Short Rib Ragu

Tender short ribs in a tomato red wine sauce with Parmesan mashed potatoes – this hearty Short Rib Ragu is worth the time! Serve it over mashed potatoes, egg noodles, rice, or pasta for the best comfort food dinner ever.

Short rib ragu on mashed potatoes

At our house, weeknight cooking is like Rachel Ray, while weekend cooking is more like Julia Child. And today, it’s all about the weekend with this short rib ragu. It takes time, but the results are worth it. Tender shredded short ribs and a savory, rich sauce combine to make the ultimate comfort food dish.

Amazing Short Rib Ragu

So, if you’re looking for a fun and amazingly delicious weekend cooking project, this homemade ragu is for you. But just remember, it can’t be rushed.

The time investment to make this dish is well worth it – one bite of the tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef will make you so happy and so comforted you will try and figure out how to make this a rotating dinner in your weekend line-up. 


  • Boneless short ribs seasoned with salt and pepper – You can also use bone-in short ribs and pluck the bones out after they are done cooking.
  • Vegetable oil – or another neutral high-smoke point oil.
  • Diced carrots
  • Diced celery
  • Diced onion
  • Minced garlic
  • Tomato paste
  • All-purpose flour
  • Canned plum tomatoes with juice – For the best flavor, use San Marzano tomatoes.
  • Red wine – A dry red wine like cabernet, merlot, pinot noir, or malbec are all good choices.
  • Water
  • Fresh parsley
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

Recipe Highlights

All of the instructions are listed in the recipe card at the end of the post, but here’s a quick overview of the steps:

  • Brown: The first step is to sear the short ribs in a large pot. This will create a crust so the ribs are extra delicious. Browning them first also leaves browned bits on the bottom of the pan. They help to flavor the sauce.
  • Saute: After you brown the short ribs, saute the vegetables until they’re softened.
  • Thicken: To create a rich, thick sauce, add tomato paste to the pot with the softened vegetables along with some flour.
  • Deglaze: Next, pour the wine into the pot and scrape up all those delicious browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the liquids: Add the canned tomatoes and water to the pot and stir. Nestle the browned short ribs in the pot so they are covered by the water. Add the parsley and bring the pot to a strong simmer.
  • Braise in the oven: Cover the pot, take it off the stove top, and transfer it to a 350°F oven. Leave it for a few hours or until the short ribs are falling-apart tender.
  • Strain: You will need to strain the liquid for a silky smooth sauce. Remove the ribs from the pot and set them on a cutting board. Use a fine mesh strainer and press as much liquid through the strainer. Discard the solids.
  • Simmer: Shred the short ribs and add the shredded meat back to the pot. Bring the pot to a simmer on the stove and let it simmer and reduce for about 30 minutes or until the sauce is thickened. Use a spoon to skim the fat off the surface every so often.

Once the sauce is thick, it’s ready to serve! Or, you can cool it to room temperature and keep it in the refrigerator to warm up later.

How to Serve It

I love short rib ragu with mashed potatoes, but it also pairs great with rice, gnocchi, buttered noodles, or pasta.

If you opt for mashed potatoes, I’ve included a recipe in the recipe card, or try my slow cooker mashed potatoes.

A forkful of short rib ragu with parmesan mashed potatoes

Recipe FAQ

Can you make this in a slow cooker?

I haven’t tested this recipe in a slow cooker. If you try it, the amount of liquid would need to be reduced, as well as the cooking time.

Why do you toss the cooked veggies?

I discard the veggies before reducing the sauce for a couple of reasons. First, the veggies are cooked for so long that they basically turn to mush, and all of the flavor is extracted. Second, I love a silky, smooth sauce, and the best way to achieve that is to discard the solids.

Other readers have used the veggies in the sauce – instead of straining it, you can use a stick blender to puree the sauce with the vegetables in it. It just depends on the texture you prefer.

Can you use beef broth instead of water?

I haven’t, but other readers have used it with success! You could also use vegetable broth or chicken broth if you have those on hand.

Can you make short rib ragu ahead?

Yes, you can make it ahead. Once you’ve completed all the steps, let it cool to room temperature and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep for three to four days. You can also store it in the freezer for several months.

I think it tastes even better the next day, so I usually make it a day in advance so the flavors can develop even more. When you warm it up, you may need to add a few splashes of water or wine to thin the sauce because it will thicken up when it’s chilled.

I hope you give this recipe a try soon!

Happy cooking,


More Hearty Comfort Food Recipes

📣 Do you love this recipe? I would love to know! Leave a comment below the recipe, along with your recipe star rating.


Short Rib Ragu

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.7 from 23 reviews

This short rib ragu is hearty and comforting. The short ribs are simmered in the oven until they are fall-apart-tender.

  • Author: April Anderson
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Braise
  • Cuisine: American



For the Ragu

  • 3 pounds boneless short ribs, pat dry with paper towels and seasoned on both sides with salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole San Marzano plum tomatoes, including juice
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 sprigs fresh parsley
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

  • 3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional for garnish)


