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Slow Cooker Ragu Recipe | The Recipe Critic

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This Slow Cooker Ragu recipe is an easy-to-make comfort food that your whole family will love! Not to mention it makes a LOT and is freezer-friendly!

Crockpot meals are a life-saver around here! Some more of my favorites are this delicious Slow Cooker Beef Tips, this Melt in Your Mouth Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken, or this Slow Cooker Mississippi Pork Roast!

A bowl of ragu with pasta. Topped with fresh parsley and freshly grated cheese.

Slow Cooker Ragu Recipe

Who doesn’t love a delicious crockpot meal? You set it and forget it and come home to a meal that is warm, delicious, and ready to eat. This crockpot ragu is no exception!

The combination of flavors is so yummy, and once you add in the noodles… Your kids will definitely be asking for seconds! This slow cooker ragu recipe uses a delicious homemade sauce that has a classic and rich flavor. Serve it with some delicious dinner rolls and a yummy salad to complete the meal!

Ingredients in Crockpot Ragu

The simple ingredients in this slow cooker recipe are so delicious, and together, they make a delicious combo! Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact measurements.

  • Olive Oil: This is used to sauté your veggies.
  • Onion: This recipe can use a yellow or white onion.
  • Carrots: The carrots add a delicious texture and color to the sauce.
  • Celery: The celery complements the carrots.
  • Ground Beef and Ground Pork: The two different types of meat are perfect for a flavorful sauce.
  • Garlic Cloves: If you don’t have any fresh garlic cloves on hand, then you can use minced garlic. 1/2 teaspoon equals about one clove of garlic.
  • Tomato Paste: Unlike store-bought ragu sauce, this one is more traditional, and it does not have a whole lot of tomato flavor.
  • Italian Seasoning: I like to use my Homemade Italian Seasoning in this recipe! But you can use store-bought too!
  • Dried Thyme: Some additional thyme really amps up the flavor in this slow cooker ragu.
  • Beef Broth: As the base of the sauce, it brings in a lot of flavor.
  • Dry Red Wine: This is optional, so you can leave it out if you prefer!
  • Heavy Cream: The heavy cream thickens up the sauce.
  • Salt and Pepper: Add as much salt and pepper as you prefer.

How to Make Ragu in a Slow Cooker

  1. Cook Veggies: Sauté the onions, carrots, and celery in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes or until softened. Add the veggies to the slow.
  2. Cook the Meat: 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.
  3. Cook: Add the remaining ingredients except for the cream and salt & pepper to the crockpot and give it a good stir. Cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
  4. Add Cream: Once the sauce is done, stir in the cream and season with salt & pepper as needed.
  5. Cook the Pasta: About 20 minutes before the sauce is done, cook your noodles so that they are ready when the sauce is done. Serve the slow cooker ragu sauce over the warm noodles, and enjoy!
A collage of 4 pictures showing how to make the meat, saute the veggies and add them all into the crockpot.

Tips for Cooking Ragu in the Slow Cooker

This crockpot ragu recipe is so easy! There are a few things that you can do to make sure that yours turns out perfectly every time.

  • Can I use a different type of oil instead of olive oil? Yes, you can substitute olive oil with other cooking oils like vegetable or canola.
  • Is the red wine necessary for this recipe? A: The red wine is optional. You can omit it if you prefer or if you don’t consume alcohol. It adds depth of flavor but you can leave it out if you prefer!
  • Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef and pork? Yes! You can substitute ground turkey for the beef or the pork (or both!) if you prefer a leaner option.
  • Can I substitute the heavy cream? While heavy cream adds richness, you can use a lighter alternative like half-and-half or milk if you want to reduce the fat content.

Finished ragu sauce in the slow cooker with a wooden spoon scooping some out.

What do you serve with Slow Cooker Ragu?

This versatile meat sauce pairs well with many different types of pasta, like spaghetti, fettuccine, or penne. It’s also great with polenta, rice, or as a topping for baked potatoes!

A closeup of slow cooker ragu with pasta in a bowl with a fork that has some pasta swirled around it.

Storing Leftovers

This slow cooker ragu recipe makes a lot, so you might have leftovers that you can save for later!

  • In the Refrigerator: Once your sauce has cooled, you can store the leftovers in an airtight container in your fridge. It will last 3-4 days.
  • In the Freezer: This sauce freezes well! Allow it to cool completely before transferring it to airtight containers or freezer bags. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make sure to label your container with the date!
  • To Reheat: You can easily reheat ragu sauce on the stovetop over low heat or in the microwave, stirring occasionally. Add a little water or broth if needed to reach your desired consistency.

More Delicious Pasta Recipes

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  • 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.

Originally Posted on August 14, 2019 
Updated on November 27, 2023

Calories: 545kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 31gFat: 43gSaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 142mgSodium: 367mgPotassium: 669mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 4139IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 71mgIron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.



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