Easy Chicken Bolognese

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Easy chicken bolognese uses a jarred tomato sauce base with fresh vegetables added for flavor. This big batch freezer friendly recipe can be made ahead for extra quick weeknight dinners.

A plate of spaghetti with chicken bolognese sauce has a fork twirling the noodles.

What's better than taking a difficult recipe and making it easy enough for a weeknight? 

A recipe that makes a huge double batch that lets you cook once and freeze plenty for an even easier night another time!

This easy chicken bolognese checks both those boxes AND is lighter and healthier than traditional bolognese. Win-Win-Win!

I'm always looking for new ways to spice up our pasta rotation. In our house, noodles are practically their own food group.

When in doubt, if I make pasta for dinner I know I have the best chance of getting the kids to dig in. And while I might still struggle to get them to eat veggies they can see mixed in stir-fry style, pasta sauces are perfect for sneaking in a little extra hidden nutrition.

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Why This is the Best Recipe

Pasta is such a family-friendly dinner to make on a busy night but I think this is the best easy chicken bolognese recipe because:

  1. Budget-Friendly: A simple list of ingredients that can mostly be bought on sale to keep in your pantry form the base of this delicious dinner.
  2. Light and Healthy: Using ground chicken instead of beef lightens the entire dish.
  3. Full of Flavor: This easy recipe adds just a bit more veggie to the pasta sauce which adds loads of flavor.
  4. Quick and Easy: Even when you're tired after a long day, this dinner is so easy to pull together.
  5. Big Batch, Freezer Friendly: You won't need the entire batch of sauce unless you're feeding a large group. This recipe is meant to help you serve dinner tonight and have plenty to freezer for an even faster dinner later.


The ingredients to make chicken bolognese are on the kitchen counter.

This recipe has a very simple list of ingredients, all you need to have on hand is:

  • Ground chicken: You could also use ground turkey or pork if you prefer.
  • Jarred marinara sauce: This adds so much more flavor than just plain canned tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Minced Garlic
  • Chicken stock
  • Olive oil
  • Pasta: Any shape you love but I recommend traditional spaghetti.

How to Prep the Veggies

How to chop the fresh carrots.

The fresh vegetables add so much flavor to the bolognese sauce. They will soften and cook down into the marinara sauce but will not completely disappear.

Take the time to chop them extra small so that your bolognese isn't too chunky when you spoon it over your pasta.

Build the Bolognese Sauce

Brown the ground chicken in a large pot, or you could simply add this Air fryer ground chicken to a skillet.

Add the prepped onions, carrots, and garlic and cook until the vegetables begin to soften.

Add the bay leaf, chicken stock, and both jars of marinara sauce. Stir everything together and heat until it begins to bubble.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the pasta is ready to toss with the sauce.

Make Ahead and Freezer Tips

3 pounds of chicken sounds like a lot, but the whole purpose of this meal is to make a huge batch of sauce because it freezes so well.

I used what we needed on the first night and then stored the leftovers in several smaller containers so that an easy weeknight dinner is just a boiling box of noodles and a bagged salad away.

Leftovers will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. Simply defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat in a saucepan on the stove or microwave it until heated through.

Easy bolognese sauce lightened with chicken and Barilla marinara

Serving Suggestions

Want to round out the meal? I suggest these delicious and easy side dishes to go with your chicken bolognese:

📖 Recipe

A plate of spaghetti with chicken bolognese sauce has a fork twirling the noodles.

Chicken Bolognese

4.50 from 2 votes
This light bolognese sauce uses ground chicken for a healthier spin on the Italian classic. Easy enough to make on a busy weeknight, your family will love this pasta recipe.
TOTAL TIME 30 minutes
PREP TIME 10 minutes
COOK TIME 20 minutes
YIELD 6 servings


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 pounds ground chicken
  • 3 large carrots small diced
  • 2 small onions small diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 (24 oz) jars marinara pasta sauce
  • 1 pound pasta: Penne/Spaghetti


For the bolognese sauce:

  • In a very large pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground chicken and brown while breaking it up with a wooden spoon. When the chicken is nearly cooked through, add the onions, carrots, and garlic. Continue to heat until the chicken is completely browned and the vegetables are starting to soften.
  • Add the bay leaf, chicken stock, and 2 jars of marinara sauce. Stir to combine. Heat until bubbling and then turn the heat down to low and simmer until your pasta is ready to serve.

For the pasta:

  • I usually boil it for the lower end of the minute range recommended. For the organic spaghetti, that meant 9 minutes before draining.

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Easy bolognese sauce lightened with chicken and Barilla® marinara


  1. This is such a brilliant idea! I can’t believe I’ve never thought of using chicken in bolognese before but it makes complete sense and I bet it tastes great too!

  2. 5 stars
    This is such a brilliant idea! I can’t believe I’ve never thought of using chicken in bolognese before but it makes complete sense and I bet it tastes great too!

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