Chicken Ragu (Slow Cooker)

chicken ragu spaghetti in a slow cooker.

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This chicken ragu is so easy to make! Tender chicken thighs and sauce simmer in the slow cooker for several hours – when it’s done, shred the chicken and add your favorite cooked pasta. It’s a comforting low-fuss dinner.


  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste (see note)
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 ounces thick spaghetti
  • Grated parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)


  1. Combine the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, garlic, onion, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper in the slow cooker.
  2. Place the chicken thighs in the sauce and spoon the sauce over the top of them so they are covered.
  3. Cook the ragu on high for three to four hours or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  4. When the ragu is almost done, boil the pasta following the package instructions and then drain it.
  5. Once the chicken is cooked, shred it with two forks and stir to combine the shredded meat with the sauce. Stir in the parsley. Taste the sauce and add more salt if you think it needs it.
  6. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and use tongs to coat it evenly in the sauce. Garnish with Parmesan cheese for serving.


If you like some heat, add about 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the sauce when you mix it up.

I used no salt added tomato paste, so if yours has salt, the nutrition info will vary. If you are sensitive to salt, I recommend reducing the amount in the recipe (or omit it). Before you add the cooked pasta, give the sauce a taste and add it to your taste if you think it needs more.

Pasta: Be sure to boil the pasta separately and not in the slow cooker with the sauce.

Make ahead: You can make the sauce ahead and freeze it for several months. I recommend not adding the pasta if you plan to do this – boil a fresh batch when you reheat the sauce.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three days.