Quick and Easy Bolognese Sauce

Rich, meaty Bolognese Sauce is easy to make and can be on the table in 35 minutes. Use it to top pasta noodles, or layer in lasagna. It’s freezer-friendly too. Make a double or triple batch to enjoy all winter long!

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups sauce


  • 1/2 large yellow onion, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1 large stalk celery, thickly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole San Marzano or other good quality tomatoes with thick juice
  • 12 ounces cooked pasta (for serving)


1 Chop the vegetables: In a food processor, combine the onion, carrot, and celery. Pulse until finely chopped.

Soffritto in a food processor to be used for the best bolognese sauce.

2 Cook the vegetables: In a deep, wide skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, or until soft and translucent but not browned.

Soffritto being cooked in a dark skillet as the foundation for the perfect pasta bolognese sauce.

3 Cook the beef: Add the ground beef to the skillet with the sautéed vegetables. Add the salt and pepper. Break the meat up with a fork or a potato masher and cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, mashing it until it is crumbly and no longer pink. You are not actually browning the meat, just cooking it until it no longer looks raw.

Ground beef and soffritto combined to make fast and easy bolognese sauce in a dark skillet.

4 Simmer the meat and milk: Add the milk to the skillet and simmer, stirring often, for about 4 minutes, or until the milk has almost completely evaporated. Stir in the nutmeg.

Seasoning and milk ground beef to make fast and easy bolognese sauce.

5 Add the wine: Add the wine to the skillet and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes, or until it has almost evaporated.

Seasoning ground beef to make fast and easy bolognese sauce

6 Crush and add the tomatoes: Pour the tomatoes into a bowl and squish them with your hands to break them up so there are no large pieces.

Add them to the skillet and bring the sauce to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and simmer the sauce for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick. If the sauce begins to look dry, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons hot water. Taste and add more salt and pepper if you feel it's needed.

Tomatoes ready to be crushed in a glass bowl to make the best pasta sauce recipe. Tomatoes being crushed in a bowl to make the best pasta sauce recipe. Meat and tomato sauce being stirred togehter with a wooden spoon in a skillet to make the perfect bolognese sauce. A homemade bolognese sauce in a skillet on a marble countertop

7 Serve: Serve the sauce over a bed of cooked pasta.