Beef Ragu

Set your crock pot and come home to an authentic Italian dinner of slow cooker beef ragu. This easy, healthy recipe is braised, cooked on low and falls apart to make a rich, protein-filled sauce you can serve with pappardelle, veggie noodles or even polenta. Your family will love it and it’s an easy one to throw in the freezer.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 10 minutes
Total Servings: 8


For the Beef Ragu:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil 
  • 2 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 4 large chunks 
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1 carrot, chopped 
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped 
  • 1 stalk celery, diced 
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • ½ cup reduced sodium beef broth 
  • 1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
For the Pasta:
  • 16 ounces pappardelle pasta 
  • Gluten free option: 16 ounces desired gluten free pasta or polenta 
  • Whole30 option: serve with zucchini carrot or sweet potato noodles 
  • Parmesan ricotta, and parsley for topping (optional)


  1. Turn slow cooker on high heat to warm. 
  2. While it’s warming, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season both sides of the beef with salt and pepper. Add beef to hot skillet and brown on both sides, about 3 minutes on each side. This step is optional, but helps give the outsides of the beef a nice crust and boost in flavor. 
  3. Once browned, remove the beef from the pan and place in the bottom of the slow cooker. 
  4. Add the carrot, garlic, onion, celery, tomato paste, beef broth and crushed tomatoes to the crock pot with the beef. Mix gently to combine and cover the beef with the sauce. Add the bay leaves and fresh thyme on top then close the lid and cook on low heat for 8-10 hours. Discard the herbs and shred the beef in the pot using 2 forks. 
  5. Cook the pasta or other desired side according to package directions. Drain and toss pasta with sauce before serving. Serve with desired toppings.

To make this in the instant pot: Set the instant pot to high saute setting. Season and sear beef in instant pot on both sides. Add the rest of the ingredients and set to high pressure (manual) for 30 minutes. Quick release and shred beef.