Rich beef bolognese cooked together with pasta shells and finished with cream and cheese. I love how those little shells hold the sauce!
All cooked in one pan, this simple dinner is ready in 30 minutes!

Overhead image of bolognese pasta in a pan, topped with chives.
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Spag Bol – the classic dinner that I make all the time.
I’ve made a few adjustments to my go-to recipe to turn it into a one pan dish that can be cooked up with pasta shells (or your favourite pasta shape).

All it takes is the addition of some stock. You need enough to cook the pasta, but not so much that the sauce ends up too runny after the pasta has absorbed the liquid it needs.
I’m also adding in cream and cheddar cheese to make it lusciously creamy and extra tasty.

📋 What do we need?

Ingredients for one pan bolognese pasta on a wooden table.
  • Pasta – I’m using pasta shells but this would work just as well with spiralli, rigatoni, or other pasta, whatever you’ve got in your cupboard.
  • Minced beef – personally I usually go for 10-20% fat, at the fat keeps the beef moist and makes it more flavourful. You can go with low-fat beef if you prefer to use it though.
  • Tinned tomatoes – I like to go with finely chopped tinned tomatoes as using them results in a thicker sauce without the big chunks of tomato. Regular tinned tomatoes will work fine too.
  • Stock – you can use homemade stock or 2 stock cubes mixed with water.
  • Cheese and cream – yep, I like to creamy, cheesy dishes. If you don’t like to add lots of cream and cheese, you can leave it out or use less (no need to adjust the quantities of anything else).

📺 Watch how to make it

Full recipe, with detailed steps, in the recipe card at the end of this post.

👩‍🍳PRO TIP Be sure to keep an eye on the pasta and give it a stir every so often. You want to ensure the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan as it absorbs the excess liquid.

Look at those shells! Like little edible cupfuls of bolognese 😋

One pan pasta bolognese in a white bowl. There is a fork and a chunk of bread in the bowl.

🍽️ What to serve it with

Top with a sprinkling of chopped chives, a grind of black pepper and a little grated parmesan. I like to add a few chilli flakes (red pepper flakes) too, for a little kick.

Close up overhead of bolognese pasta in a pan.

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5 from 8 votes

One Pot Creamy Bolognese Recipe

Rich beef bolognese cooked together with pasta shells and finished with cream and cheese. All ready in 30 minutes!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 -6 Servings
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: British-Italian, Italian


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion peeled and finely diced
  • 1 carrot peeled and finely diced
  • 1 stick celery finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped into small chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 450 g (1 lb) minced beef
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree paste for US
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 300 ml (1 ¼ cups) beef stock (water + 2 stock cubes is fine)
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) milk half-fat or full-fat
  • 2 x 400 g (2 x 14 oz) tins finely chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 300 g (10.5 oz) pasta shells
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) double (heavy) cream
  • 100 g (1 packed cup) grated cheddar

To Serve:

  • small bunch chives chopped
  • chilli flakes
  • grated parmesan
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  • Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the onion softens.
    1 tbsp olive oil, 1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 stick celery, 1 red bell pepper
  • Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
    2 cloves garlic
  • Add the minced beef and cook for 5-6 minutes, until browned. Stir often, breaking up any large chunks of meat with a spatula.
    450 g (1 lb) minced beef
  • Add the tomato puree, oregano, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, beef stock, milk, tinned tomatoes, salt, and pepper and stir together and bring to the boil.
    3 tbsp tomato puree, 1 tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp dried thyme, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 300 ml (1 ¼ cups) beef stock, 120 ml (1/2 cup) milk, 2 x 400 g (2 x 14 oz) tins finely chopped tomatoes, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper
  • Stir in the pasta shells, bring back to the boil, then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 17-22 minutes, stirring a couple of times during cooking, until the pasta is cooked through.
    300 g (10.5 oz) pasta shells
  • Remove the lid, then stir in the cream and cheese, until the cheese melts.
    120 ml (1/2 cup) double (heavy) cream, 100 g (1 packed cup) grated cheddar
  • Serve topped with chopped chives, chilli flakes, and grated parmesan.
    small bunch chives, chilli flakes, grated parmesan



Can I make it ahead?
Yes, you can make the whole thing ahead, then cool, cover and refrigerate for up to two days.
Reheat in a pan, on the hob, over a medium heat, stirring often. You’ll probably need to add a few splashes of water or stock to loosen up the sauce.
Note: As the dish cools, the pasta will continue to absorb liquid, so the pasta will be a little softer upon reheating.
Can I freeze it?
Yes, leftover portions can be placed in freezer-proof containers and frozen. 
Defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat as per the ‘make ahead’ instructions above.
Ingredient swaps/additions
  • Swap out the beef mince for pork or turkey mince
  • Swap out the pasta shells other pasta shapes such as rigatoni or spirals
  • Add in extra veggies – such as chopped courgette or mushrooms (add at the same at the tinned tomatoes), or you could stir in baby spinach for the last minute of cooking.
How to scale down this recipe
You can scale down this recipe to serve 2-3 people by halving the ingredients. It’s a good idea to use a smaller pan. 
The cooking time will be the same.
Alternative to cream
You can leave out the cream entirely if you wish. You can add an extra splash of water or stock to loosen up the sauce if you like.
Alternatively, you can add a couple of spoonfuls of creme fraiche or 4 tbsp (1/4 cup) coconut milk.
Nutritional information is approximate, per serving, based on this recipe making 6 servings. Nutritional information does not include toppings.


Calories: 596kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 933mg | Potassium: 824mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 3125IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 249mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.

Welcome to Kitchen Sanctuary

Hi, I'm Nicky and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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  1. Lauren says:

    5 stars
    We really enjoyed this, bit of a twist on a standard bolognese. Reminded me of Lasagne when the mince sauce mixes with the white sauce. I’ll definitely be making this again, thank you.

  2. Peter says:

    5 stars
    Morning Nicky , love your book use it a lot . Nice to see some new recipes . Here is a couple of requests or ideas. First , Croatian fish stew or Brodet , had it on holiday . Trying to find a straight forward recipe is a nightmare . Basically its a tomato, garlic, parsley base , with fish added towards the end . My other one is hummus , got getting the chickpeas right , ie boil them with some bicarb to get the skins off , but cannot get the consistency right and the flavours are a bit harsh . Now if your ever in the need for new ideas or a thinking of a second book …..

  3. Jadyn says:

    5 stars
    Perfect for meal prep for Monday-Thursday including Sunday night meal 👌🏽

  4. Beth hughes says:

    5 stars
    I made this with the kids today, it is a new favourite for my fussy family
    It was delicious

  5. Lesley McNaughton says:

    5 stars
    Excellent, easy to follow recipe. Delicious.

  6. Maria says:

    5 stars
    Thanks Nicky, love your website 😊
    A super easy mid week dinner. The whole family loved this recipe. My pasta took a little longer to cook so I just added some extra water. Will be making this again!

  7. Christine says:

    5 stars
    My families new way of enjoy pasta and bolognese, thank you😋

  8. John R Tonks says:

    5 stars
    Very easy Dish to prepare and delicious to eat ! As I live on my own I had plenty left
    over which I’ve put in the freezer to enjoy another day. Many Thanks for the Recipe.

  9. Rae Kelly says:

    Made the pasta DELICIOUS 👍👍