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Beef Short Rib Ragu

This delicious beef short rib ragu is crowd pleasing comfort food at its finest! Tender, juicy beef short ribs braised in the oven alongside tomatoes, red wine and fresh rosemary — it’s the perfect sunday dinner!

This Beef Short Rib Ragu Recipe is the perfect cozy weekend meal! Simply prep your ingredients in a dutch oven, place it in the oven and then walk away and forget about it while it transforms into a rich and hearty ragu sauce. Toss your ragu with thick pappardelle pasta and serve with a generous sprinkle of parmesan and your home will be feeling like an Italian restaurant!

Ragu mixed with pappardelle noodles.

Key Ingredients

  • Beef short ribs: I prefer bone-in short ribs as they add more flavor and are the easiest cut of short ribs to find. But boneless beef short ribs and beef chuck roast both work as substitutes.
  • Pancetta: Pancetta adds a savory richness to the short rib ragu. If you can’t find pancetta, bacon will work just as well.
  • Yellow onion and garlic: These two vegetables add a depth of flavor to the dish.
  • Red wine: Red wine adds a bit of acidity to the ragu, balancing the hearty flavors. Feel free to swap out for additional broth.
  • Canned whole tomatoes: While crushed tomatoes would work in a pinch, canned whole tomatoes tend to be less processed and more flavorful.
  • Tomato paste: The concentrated flavor of tomato paste contributes to the rich umami flavor of the ragu. Don’t skimp here!
  • Spices and herbs: I use a combination of fresh rosemary, bay leaves, dried oregano, and red pepper flakes.
  • Chicken broth: Why not beef broth? Store bought chicken broth tends to have more flavor and adds more dimension to the short rib ragu. But beef and vegetable broth are both great substitutes.
Ingredients to make beef short rib ragu.

Step By Step Instructions

This short rib ragu recipe can be made in eight easy steps:

Bone-in short ribs sprinkled with kosher salt.

Step 1: Cut the beef short ribs into large pieces and generously sprinkle with kosher salt.

Seared bone-in short ribs in dutch oven.

Step 2: Working in batches, sear the beef short ribs on all sides. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Sauteing diced pancetta and onion.

Step 3: Add the diced onions and pancetta and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.

Crushed whole tomatoes added to ragu.

Step 4: Add the red wine and cook several minutes, scraping up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add the canned whole tomatoes and use a spatula to gently crush.

Rosemary, oregano, red pepper flakes and bay leaves to flavor ragu.

Step 5: Stir in the chicken broth, tomato paste, oregano, red pepper flakes, bay leaves and rosemary sprigs.

Adding the seared meat back to the ragu.

Step 6: Return the short ribs to the pot. Cover and transfer to the oven for 2.5-3 hours at 320°F (160°C).

Shredded short rib added back to ragu.

Step 7: When the short ribs are very tender, shred and return to the pot, discarding the bones.

Finished ragu in dutch oven.

Step 8: If the sauce isn’t thick enough, simmer uncovered on the stovetop until you reach your desired consistency.

Serving Suggestions

I love beef short rib ragu with thick egg noodles such as pappardelle, but you can also serve ragu with your pasta of choice, gnocchi or polenta.

When serving short rib ragu with pasta, make sure to cook the pasta until al dente. Then add the pasta directly to the sauce on the stovetop and cook for several minutes. This gives the pasta a chance to absorb the flavors of the ragu and the ingredients meld together, creating a more cohesive dish.

Close up of ragu sauce topped with shredded parmesan.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ragu?

Ragù is a rich, slow-cooked Italian meat sauce. It’s almost stew-like and can be served with pasta, gnocchi or even polenta.

Can I use boneless short ribs to make ragu?

Yes! You can substitute bone-in short ribs for 2 lbs (900 g) of boneless short ribs.

Can I use a different cut of meat?

If you can’t find short ribs, beef chuck roast will also work well in this recipe.

What can I use in place of red wine?

You can use additional broth in place of red wine.

Can I make this recipe in the slow cooker?

Yes! But we recommend searing the meat and making the sauce on the stovetop for maximum flavor, before transferring to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 7-8 hours. Then finish the ragu on the stovetop as directed in the recipe instructions.

Can I make short rib ragu ahead of time?

Yes! Some might even argue this ragu tastes better on the second day! Simply store in the refrigerator and then reheat on the stovetop and toss with your pasta of choice!

Fork in ragu sauce with noodles.

How To Store And Reheat Leftovers

Allow leftover beef short rib ragu to come to room temperature. Then store the ragu in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. The ragu can also be frozen for up to three months.

To reheat leftovers, place the ragu in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until it heats through and add a splash of broth to loosen up the sauce if necessary. If cooking from frozen, thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

The short rib ragu can also be reheated in the microwave. Place the ragu in a microwave safe container and cover. Heat in short intervals, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

Short rib ragu over pappardelle noodles with parmesan and red pepper flakes.

If you loved this beef short rib ragu recipe, make sure to check out more of our favorite stews:

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Short rib ragu over pappardelle noodles with parmesan and red pepper flakes.

Beef Short Rib Ragu Recipe

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Brit Kapustina
  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6
    • Prep Time: 30 minutes
    • Cook Time: 3 hours
    • Category: Italian
    • Method: Stovetop
    • Cuisine: Italian


  • 2.5 pounds (1 kg) bone-in beef short ribs*
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 ounces (115 grams) pancetta, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup (120 ml) dry red wine
  • 28 ounces (800 grams) canned whole tomatoes
  • ½ cup (120 ml) chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 parmesan rind, optional (plus grated parmesan for serving)
  • kosher salt to taste
  • pasta for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 320°F (160°C).
  2. Trim the short ribs of extra fat and cut into 2.5 inch (6 cm) pieces. Generously season with salt.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear the beef short ribs until browned on all sides. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  4. Add the onion and pancetta to the pot and cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent (about 5 minutes).
  5. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.
  6. Pour in the red wine to deglaze the pot. Scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot and cook for three minutes.
  7.  Add the canned whole tomatoes to the pot and use a spatula to roughly crush. Then add the chicken broth, tomato paste, dried oregano, rosemary sprigs, red pepper flakes, bay leaves and parmesan rind (if using).
  8. Return the beef short ribs to the pot. Give the ragu a good stir, cover the pot and transfer to the oven for 2.5-3 hours or until the beef is very tender. Check the ragu halfway through and skim any excess fat off the top.
  9. Discard the parmesan rind, bay leaves and rosemary stems. Skim excess fat off the top. Remove the short ribs, shred and return to the pot, discarding the bones. If the ragu isn’t thick enough, you can simmer it on the stove, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes.
  10. Cook your pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Add the pasta to the sauce on the stovetop and simmer for several minutes so the pasta absorbs the flavors. 


Beef short ribs: If you can’t find bone-in short ribs, you can also use 2 lbs (900 g) of boneless beef short ribs or beef chuck.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

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