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Turkey Bolognese

5 from 1 vote

posted: 09/15/20

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Turkey Bolognese is a delicious and hearty sauce that your family is going to love. It cooks away all day in the slow cooker for a perfect comforting dinner at the end of the day.

a plate of pappardelle bolognese sauce garnished with freshly grated parmesan and parsley

I am so excited to share today’s recipe with you! This recipe comes from my friend Erin’s new book, The Well Plated Cookbook. Erin is one of only a few bloggers that I’m able to spend time in person with regularly, and I treasure that. A few years back, I sat with her in her kitchen as she talked to me about this cookbook making it’s way into life.

overhead photo of the well plated cookbook

We talked about the types of recipes she wanted to include (family friendly, fast, and healthy) and all the love she was pouring into the book. Months and months later, I helped her test a few of the recipes, and my family loved them! And now, finally, the book is here, and I get to tell you all about it.

This book is full of great recipes that your family will love. Additionally, Erin provides tons of information about swaps you can make in recipes to make them healthier. The pages of her book are filled with tips about the recipes. In fact, most of the tips you see in this post are straight from her book.

This Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce was one of the recipes that I tested for Erin. I love that Erin has three additionally recipes in the cookbook for how to use it beyond just pouring it over noodles. One is a Spaghetti Pie that my kids loved.

Making Turkey Bolognese Sauce Easy

This easy bolognese sauce is made in the slow cooker, which I love. It makes it so I don’t have to babysit it all day. This recipe is so simple to make; here is the brief overview.

  1. Sauté the vegetables on your stove top.
  2. Add in ground turkey, breaking it up to brown it.
  3. Add seasoning and then deglaze the pan with wine.
  4. Transfer the mixture to the crockpot and add in crushed tomatoes.
  5. Cook on low for 6 hours.
  6. Stir in half and half and enjoy over noodles!
slow cooker bolognese in a crockpot garnished with fresh parsley

Ground Beef or Ground Turkey

This recipe was made with ground turkey because it has a lower fat content. It helps keep this recipe lighter.

That being said, if your family prefers ground beef you can make this beef bolognese. Make sure to purchase a lower fat content ground beef – ideally 93% or higher. In step 3, you will drain the excess liquid from the vegetables and at that point, we will also be draining any excess fat from the meat.

What Wine to Use

I love cooking with wine. It is such a simple way to add a depth of flavor to a recipe. The key to cooking with wine is to only use a wine that one would actually drink.

If you aren’t a wine drinker, still opt for a drinking wine rather than a cooking wine. You can buy a small pack of four bottles of wine so that you aren’t opening a whole bottle for one recipe.

Erin recommends using Sauvignon Blanc in this bolognese recipe. That is a perfect choice, though any dry (versus sweet) white wine will work great.

bolognese sauce recipe being ladled out of a slow cooker

Half and Half

If you are unfamiliar with half and half, it is the combination of whole milk and heavy cream. Literally half of one and half of the other.

The half and half at the end of the recipe is a great finishing touch. It makes it a more rich sauce. If you don’t have half and half on hand, opt to skip it all together. Using milk in it’s place will thin the sauce too much.

Storing Leftovers

Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an air tight container (once cooled) for three to four days.

You can also freeze leftovers. Make sure to store them in a a container with at least one inch room to expand. Freeze for up to three months.

With all left overs, when reheating, make sure to only heat up what you will eat right then. Leftovers shouldn’t be reheated more than once.

Other Great Turkey Recipes

Love making recipes with ground turkey? So do we! Here are some other great options:

a jar full of bolognese sauce

Recommended Tools

  • Slow Cooker:  I love my Crockpot so much that I own TWO.
  • Dutch Oven: This is a staple in my kitchen. I use it all the time and it never fails me.
  • Good Knife: With the dicing in this recipe, you definitely need a knife you can count on.
a plate of pappardelle bolognese sauce garnished with freshly grated parmesan and parsley
5 from 1 vote

Turkey Bolognese

Serves: 7 cups
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 6 hours
Total: 6 hours 45 minutes
Turkey Bolognese is a delicious and hearty sauce that your family is going to love. It cooks away all day in the slow cooker for a perfect comforting dinner at the end of the day.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound carrots peeled, and diced
  • 2 medium zucchini peeled and diced
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 pounds 93% lean ground turkey
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup half and half


  • Spray a 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed dutch oven over medium heat. Add the carrots, zucchini, onion, salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Add in the ground turkey, breaking it up. Cook until it begins to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain any excess liquid and then return the pot back to the heat.
  • Add in the garlic, oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Cook until they are fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the wine, and bring the liquid to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and the sugar. Cook on low for 6 hours.
  • At the end of cooking, stir in the half and half. Serve over noodles and enjoy!
Serving: 0.5cup Calories: 168kcal (8%) Carbohydrates: 8g (3%) Protein: 14g (28%) Fat: 8g (12%) Saturated Fat: 1g (6%) Monounsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 2mg (1%) Sodium: 232mg (10%) Potassium: 351mg (10%) Fiber: 2g (8%) Sugar: 6g (7%) Vitamin A: 303IU (6%) Vitamin C: 16mg (19%) Calcium: 33mg (3%) Iron: 1mg (6%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
a plate of pappardelle bolognese sauce garnished with freshly grated parmesan and parsley

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Turkey Bolognese

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. Ruth says

    5 stars
    I made this wonderful Turkey Bolognese tonight and my husband and I loved it. He is sensitive to dairy so I did not add the half and half. I added a small can of tomato paste instead to make the sauce even thicker. I was out of thyme but I added a bay leaf or two. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m glad you liked it, Ruth!

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners