Instant Pot Ragù Bolognese (Batch Cooking Recipe)

Instant Pot Ragù Bolognese (Batch Cooking Recipe)

Today’s recipe is an oldie but definitely a goodie – Spaghetti Bolognese or rather Ragù Bolognese! It is by all means my boys’ favourite dinner EVER and something tells me our family isn’t the only one. 🙂  It might not be 100% authentic Italian recipe, however it’s based on one and the end product taste simply amazing! I’ve also adapted the cooking method for my new Instant Pot hence Instant Pot Ragù Bolognese. You will find the original (on the hob) method here as well. 

I’m sure there are as many different variations of Ragù Bolognese as there are people who make it. You can really go to town with this comforting and satisfying rich and meaty sauce. Few years back I’ve looked into the original Italian recipe and even then I came across number of different versions. One thing I found really interesting is that Italians add chicken livers to their ragu for extra richness. I’ve made it like this few times before but since making it predominantly as a family meal, I don’t bother anymore. 🙂 One thing I have stuck with though is adding milk towards the end of cooking. I think it works beautifully by mellowing this otherwise rich sauce. You can of course skip milk if  you so wish, I won’t know lol 😉 .

Instant Pot Ragù Bolognese (Batch Cooking Recipe)

Ragù Bolognese is a perfect carrier for whole loads of veggie goodness. Although original Italian vegetable base (soffritto) only contains onions, carrots and celery, you most definitely don’t need to stick to just those. I very often add my favourite broccoli stalk to bulk it up even more or some mushrooms work really great here. Whatever you’ve got in your fridge that could do with using up really, I don’t think you can go wrong here.

I have been making my Ragù Bolognese like this for over 10 years now but only recently started using my new Instant Pot which makes it that bit quicker. The initial part of sautéing your veggie base and your meat doesn’t differ at all and cannot be sped up am afraid. However, once you are ready to simmer your ragù for what takes over an hour on the hob (with occasional stir), it will only take 15 minutes in your Instant Pot and without any assistance whatsoever.

Making Ragù Bolognese is a perfect batch cooking opportunity as you can make a lot of it in one go and have it all portioned and in the freezer for when you need a quick meal or simply don’t feel like cooking. This recipe usually yields between 4-5 dinners for our family (2 adults and 2 young children) as a Spaghetti Bolognese. It is also a perfect base for lasagne, stuffed cannelloni  or served with jacket potatoes.

I hope you enjoy my take on Ragù Bolognese and will be doing spot of batch cooking yourselves soon. Feel free to share your thoughts on my recipe in the comments below or via my Facebook pageTwitter or Instagram

Instant Pot Ragù Bolognese (Batch Cooking Recipe)

Portioned & ready to be frozen.

Instant Pot Ragù Bolognese (Batch Cooking Recipe)

Yield: 4-5 x 2 adults and 2 kids servings


    Soffritto (Veggie base)
  • 300g carrots
  • 300g celery stalks
  • 300g onions
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 heaped tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Pepper
  • Oil
  • 1 kg lean beef mince
  • 250g unsmoked or smoked pancetta/streaky bacon (already diced or in one big chunk)
  • some red wine (optional)
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 half tins of water to wash out the tins
  • 200ml milk
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • pepper
  • 2 leftover parmesan rinds for added flavour (optional)


