Slow Cooker Beef Ragu

With its rich, savory flavor and easy prep, Slow Cooker Beef Ragu is a dinnertime win. This recipe is a staple in our household!

Beef stew meat is cooked low and slow in a tomato sauce loaded with herbs and garlic. This cooking method makes the beef so tender that it falls apart as you shred it.

Serve beef ragu over your favorite pasta for a delicious dinner that shouldn’t be so simple.

With its rich, savory flavor and easy prep, Slow Cooker Beef Ragu is a dinnertime win. This recipe is a staple in our household!

Beef stew meat is cooked low and slow in a tomato sauce loaded with herbs and garlic. This cooking method makes the beef so tender that it falls apart as you shred it. 

Serve beef ragu over your favorite pasta for a delicious dinner that shouldn’t be so simple.

Why KJ Loves

Slow Cooker Beef Ragu

I love everything about this recipe – it’s comforting, healthy and easy! Serve over your favorite pasta, or herb roasted potatoes to keep it gluten free!

What is beef ragu?

According to Pasta Evangelists, the term “ragu” comes from the French word ragoût — a meat stew that made its way to Italy in the late 18th century. 

Ragoût was eventually adapted to the ragu we are familiar with today: a tomato-based meat sauce served over pasta. 

Ragu is cooked low and slow to create a more full-bodied flavor than your average meat sauce. 

But instead of simmering this dish over a stovetop, we’re making this an easy beef ragu recipe by taking advantage of your slow cooker. No need to spend all afternoon in your kitchen!

INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT INGREDIE

Beef Stew Meat

Beef stew meat often gets a bad rap. People think it’s tough and chewy. 

But that’s because beef stew meat is not always cooked in a way that brings out its best qualities. 

It turns out: if you cook beef stew meat low and slow, the cuts of meat get fall-apart tender

Plus, the natural fat in the meat adds even more decadence to this beef sauce. 

Beef stew meat is usually cut from a roast and is affordably priced. Another win for this weeknight staple.

You could buy a chuck roast and cube it yourself if your meat counter doesn’t have beef stew meat precut. But you can typically ask the people behind the meat counter to cut some for you to save you the hassle!

Slow Cooker Beef Ragu Ingredients

This full-bodied sauce packs a lot of flavor with only a few ingredients! 

Beef stew meat

Use cubed stew meat. If there’s no cubed stew meat, you can usually ask the people behind the meat counter to do it for you.

Marinara sauce

Grab a jar of your favorite pasta sauce (this sauce is my all-time favorite!).

Worcestershire sauce

This is one of the secret ingredients that gives this sauce a deep flavor.

Garlic

Dried basil (crushed)

Red pepper flakes (crushed)

How to Serve Slow Cooker Beef Ragu

After this decadent slow cooker meal has simmered all day on your countertop (and made your house smell AMAZING), then it’s time to dig in! 

Simply use a couple of forks to shred the meat and stir the sauce. I like leaving some of the shredded beef chunks larger for variety. 

Pasta Picks

Serve over your favorite pasta. You could use dried pasta or go all-out with fresh pasta from the refrigerated section! 

Beef Ragu With Pappardelle

This delicious wide pasta comes from the word “pappare,” which means “to gobble up.” 🙃It’s often served with heartier meat sauces since the wide noodles hold more sauce in each bite. You could use other wide noodles like fettuccine. 

Beef Ragu Over Spaghetti

You can’t go wrong with a classic spaghetti — a time-tested fav. 🍝

Beef Ragu With Smaller Noodles

If you want to create more of a goulash feel, try smaller noodles or elbow pasta.

Beef Ragu Over Polenta

For a fun twist, serve your ragu over some creamy polenta. It’s a great, gluten-free alternative to pasta. 

Side dish ideas

 

Another great thing about this dish: leftovers! 

It just gets better with time and re-heats beautifully!

Beef Ragu FAQ

What size slow cooker should I use?

Use a 6-quart slow cooker for this beef ragu recipe. 

Do I need to sear the beef beforehand?

No, you don’t have to sear the beef — we’re making this an easy beef ragu recipe! But if you want to take the extra step, you always could. 

What is the best cut of meat for ragu?

Beef stew meat is the perfect cut of beef for this beef ragu recipe! When you cook the sauce in a slow cooker, it turns tender and delicious. 

What is the difference between a bolognese and a ragu?

Technically, bolognese is a type of ragu! It’s a variation of ragu that originated from the region of Bologna (in northern Italy). 

What pasta is best for ragu?

Wide noodle pasta is perfect for ragu since it holds more sauce with each bite. But you can choose any type of pasta you like! 

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Slow Cooker Beef Ragu


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  • Author: KJ & Company - Kate Poskochil
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Description

Slow Cooker Beef Ragu is a comforting, family-friendly dinner. Beef stew meat is cooked low and slow in a tomato sauce loaded full of herbs and garlic to create the perfect ragu. The beef is so tender that it just falls apart as you lightly shred it. Serve over your favorite pasta for a delicious dinner that you won’t be able to resist!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
  • 24 oz jar of your favorite pasta sauce, this is mine!
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients together in a slow cooker and gently stir to combine.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until the meat is fall-apart tender. Use two forks to gently shred the meat in the sauce, leaving some pieces larger than others for variety.
  3. Serve over your choice of pasta and topped with parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Beef stew meat or cubed chuck roast is the best meat to use for this recipe.
  • Use your favorite pasta sauce for this recipe! This is one I always keep stocked – it’s not too acidic!
  • Leftovers of this dish re-heat very nicely!
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 8
  • Calories: 343
  • Sugar: 8.3g
  • Sodium: 484mg
  • Fat: 11.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 12.9g
  • Fiber: 2.3g
  • Protein: 44.6g
  • Cholesterol: 128mg

Did you make this recipe?

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If you made this recipe and love it as much as I do, I’d love to hear from you! Comment below, rate the recipe, or share a picture tagging @kjandcompany or using  #kjandcompany so that I can see your fun pictures! Thanks for following and cooking along with me.

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2 Comments

  1. Kathy Deaver

    Kate I can’t wait to try this. I’m thinking a few days after Thanksgiving when we’ve had our fill of turkey this will taste extra yummy. It’s so easy too.

    Reply
    • KJ

      That’s the perfect timing for this recipe, Kathy! 🙂 hope it fills your house with warmth and happiness!

      Reply

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