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Instant Pot Beef Ragu

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hr
  • Calories: 313
bowl of instant pot beef ragu over pappardelle noodles topped with parmesan cheese

Rich, savory, and fall-apart tender, our Instant Pot beef ragù recipe is ready fast but tastes like it simmered all day long.

Pasta Night, Done Right

Oh, hello. Have you met our new BFF, the Instant Pot? Well, we highly recommend that you two become acquainted, because this little pressure cooker is a magical device that takes makes dinnertime a lot easier and a whole lot faster.

The proof is in this easy meat ragù recipe. Tender, melt-in-your-mouth shredded beef simmers with tomatoes, carrots, and fresh herbs for a ragù sauce that’s deeply satisfying. Served over buttery egg noodles, this saucy supper is the coziest dinner we can think of. The best part is that it’s incredibly versatile, making it a back pocket recipe we’ll reach for time and time again.

instant pot with raw beef and herbs
instant pot with shredded beef ragu

What's an Instant Pot?

You’ve probably heard friends or family buzzing about their Instant Pot—but what exactly does it do? Well, technically the Instant Pot is simply a “pressure cooker and multi-cooker”—in other words, It’s a slow-cooker, steamer, sauté pan, browning pan and electric pressure cooker, all in one. “Pressure cooking” is a method of cooking that uses pressure to cook food quickly—it uses both heat and pressure to simulate slow-cooking methods, like braising or simmering.

spaghetti squash cut in half topped with instant pot beef ragu

How to Make Braised Beef Ragu

If you’ve never cooked with an Instant Pot before, there is a slight learning curve. But, with a little practice, you'll get the hang of it, and this simple meat sauce recipe is a great place to start! Here’s how to make our easy beef ragù recipe:

  1. Sauté—one of our favorite Instant Pot settings. Once the olive oil is nice and shimmery, stir the vegetables until soft, and add everything else to the pot.
  2. Set the Instant Pot to the “meat/stew mode” and get cooking! Select high pressure for 35 minutes.
  3. Careful! Leave the steam valve on "natural release" until the float valve is all the way down. Then open the lid and remove the beef to shred.
  4. Return the beautifully braised meat back to the Instant Pot, and set it on sauté mode one last time. Allow to cook until sauce thickens.
  5. Enjoy!
bowl of instant pot beef ragu over parrpadelle noodles with parmesan cheese and fresh parsley
close up of homemade beef ragu over pasta

What’s the Difference Between Ragù and Bolognese?

“Ragù” is an umbrella term that refers broadly to a category of Italian sauces, and bolognese is actually a type of ragù! In other words, bolognese is a kind of ragù, but not all ragù is bolognese—got it? Ragù recipes can vary, but typically they’re made with ground, minced or cubed beef, a few vegetables (think simple—carrots and onions, usually) and sometimes (but not always) tomatoes.

bowl of instant pot ragu over zoodles

How to Serve Beef Ragù

There’s no wrong way to gobble up this easy, beefy classic. We love to eat it:

  • Over egg noodles (most traditional)
  • Over veggie noodles like spiralized zucchini or spaghetti squash, for a healthy spin on this Italian classic.
  • Over polenta (Um...yum! We also like to do this with our meatballs and pot roast for a nice change of pace from pasta).

Can I Freeze It?

Yes! This Instant Pot beef ragu freezes really well and will keep in the freezer for up to three months. When you're ready to use it, just heat it up and serve however you'd like!

Tools You’ll Need:

More Cozy, Simple Weeknight Dinners

There are a few things we love more than a rainy night spent around the dining table, enjoying a homey meal made with a dash of love and a whole lot of flavor.

The Instant Pot: Taking the Guesswork Out of Dinner Since 2010

We have no doubts this quick beef ragù will become a family favorite. If you make this dish in your own kitchen, snap a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Instant Pot Beef Ragu

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hr
  • Calories: 313

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole stewed tomatoes or crushed tomatoes, depending on cooking method
  • 1 (3½-pound) chuck roast, fat trimmed, cut into approximately 2-inch pieces
  • 1 to 2 cups beef stock
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Polenta, cooked pasta, zucchini noodles, or spaghetti squash, for serving

Method

Instant Pot

  1. Using the saute function, heat the oil in the Instant Pot. Once the oil is glistening, add the onion, celery, and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the whole stewed tomatoes, breaking them up with your hands. Add the beef, 1 cup of the stock, the garlic, allspice, cinnamon, salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaves. Stir to incorporate.

  2. Lock the lid in place, being sure to close the vent valve, and cook on high pressure for 35 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then quick release if needed.

  3. Using tongs or two forks, shred the beef in the pot, discarding any large fat pieces of fat. Stir to incorporate the beef, then using the saute function, cook until the sauce slightly thickens, about 3-5 minutes, stirring often to avoid burning.

