Slow Cooker Beef Ragu

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Braised Beef Ragu is the ultimate melt-in-your-mouth Italian comfort food made in your crockpot with tender chuck roast in a rich red wine and vegetable tomato sauce over pasta.

Hearty Italian Recipes like Ultimate Meat Lasagna are delicious weeknight dinners that are surprisingly easy. This slow cooked Italian dish takes a little longer on the stove but is just as tasty and easy to make.

Crock pot Beef Ragu

CROCK POT BEEF RAGU

This classic Italian beef recipe might look intimidating with a long list of ingredients, but it’s actually really easy for a home cook to perfect! A few extra steps, like searing the roast and sauteeing a soffritto, are worth it for the melt-in-your-mouth meat sauce that clings to every bite of tender pasta.

Italian Beef Ragu is a shredded beef sauce made with an inexpensive chuck roast and common pantry staples. No need to use an expensive red wine for this recipe, a table Merlot or Cabernet works just as good. Or just use extra beef stock if you don’t want to cook with wine.

Beef Ragu is an Italian comfort food meant to be rustic and use what you have on hand. Also known as Beef Ragout in the United States, Ragu simply means a meat sauce using minced, chopped, or ground meats, with sautéed vegetables in a red wine tomato sauce. It’s typically served over wide, thick pasta or polenta.

Crock pot Beef Ragu before Cooking

This Beef Ragu recipe uses a traditional soffritto of diced carrots and celery sautéed with the onions and minced garlic. Soffritto is the Italian version of mirepoix, with garlic added, and used as the base for so many dishes. Your Beef Ragu will still be delicious if you want to skip the carrots and celery.

Beef Ragu is a slow braised meat sauce that takes a little patience and more time than most of our one pan meals. You can also make this dish in your Instant Pot, in your oven or on your stove top with a few adjustments listed below.

Beef Ragu after cooking

You can serve Beef Ragu as a one pan meal by itself without any sides. If you want to make a more rounded meal, add a side of Sautéed Green Beans or Roasted Broccoli. If you want to make a low-carb or gluten free Italian dinner, skip the pasta and serve over Roasted Cauliflower or zucchini noodles.

MORE EASY ITALIAN PASTA DISHES

VARIATIONS ON BEEF RAGU

  • Meat: You can use other beef stew meat or roasts for this recipe. For special occasions, substitute boneless veal shoulder or boneless lamb shoulder.
  • Vegetable Ragu: Make this meat-based sauce heartier with vegetables like chopped kale, frozen peas, or baby spinach. Add the vegetables to the meat sauce about an hour into cooking.
  • Pasta: This Beef Ragu sauce is best on thick pastas like pappardelle, ziti, egg noodles, or tagliatelle. To really get the pasta and meat sauce together toss with a little reserved pasta water.
  • Wine: Use a red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec. If you don’t want to use wine, try 100% grape juice or additional beef stock (not broth).
  • Tomatoes: You can use diced tomatoes or canned whole peeled tomatoes instead of crushed tomatoes. If you use whole tomatoes, you’ll want to break them up with the spoon with the beef before serving.

Slow Cooker Beef Ragu in Red Bowl

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Stovetop Beef Ragu

  • Cut the chuck roast into 4-6 even pieces, season with salt and pepper.
  • Sear beef in large dutch oven on high heat until well browned on all sides.
  • On medium heat sauté onions, garlic, carrots, and celery as usual, add wine and simmer 3 minutes.
  • Add remaining sauce ingredients, stir well and cover.
  • Lower heat to a simmer, cook for 2-2 1/2 hours until fork tender.
  • Check liquid levels and stir every 30 minutes, adding beef broth if it becomes too dry.
  • Shred beef with two forks, stir well to coat with sauce and serve over pasta.

