Can you cook spaghetti Bolognese in an air fryer? Yes, it’s easy to make air fryer spaghetti Bolognese the whole family will enjoy! You can cook the sauce and the ground beef in the air fryer in this easy recipe. Leftovers freeze well- if there are any! Air fryer Bolognese is gluten free, low carb, keto, and dairy free (if you skip the Parm topping).
I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately asking “Can you cook Bolognese in an air fryer?” I guess a lot of you are craving Italian food as the weather gets colder. I know I could use some comfort food right about now, so let’s get to it!
My basic Bolognese has been adapted for the air fryer from a Food Network recipe. I love that this is a Bolognese with no red wine. You can use this healthy recipe in a variety of veggie packed meals.
My favorite way to serve this spaghetti Bolognese air fryer recipe is over Air Fryer Spaghetti Squash. It’s easy to create 300-400 calorie meals (depending on your portion size) when you combine the two recipes.
And if you want to go the high carb route, serve your spag bol in air fryer over spaghetti or your favorite pasta. Add some Air Fryer Garlic Bread and a nice garden salad and you’ve got a meal fit for a king (or queen)!
- 🍝 What is the difference between spaghetti and spaghetti Bolognese?
- ⭐ Benefits
- 🥘 Air Fryer Spaghetti Bolognese Ingredients
- 🍽 Equipment
- 🔪 How to Make Air Fryer Bolognese Sauce
- ️⏲️ Cooking Time and Temperature
- ♨️ Stovetop Directions
- 🌡️ Leftovers
- 🥗 How to Serve Bolognese
- 📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 👩🏻🍳 Other Italian Recipes for the Air Fryer
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
🍝 What is the difference between spaghetti and spaghetti Bolognese?
“Spaghetti” refers to the long and stringy pasta loved by kids and adults alike. “Spaghetti Bolognese” is spaghetti topped with Bolognese sauce. Bolognese sauce (AKA ragu alla Bolognese or simply ragu) is a meat-based sauce named for Bologna, Italy.
In Bologna, Bolognese sauce is typically served over tagliatelle, not spaghetti. It’s something to keep in mind if you’d like to prepare a traditional Bolognese sauce.
Why make spaghetti Bolognese in air fryer? Here are some benefits of this recipe:
- Easy Bolognese sauce: Air fryer beginners may find success with this recipe. Just chop the veggies, crumble the beef, and air fry the sauce. So easy!
- Healthy: This spag bol recipe is packed with lean protein as well as vitamin and mineral-rich veggies. You’re getting plenty of lycopene, fiber, vitamin C, and high-quality protein from whole food sources. While I can’t promise this is the healthiest choice for everyone (such as those with allergies to the ingredients), it’s safe to say this spaghetti sauce is nutritious.
- Keto Bolognese sauce: This Bolognese sauce fits a variety of special diets such as low carb, gluten free, and keto. If you omit the Parmesan cheese topping, it’s dairy free as well.
- Quick spaghetti Bolognese: Air frying Bolognese does take a while, but your preparation time is minimal. You don’t have to hover over air fried Bolognese like you do when you make it on the stove.
- Meal prepping: Bolognese sauce is freezer friendly. Make a batch to enjoy on busy weeknights.
- Delicious: Air fryer spag bol makes a lovely family dinner that even picky eaters should enjoy. Try it and see how tasty it is!
🥘 Air Fryer Spaghetti Bolognese Ingredients
If you'd like to make the easy Bolognese, you need the following:
- Lean ground beef (I used 90/10, but 93/7 ground beef works too)
- Fresh garlic clove
- Olive oil
- Dried basil
- Can of crushed tomatoes
- Dried parsley
- Dried oregano
- Salt and pepper
I also like to have a little grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil on hand to sprinkle on top when everything is done. Yum!
As always, specific recipe quantities are located in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Here’s the kitchen equipment needed for spaghetti Bolognese in the air fryer:
- Air Fryer
- Lightweight Baking Pan
- Parchment paper
An air fryer oven is best for this recipe. Smaller air fryer baskets may not be able to hold all the food.
