Difference Between Ragu and Bolognese

Food is a very important reflection of the culture, tradition, and way of life of the people living in any place, may it be a country, or a state, or a city.

The way a food is cooked, or the primary ingredients used to cook a certain dish, or the staple food of someplace reflects not just the culture of that country, but also the farming availabilities, and even the economic condition of that place. All this can be understood just from the food that is consumed there.

Among all these various cuisines, Italian cuisine is one of the most famous cuisines that exist in the world. Italian cuisine is very famous for its simple dishes, various herbs used, and the cheese and wine.

Pasta is one of the most famous foods in Italian cuisine. Pizza is another such example.

To bring flavor to the pasta, there are different kinds of sauces that are used. There are many kinds of sauces, some of them being alfredo, bolognese, pesto, ragu, etc. Ragu and Bolognese are the two most prominent ones among these.

Ragu vs Bolognese

The main difference between Ragu and Bolognese is that Ragu is a sauce that uses red wine and tomatoes, while Bolognese is a sauce that uses white wine with relatively less amount of tomatoes.

Ragu vs Bolognese

Comparison Table between Ragu and Bolognese

Parameters of ComparisonRaguBolognese
DefinitionRagu is a meat-based sauce that uses lots of tomatoes.Bolognese uses meat too but does not use many tomatoes as such.
Primary IngredientThe primary ingredients are meat, tomatoes, and red wine.The primary ingredients are meat and white wine.
WineRed wine.White wine.
Pasta TypeThin, spaghetti type pasta.Flat, wide pasta.
TextureThick.Relatively thin.

What is Ragu?

Ragu is one of the prominent, widely used, and best-tasting pasta sauces used in Italian cuisine. Ragu is a meat-based sauce.

The main types of meat that have been used in this sauce are veal, pork, land, fish, or poultry. This meat is minced and diced and then tomatoes are added to it.

Some other vegetables and herbs that are added to this sauce are carrots, soffritto, and celery.

Finally, the last ingredient is red wine. It is, however, important to know that Ragu sauce has a thick and heavy texture.

This texture is attained by adding milk, or cream. This cream is used to lighten the flavor and thicken the texture.

The ragu sauce originated around the late 18th Century in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. This region had already been using meat stews extensively, and hence it was no surprise when this meat when served with the pasta was cooked together with it.

However, there is not an official record to understand how, when, and where the Ragu sauce actually had originated from.

This sauce has diverse varieties in the country of Italy, with the northern region focusing more on the meat side of the sauce, and often used to include more than one type of meat in it.

In the southern region of the country, this sauce was produced in large quantities, and also, after coking, the meat was sometimes removed and served without the pasta as a separate course.

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What is Bolognese?

Bolognese is yet another kind of pasta sauce which is very prominent all around the world and is a favorite of many. Another name of Bolognese is Ragu alla Bolognese.

This is because Bolognese is a variant of the Ragu sauce.

In fact, it is the most popular version of this sauce. Bolognese sauce originated in a place called Bologna, in Italy, and that can be clearly understood from the name this sauce holds.

Similar to Ragu, this sauce also contains meat, and occasionally contains more than one type in a single recipe. However, it does not contain the same amount of tomatoes as there are in Ragu.

The main vegetables used in this sauce are celery, onions, and carrots. Another popular dish that is prepared using the Bolognese sauce is the spaghetti bolognese.

It is not a traditional dish and did not even originate in Italy. However, it has now become a very famous dish all over the world.

It is interesting to note that the Bolognese sauce holds more in common with the Neapolitan Ragu from the South of Italy as compared to the Northern variant of this sauce.

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Main Differences Between Ragu and Bolognese

  1. The main difference between Ragu and Bolognese is that Ragu sauce is thicker in texture than Bolognese sauce.
  2. Primary ingredients of Ragu contain more tomatoes as compared to Bolognese.
  3. Ragu sauce uses red wine, while Bolognese sauce used white wine.
  4. Ragu sauce is used for thin, spaghetti type pasta, while Bolognese sauce is used for flat, wide type pasta.
  5. Ragu uses milk and cream for thickening, while Bolognese does not necessarily need these.
Difference Between Ragu and Bolognese


Food comes in different shapes, sizes, and tastes. Each food item, if studied carefully, tells us a lot about the history, the culture, and the status of the society it originated from.

But what is best is that even after being originated from a small village, a dish can spread worldwide, and become a global favorite.

Food boosts the tourism of a place, and some foods are best prepared at the native place they originated in, as nothing beats the traditional family recipes that have been passed on for possibly centuries. This is what brings people closer.


  1. https://ijah.cgrd.org/images/Vol4No3/3.pdf
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0140700796000060
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Last update on 2022-08-07 / Amazon Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API