  4. Serve the ragu over polenta, cooked pasta, zucchini noodles, or spaghetti squash.


Slow Cooker

  1. Season the meat all over with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Once the oil is glistening, add the meat and cook until browned all over, about 10 minutes total. Transfer the meat to the slow cooker pot.

  2. Discard half of the fat from the skillet, then return it to medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 more minute. Transfer the onion mixture to the slow cooker.

  3. Add the crushed tomatoes, beef, 1 cup of the stock, the garlic, allspice, cinnamon, salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaves. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.

  4. Using tongs or two forks, shred the beef in the pot, discarding any large pieces of fat. Stir to incorporate the beef.

  5. Serve the ragu over polenta, fresh cooked pasta, zucchini noodles, or spaghetti squash.


Oven

  1. Season the meat all over with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Once the oil is glistening, working in batches, add the meat and cook until browned all over, about 10 minutes total. Transfer the meat to a plate.

  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 more minute. Add the carrots, celery, whole stewed tomatoes, breaking them up with your hands, 2 cups of the stock, the allspice, and cinnamon. Increase heat to high and bring the sauce to a simmer.

  3. Return and nestle the meat to the pan along with any collected juices. Add the thyme and bay leaves. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the beef is very tender and falling apart, 3 to 3½ hours. Discard the thyme and bay leaves. Using tongs or two forks, remove the beef to a cutting board and shred it, discarding any large pieces of fat.

  4. Return the ragu to a rapid simmer over medium high heat. Cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Return the shredded beef to the pot and stir to incorporate.

  5. Serve the ragu over polenta, fresh cooked pasta, zucchini noodles, or spaghetti squash.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories 313
  • Protein 44 g
  • Carbohydrates 12 g
  • Total Fat 11 g
  • Dietary Fiber 2 g
  • Cholesterol 131 mg
  • sodium 590 mg
  • Total Sugars 7 g

Instant Pot Beef Ragu

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

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  • Debbie

    On the nutrition, is the calorie count on just the meat and sauce, without any noodles.

    Yes.

  • tom

    Recipe calls for whole 'stewed' tomatoes. Most canned stewed tomatoes already have seasoning like onions, garlic, spices, etc. Is this what is meant for this recipe or should this be plain whole tomatoes. Just want to clarify before making this. Thanks!

    There are lots of brands of whole tomatoes that don't have spices in them. Simply look for the plain ones for this recipe.

  • Caryn McGuire

    If I cut the recipe in half should I decrease the cooking ?

    Instant Pot recipes are a tricky balance of pressure and moisture and timing, so we are hesitant to give advice here because we haven't tested it that way! Sorry about that. You could always make the full recipe and freeze some of the ragu for later?

  • Liz Csordas

    Very tasty. Sauce didn’t reduce much but that didn’t bother me too much.

    Glad you liked it! If you simmer the sauce a little bit next time it will thicken up! : )

  • Lisa

    Does it freeze well?

    Great question—yes! Adding freezing instructions to the recipe now. It'll keep in the freezer for up to three months.

  • Lauren Patton

    Wow! This was super flavorful and delicious! Make this, you won’t be disappointed.

    Thanks Lauren, so glad you loved it!

  • Laura

    Ok, I’ve made this twice now. The first tim I followed the recipe exactly and it was pretty good. The second time, I did my thing. I deglazed the Instant pot with red wine after the veggies were cooked. I seasoned the meat before I tossed it in. And damn me, I added a can of tomato paste to the stew while I was shredding the beef & then threw a little Italian seasoning in. We ate it over polenta the first time & Fusilloni the second. Second time definitely beat out the first time; hands down. I’d LOVE to try it over fried polenta! So rich!

    We are glad you like it Laura, and glad you able to twist it to make it even more to your liking!

  • Sarah

    Loved this recipe! Only thing I changed was I added a little tomato paste to thicken.

    Thank you Sarah! We are so glad that you love it!

  • James Hulett

    I admit I was leery about the addition of so much allspice and cinnamon and the omission of red wine, but it works beautifully! I used a 3 lb pack of stew meat from Sam’s club and substituted dried thyme for fresh. I also substituted crushed tomatoes for stewed. Instead of doing a manual pressure release, I did a manual release to save time and the meat was still fall apart tender. Next time I may add some red wine and beef base instead of beef broth and tighten up the sauce with a corn starch slurry. Cooking it down in the instant pot on sauté is kind of messy.

    Great job adapting the recipe! We're glad you loved it.

  • Kyler Teague

    Just made this for my friends. It came out terrific. Used 3 pounds of chuck roast and let it naturally release for 40 minutes. Was wonderful with fresh egg noodles. Even my roommate who hates cinnamon drank the juice off his plate.