I use a Kalorik air fryer. Cooking times may vary between the Ninja Foodi, Philips, Nuwave, Pampered Chef, Actifry, Instant Pot Vortex, Cosori, Breville, and other brands. Always check the food early and often the first time you try a new air fryer recipe!
You’ll need to find a light oven-safe pan that fits your air fryer to make Bolognese. I use an 8-inch by 8-inch aluminum pan (20.3x20.3 cm).
Another thing you need is parchment paper. This is NOT the same as wax paper, so make sure you’re using the right thing! We’re going to line the pan with parchment so the acid in the tomato sauce doesn’t react with the pan.
Finally, you’re going to need foil to make this recipe. The foil acts as a cover for the pan so the Bolognese sauce doesn’t dry out too much.
🔪 How to Make Air Fryer Bolognese Sauce
To make spaghetti sauce in air fryer begin by prepping the meat and veggies. Crumble the raw ground beef as finely as you can. If you leave it in big pieces, it won’t cook thoroughly.
Mince the garlic and chop the onion into ½-inch dice (1.27 cm). Chop the celery and carrot into ¼-inch dice (0.6 cm) or smaller. It is important to chop the celery and carrot very small so they’ll soften faster with cooking.
Put the ground beef on about half of a heated air fryer tray (see below). Place the onions, celery, carrot, and garlic on the other half of the tray. Drizzle olive oil over the veggies.
️⏲️ Cooking Time and Temperature
How long do you air fry Bolognese? What temperature to air fry Bolognese? Cook Bolognese sauce for a total of 40-50 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190C).
Begin by preheating the air fryer for 5 minutes at 375F (190C). Carefully load your hot air fryer tray up with the meat and veggies as directed above. Place the tray in the top rack position of the air fryer oven.
Air fry for 5 minutes at 375F (190C). Crumble the ground beef up a little more if needed.
The carrots and celery won’t get too much softer in the sauce. Air fry them for a few more minutes if needed. (Remember it’s important to have them chopped small!)
Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper. Put the cooked meat and veggies in the pan. Add the crushed tomatoes, parsley, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Stir.
Cover the pan tightly with foil. Place on a rack in the middle of the air fryer and cook at 375F (190C) for 35-45 minutes. Let the sauce cool for 5 minutes.
Put the sauce on your favorite noodles or spiralized veggies, and top with Parm and fresh basil. Enjoy!
♨️ Stovetop Directions
You can also make Bolognese sauce in a cast-iron pan on the stovetop. Put the olive oil, onion, garlic, carrot, and celery in a skillet and heat them over medium heat. After the veggies become very soft (not brown), add the ground beef and let it brown.
Break the beef into crumbles with a spatula as it cooks. Cooking the beef takes around 10 minutes.
Next, turn the heat down to medium-low and add the canned tomatoes and herbs to the skillet. Let the sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. Pretty easy, right?
Leftover Bolognese sauce can be stored in a covered container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Any sauce that won’t be used in that timeframe should be frozen. Keep pasta and Bolognese sauce leftovers separate until serving time.
Thaw frozen sauce in the refrigerator. To reheat cold sauce, microwave on high for 2 minutes. You can also microwave sauce from frozen, but it will take longer, and need frequent stirring.
🥗 How to Serve Bolognese
What goes with Bolognese sauce made in the air fryer? Serve Bolognese over any of the following:
- Tagliatelle (this whole grain and gluten free pasta is my favorite)
- Air Fryer Spaghetti Squash
- Zucchini Noodles (AKA Zoodles)
- Shirataki Noodles
📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
One serving of air fryer Bolognese has 382 calories, 15.9 grams net carbs, and 27.7 grams protein. Nutrition information includes the fresh basil and Parm toppings but does not include pasta or spiralized squash noodles.
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). Bolognese sauce is a filling pasta sauce packed with protein and veggies. You can use it to easily create high calorie or low calorie meals.
