overhead view of slow cooker beef ragu in a white bowl with a fork.

Slow Cooker Beef Ragu is the definition of comfort food! This supremely comforting meal features tender slow cooked beef that’s made delicious with ingredients like a bouquet of herbs, red wine, tomatoes, and more. Serve it over pasta, top it off with parsley and parmesan, and treat yourself to the dinner you deserve!

closeup of slow cooker beef ragu in a white bowl with a fork.

Crockpot Beef Ragu

Need to warm up with a dinner that’s equal parts comforting, flavorful, and downright delicious? Beef Ragu is the meal for you!

To make this recipe even better, we have to make even easier. This Slow Cooker Beef Ragu simplifies things as much as possible by letting the Crockpot do the majority of the work for you. It cooks to tender perfection and makes your kitchen smell like heaven.

This Ragu features some key ingredients, like dried herbs, red wine, beef broth, and more. The way all of the flavors are slowly infused into the tender beef is a thing of beauty, and it all pairs oh so famously with cooked pasta.

Why You’ll Love this Beef Ragu Recipe:

  • EASY: Oh yes! This slow cooker Beef Ragu recipe is a real cinch. You just have to sear the meat, sauté some veggies, and toss it all in the Crockpot with a handful of key ingredients.
  • COMFORT MEAL: This dish really is comfort food at its absolute best! Tender, flavorful meat that just falls apart in your mouth is served with the pasta of your choice. Are you drooling yet?
  • DATE NIGHT FAVORITE: While this recipe is a great weeknight family dinner, it doubles as a sophisticated date night recipe for those romantic nights at home.

You only need one cup of red wine to make Crockpot Beef Ragu. That works out well, because this dish pairs so well with a glass of red wine, you’ll still have plenty left to drink!

overhead view of slow cooker beef ragu in a white bowl with a fork.
slow cooker beef ragu in a crockpot with 2 forks.

How to Make Slow Cooker Beef Ragu

Be sure to see the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions!

  1. Sear the meat and sauté the veggies.
  2. Stir the remaining ingredients and veggies into the Crockpot.
  3. Add the beef, cover, and cook.
  4. Shred the cooked meat, then serve over pasta.
step by step photos for how to make slow cooker beef ragu.
overhead view of slow cooker beef ragu in a white bowl with a fork.
What is beef ragu?

Beef ragu is an Italian meat-based sauce served with pasta. It consists of ground or shredded beef mixed with sofrito (carrots, celery, and onions) and tomato. It is cooked low and slow to produce a tender, savory sauce.

Is beef ragu a type of bolognese?

No. Actually, the opposite is true! Bolognese is a type of ragu. Ragu is a meat sauce made with vegetables, wine, and tomatoes. Bolognese is a regional version of ragu made in the Bologna region of Italy, and it is sometimes called Ragu Bolognese.

What is the best meat for slow cooker beef ragu?

This recipe uses beef chuck roast, often also called blade roast. Other great cuts for ragu include beef brisket, beef shanks, or beef short ribs.

What kind of pasta should I use for slow cooker beef ragu?

This beef ragu is great with any kind of pasta, but I highly recommend using pappardelle if you can find it. This flat, wide pasta is great because the beef sticks to it easily.

Do I have to sear the meat first, or can I just add it straight into the crockpot?

While you don’t have to sear the meat first, I highly recommend it, as it adds a lot of flavor to the final sauce!

What kind of red wine should I use in slow cooker beef ragu?

For beef ragu, I like a fruity, low-tannin red wine, such as Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chianti, or a lighter Cabernet.

Can I make slow cooker beef ragu in an instant pot instead?

Yes! Follow the recipe as-is and cook for 45 minutes on Manual. A quick release should work, but if it splatters, you can also do a natural release.

On a cold winter night, nothing hits the spot more than a warm, heaping serving of slow cooked Beef Ragu!

overhead view of slow cooker beef ragu in a white bowl with a fork.

Make Ahead Instructions

Slow cooker beef ragu is a great make-ahead recipe because many argue it is best to let the ragu cool to room temperature, then store it overnight in the refrigerator. This overnight chill in the refrigerator helps the flavors to develop, creating a richer tasting ragu.

Storage Instructions

Store leftover slow cooker beef ragu in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Gently reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave until simmering.

Freezing Instructions

Freeze leftover beef ragu in an airtight container for up to 4 months. Let ragu thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Ragu Variations

  • Bolognese: Use ground beef, veal, lamb, pork, or a combination of any of those meats and add nutmeg and milk. Use white wine in place of the red. Serve over tagliatelle or in a lasagna.
  • Ragu di Prosciutto: Use prosciutto as the meat and add more extra-virgin olive oil. Omit the carrots and celery, and use white wine in place of the red. Serve over pappardelle or tagliatelle.
  • Ragu d’agnello: Use ground lamb as the meat. Omit the carrots, celery, and onion. Serve over tagliatelle.
  • Sugo di Carne: Use ground beef, pork, or a combination of both, optionally with porcini mushrooms. Serve with penne, rigatoni, farfalle, or fettuccini.
  • Amatriciana: Use guanciale (cured pork jowl) and diced tomatoes. Omit the carrots, celery, and onions. Add hot peppers, if desired, and toss together with either spaghetti or bucatini pasta.
overhead view of slow cooker beef ragu in a white bowl with a fork.

Of all the pasta dishes that are near and dear to my heart, Beef Ragu will always hold a very special place as one of my favorites. Now, it’s even easier to make than ever before in my slow cooker!

If you make this recipe be sure to upload a photo in the comment section below or leave a rating. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply