This Slow Cooker Ragu recipe is easy to make, stick-to-your-ribs comforting, and makes a generous quantity that’s freezer-friendly. The whole family will love it!
Here’s some more delicious Crockpot meals you may like: Slow Cooker Beef Tips, Melt in Your Mouth Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken, this Slow Cooker Missisippi Pork Roast (To Die For!), or this Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie.
Slow Cooker Ragu
Hi everyone! It’s Natasha here from Salt & Lavender. I’m excited to bring you this delicious Crockpot ragu sauce that is sure to be a great time-saver when you’re busy with back-to-school activities. I don’t have kids and I’m not in school, but I do know that I can always count on having some delicious meat sauce in my freezer when I just don’t feel like cooking. Nothing beats a quick, hot, and comforting meal after a long day of work/school!
Fun fact: I’ve aimed to make this sauce fairly close to the the traditional Italian version, so there is not a lot of tomato in here, contrary to popular belief in North America of what ragu sauce is. Ragu is a hearty meat sauce with a splash of cream added at the end to lighten it and give it a wonderful richer flavor. The combination of the meats and mirepoix (sautéd carrots, onions, and celery) really make this sauce shine.
How to make Crockpot ragu
- Sauté the onions, carrots, and celery in a large skillet until softened. Add the mix to your slow cooker.
- Cook the ground meats in the skillet until browned, then add them to the Crockpot.
- Add the garlic, tomato paste, seasonings, broth, and wine to the Crockpot. Stir. Cook on low for 8 hours.
- Stir in the cream and season with salt & pepper as needed.
Ragu is traditionally served over spaghetti. I love to top it with a generous amount of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Fresh parsley is optional!
Can I make ragu in the Instant Pot?
Yes, you can. Sauté the carrots, onions, and celery in your Instant Pot using the “sauté” function for 3-4 minutes, then add the ground meat and continue cooking until it’s browned. Spoon out most of the fat. Add the remaining ingredients (except for cream and salt & pepper), close the lid, set the valve on “sealing” and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. Stir in the cream and season with salt & pepper as needed.
A few recipe notes:
- If you’re in a huge rush, you can just throw everything in the Crockpot and mix it together without doing the sautéing/browning step, but the sauce won’t be quite as flavorful, so I don’t recommend skipping that step unless totally necessary.
- If you don’t drink wine, you may leave it out. Just replace it with the same amount of beef broth.
- This sauce freezes well. I like to freeze it in individual portions.
- I prefer using a blend of beef and pork in this recipe. It’s what my mom did when I was growing up, and it just adds a nice balance of flavor. You could also trying making a mix with beef and sausage meat or ground veal.
- I haven’t tested it, but you could cook this sauce for 3-4 hours on high. I do prefer to cook it low and slow, though, for better flavor (at least 6 hours).
More meaty recipes you may like:
Slow Cooker Ragu
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 3 medium carrots (chopped)
- 4 sticks celery (chopped)
- 1.5 pounds ground beef
- 1.5 pounds ground pork
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 (5.5 ounce) can tomato paste
- 2 dashes Italian seasoning
- 2 dashes dried thyme
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1/2 cup dry red wine (optional, see note)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Sauté the onions, carrots, and celery in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes or until softened. Add the mixture to your slow cooker.
- Add the ground beef and pork to the skillet and cook, breaking up the meat with your spoon as you go along, until it's browned. Drain most of the fat prior to adding the meat to your slow cooker.
- Add the remaining ingredients (except for the cream and salt & pepper) to your Crockpot and give it a good stir. Cook for 8 hours on low.
- Once the sauce is done, stir in the cream and season with salt & pepper as needed.
- The red wine adds great flavor to this sauce, but if you don't want to use it, replace it with the same amount of beef broth.
- This sauce freezes well. I like to freeze it in small containers so I've got individual portions that thaw quickly on the stove.
- This recipe conservatively feeds 8 but will feed more depending on how much people eat.
- Instant Pot Instructions: Sauté the carrots, onions, and celery in your Instant Pot using the "sauté" function for 3-4 minutes, then add the ground meat and continue cooking until it's browned. Spoon out most of the fat. Add the remaining ingredients (except for cream and salt & pepper), close the lid, set the valve on "sealing" and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. Stir in the cream and season with salt & pepper as needed.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.