Crock Pot Short Rib Ragu

Melt in your mouth, tender and flavorful, this Crock Pot Short Rib Ragu is a perfect cozy delicious meal. The short ribs fall off the bone and are so rich in the red wine tomato sauce. Only about 15 minutes of prep and the short ribs are slowly cooked to perfection!

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 7 hours

Total Time: 7 hours 15 mins

Serves: 8


  • 3.5 lb short ribs about 6-8 pieces 
  • salt and pepper 
  • 1 T olive oil 
  • 3 carrots chopped 
  • 1 onion small diced 
  • 2 celery stalks chopped 
  • 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes 
  • 4-5 garlic cloves minced 
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar 
  • 1/3 c red wine or more beef stock 
  • 1 c beef stock
  • 6 oz tomato paste 
  • 1/2 - 1 c reserved pasta water 
  • 16 oz. pappardelle pasta


  1. Pat short ribs dry and season on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet at medium high heat. Sear the short ribs to brown on all sides. Remove and place in crock pot once cooked. 
  2. Top the short ribs with chopped vegetables, Italian seasoning, wine, beef stock, garlic and balsamic vinegar. Cover with the tomatoes. Cover crock pot and heat on low for 7-9 hours or until the beef easily falls apart and comes off the bones. Skim off the top layer of oil if desired. 
  3. Remove the short ribs from the crock pot and shred, discarding large pieces of fat. Transfer back into the crock pot along with the tomato paste and stir. 
  4. Boil the pasta until al dente reserving about ½ cup of the pasta water. Add ⅓ - ½ cup of the pasta water to the crock pot and stir. Add the drained pasta to the ragu sauce immediately and toss. 
  5. Serve with parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Store leftovers.


  • Don't skip searing if possible. Searing the meat before adding it to the slow cooker adds a richer flavor to the meat as well as the sauce. It only takes a few minutes and is well worth it in the end. 
  • Select short ribs with bone still attached for even more flavor. For one, the short ribs with bone attached are generally cheaper. And second, the bone will fall right off and is so easy to remove from the crock pot. It adds so much more flavor in my opinion and worth using it! 
  • Short ribs tend to come with a decent amount of fat that can make the ragu sauce greasy. A few options: 
    • Before shredding the short ribs, skim the top layer of oil from the sauce. It tends to stay right on top and can be fairly easy to remove. 
    • Trim some, but not all of the outer fat before cooking. You definitely want some of that fat to hold the moisture in. It will make very tender meat. But if the amount of fat is significant, you can slice a little off. 
    • Chill the ragu sauce and then serve it the next day. If you cook the sauce the day before you plan to serve it, chilling will solidify that fat. Before reheating, you can then scrape off the fat easily. The sauce tastes amazing the next day, so it's an added bonus!