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8 BEST Herbs For Bolognese (Must-Try Bolognese Herbs & Spices)

Are you curious to discover which herbs are necessary for the perfect Bolognese?

If so, look no further than our article on the 8 best herbs for Bolognese.

We’ll explain why these herbs and spices are essential ingredients in any classic Bolognese sauce, taking into account flavor, texture, and taste.

Plus, we offer some tips on how to use each herb for maximum effect.

From basil to bay leaves, oregano to thyme and more, this insightful guide will have you creating a delicious Bolognese dish in no time at all.

So stop puzzling over what to put in your next batch of Bolognese – let us provide you with an answer that is sure to tantalize your taste buds.

Why Consider Using Herbs and Spices in Spaghetti Bolognese?

Adding herbs and spices to a classic spaghetti Bolognese recipe can easily create a flavor profile that is neither overwhelming nor underwhelming to the dish.

The right combination of herbs and spices will add an extra depth of flavor, transforming an ordinary meal into something special.

Herbs such as oregano, thyme, basil, marjoram and rosemary add earthy notes of sweetness and spice to your sauce.

Spices such as ground coriander and fennel seed add a subtle warmth.

Aromatic ingredients like garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and paprika provide even more layers of vibrant flavor.

Using these key ingredients in combination with one another can give your red sauce an incredible complexity of taste that will leave your family wanting seconds or thirds.

Herbs such as oregano pair deliciously with spicy peppers like chili powder or crushed red pepper flakes for a little kick, while fennel adds additional warmth without overpowering the other flavors.

Onions give off a sweet aroma, while garlic contributes its own unique pungency making it the most popular herb in Italian cuisine.

Adding all these ingredients to the base mix during the cooking process will help draw out each herbs’ intensity and help create an explosion of flavors you’ll never get tired of eating.

8 BEST Herbs For Bolognese (Must-Try Bolognese Herbs & Spices)

Italian cuisine is known for the use of aromatic herbs, spices, and flavors that can take your Bolognese recipe from ‘meh’ to ‘magnifico.

’ If you’re looking for a delicious and creative way to take your Bolognese dish to another level of quality, here is a look at 8 herbs that you must try.

1. Marjoram

Marjoram (Origanum majorana) is an herb that should be part of the kitchen arsenal for all Bolognese sauces.

Although it does have many of the same aromatic notes as oregano, marjoram offers a sweeter and slightly more subtle flavor.

Marjoram’s intense aroma can fill up a room, even with only a pinch of it added to your dish.

It adds an herbal complexity that’s hard to replicate with other herbs and spices, making it perfect for Bolognese sauces.

For optimal flavor, be sure to add your marjoram at the beginning of cooking so that its volatile oils can disperse and form complex flavor compounds throughout the sauce.

Whether you use fresh or dried marjoram, you’re sure to enjoy its unique taste and aroma in your next Bolognese sauce.

2. Tarragon

Tarragon adds the subtlest hint of aniseed-like flavour to dishes, and can be found both fresh and dried.

Fresh tarragon often features in cream based sauces or with fish and seafood, whereas the dried version is ideal for bringing an aromatic depth to bolognese dishes.

A member of the daisy family, the leaves of tarragon bear a sharp flavour but equally pleasant aroma when combined with garlic, onions and other herbs.

Try adding just half a teaspoon of dried tarragon when sautéing vegetables for your bolognese sauce for a unique nutty finish that pairs perfectly with sweet tomatoes.

It’s one of our favorite herbs for bolognese because it won’t overpower the other flavours used in the dish – stronger herbs should be used sparingly here.

If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on fresh tarragon, then stir through your sauce just before serving for a delicious special touch.

3. Cumin

Cumin is another fantastic addition to the Bolognese sauce.

The rich, smoky flavor is warm and earthy, and its subtle heat adds depth and complexity to the sauce.

Cumin works especially well with thick tomato sauces like Bolognese as it helps temper some of the sweet/tangy notes from the tomato.

You can choose to use either ground or seed form for this recipe; either will work nicely.

Simply add it in small doses – 1-2 teaspoons – until you reach your desired flavor profile.

You’ve got to be careful not to overdo the cumin however, because too much will overpower the other flavors in a dish.

4. Paprika

Paprika is a vibrant and veritable powerhouse of flavor, especially when it’s sweet red.

