Slow Cooker Chicken Ragu

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If you are looking for an easy dinner that is full of flavor and sure to please the whole family, try this delicious slow cooker chicken ragu. The succulent chicken is slow cooked in a delicious and flavorful tomato sauce for hours, making for a hearty meal when served over top of pasta.

A top view of a bowl of pasta covered in chicken ragu.

I love looking through cooking magazines.   It’s one of my guilty pleasures.  I often find recipes I want to make or just get ideas for new creations based on the photos and articles that are in the magazine.

I was looking through one of my magazines when I came across a recipe for turkey ragu made in the slow cooker. This sounded like a simple, easy Sunday night dinner. 

However, when I went to the market turkey was more expensive than chicken so I changed my plan and bought the chicken.  Either one would work great in this recipe so use whichever you like better.


  • chicken breasts or thighs (get boneless but you can use either one)
  • olive oil
  • sea salt (you can use table salt but sea salt or kosher salt will yield a better flavor)
  • black pepper (I prefer fresh ground in this case but you can use already ground)
  • carrots
  • celery
  • onion (I generally use a sweet onion but this last time I used a red onion and it worked)
  • garlic cloves
  • ground oregano
  • Italian seasonings
  • crushed tomatoes (or you can use whole tomatoes and crush yourself)
  • diced tomatoes (I usually get the ones with peppers and onions in them to give them more flavor)
  • chicken broth
  • sugar (because red sauces need sugar-I said it and I believe it!)
  • red or white wine (use what you have as long as it’s dry and not sweet)
  • pasta (use your favorite shape, I like ziti or rigatoni because it holds the sauce well)

This recipe is fairly easy to make.   I like to saute the chicken and the vegetables before putting them in the slow cooker but you don’t have too.  You really can just put all the ingredients in the slow cooker and let them cook all day.

A bowl of Chicken Ragu.

While I used carrots, celery, and onion to flavor my sauce you can use your favorite vegetables.   Other vegetables that could be added would be bell peppers, mushrooms, or fresh tomatoes.

Can I make Chicken Ragu in an Instant Pot?

Yes!  I actually made it in the Instant Pot the last time I made it.   Add all of the ingredients except the crushed tomatoes and the wine to the Instant Pot.   Close the lid and cook on high pressure for 25 minutes.  Natural release for 10 minutes then release the remaining pressure.  Open the lid, turn on the saute feature, and add in the crushed tomatoes and wine.  Saute for 5-10 minutes or until your sauce has thickened.

Can I freeze Chicken Ragu?

You sure can!  One of my favorite reasons for making this sauce is that it freezes well.   It makes a big old pot and we usually only eat about half of it so I end up freezing the other half.   To freeze let the ragu cool for an hour or so.   Place it in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 6 months.  When ready to use you can either thaw in the refrigerator over night or I like to slice open the freezer bag and put the frozen sauce in a saucepan to heat it up.

Can I use ground beef instead of chicken?

Absolutely.   The only change is that if you use ground beef or ground turkey you will need to cook it before adding it to the slow cooker or Instant Pot.   You could also add diced beef, pork, or turkey in place of the chicken if you prefer.

How do I store Chicken Ragu?

Once it is made you can store it in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

A freezer bag full of chicken raagu.

After the sauce has finished cooking you can use it immediately or you can store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.  I like using mine over top of short pasta shapes because I feel like it sticks to those better and I get more sauce with each bite.

This sauce is also great on top of chicken parmesan or even use it in lasagna.   It’s a thicker, heartier sauce but can be used like any pasta sauce without having to add additional meat to the dish that you are making.

More Pasta Recipes:

The ragu itself is super flavorful.   Being in the slow cooker all day really helps to meld the flavors of the chicken and vegetables into a lovely sauce.

Chicken ragu is great in the place of jarred marinara sauce.  It’s also a sneaky way to hide several servings of vegetables in a pasta dish.  The veggies just sink into the sauce and give a ton of flavor without really standing out.

We ended up serving our ragu over top of ziti.   It makes a lot so we had enough for dinner one night, leftovers for lunch two days in a row, and then we froze a batch to enjoy later.  I love easy meals that help to stock the freezer!

Pin Image:  A bowl of pasta with chicken ragu on top of it, text title, a cutting board with ingredients on it.

If you’ve tried my Slow Cooker Chicken Ragu or any other recipe on Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment letting me know how you liked it. I love hearing from you! You can FOLLOW ME on:

A top view of a bowl of pasta covered in chicken ragu.

Slow Cooker Chicken Ragu

Slow Cooker Chicken Ragu is a hearty and flavorful tomato sauce made in the slow cooker.
4.50 from 2 votes
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 12 servings (1 cup each)
Author: Hezzi-D


  • 1 ½ pounds boneless chicken thighs or breasts diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 3 celery stalks chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 c. chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ c. dry red or white wine
  • 1 pound pasta


  • Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and place in the skillet. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the chicken is starting to brown. Remove from the skillet and place on the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Add the remaining oil to the pan and add the onion, carrots, and celery. Saute for 5 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add the vegetables to the slow cooker.
  • Add the garlic, oregano, Italian seasonings, both cans of tomatoes, chicken broth, sugar, and wine to the slow cooker.
  • Stir everything to combine then put the slow cooker on low, cover, and let cook for 8 hours.
  • Before serving cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and keep warm.
  • Serve chicken ragu over top of pasta.


Recipe inspired by Cooking Club of America

A bowl of pasta with chicken ragu on top of it.

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  1. The flavors sound amazing! Love that you used slow cooker. Easy meal that can be frozen for later too. A winner!

4.50 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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