How to Make the Ragu

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large dutch oven or stock pot. Add the short ribs and brown them on all sides until the outside is nicely caramelized. I had to do this in 3 batches so the pan wouldn’t be too crowded. Once browned, remove the ribs from the pot and set aside.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the diced carrots, celery, and onion. Cook them for about ten minutes until the vegetables have softened. Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste until all of the veggies are coated. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to coat all of the vegetables. Continue to cook the mixture for another few minutes.
  5. Pour in the wine and increase the heat until the pot begins to simmer. Deglaze the pot by scraping the bottom with the spatula to pull up all of the browned bits.
  6. Next, add the tomatoes and all of the juice from the can. Pour in 2 cups of water and stir. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the tomatoes.
  7. Add the short ribs back to the pot. Be sure they are completely covered by the liquid. If needed, add more water to ensure they are covered. Toss in the parsley (no need to chop it) and stir.
  8. Bring the pot to a strong simmer (increase the heat if needed) and then cover it, remove it from the heat, and transfer it to the preheated oven. Let it simmer in the oven for 2 to 3 hours or until the beef is fork-tender and shreds easily. For me, it usually takes about 2 1/2 hours – start checking yours at the 2-hour mark.
  9. Once the beef is fork-tender, remove the pot from the oven. Remove the short ribs from the pot and set them aside. Using a fine mesh strainer, carefully strain the liquid into a large sauce pot. Press on the solids to extract all of the liquid before discarding them.
  10. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat. You want the sauce to thicken and reduce, which will take at least 30 minutes or so. While the sauce is reducing, periodically skim the surface to remove the fat.
  11. While the sauce reduces, shred the short ribs. Once the sauce is thickened, add the shredded meat and stir. 

How to Make the Mashed Potatoes

  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add the potatoes and boil them until they are fork-tender (time may vary based on the size of your potato pieces.)
  2. Drain the potatoes and return them to the cooking pot. Add in the butter and, using a potato masher, mash the potatoes with the butter. Add the sour cream and Parmesan cheese and stir well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Serve the ragu on top of the parmesan mashed potatoes. Garnish with chopped parsley.


Make it Ahead! You can make the ragu up to one day in advance. Just follow the recipe steps and once you’ve reduced the sauce and added the ribs back in, let it cool and then keep it in the refrigerator. Heat it up in a saucepan on the stove before you serve it. You can thin the sauce with a splash of red wine, water, or beef stock if needed. I don’t recommend making the potatoes ahead – do those the day of!

Side Dish Tips: You can make the Parmesan mashed potatoes while the sauce reduces or make crock pot mashed potatoes to save space on the stove. I also love this ragu tossed with pasta or served over buttered egg noodles.


  • Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
  • Calories: 1210
  • Sugar: 7.8g
  • Sodium: 490.5mg
  • Fat: 122.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 47.1g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 45.1g
  • Trans Fat: 0.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 32.2g
  • Fiber: 6.5g
  • Protein: 41.2g
  • Cholesterol: 205.9mg

Do you love this recipe? Don’t forget to leave a comment and your recipe star rating!

The nutrition is an estimate only. It was calculated using Nutrifox, an online nutrition calculator.

Post updated from the archives. First published in March 2015.


  1. This was amazing! I had family over for Sunday dinner and decided to make this. Everyone kept raving about it! I knew the carrots would be out of this world good, so I left all the veggies as is instead of straining them out. I also didn’t finish reading the recipe and therefore didn’t realize I was supposed to reduce the sauce and skim the fat off, but it came out so delicious anyway! Thanks so much for this recipe!

  2. Not as difficult as I thought it would be to make.
    It tastes delicious over pasta with a little ricotta”
    Next. Time I am keeping in the veggies.

    1. I love the addition of ricotta – the cool and creamy cheese sounds like a nice complement to the rich beef. Thank you for letting me know!

  3. YUMMMMMM!!! I just made this and everyone had a 2nd plate. I went a little light on the salt, as I always do. Next time I will add more while cooking.

  4. I made this for dinner last night. WOW! Delicious! I wished I had company so I could of shared this recipe! I feel the same way too, easy during the week but I love to take my time and enjoy it on the weekends. Have any recommendations for this coming weekend?

    1. Oh, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! It’s one of my favorites 🙂 A couple others you might like – search for Shepherd’s Pie and Chicken Pot Pie – they are a couple others I love making on the weekends 🙂

  5. I made this for Sunday dinner. It was easy and delicious! I will be making it again soon. I only made the ribs, not the potatoes.

  6. Very good dish. I used a London broil and I put the veggies back in at the end. I did the prep work with the meat and veggies on the stove and then put it all in my slow cooker all day. Absolutely delish! Good comfort food….thanks for sharing!

  7. Hi April,

    I have made this recipe many times as it is always a hit! I was wondering if I could do all the way up to step 5 the night before and then put it in the fridge until tomorrow and then put it in the oven to cook? Would it taste different?


    1. Hi Shea! I haven’t tried it, but I think it would work fine. You might want to bring the pot to a simmer on the stove to warm it up before putting it the oven – good luck!

  8. Fabulous dish…a labor of love in the kitchen but boy was it worth it! Next time, we’re keeping the vegetables and will use a hand blender to pulverize the veggies into the sauce…too much goodness to let go. Thanks for sharing this recipe; it rocks!

  9. This looks wonderful. I am making this tomorrow but all my grocery store had was bone in short ribs. Will this still work? Will it change the cooking time? Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

    1. Yes, bone-in ribs work, too! You just have to remove the bones after they’re done cooking 🙂 I hope you love it!

  10. Hi!

    Do you have any recommendations for cooking in the pressure cooker… i think i can do the majority of it on sautee and then pressure cook, but wondering the length of time / setting to pressure cook on!

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    1. I haven’t tried it, but you would want to cook them on high pressure for maybe 45 minutes or so? Sorry I can’t give you a better estimate!

    1. If you click “print recipe” on the recipe card at the end of the post you can print with no ads – hope that helps!

  11. Just for clarification, do you add the meat back into the sauce before you reduce it? Or reduce the sauce then add the meat back in?!

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