  1. Prepare vegetables for Soffritto by peeling and chopping them finely either by hand or using food processor.
  2. If using pancetta/bacon in one big chunk cut it quite finely by hand or use food processor to almost mince it.
    Instant Pot Method
  1. Set Instant Pot to SAUTÉ and add a good glug of oil. Add chopped vegetables, bay leaves, mixed herbs and season with 1 tsp of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Fry stirring frequently for approximately 15 minutes until vegetables are soft.
  2. Add chopped/minced pancetta/bacon and beef mince and fry breaking it up and stirring frequently for another 15 minutes. The meat will release some liquid as it cooks which is to be expected. Keep frying until it's almost evaporated.
  3. Add good splash of red wine (if using) and fry some more until it evaporated and meat mixture starts to sizzle.
  4. Press Keep Warm/Cancel Button to cancel SAUTÉ function.
  5. Add chopped tomatoes. Fill each tin half way with water, swirl around and add it to the pot. Add 1 tsp of sea salt, some more freshly ground pepper and 2 parmesan rinds (if using). Stir well.
  6. Put on the lid and lock it in place making sure that the black, steam releasing valve is pointing to "Sealing". Set your Instant Pot to "Meat/Stew" setting on High Pressure, setting adjusted to More for 15 minutes.
  7. When the time is up turn the pot off by pressing Keep Warm/Cancel button and let the pressure go down naturally (NPR - Natural Pressure Release). It will take approx. 20-25 minutes.
  8. Open the lid, add milk and stir well. Press SAUTÉ button yet again and let the ragù reduce slightly for approx 10min until it reaches desired consistency.
  9. Check seasoning and add some salt/pepper if required.
  10. Serve over pasta and topped with lots of grated parmesan.
    Traditional "on the hob" cooking method
  1. Follow the steps for sautéing/frying as above only using heavy duty casserole/stew pot on the hob.
  2. After adding tomatoes and water, stir mixture well and let it simmer, covered for approx 1 hr, stirring from time to time.
  3. Add milk, stir well and let it simmer for another 15-20 minutes until you reach desired consistency. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve as above.

Instant Pot Ragù Bolognese (Batch Cooking Recipe)

If you’d like some more batch cooking recipes, check out my Veggie Lentils and Spinach Lasagne which is another staple, freezer dish in our house. Alternatively, if you are looking for something warming and delicious to make in your Instant Pot, check out this Instant Pot Ginger Spiced Beetroot Soup which is perfect this time of year.

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Instant Pot Ragù Bolognese (Batch Cooking Recipe)


I’m linking my Instant Pot Ragù Bolognese with the following pages:

Cook Blog Share hosted this week by Kirsty at Hijacked By Twins and Jacqui at Recipes Made Easy

Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by Corina at Searching for Spice

Brilliant Blog Posts hosted by Vicki at Honest Mum Blog

Recipe of the Week hosted by Emily at A Mummy Too

Hijacked By Twins
Link up your recipe of the weekBrilliant blog posts on

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  • Reply Michelle Frank | Flipped-Out Food

    Ooohh, I love a good Ragù Bolognese. I agree: it’s the perfect veggie-delivery vehicle. I’ve made it on the stovetop and in the slow-cooker, but never an Instant Pot or pressure cooker. I’ll have to give that a try! I also love to use pork or even lamb. Such a versatile, delicious sauce!

    January 16, 2018 at 10:17 pm
    • Reply joskitchenlarder

      Thanks Michelle! It’s wonderfully versatile isn’t it? I have made it with the mix of pork and beef before as well although now as I add quite a substantial chunk of bacon/pancetta I tend to put in beef only. So many ways you can go with it though 🙂

      January 17, 2018 at 10:02 am
  • Reply Corina Blum

    This looks delicious! I have to admit to not often making a bolognese as my husband doesn’t like it but I do wish he did. I’d love to make a big batch of this and then have dinner sorted for a few nights. Thanks for sharing with #CookOnceEatTwice – It really is the perfect recipe for it! x

    January 17, 2018 at 6:50 am
    • Reply joskitchenlarder

      Thanks Corina! I do love a good batch cooking session as I love the feeling of having some freezer ready home cooked meals for those busy night you need something in a hurry. Empty freezer makes me feel a bit anxious too but quick batch of bolognese and anxiety is gone lol. x

      January 17, 2018 at 10:08 am
  • Reply Monika Dabrowski

    This would be a dream meal for my boys, if I hadn’t stopped eating beef (and pork, a few months ago) it would be mine too!

