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homemade beef ragu sauce on top of spaghetti.
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5 from 2 votes

Ragu Sauce

Homemade beef ragu sauce is a simple combination of just a few ingredients and is simmered for hours on the stove. The result is the most delicious, flavorful, mouthwatering meat sauce that tastes amazing on pasta. See why this recipe is worth the wait!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Total Time3 hours 10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 16 servings


  • 2 pounds ground beef 80/20 ground chuck recommended
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow onion minced (one medium sized onion amounts to about 1.5 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots minced (3-4 medium/large sized carrots amounts to about 1.5 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups celery minced (4-6 stalks celery amounts to about 1.5 cups)
  • 30 ounces tomato sauce 2-15oz cans
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil divided, use more if desired
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt use more if desired


  • Start cooking meat: In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, start cooking the ground beef over medium-high heat. Break up large chunks and only stir occasionally to prevent burning.
    ground beef in pot.
  • Chop vegetables: While the meat is cooking, chop the onion, carrots, and celery. It is highly recommended that you pulse each one in the food processor to get a small diced cut.
  • Simmer: Add diced vegetables, tomato sauce, and about 1/2 cup of olive oil to the meat mixture. Stir well to combine and bring to a simmer. Do not cover.
    tomato sauce added to pot with beef ragu ingredients.
  • Reduce heat: Once the ragu starts to simmer, gradually reduce heat and occasionally stir. The goal is to maintain a very gentle simmer and as the liquid evaporates, the heat will need to continually be reduced.
    ragu sauce in pot mixed together before cooking.
  • Add more olive oil. Every 30 minutes or so, add small amounts of olive oil. Once all of the recommended amount of olive oil has been added, you can decide if you want to add more. I usually add about 1/4 cup more because I like the excess oil to coat my pasta.
  • Add salt. After the ragu mixture has cooked for at least two hours, add salt. Stir and taste. Add more, if desired.
  • Serve. The longer the sauce cooks, the better it will taste. You will know it's done when the olive oil starts to pool on the top of the sauce and only low heat is required to maintain a very gentle simmer. A minimum of 3 hours is recommended. Enjoy over freshly cooked pasta.
    cooked beef ragu sauce in pot.


  • Recipe can easily be cut in half.
  • Leftovers should be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator and consumed within 3-5 days. Ragu sauce freezes well, so given the amount of time it takes to make this recipe, it is recommended you make the full recipe and freeze any leftovers.
  • Ragu sauce is rather heavy, so you can combine with marinara if desired.


Calories: 288kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 452mg | Potassium: 396mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2278IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 2mg