Crock Pot Turkey and Mushroom Bolognese Sauce

This crock pot turkey and mushroom bolognese sauce is a healthy, filling and flavorful sauce, perfect for a hectic weeknight dinner. Serve it on top of pasta, zucchini noodles or your favorite ravioli for a deliciously easy meal!

Crock Pot Turkey Bolognese Sauce

A couple of weeks ago, I made a turkey and mushroom bolognese sauce on the stove top that Ryan and I both absolutely loved. I had a feeling the sauce would work well in the crock pot, and perhaps taste even better since it would have more time for the flavors to develop as it slowly cooked all day long, so I decided to give it a shot.

The first time I attempted to make this recipe in the crock pot, it was a bit of a disaster. I tried to really shortcut it and basically dumped all the ingredients into the slow cooker, stirred them up every so often and hoped for the best. Though we still ate the end result, the texture wasn’t my favorite and tasted almost mealy. Something had to change and I had a feeling it was going to take a little more work.

Turkey Mushroom Bolognese Sauce Ingredients

Call me suuuuper lazy, but I hate it when crock pot recipes make you brown meat ahead of time or cook something before you put it in the crock pot. Isn’t the whole point of the crock pot to cook things for you and feed into our laziness!?

Ground Turkey Bolognese

So, I went against everything I believe a slow cooker should be and actually browned the darn turkey before putting it in the crock pot and – wouldn’t you know – it made all the difference in the world. Our weird mealy bolognese sauce was transformed into the most delicious sauce and I now realize that taking an extra step and washing an extra pan or two might really be worth it for a delicious crock pot dinner.

Crock Pot Turkey Bolognese

I’ve made the sauce three times since our initial blunder and we’ve enjoyed it on top of whole wheat spaghetti, four-cheese ravioli and zucchini noodles.

To make the zucchini noodles, I cut the ends off the zucchini before spiralizing them. I then quickly sautéed the zucchini noodles in a little bit of olive oil and seasoned them with salt and pepper.

Crock Pot Turkey Bolognese and Zucchini Noodles Recipe

(FYI, I bought this super-cheap $7 spiralizer off Amazon because I wasn’t sure I’d be totally into the whole veggie “noodles” thing and didn’t want to spend a ton of money. It works well enough and we actually love zucchini and squash “noodles” in our house now!)

The sauce can also be made with ground chicken or lean ground beef – we love the ground beef version – and truly makes the whole house smell wonderful. It’s the perfect sauce to make for dinner on a chilly winter night!

Crock Pot Turkey Bolognese with Zucchini Noodles

Crock Pot Turkey Mushroom Bolognese Sauce

Makes 4 large servings


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped portobello mushrooms
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • pinch red pepper flakes


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and add mushrooms, celery, garlic cloves and onion. Sauté until onions become translucent, approximately 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add ground turkey and cook until meat is no longer pink, breaking up and large pieces.
  3. Transfer ground turkey into crock pot and add remaining ingredients. Stir everything together, cover and allow to cook 4 – 6 hours on low.
  4. Spoon over pasta, zucchini noodles, ravioli, etc.
  5. Enjoy!

Easy Crock Pot Turkey Bolognese and Zucchini Noodles


  1. says

    I love any healthy version of Italian food! This recipe sounds delicious. I have the same spiralizer and it definitely does the job and has gotten me hooked on zucchini noodles. However, I have learned NOT to attempt to spiral after an arm workout, it’s not very fun. lol


  2. Catherine l. says

    You can actually brown the meat in your crockpot first however it would be hard to drain. Put the uncooked meat in the crockpot and set on high. 30 minutes to an hour later the meat will be done then add the rest in. I never drain the meat so we get very juicy dinners that may not be all that healthy but delicious. It’s your call. Yes I am that lazy. Lol


  3. Shelby Adams says

    Oh my goodness, my husband and I try to limit our meat intake to once or twice a week, but I am DEFINITELY going to have to try this this weekend!! It looks and sounds delicious!! Thanks so much for sharing, Julie!


  4. Kim from MN says

    I’m 100% with you on feeling annoyed when I have to go through extra steps like searing or browning meat before using my crockpot! Preachin’ to the choir, sister! I made a pot roast that turned out great because I browned it first, but I HATED having to brown it first! Ugh! It always does turn out better, but man, at what cost? lol It reminds me of the Amy Schumer bit on her show, called “Sleep Gym”. Basically, while you sleep, other trainers come and work out your body for you. lol I want that version with cooking! Why can’t our crockpots be more like this? lol

    Thanks for the great recipe, as always.


  5. says

    Ooohhhhh be careful, I just might creep into your house and shovel the rest of this down my face! LOL! XD In all seriousness this looks delicious. I LOVE turkey in bolognese sauce!


  6. Ali Wald says

    Hi, Does this need to be made with full fat ground turkey, or can i use a lower fat version.. i think i have 93% or 99%. Just want to make sure it doesnt get too dried out!


  7. says

    I am super lazy about washing dishes, so while this won’t fix the having to brown the meat in a separate pan it will save you a dish to clean. Get those crock-pot cooking bags (in the Ziploc aisle). Pop it in, put food in, then through the whole thing away when done.


  8. Lauren says

    Love this idea. I guess I could brown meat for this 😉
    Now tell me, can I hide the mushrooms in this? Should I chop them finer? My husband will eat them, as he likes the flavor, but he can’t see them or it’ll be all over lol.


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