Slow Cooker Short Rib Ragu

slow cooker short rib ragu

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This hearty slow cooker short rib ragu simmers all day until the short ribs are falling apart tender. I like to serve it tossed with pasta, but it’s also delicious served alongside some roasted cauliflower. Or, try it spooned over rice or mashed potatoes.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds boneless beef short ribs, seasoned with salt
  • 1 1/2 cup finely diced carrots (about 3 medium carrots)
  • 1 cup finely diced celery (about 2 medium ribs)
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (about four large cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 (28-oz) can whole plum tomatoes, plus all the juice
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste.
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Brown the short ribs for about five minutes on each side until they develop a dark golden crust. If needed, brown them in batches otherwise it will be difficult to get a good sear. Remove the short ribs from the pan to a clean plate.
  2. In the same pan, cook the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic for about five minutes. As they release their moisture scrape up the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the tomato paste to the pan and stir until it’s evenly coating the vegetables. Sprinkle the flour over the top of the veggies and stir to coat them. Transfer the veggies to a 6-quart slow cooker.
  4. Gently break apart the tomatoes by giving them a little squish. You can do this in a separate bowl or as you place them in the slow cooker. Pour all of the juices from the tomato can into the slow cooker. Stir to combine the veggies with the tomatoes.
  5. For the thyme, you can scatter the whole sprigs in the slow cooker over the tomatoes or, if you don’t want to worry about fishing out the stems later, remove the leaves first and discard the stems.
  6. Place the short ribs, in a single layer, in the slow cooker. Nestle them down into the sauce so they are mostly covered by it. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook the short ribs and sauce on low for 6 to 7 hours or until the short ribs are tender and shred easily with a fork.
  7. Once the short ribs are tender, shred them with forks right in the slow cooker (fish out the thyme stems, too). The sauce will thicken a bit as you do this. Add the balsamic, salt and chopped parsley and stir to combine.