork is combined with all the traditional ingredients of pasta bolognese for a flavorful weeknight meal that you can whip up in no time!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 1 carrot finely diced
  • 1 rib celery finely diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 1 ¼ cups red wine or beef broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 28 ounces whole tomatoes with juice
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • pappardelle or tagliatelle or another long pasta for serving


  • Cook onion in oil over medium heat until it starts to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, carrot and celery. Cook until softened, an additional 5 minutes.
  • Add beef and pork. Brown until no pink remains. Drain fat. Add wine and simmer until evaporated, about 7-9 minutes. Add milk and simmer until evaporated, about 6-7 minutes.
  • Stir in tomato paste, Italian seasoning, tomatoes with juice and bay leaf. Break tomatoes up with a spoon. Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until thickened. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 ½ cups of pasta water.
  • Toss pasta with sauce adding pasta water to thin out if needed.
  • Serve hot with parmesan cheese.



Storage Instructions:
  • Fridge - store in an airtight container or cover with plastic wrap for up to 4 days. 
  • Freezer - store in an airtight container, leaving about an inch for expansion, or in a zippered freezer bag for 2 - 3 months. 
To Reheat -  Defrost in the fridge. Heat it on the stovetop or in the microwave, stirring every 15 to 20 seconds, until heated through. 
4.93 from 211 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 359 | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 571mg | Potassium: 929mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 2112IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 126mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Pasta, Sauce
Cuisine American, Italian

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. This was a great recipe!..followed the instructions to a tee , except I followed several other reviews about pre-cooking the pasta before adding…everything turned out delicious!
    Thx for the recipe…..5 stars

  2. This is such an amazing recipe and has become a family favorite. As a wife of a first generation Sicilian –this recipe has received amazing feedback!5 stars

  3. Great recipe! I was missing wine and the beef broth so added some pasta sauce in it’s place. The addition of milk was new to me and it made the sauce very “smooth” tasting, even though it was meaty and chunky. I also substituted mild Italian sausage meat instead of the ground pork.4 stars

  4. Can this recipe be canned in a boiling water bath? Maybe I should add a tablespoon of vinegar for each jars?

    1. I don’t have enough experience with canning to know if this would be ok. Perhaps another reader may have some information to share.

  5. This turned out so good! I used Italian sausage taken out of the casing and some chopped mushrooms. I do wish it thickened a tiny bit more but all in all super good:5 stars

    1. Thanks for the suggestions, Bill! We find it best to add the milk in Step 2 but I am sure that adding it towards the end turns out delicious too.

  6. I’ll be making this again and again. The flavors are so complex. Why would I want to use jarred sauce again?5 stars

  7. I made this recipe and it was delicious. I made it with a Meatloaf mixture from Food Lion of beef, pork and veal. Delicious! Ready to make another batch 5 stars

  8. Amazing recipe. So flavorful it feels like it’s a fine dining restaurant meal, but homemade. Made it a few times. Added zucchini once and I also add mushroom broth paste. Amazing little addition!
    Another plus. It’s a manageable dinner while trying to keep up with my one year old!5 stars

  9. I am working on this while I type. So far, I have the veg. already sautéed. Because of the price of meat, I bought some mock steaks and Italian link sausages and ground them up myself and threw them in with the veg. I am nervous about veggies in my sauce, but more afraid of the milk to come.
    Okay, everything is browned, grease is poured off ( I am making this at night so in morning I can scoop off any left over grease). Interestingly enough there is hardly any grease. Mini bottle of red wind and a small amount of stock have been added and are simmering. It never did reduce all the way, I did not have milk, so added 1/2 & 1/2 and some water and it is now simmering. Scary!! It was just as I thought the milk curdled. I stopped there.

    1. Sorry to hear that, Karla. We have never had the milk curdle in this recipe but hopefully, these tips can help! To keep the milk from curdling you want to let it come only to a simmer until evaporated. Heating the milk too quickly or to a boiling point can cause it to curdle. And while it is still edible it definitely isn’t appetizing so I understand.

  10. This is the first review I have ever written because this recipe is AMAZING! I could not find ground pork on the shelves (they were empty…even on a Tuesday), so I bought sausages, defrosted 2, removed the shell and used the inside as ground pork (I used Honey Garlic). Also, I added an envelope of onion soup mix when I browned the drained ground pork and beef mixture. Enjoy! Really tasty 5 stars

  11. Ugh….i doubled the recipe with intention of leftovers…no such luck….it’s all gone!! Three of us just ate enough for a family of 8! So delicious!5 stars