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Instant Pot Beef Ragu

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hr
  • Calories: 505
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: 505

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 3.5 lb chuck roast, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 (28 oz) can whole stewed tomatoes
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground allspice, to taste
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon, to taste
  • 1 cup beef stock

Method

  1. Set your Instant Pot to sauté mode. Heat the olive oil and add the onion, celery and carrots. Stir until vegetables are soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, squeezing the whole tomatoes with your hands to crush them before adding them and their juices. Give ingredients a quick stir and close the lid.
  2. Set Instant Pot to the meat/stew mode and allow to cook for the set high pressure 35 minute cook time. Once finished, leave the steam valve on natural release until the float valve is all the way down.
  3. Open lid and remove beef to shred, discarding any large pieces of fat in the process. Once shredded stir beef back into the pot and return to sauté mode. Allow to cook until sauce thickens slightly.
  4. Serve over polenta, cooked pasta, zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.

To make this ragù in a slow-cooker:

Warm the oil in a large skillet set over high-heat. Season the cut meat with salt and pepper. Brown the beef on all sides, then place the browned chuck roast in a 6-8 quart slow-cooker set on high. Discard about half of the grease left in the skillet pan. Over medium heat, cook the onions, carrots, celery for about 4 minutes, until beginning to soften, add the garlic for 1 minute longer, until fragrant. Add the onion mixture to the slow cooker along with all remaining ingredients (we suggest using crushed tomatoes instead of whole when making this in a slow-cooker). Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on on LOW for 7-8 hours, or HIGH for 4-5 hours. Remove the beef and use two forks to shred it into pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat in the process. Stir the shredded beef back into the pot. At this point, the ragù can be served immediately or left in the slow-cooker on "warm" until ready to serve.

To make this beef ragù in a Dutch oven:

In a large Dutch oven warm the oil over high heat, until glistening. Season the cut meat with salt and pepper. Brown the meat on all sides (this might take 2 batches). Set aside on a plate until all meat is browned. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the onion for about 4 minutes, until beginning to soften. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute longer. Add the carrots, celery, allspice, cinnamon, canned tomatoes(squishing them with your hands as you add them), and 2 cups of broth (we find that 1 cup extra broth is needed when making this ragù in a Dutch oven). Bring to the sauce to a simmer, add bay leaf, thyme, and browned chuck roast. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook at a very low simmer for 3-3 ½ hours, until the beef is fall-apart tender. Remove the beef, shred it with two forks and discard any large chunks of fat. Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce it by about half, about 10 minutes longer. Then add the shredded beef back to the pan and stir to combine.

Serving Size: 1 cup of ragù.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories 505
  • Protein 67 g
  • Carbohydrates 13 g
  • Total Fat 18 g
  • Dietary Fiber 3 g
  • Cholesterol 200 mg
  • sodium 820 mg
  • Total Sugars 6 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.

  • 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.

  • Marianne S.

    I really enjoyed this meal! The recipe was very easy for a cooking novice like me to follow, and the flavors were delicious! I LOVED the bold flavor combination of cinnamon and allspice. I think next time I'll add more garlic, but otherwise, it was just about perfect :) I can't wait to make this for my boyfriend :)