Its smokiness and hit of acidity makes it a great addition to the world-renowned Bolognese sauce.

Ground paprika has many benefits; it adds a lick of warmth to the sauce, provides depth and added complexity, whilst also masking some of the earthier flavors from the herbs – thus adding another layer of deliciousness.

Additionally, in terms of health benefits paprika is packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential for overall human health.

Try adding ground paprika to your bolognese for an added punch in flavor.

5. Red pepper flakes

Red pepper flakes are one of the most popular herbs for Bolognese because they add a nice heat to the sauce without being overbearing.

Red pepper flakes have a unique warm, smoky flavor and can vary in intensity depending on how much you add.

You can use as little or as much as you like and adjust the amount according to your personal preference.

Red pepper flakes add an interesting twist and make a classic Italian dish even better.

6. Fennel seeds

This bold and slightly sweet-tasting spice adds a slightly more licorice-like flavor to any dish.

Used as a cooking herb in parts of Europe, fennel seeds are best toasted in a warm pan before use as this helps enhance their flavor.

Fennel seeds pair well with garlic and tomatoes, which makes them perfect for adding depth to Bolognese sauce.

Plus, they’re packed with antioxidants and vitamins that are good for our health.

Because of their strong flavors, it’s best only to use ¼ teaspoon of fennel seeds per cup of Bolognese sauce or pasta dish.

For an even stronger taste, you can lightly toast the fennel seeds in a pan before adding them to your dish.

7. Italian seasoning blend

Italian seasoning is a common blend of herbs typically consisting of dried oregano, basil, rosemary, marjoram, thyme and sometimes sage.

The amounts and combinations can vary, but an Italian blend should be kept as a pantry standby if you like to make Italian-style sauces.

It’s often used in Bolognese sauce because it has the perfect blend of herbs to bring out the flavors of the other ingredients without overpowering them.

Add a teaspoon or so at the end of cooking and taste often to adjust seasoning.

8. Coriander

Coriander, also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley, is an herb with a distinct flavor.

It is used in many cuisines across the world, including Spanish and Mexican cuisine.

A versatile herb, coriander can be added to soups, salads and stews, adding an earthy flavor that cannot be duplicated.

For Bolognese sauce in particular it helps to bring out the flavors of other herbs, making it an excellent addition.


Making a truly flavorful and robust Bolognese sauce takes more than just tomatoes, beef, and onions.

A variety of herbs and spices can add complexity and depth of flavor to the classic Italian dish.

Some herbs that work well in Bolognese sauce include oregano, thyme, basil, parsley, bay leaves, rosemary, nutmeg, black pepper, garlic powder or minced garlic.

You can even experiment with dried mushrooms or red pepper flakes for some extra kick.

The trick is to use the herbs judiciously—a little bit goes a long way.

Start with just a pinch of each herb (or less for the more intense flavors like thyme or rosemary) and adjust according to your personal tastes as you continue to simmer your sauce.

Try to use fresh herbs for enhanced flavor whenever possible because they have a much stronger taste than dried versions.

When it comes time to add the herbs into your Bolognese sauce it’s best to add them gradually while stirring constantly in order to evenly distribute their flavors throughout the dish.

Once you have achieved your desired taste you can always enhance it further by adding grated cheese on top when serving.

Ultimately there is no single right answer when it comes to being able to choose the proper herbs for Bolognese sauce as different people will prefer varying combinations of spices; you may find over time that certain selections of spices work better than others with different types of meat or sauces.

With experimentation and practice however you can eventually create a perfectly balanced Italian meal that will impress your friends and family alike.

8 BEST Herbs For Bolognese (Must-Try Bolognese Herbs & Spices)

Elevate your Bolognese sauce to gourmet status with the perfect blend of herbs and spices! Explore our selection of the 8 best herbs guaranteed to infuse your Bolognese with delicious flavor and aroma.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dishes
Servings 1 Serving


  • 1. Marjoram
  • 2. Tarragon
  • 3. Cumin
  • 4. Paprika
  • 5. Red pepper flakes
  • 6. Fennel seeds
  • 7. Italian seasoning blend
  • 8. Coriander


  • Choose your favorite herbs from the comprehensive selection provided in this article.
  • Gather all of the essential ingredients required for the recipe.
  • Prepare a delectable bolognese with your selected herbs in under 30 minutes, following the provided instructions.
Keyword Herbs For Bolognese
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