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    Lamb Ragu

    There are some joys in life that just make you feel happy inside, and for me, making Lamb Ragu is definitely one of them. It’s such a comforting and flavorful Italian sauce. I simmer ground lamb in a seasoned tomato sauce until it’s tender and bursting with flavor.

    It’s made with simple ingredients, and is easy to make. It just requires a bit of patience, because these amazing flavors take time to develop.

    Make your next pasta night a little more special, and cook my beloved Ragu with lamb!

    This Lamb Ragu is an incredibly flavorful and comforting Italian sauce. Tender ground lamb is simmered low and slow in a well seasoned tomato sauce.

    Sometimes, pastas are meant to be quick dinners you can have on the table in a flash. Our Creamy Sausage Pasta, Sicilian Pasta and Ground Chicken Pasta are such dishes.

    This lamb ragu does not fit into that category. Although the actual hands on time is similar, this one needs to simmer away for hours.

    If you’re in a hurry, try our Spaghetti with Meat Sauce instead, and save this one for later.

    Lamb ragu is a great weekend dish, like our Sunday Gravy. Just do your work in the afternoon, then enjoy your glass of wine while those flavors build.

    This Lamb Ragu is an incredibly flavorful and comforting Italian sauce. Tender ground lamb is simmered low and slow in a well seasoned tomato sauce.

    Ingredient Notes

    • Ground lamb – I am using 2 pounds in this sauce. Ragu is primarily a meat sauce, so don’t skimp here.
    • Olive oil
    • Soffritto – Onion, carrot and celery, the “holy trinity” of Italian cooking.
    • Garlic – Our favorite.
    • Crushed tomatoes – Alternately, you can use diced, as they will break down during the long cook time.
    • Tomato paste – For added flavor depth.
    • Herbs – Thyme, rosemary, oregano and bay leaves.
    • Beef stock – Even more layers of flavor.
    • Red wine – I love to cook with wine. Sometimes, I even put it in my food.
    • Salt, pepper and sugar – To taste.

    How to Make Lamb Ragu

    1. Cook your soffritto: First, I heat up some olive oil in a big pot over medium heat. Then, I add in the diced onion, celery, and carrots, and turn the heat down to low. I cook them until they get soft, making sure not to let them brown. It’s important to keep an eye on them so they cook evenly!

    For more detailed tips on this step, refer to our Italian Soffritto post.

    soffritto cooking in a pot

    2. Brown the meat: Next, I add the lamb and garlic to the pot, and use a wooden spoon to break up the meat as it cooks. I keep stirring until the lamb is no longer pink. Then, I stir in the tomato paste and cook it for a few minutes

    3. Build the sauce: I pour in the wine and use it to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, which adds extra flavor. Then, I let it simmer for about 4-5 minutes to allow the wine to reduce slightly.

    Now, I add in crushed tomatoes, beef stock and herbs and stir until well combined.

    adding in the crushed tomatoes and herbs

    4. Be patient… I bring the sauce to a gentle boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low. I let it simmer for at least 2-3 hours, allowing all the flavors to meld together and the sauce to thicken. This slow simmering process is key to developing that rich and delicious flavor in the ragu. While it simmers, check out our roundup of favorite ground lamb recipes.

    If the sauce starts to get too thick, I simply stir in a bit more water to reach the desired consistency. Then, I taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as needed, adding more salt, pepper, or even a pinch of sugar to balance the flavors perfectly. It’s all about making sure the sauce is just right before serving!

    the finished sauce in a pot

    Serving Suggestions

    Ragu is most commonly served with pappardelle pasta, which I am using today. I cook the pasta to al dente, then stir it into the sauce and cook for a few minutes. I love to serve it garnished with a sprinkle of fresh parsley or basil and parmesan cheese.

    This Lamb Ragu is an incredibly flavorful and comforting Italian sauce. Tender ground lamb is simmered low and slow in a well seasoned tomato sauce.

    It can also go with short pastas such as rigatoni, ziti or farfalle.

    This is also great in lasagna. Try it out, and you may declare it the best lasagna you’ve ever had.

    Some days I serve it tossed with gnocchi, or atop a bed of polenta.

    It makes a great base for our Cheesy Tortellini Bake.

    Crockpot Method

    This is a great slow cooker sauce. First, I start by cooking the soffritto in a pot or skillet until it’s nice and fragrant. Then, I brown up the meat until it’s golden brown and flavorful. After that, I transfer the mixture to my crock pot and add in all the remaining ingredients.

