Homemade Ragu Sauce

Total Time

Prep: 25 min. Cook: 2 hours


10 servings (7-1/2 cups)

Updated: Jun. 30, 2023
My family loves homemade spaghetti sauce and this one is a big hit. I always make sure to serve this ragu sauce recipe with plenty of garlic bread. —Kate Gaul, Dubuque, IA


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 pound bacon strips, diced
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 small carrots, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup dry red wine or beef broth
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin, nutmeg and pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Hot cooked pasta


  1. In a Dutch oven, cook the beef, pork, bacon, onions, celery and carrots over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes longer. Add wine; cook until liquid is reduced by half, 4-5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, bay leaves, sugar and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until thickened, stirring occasionally, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
  3. Discard bay leaves. Add the cream, butter and parsley; cook 2 minutes longer. Stir in cheese. Serve with pasta.
Lighter Ragu Bolognese: Substitute lean ground turkey for the beef and pork.

Ragu Sauce Tips

What is the difference between a ragu and a Bolognese?

Bolognese is a form of ragu. Both types of pasta sauces contain meat—usually beef, pork or veal, and pancetta. Ragu traditionally uses white wine and more tomatoes, while some bolognese recipes using only a few tablespoons of tomato paste. Bolognese will also contain more minced vegetables like celery, onion and carrot.

Why do you put cream in ragu sauce?

Adding milk or cream to a ragu bolognese adds a creamy, velvety texture and enriches the sauce, making it perfect to serve with homemade pasta. Add a basket of garlic knots for a delicious meal.

How long does ragu sauce last?

Ragu and other meat sauces will last three to four days in the refrigerator. Making a big batch? Store extra portions of sauce in the freezer for up to three months.

Research contributed by Catherine Ward, Taste of Home Prep Kitchen Manager

Nutrition Facts

3/4 cup: 308 calories, 19g fat (9g saturated fat), 70mg cholesterol, 800mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 3g fiber), 18g protein.

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