Oven Braised Beef Ragu

  • Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Cut the chuck roast into 4-6 even pieces, season with salt and pepper.
  • Sear beef in large dutch oven on high heat until well browned on all sides.
  • Lower heat and sauté onions, garlic, carrots, and celery as usual, add wine and simmer 3 minutes.
  • Add remaining sauce ingredients, stir well and cover.
  • Cook for 3-4 hours until fork tender.
  • Shred beef with two forks, stir well to coat with sauce and serve over pasta.

Instant Pot Beef Ragu

  • Cut chuck roast into 4-6 large pieces and season with salt and pepper.
  • Use sauté function on pressure cooker to sear beef well on all sides until deep brown.
  • Remove and sauté onions, minced garlic, celery and carrots until soft.
  • Add wine and simmer 3 minutes.
  • Return beef to Instant pot, add the rest of the sauce ingredients, stir to combine.
  • Seal valve, cook for 40 minutes on manual high pressure.
  • After 5 minutes, do a quick release.
  • Break apart beef with two forks, stir, and serve over pasta.

MORE DELICIOUS CHUCK ROAST RECIPES:

HOW TO STORE BEEF RAGU

  • Serve: Keep Beef Ragu at room temperature for up to 2 hours. Cool completely before storing.
  • Store: Refrigerate Beef Ragu sauce in an airtight container, separate from pasta, for up to 4 days.
  • Freeze: For best results, freeze sauce without pasta. Place in a sealed container and freeze Beef Ragu for up to 3 months.

Beef Ragu over short pasta in red bowl

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Slow Cooker Beef Ragu

5 from 6 votes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 30 minutes
  • Course: Dinner
  • Cuisine: American, Italian
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder

Braised Beef Ragu is a melt-in-your-mouth Italian comfort food in your crock pot with tender chuck roast in a rich red wine and vegetable tomato sauce.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 pounds beef chuck roast , cut into 3 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 yellow onion , chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 medium carrots , diced
  • 2 stalk celery , diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes , do not drain
  • 1/4 cup parsley , chopped
  • 2 bay leaves

Instructions

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Heat oil on high heat in a large dutch oven and season chuck roast pieces with salt and pepper.

  2. Cook the beef on all sides until well browned, about 10 minutes then remove from the pot and place the beef into your slow cooker.

  3. Add in the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, dried thyme, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper flakes and stir.

  4. Whisk together the wine, beef broth, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar then pour it gently into the slow cooker.

  5. Add diced tomatoes, parsley and bay leaves, stir to combine and set crock pot to low heat for 8 hours or high heat for 4 hours.

  6. Gently break up two forks and stir well to coat with sauce.

  7. Add pasta to your slow cooker and stir to coat (the pasta will soak up any sauce you think it too runny in just a few minutes).

Nutrition Information

Yield: 8 servings, Amount per serving: 526 calories, Calories: 526g, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 46g, Fat: 32g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 156mg, Sodium: 764mg, Potassium: 1226mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 3039g, Vitamin C: 16g, Calcium: 98g, Iron: 7g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keywords: Beef Ragu, Crock Pot Beef Ragu, Slow Cooker Beef Ragu
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About the Author

Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

See more posts by Sabrina

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

Categories:

Beef Recipes Italian Food Main Course Pastas Slow Cooker Recipes

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Comments

  1. You mention pasta, but you don’t say how much or what kind? It looks like a good recipe that i will be trying.

  2. Slow cooker meals are the best. That chuck roast looks super tender and I love that there are multiple options for preparing this recipe. Winner!!

  3. Made this a few nights ago and it was wonderful! Made it with penne pasta in the oven. thumbs up from everyone in the family – that is rare!

    1. Yay!! Thanks for coming back to let me know. I understand what a big deal it is to please everyone at the same time for dinner, trust me!

  4. What an amazingly delicious sounding recipe! The herbs (spices) all go together very well, & no doubt that most of us already always have these on hand in our pantries. It’s good old comfort food, especially for now, when we all need a bit more comfort throughout these trying times. Thank you Sabrina. May you & yours be well.

  5. This looks DELICIOUS!!!! I am making it tomorrow. I will post picture, thank you Sabrina for all your wonderful recipes!!!!