    January 17, 2018 at 12:45 pm
    • Reply joskitchenlarder

      Thanks Monika! 🙂 It definitely is a bit of a feast for a carnivore although as it’s so adaptable I’m sure it would also taste delicious with chicken or turkey mince! 🙂

      January 17, 2018 at 1:01 pm
  • Reply Cat

    This looks amazing. I’ve heard about adding milk, and I used to do it but completely forgot! This has now reminded me to add it to mine next time I make it 🙂 Your version looks a lot more authentic than mine! x

    January 17, 2018 at 2:43 pm
    • Reply joskitchenlarder

      Thanks Cat! There are soo many Bolognese versions out there, aren’t there? What’s great about it is that it can be as authentic as you want it to be. I think poor Mary Berry caused controversy last year for putting milk or even cream (not quite sure which one it was now) in her version of Bolognese. Yep, it definitely works and does balance the ragu beautifully. 🙂 x

      January 17, 2018 at 7:41 pm
  • Reply Nichole Goodland

    I do love a good ragu and have been making some with veggie mince. I do need to try my hand at batch cooking because I do cook loads, but then hubby ends up eating it all up anyway. haha. 🙂 #brillblogposts
    Nichole Goodland recently posted…My 4 Favourite Money Saving AppsMy Profile

    January 18, 2018 at 2:17 pm
    • Reply joskitchenlarder

      Hi Nichole 🙂 The trick is to portion it all up and put away as soon as possible. I have two small and one big “taste testers” to deal with every time I cook so I know it’s not easy lol 🙂

      January 18, 2018 at 2:47 pm
  • Reply jacqui

    i have to say I am loving my instant pot and it is made for this kind of batch cooking. Ive yet to make ragu in it but all might change now
    jacqui recently posted…Pan seared salmon with spinach and beansMy Profile

    January 20, 2018 at 5:57 pm
    • Reply joskitchenlarder

      Isn’t it fantastic? I find myself using it pretty much every day, even if it’s just for steaming veg. The best part though is that hubby had to eat his words and admit that it’s NOT “yet another gadget” lol 🙂

      January 20, 2018 at 8:21 pm
  • Reply Kirsty Hijacked By Twins

    I love my Instapot and this ragu looks and sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x
    Kirsty Hijacked By Twins recently posted…Weekly Meal Plan – #MealPlanningMonday 2018 Week 4My Profile

    January 22, 2018 at 9:59 pm
    • Reply joskitchenlarder

      Thanks Kirsty! Since I got it last Summer it became my number 1 gadget and I absolutely love it! This ragu is perfect for it too. x

      January 23, 2018 at 9:26 am
  • Reply Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie

    I love a good Italian style ragu – and this looks a fab recipe. A good balance between authenticity and simplicity – my kind of recipe. Love the tip to add milk to soften the flavour – I am definitely going to try that next time! Eb x
    Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie recently posted…Warm Lamb and Halloumi Rice SaladMy Profile

    January 22, 2018 at 10:20 pm
    • Reply joskitchenlarder

      Thanks so much Eb! 🙂 I love your description of it too, it’s perfect! 🙂 The addition of milk really works and I wouldn’t make my ragu any other way now. I remember when hubby saw me adding milk for the first time few year back now, he thought that I lost it lol. He since learnt not to question my actions in the kitchen though lol. 🙂 x

      January 23, 2018 at 9:42 am
  • Reply Linda Mcquillan

    Followed the recipe but reduced the water. The result was not great. It was too liquid, too fatty, and bland. It needs garlic and more herbs.

    February 2, 2018 at 10:43 pm
    • Reply joskitchenlarder

      Hi Linda, I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy the ragu. As I have mentioned in my post, although I haven’t kept my recipe 100% authentic it came about from doing a bit of research hence there is quite minimal seasoning and no garlic added. Italian ragu relies completely on the flavour of meat and vegetables without any flavourings whatsoever beside salt and pepper. I have deviated slightly bu using some mixed herbs and felt that the amount used was adequate but of course you are free to adjust it to your taste. You’ve mentioned that ragu was too fatty. Perhaps the type of beef mince you used was with higher fat content and the meat wasn’t sautéed for long enough to release the juices which would have then evaporated. The ragu should definitely not be fatty although it is a meat ragu and lots of richness is expected. Regarding too much liquid, perhaps you haven’t reduced the sauce enough. I have mentioned in my recipe it should be reduced to desired consistency so perhaps if you give it a go again at some point with modifications as per your taste, simmer it for longer. Personally, we do prefer our ragu a bit more saucy in consistency but again that is personal preference. I hope you find this helpful and also that your future attempts will be more to your taste.

      February 3, 2018 at 11:09 am

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