Slow Cooker Beef Ragu

With the busy holiday season upon us, I thought it would be a great time to come up with a new slow cooker dinner recipe. Oh boy, how I love it when dinner is magically ready at the end of a busy day, thanks to a little prep work that I did earlier in the morning! So, inspired by some recipes I saw when browsing online, I decided to turn my Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce from my Fast & Fabulous Cookbook into a (meat-based) ragu Sauce.

I first have to tell you that my 8th grader is not a huge meat person—she could easily survive as a vegetarian. She is not a big fan of dishes like my Slow Cooker Steak Chili, which I love, yet she’d choose Veggie Chili over that any day. And she’s also not too thrilled when I make chicken too many nights in a row. It’s always fun as a parent keeping up with all these different, ever-changing preferences (can you relate?)—not that I always accommodate!

So, I honestly held my breath when she walked over to the slow cooker to see what was for dinner while I was making this new ragu recipe. I was waiting for a complaint and shocked when she instead said, “Oh, this looks good!” I actually thought she must be talking about something else next to the slow cooker (Um, the cooked noodles look good? The parmesan cheese looks good? Surely it wasn’t our meaty dinner! LOL). But low and behold, she loved seeing the mix of carrots and celery in the meat sauce, and she said she really liked it when we put a little dollop of ricotta on top of the finished dish. So, I now have a new crowd-pleasing, meaty dinner to add to my slow cooker arsenal. I’ll for sure be making this one again and again!

Slow Cooker Beef Ragu from 100 Days of Real Food

Slow Cooker Beef Ragu from 100 Days of Real Food

Slow Cooker Beef Ragu

I've reinvented my marinara sauce into a hearty slow cooker beef ragu. Even my sometimes meat-averse daughter loves this one!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 hrs
Total Time: 10 hrs 10 mins
Print Recipe
Servings: 6 people


  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 large carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery trimmed and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes



  • Layer all the ingredients in the slow cooker, starting with the onion and ending with the canned tomatoes. Turn on high for 5 or 6 hours, or low for 8 to 10 hours. You can take the lid off for a bit at the end to help reduce the sauce down to make it thicker (or spoon some liquid off the top).
  • Divide the sauce evenly over beds of cooked whole-wheat noodles, top with parmesan and ricotta cheeses (if desired), and serve.


There is no need to cut the meat before adding to the slow cooker as it will be nice and tender when done (it easily pulls apart with a fork on the plate). However, you could cut the meat across the grain into a few pieces prior to placing in the slow cooker if you want smaller pieces.
We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.
Nutrition Facts
Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Beef Ragu
Amount Per Serving
Calories 166 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 68mg23%
Sodium 459mg20%
Potassium 451mg13%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 25g50%
Vitamin A 70IU1%
Vitamin C 1.7mg2%
Calcium 46mg5%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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18 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Beef Ragu”

  1. Is there any other cut of beef that will work besides flank steak? I have quite a store of beef in my freezer that I’d like to use up before I purchase any more.

    1. Make sure you shred it into thinner pieces for this recipe and when possible, a good quality, organic piece is best. – Nicole

  2. Do you cut the meat before cooking or is it easy to shred at the end? It looks so delicious! I think it might be friday’s dinner.

  3. Lindsay Untherbergus

    Your daughter sounds like such a healthy eater! How did you do that? :) I’ll definitely be trying this recipe, I love that it has very few ingredients!

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