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Overhead shot of white bowl filled with slow cooker bolognese and pasta and fresh herbs on a linen

Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese Recipe

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4.9 from 12 reviews


This Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese needs to be on your dinner rotation! It is of course delicious, but also with just 45 minutes of prep you can serve a healthy weeknight meal that tastes like it took you all day to prepare. It freezes well for a great make-ahead option and this healthier version is made with ground turkey without sacrificing any of that amazing cooked all day Bolognese flavor.


Units Scale
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 pounds 93% lean ground turkey or lean ground beef
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and finely chopped (about 3 cups or 6 medium)
  • 2 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces each), peeled and finely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus additional to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half
  • For Serving:
  • Cooked whole wheat pasta, zucchini noodles, or spaghetti squash strands


  1. Cook The Turkey or Beef: Lightly coat a 6-quart slow cooker or larger with nonstick spray. In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the turkey, breaking up the meat with a spatula until it is starting to brown, 5-7 minutes. Place the turkey into the slow cooker.
  2. Cook The Vegetables: In the same skillet heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat and add the carrots, zucchini, onion and salt. Saute for 3-5 minutes to soften. Stir in the garlic, oregano, thyme and red pepper flakes and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the wine and stir. Return to a simmer and let the wine cook until it is reduced by half, about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker with the turkey. Add the crushed tomatoes and sugar and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Uncover and stir in the half-and-half.
  4. To serve: Taste and add additional salt, black pepper or red pepper flakes as desired. Serve over hot cooked pasta, zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash strands.


Refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • Serving Size: 2/3 cups
  • Calories: 140
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 7 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 13 g
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