Weeknight Homemade Bolognese Sauce

Easy Weeknight Meals

Here’s something I didn’t know when I started cooking: homemade bolognese sauce is simple. In fact, it’s basically foolproof.

Honestly, I wouldn’t have even played with the idea of making my own pasta sauce if I didn’t crave Italian food 60% of my waking hours.

So I am here to tell you that weeknight homemade bolognese sauce is within your reach!

Watch me bring this dish together👇

Weeknight Homemade Bolognese Sauce

Here’s what makes this sauce sing, we use fresh basil. Fresh garlic! Herbs! Fresh parmesan cheese! You don’t have to do the work, let the ingredients do the work for you.

Pro tip: prep all your ingredients ahead of time so you can just throw everything into the pot when it is time.

This sauce is great as leftovers! It is one of my favorite things to take to neighbors or new moms (just add the sauce to a deli container and take over a box of dried pasta!).

A fair warning: you will wan to eat this sauce straight out of the pan. I cooked this for friends a few days ago and one them said, “The noodles are getting in the way of my sauce. More SAUCE!”

Can’t have pasta? I got you. Throw it on top of a baked sweet potato or try sweet potato noodles!



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cups dry red wine, divided
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 TBS kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the ground beef and cook, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the meat has lost its pink color and has started to brown.
  3. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute.
  4. Carefully pour 1 cup of the wine into the skillet, stirring to scrape up any browned bits.
  5. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoons pepper, stirring until combined. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered.
  6. After 10 minutes add the basil, cream, and the remaining 1/4 cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. After 10 minutes add the parmesan.


You can serve this with pasta noodles or sweet potato noodles.

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  1. Gwen Sitsch says:

    Goodbye forever, jarred pasta sauce.  There’s a new sauce in town thanks to my food expert Bri McKoy.  I’ve tried making sauce from scratch before and it was either too complicated or the flavor just wasn’t quite right.  This Bolognese is not only simple but out-of-this-world delicious.  I enjoyed the scent of each step of this recipe couldn’t resist the temptation to taste it before the final steps. The addition of the cream at the end gives an already flavor-filled sauce an extra creaminess.  My husband said several times, “This is GOOD” and he’s an Italian food snob.  I ate leftovers like a soup and had enough to freeze for round two soon.  This is a must-do for all levels of cooking skills.  

  2. JELow says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! It was SO good. Never in our 28 years of marriage has my husband told me 4 times how good this meal was!! ????

  3. Raven says:

    Would this freeze easily? I haven’t made it yet but I have friend who raves about it!

    • Bri McKoy says:

      Yes! I have frozen it in a freezer-safe container (or large baggie). I take it out the night before and put it in the refrigerator to thaw and then warm up the next day!

  4. Meredith Peine says:

    So I just watched you and Kendra ( AKA the Lazy Genius) on Instagram!  When it was over I immediately clicked on your bio and well, here I am!  I have one question.  What is the difference between bolognese and spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce?  I have to admit the term Bolognese seemed a bit intimidating to me.  My son does not like spaghetti and I think I am going to make this last attempt to see if I can change his mind.  I really like your philosophy that letting the quality ingredients speak!  I am excited to follow you and to try your recipes.  I loved what you said when talking to Kendra about not feeling the shame!  That really spoke to me!  I also love your sunny disposition!  You made a great first impression on me!

    • Bri McKoy says:

      Hi! I am so grateful you are here! Thank you for watching our IG Live! To answer your question, Bolognese originated in Italy and it just means red sauce with meat (generally ground pork or ground beef). Spaghetti sauce or pasta sauce generally refers to sauce without meat but in America we use both interchangeably! I spent some time in Italy and learned how to make homemade bolognese but it can take hours on the stove. So I created my own weeknight version. I think you will love it! Thank you for your kind words!

  5. Laura says:

    Could I make this sauce and let it simmer all day?

    • Bri McKoy says:

      I would not recommend letting it simmer all day, as it will dry out the meat. If you want to make it ahead of time you can do that. Then about 30 minutes before dinner, you can put it back on the stove top and simmer for about 30 minutes until heated thru!

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