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beef ragu with pappardelle on a plate with a fork
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4.12 from 36 votes

Slow cooker 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.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 hrs
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: beef, easy dinner, gluten free, whole30
Servings: 8
Calories: 327kcal


  • Slow Cooker


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)


  • Turn slow cooker on high heat to warm.
  • 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.
  • Once browned, remove the beef from the pan and place in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • 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.
  • 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.
How to freeze before cooking: Add everything to a large freezer bag, seal and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight and cook on low for 10 hours.
How to freeze after cooking: Allow cooked ragu to cool, place in freezer bag, seal and store for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight and reheat in the microwave or on the stove.
Nutrition information is only for beef ragu sauce. Does not include pasta or toppings.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 327kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 46.2g | Fat: 9.5g | Saturated Fat: 3.4g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 326mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7.3g