If you have a weight loss goal, I recommend using this sauce on top of spiralized veggie noodles. Zucchini noodles, summer squash noodles, butternut squash noodles and other varieties can be found fresh or frozen in many supermarkets. The veggies provide even more low-calorie volume and help increase your fiber intake.
For those on high protein diets, serve the Bolognese over a legume pasta. Explore Cuisine and Banza are two brands creating delicious high protein pastas made of chickpeas, soy, and other legumes.
For a high energy meal (great for kids and athletes), you can pile this sauce on a grain-based pasta. Adding a whole grain to this spaghetti sauce ensures your meal has another food group covered. Serve side salads for more veggies with this option.
I like that this is a recipe for Bolognese without wine since we rarely have alcohol in the house. For a vitamin A boost, stir ¼ cup of liver pate into the recipe, as I did with these stuffed peppers. A hearty Bolognese is a great way to hide the robust flavor of liver.
However you choose to enjoy it, I think you’ll find this humble dish of meaty Bolognese is a lovely comfort food. It's a delightful way to warm up on a chilly evening!
You can heat sauce in the air fryer, but you may need to cover it to prevent too much liquid evaporation. Here, we’re air frying spaghetti sauce in a pan covered with foil. If you’re using cooking sauce on a food, you may not want to add it until the end of the cooking time.
Yes, the air fryer is a super way to cook mince (AKA ground meat). Here’s my recipe for air fryer ground beef. It can be used in meat sauce for spaghetti, as taco beef, and so much more.
Air fryers aren’t the best for cooking dry pasta; it takes less time to cook dry pasta on the stove. You can air fry pasta that was cooked on the stovetop to make pasta chips. I’ve also seen recipes for air fryer dry pasta, where the pasta is air fried in liquid in a covered pan for a long period.
👩🏻🍳 Other Italian Recipes for the Air Fryer
Need more air fryer Italian food in your life? Try these next:
- Air Fryer Italian Sausage and Peppers with Onions
- Reheat Pizza in Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Frozen Pizza Recipe
- Air Fryer Eggplant Parm
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Air Fryer Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce Recipe
- 8 ounces lean ground beef (227 grams; I used 90/10 lean beef)
- 3 ounces onion (85 grams; about ½ small onion)
- 1 ounce carrot (28 grams; about ½ medium carrot)
- 1 ounce celery (28 grams; about ½ stalk celery)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 14 ounces crushed tomatoes (397 grams; from a can)
- ½ tablespoon dried parsley
- ½ tablespoon dried oregano
- ½ tablespoon dried basil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- cooked whole grain pasta or spaghetti squash, for serving
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (omit for dairy-free)
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves (for garnish)
- Crumble the raw ground beef as finely as you can. If you leave it in big pieces, it won’t cook thoroughly.
- Mince the garlic and chop the onion into ½-inch dice (1.27 cm). Chop the celery and carrot into ¼-inch dice (0.6 cm) or smaller. It is important to chop the celery and carrot very small so they’ll soften faster with cooking.
- Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes at 375°F (190°C).
- Carefully put the ground beef on about half of a heated air fryer tray. Place the onions, celery, carrot, and garlic on the other half of the tray. Drizzle olive oil over the veggies. Place the tray in the top rack position of the air fryer oven.
- Air fry for 5 minutes at 375°F (190°C). Crumble the ground beef up a little more if needed. The carrots and celery won’t get too much softer in the sauce. Air fry them for a few more minutes if needed.
- Line an 8-inch by 8-inch aluminum pan (20.3 by 20.3 cm) with parchment paper. Put the cooked meat and veggies in the pan. Add the crushed tomatoes, parsley, oregano, dried basil, salt, and pepper. Stir.
- Cover the pan tightly with foil. Place on a rack in the middle of the air fryer and air fry at 375°F (190°C) for 35-45 minutes. Let the sauce cool for 5 minutes.
- Serve the Bolognese sauce over your favorite pasta or spiralized veggies, Top with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil, if desired.