Freezer Meal Beef Ragu Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Freezer Meal Beef Ragu

12 reviews / 4.2 average

This Freezer Meal Beef Ragu is SO easy to make and perfect for pasta lovers.

My favorite thing about this recipe is that it doesn't require too much prep. Pretty much everything gets added to a bag or a container and it's ready to freeze in about 10 minutes.

Not to mention the fact that it is the perfect cold-weather complement to spaghetti, pappardelle, baked pasta dishes, polenta, zucchini noodles, and even just a piece of crusty, buttery French bread. Hello, yummy.

How To Make Freezer Meal Beef Ragu:

It's pretty easy. Just pack everything into a bag or a freezer-safe container.

A bag with beef ragu in it.

When you're ready to cook it, I prefer the Instant Pot, but you can also cook it in the slow cooker. Instructions for both are below.

Beef ragu in a pot.

Once it's cooked, shred it up and mix it with your pasta of choice! Pappardelle is a personal favorite. I usually top mine with some ricotta and Parmesan for a little somethin' extra, ya know?

Beef Ragu with ricotta on top.
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Beef Ragu with ricotta on top.

Freezer Meal Beef Ragu

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x


Freezer Meal Beef Ragu - easy comfort food from frozen to dinner! Serve it up with pasta, polenta, rice, and more.


Units Scale


  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 cup mirepoix, fresh or frozen
  • 2 pounds flank steak or beef chuck, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 bay leaves


INSTANT POT: For beef chuck: From frozen, 65 minutes on high pressure + 10 minutes nature release. For top sirloin: From frozen, 45 minutes on high pressure + 10 minutes nature release.

SLOW COOKER: From thawed, 6 hours on high.

FINAL STEP: Shred the meat and serve with pasta, baked potatoes, polenta, rice, cauliflower rice, gnocchi, zucchini noodles, etc.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 55 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cook
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: freezer meal beef ragu, beef ragu

View original recipe here.

You might also like our freezer meals post.

Frozen meals stored in bags.

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love most of your recipes but this was very watery and a bit bland. Could definitely use tomato paste and some extra flavourings.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    If I have frozen beef that I didn’t cut into chunks can I still cook it for the same amount of time?

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love the vast majority of your IP and meal prep recipes… this was disappointing. The final product needed some stronger spices aside from the bay leaf; I ended up serving the sauce over gnocchi with fresh parmesan. Its a good meal for sustenance and speed, but it didn’t hit the mark for flavor or texture.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    We made this exactly as written (we froze it, then thawed it, and crock-pot cooked it). And we loved it. It IS liquid-y but we served it over parmesan polenta so the more runny nature of the ragu didn’t bother us a bit. Delicious! I’m looking forward to making it again…

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    LOVED this!! We tend to like really flavorful recipes and this absolutely hit the mark. So, so easy. I didn’t cut the beef into chunks before freezing and it cooked beautifully in the Instant Pot. The whole family liked it so this one is going in the rotation.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Tried to make this tonight but the frozen block was too big for the 6 quart instant pot. Any recommendations?

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Do you have any tricks to go from frozen in ziplock bag to round Instant Pot? I’ve been having to thaw my frozen bags before being able to dump into Instant Pot.

    Thank you!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I saw another person comment: freeze in a empty ice cream tub. I haven’t tried it, but I plan to. I plan on putting it in a freezer bags and then putting it into the bucket to freeze….. hoping it works!

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      I was wondering the same but also wondering how people get the frozen product out of the ziplock bag? Are they defrosting first?

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Defrosting definitely does the trick! You don’t need to defrost all the way, but just enough for the tomatoes to loosen up. You could also freeze everything except the crushed tomatoes, and just add them in when you’re ready to cook.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi there!
    I have spent so much time searching for instant pot times if not frozen on these 12 frozen meals recipes??? I’m new to the instant pot & have had some serious fails so not trusting my judgment guessing on reduced time if not frozen. I see you only give “if thawed time” for slow cookers? What about if we want to throw it all in the pot & eat tonight? Instantly? 🙂 First time commenting, figured it was worth a try. Thank you!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Today my husband made Spicy shrimp tacos with garlic cilantro lime slaw and it was delicious!!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    I agree, this was more watery than I expected. I was expecting more spaghetti sauce, tomatoey. BUT I did not find it bland at all…..the flavor was delicious. I used the sirloin and put over bowtie whole wheat pasta. It’s a good weeknight meal because it’s not as pretty looking as I thought it would be. However, I do think it was really yummy:)

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love lamb ragu so I was thinking of prepping this with lamb instead of beef. Should I change the cook time (instant pot), or is there a certain cut of lamb that would be most similar? PS: Thanks for all these recipes! I’m having a baby soon and these are perfect meal prep options!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hi, Rebecca! We haven’t tested this out with lamb, so it’s a little hard for us to say how this will turn out. It looks like beef and lamb cook times are generally the same, so we’d recommend sticking with the cook time as written.

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Made this in my instant pot last night. Meat was easy to shred and flavorful. I added about a tablespoon of tomato paste to the recipe. There was a lot of liquid, but I ladled out the meat and veggies and added liquid as needed to toss with the pasta. I probably had about 1.5 cups left over of just liquid that I ended up discarding.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    This was delicious! The flavor of the sauce is so good. I served it over chickpea pasta to keep it gluten free. Will be making this again next week and probably all winter. Thank you!!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    I cooked this up tonight after freezing it a couple of months ago. I put a couple of extra bay leaves in and a dash of red wine when cooking and it was delicious! I’ll be making this again for the future. Thanks!

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hello! This looks delicious, but I’m in the UK and haven’t seen ready-made mirepoix anywhere. Can I just use raw diced carrot/onions/celery instead, or would I need to cook them in a particular way to get the flavours right?

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Made this last night (though not from frozen) with a few tweaks after reading a few of the comments: the 28oz can of tomatoes I bought also had basil added; since the meat was not frozen, I browned the meat and veggies, deglazing the pot with a splash of red wine; and I used dried thyme and an “Herbs of Italy” dried herb mix (didn’t measure, just recklessly shook both into the pot haha). I let the sauce simmer a bit once finished cooking, but overall, I did not seem to have an issue with the sauce being overly watery (perhaps because I browned the veggies and they had released some of their water??). Anyway, from start to finish, it took about an hour to make, which included chopping, browning, and 45 mins in instant pot. I think this is a great base recipe for a quick ragu, and it seems very forgiving if you wanted to alter it to get more flavor packed in.

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for all the freezer meal options! Am I missing the cook time if it’s been thawed?

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love this recipe and have made it a few times over the past couple years. All I have in my freezer right now is a beef brisket, do you think that cut could work?