Oven Braised Short Rib Ragu – the most tender and delicious ragu meat sauce is made using a very special kind of short rib and a savory bolognese sauce.

I’ve been obsessed with figuring this recipe out since Claire was a baby…which was 12 years ago now! How is that even possible? 12 years old?! I digress…

After countless attempts at this recipe, I have finally nailed it and flanken ribs really are the secret. I can’t even explain it, but they just melt in your mouth and make for the perfect protein in this ragu!

The sauce is made of simple vegetables, tomatoes, fresh herbs and bold aromatics. It’s luscious!

a photo of a plate full of savory short rib ragu topped with parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

Ingredients for Short Rib Ragu

The ingredients list might look long but every single ingredient has it’s role in making the most amazing ragu. Here is what you will need:

For the Ribs

  • Flanken Ribs – ask the butcher, and trust me on this one!
  • Olive Oil – used to brown the short ribs
  • Aromatics: yellow onion, carrot, celery, garlic, rosemary, thyme, parsley, bay leaves
  • Simmering Sauce: beef broth, cranberry (or grape) juice, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce

For the Sauce

  • Fat: butter, olive oil
  • Vegetables: carrots, celery, red onion, garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce, fire roasted tomatoes
  • Liquids: cream, milk, cooking white wine
  • Aromatics and Seasonings: lemon zest, lemon juice, nutmeg, bay leaves, salt, pepper
  • Parmesan Cheese – used to top the sauce and pasta
The measurements for each ingredient as well as detailed instructions on how to make the ribs and sauce can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post. You can also save or print the recipe there.

a photo of a large black plate full of thick hearty pasta mixed with a lucious tomato meat sauce and topped with grated parmesan.

What are Flanken Ribs?

Flanken ribs are pieces of beef that are thinly sliced across the rib bones. Each piece of meat has a few pieces of rib bone surrounded by beautifully marbled meat. It is actually the same meat as regular short ribs, but they are just cut differently.

Why Use Flanken Ribs

They cook up super tender and don’t need hours and hours to become juicy and melt-in-your-mouth.

a close up photo someone using a fork to twirl a bite of short rib ragu from a plate full of pasta topped with a hearty meat sauce.

What to Substitute for Flanken Ribs

If you can’t find flanken ribs, regular short ribs will work just fine.

What Does Braised Mean?

Braising means to cook at a high temperature first for a short period of time, usually browning a meat, followed by a low temperature simmer in a cooking liquid for a long period of time.


a photo of a large black dinner plate full of thick flat pasta mixed with a hearty short rib ragu sauce and topped with fresh mozzarella.

What is Ragu?

Plain and simple, ragu is an Italian meat sauce that is hearty, flavorful, slow cooked and usually tomato based. You’ve probably had ragu and not even considered that it was ragu. If you’ve had our authentic Italian bolognese, then you’ve had ragu! A ragu sauce is typically served over pasta.

What Type of Pasta to Use

With a thick, hearty sauce, you want to use a sturdy pasta. I prefer to use pappardelle because it grabs onto the sauce so well. Sometimes it can be a little hard to find, so feel free to use fettuccine as a back up.

This sauce also goes well over polenta, gnocchi or even mashed potatoes. Yummmm!


a photo of a black dinner plate full of cooked pappardelle mixed with a hearty, bold and juicy short rib ragu.

Can Short Rib Ragu Be Made in the Slow Cooker?

This ragu could be made in a slow cooker, but I really wouldn’t recommend it. The sauce doesn’t reduce and caramelize properly so that flavor is all off.

It’s the same story for the Instant Pot too. I just don’t recommend it.


a photo of a large black plate full of thick hearty pasta mixed with a lucious tomato meat sauce and topped with grated parmesan.

Storing, Reheating and Freezing

Leftover short rib ragu should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It will keep for up to 5 days.

The sauce can be reheated on the stovetop and then tossed with freshly cooked pasta.

To freeze the ragu, let it cool completely, and then store it in an airtight container. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator and then reheat it on the stovetop and toss with your pasta.

a photo of a plate full of savory short rib ragu topped with parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

If you’re looking for a meal that looks and tastes like it was made at a 5 star Italian restaurant that you can make in the comfort of your own kitchen, then this oven braised short rib ragu is the recipe for you!


More Outrageous Short Rib Recipes to Try:


Oven Braised Short Rib Ragu

4.23 from 9 votes
Servings: 15
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes


The most tender and delicious ragu meat sauce is made using a very special kind of short rib and a savory bolognese sauce


For the Ribs

  • 3-4 Pounds Flanken Ribs
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion, quartered
  • 1 Large Carrot, chopped
  • 1 Stalk Celery, cut in thirds
  • 6 Cloves Garlic, whole, paper removed
  • 3 1/2 Cups Beef Broth
  • 1 1/2 Cups Cranberry or Grape Juice, see note
  • 1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Sprigs Rosemary
  • 5 Sprigs Thyme
  • 3 Sprigs Parsley
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Dash Worcestershire Sauce

For the Sauce

  • 1 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive oil
  • 2 Carrots, minced
  • 2 Celery, minced
  • 1 Red Onion, minced
  • 6 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Cups Tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Cans Tomato Sauce, 15 oz cans
  • 15 oz Tomatoes, fire roasted
  • 1/4 Cup Cream , heavy *SEE NOTE
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 1 Dash Cooking White Wine , see note
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Squeeze Lemon Juice
  • 1 Dash Nutmeg
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Salt and Pepper , to taste
  • Parmesan Cheese, for serving


For the Sauce

  • Heat an oven to 425 degrees.
  • Place 2 Cups of fresh tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil and salt.
  • Roast for 20 minutes or until soft and charred bits are appearing.
  • Remove the tomatoes and set aside.
  • Once cooled a little, blend the tomatoes in a blender to make a tomato sauce. Set aside and start on the ribs, you'll return to the sauce in a minute.

For the Ribs

  • Heat the oven to 325.
  • Season each side of the ribs with salt.
  • In a large dutch oven over medium high heat, brown the ribs in batches.
  • Add all ribs back into the pot along with all remaining ingredients.
  • Bring to a simmer then place the lid on and bake for 3 hours.
  • Meanwhile, work on the sauce.

For the Sauce continued...

  • In a dutch oven or pot over medium high heat, add the butter and oil. Once melted, add the carrots, celery, and onion.
  • Saute, stirring occasionally until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Start adding all other ingredients (i.e. tomatoes, lemon zest and juice, and cream).
  • Stir to combine and simmer for 2-3 hours or up to an entire afternoon.
  • Remove the ribs from the oven after 3 hours and pour about 1/2-1 cup of the liquid into the sauce. Discard all other components and begin shredding the meat. It should be so crazy tender you hardly have to touch it. Add the meat to the sauce and simmer another 30 minutes.
  • Remove the bay leaves and serve with fresh pasta and fresh parmesan cheese.



  • You can use whole milk instead of the milk and cream You can use real white wine, we just don't drink so we don't have that. 😉
  • Instead of the vinegars and juices you can use red wine. 
  • Can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.


Serving: 1gCalories: 457kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 18gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 2gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 718mgPotassium: 744mgFiber: 3gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 3140IUVitamin C: 28mgCalcium: 61mgIron: 3mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: 100 + BEST Easy Beef Recipes for Dinner

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