    I cover the crock pot and let everything cook on high for about 3-4 hours, or on low for 6-7 hours.

    Can You Use Different Meats?

    Yes, you can use this same recipe with different ground meats. My first choice for an alternative would be a 50/50 mix of ground beef and pork.

    For a lighter dish, you can use ground chicken or poultry. Just keep in mind that the flavors will not be as deep.

    This Lamb Ragu is an incredibly flavorful and comforting Italian sauce. Tender ground lamb is simmered low and slow in a well seasoned tomato sauce.

    Serving Suggestions

    Ragu pasta is a pretty complete meal in itself, with protein, veggies and carbs. However, I also love a nice green salad and some crusty bread on the side.

    If you want to make your own bread to serve with this lamb ragu, it doesn’t get much easier than our No Knead Bread!

    Useful Tips

    • Maximize Flavor: I sear the lamb well before adding liquids. Browning adds depth to your ragu.
    • Herb Hack: If you don’t have fresh herbs, you can substitute with one third the amount of dried herbs.
    • Use Good Wine: I use a quality red wine for deglazing to infuse the ragu with a rich, complex flavor.
    • Sauce Consistency: If your ragu thickens too much during simmering, add a splash of water or stock to reach the desired consistency.
    • Taste as You Go: I adjust seasoning with salt and sugar gradually to build layers of flavor.
    • Cheese Choice: I always grate fresh parmesan for the best melt and flavor. Pre-grated just doesn’t compare.
    This Lamb Ragu is an incredibly flavorful and comforting Italian sauce. Tender ground lamb is simmered low and slow in a well seasoned tomato sauce.

    There you go friends, one more cracking pasta dish. This one requires a bit of love, but it is so worth it in the end.

    Elevate your Italian culinary skills, and make my Lamb Ragu. It’s an incredible recipe, and one I highly recommend. Try it on a lazy weekend, and let me know how you like it.

    Pin or bookmark this great recipe so you always know where to find it. And be sure to subscribe to GypsyPlate, we have plenty of delicious meals from around the world coming your way!

    Lamb Ragu, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    bowl of lamb ragu atop the Gypsy Plate

    Try these other delicious pasta recipes!
    Clam Linguine
    Gigi Hadid Pasta
    Salmon Pasta
    Mediterranean Pasta
    Shrimp fra Diavolo
    Jambalaya Pasta
    Rasta Pasta
    Pasta e Piselli

    featured image for lamb ragu post

    Lamb Ragu

    Yield: 6-8 servings
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 3 hours
    Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes

    My Lamb Ragu is an incredibly flavorful and comforting Italian sauce. Tender ground lamb is simmered low and slow in a well seasoned tomato sauce.


    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 2 small carrots, peeled and diced
    • 2 celery stalks, diced
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 5-6 garlic cloves
    • 2 pounds ground lamb
    • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
    • 1 cup red wine
    • 28oz crushed tomatoes
    • 1 cup beef stock
    • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
    • 7-8 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 2 bay leaves
    • salt to taste
    • pepper to taste
    • sugar to taste


      1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion, celery and carrot, then reduce heat to low. Sauté till the vegetables become soft, without browning them.
      2. Add in the lamb, along with garlic, and break it up with a wooden spoon. Cook till it is no longer pink.
      3. Stir in the tomato paste and cook it for 2-3 minutes.
      4. Add wine and deglaze the pan. Simmer for 4-5 minutes, to allow the wine to reduce a bit.
      5. Add in your crushed tomatoes, beef stock and herbs. Stir until well combined.
      6. Bring the sauce to a low boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Allow to simmer uncovered for at least 2-3 hours. If the sauce begins to get too thick, stir in more water. Taste and adjust for salt, pepper and sugar.
      7. Toss with your favorite pasta, garnish with parsley and freshly grated parmesan cheese.


    1. For best flavors, start with whole canned San Marzano tomatoes and crush them by hand in a bowl.
    2. Leftovers: You can refrigerate leftover lamb ragu in an airtight container for 3-4 days. If you have stored the sauce and pasta separately, reheat the sauce on stovetop and give the pasta a quick dunk in boiling water to reheat.
    3. The ragu sauce can be frozen for 3 months in a freezer safe container. We prefer to cook fresh pasta, rather than freezing it.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 8 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 433Total Fat 26gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 110mgSodium 428mgCarbohydrates 13gFiber 3gSugar 7gProtein 31g

    Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.

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    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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