Braised Short Rib Ragu with Pan Fried Gnocchi

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This delicious Instant Pot braised short rib ragu over gnocchi is the ultimate in cold weather comfort food. Saucy, meaty, and rich, you'll absolutely love how this dinner all comes together in half the time it takes in the oven or on the stove!

Craving cozy pasta recipes? I've got you! Try my Panera Bread Copycat Chicken Tortellini Alfredo, Lobster Pasta with Garlic Parm Sauce, or Bacon Mushroom Tortellini!

overhead view of a bowl of short rib ragu with gnocchi and garlic bread on the table

Short Rib Ragù - a Perfectly Cozy Fall Meal 

Y'all, yesterday we brought our fireplace back to life! The first fire of the season, at 42 degrees! Best believe I sat out on my porch with a hot cup of chai and perused my cozy sweaters for something to celebrate this occasion.

I'm so happy to be in cozy season again! I really wanted an easy, luscious meal to kick off fall, and I knew my love for slow cooked short rib ragu was rearing its saucy head. It's one of my absolute favorite things to cook this time of year, and this electric pressure cooker version is the one I tend to make on weekdays when Grey is rushing home from playing outside after school, nose red from the chill and belly ready for dinner.

My Instant Pot short rib ragu recipe is everything you want on a cold autumn or winter's day: a rich sauce and hearty red wine braised short ribs graciously served over tender pillows of crispy pan-fried gnocchi with golden brown sides...ugh, it's just pure heaven!

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Why You'll Love this Instant Pot Short Rib Gnocchi Recipe

  • Cold Weather Wonder - this is a must-make on my fall meal rotation every year. So comforting, so easy to make, and always satisfies my pasta cravings.
  • Rich Flavor - from the richness of the sauce to the hearty beef, and the sharp nutty flavor from the parmesan tossed on top, this dish is packed with lip-smacking goodness!
  • Fantastic for a Sunday Dinner or a Special Occasion - this recipe feels both cozy and comforting, yet decadent and fancy enough to serve guests. 

Equipment Needed


Full ingredients, measurements, and printable instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

ingredients for short rib gnocchi laid out on a table with an electric pressure cooker
  • Beef Short Ribs - look for 'English cut' short ribs as shown, not flanken-style where they are long and thinly sliced.
  • Olive Oil - You can also use vegetable oil, but don't use extra virgin olive oil. We want something that can withstand heat.
  • Pancetta - this is from the pork belly, much like bacon, but it's cured with salt and spices instead of smoked. We're using this to add another layer of flavor to our ragu, and those crispy bits are so yum!
  • A Large Onion, Carrots, and Celery - this is what we call a mirepoix, and this aromatic triple threat is our base of flavor!
  • Garlic - use as much as the ancestors tell you. Mine say around 6 cloves.
  • Basil, Fresh Thyme, and a Bay Leaf or two - the fresh herbs really stand out here, especially the basil. And bay leaves do have a flavor, y'all. Their brightness cut through really rich flavors!
  • Red Wine - if you've never cooked with red wine, use one you drink or tastes good to you. Trust me, don't use some random one. If you aren't a wine drinker, just use more beef broth.
  • Tomato Puree - we really want puree or passata, which is pureed and strained tomatoes. Not sauce, no seasonings, just straight tomato, which is called passata in Italian.
  • Beef Broth - I always keep some Better Than Bouillon on hand when I need to beef up (pun intended) any stocks.
  • Gnocchi - I used fresh gnocchi, which takes about a minute to boil.
  • Parmesan Cheese - do yourself a favor and get a real wedge of cheese! Leave that shaker on the shelf, the flavor and texture of real parm can't be beat.
  • Kosher Salt and Black Pepper

What is Braising?

Braising is a combo-cooking method, meaning there's two stages: a browning step with dry heat, then slow cooking in wet heat with some liquid, classically something with acid and broth. 

This cooking technique is perfect for cuts of meat like short ribs or chuck roast, where there's a lot of tough connective tissue that only break down with low, slow, moist cooking.

The result in our short rib bolognese is extremely tender meat while the collagen from the bones and connective tissue adds to the richness of the sauce. 

How To Make Braised Beef Short Ribs with Gnocchi

short ribs getting browned in a hot electric pressure cooker pot

Step 1 | Season and add the short ribs to your Instant Pot on Sauté mode. Sear the short ribs on all sides, really get a deep golden browned before you remove the ribs and they're set aside on a plate. 

pancetta and vegetables cooking in an instant pot

Step 2 | Toss diced pancetta or bacon and mirepoix into the pan, season generously with salt and pepper. Let it sit for 5 minutes to let the pancetta crisp up and the veggies cook down. Give it an occasional stir. After that, add garlic and herbs. Stir until the garlic smells amazing, but make sure it doesn't burn.

red wine deglazing the bottom of the instant pot with vegetables

Step 3 | You'll notice some browned bits in the bottom of the pot, that is good flavor! Add the red wine to deglaze the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the goodness at the bottom of the pan.

seared short ribs in a pot with tomato puree and seasonings

Step 4 | Add the passata and the beef stock, give it a stir, and add the browned beef ribs back into the braising liquid. Close the lid with the valve set to 'Sealing' and set your electric pressure to manual and cook for 45 minutes.

shredded meat in a bowl with two forks

Step 5 | Let the pressure cooker naturally decompress for 15 minutes, then manually release the steam. Remove the short ribs again to shred the meat, which should be fork tender. Add the meat back into the sauce, and give it all a taste. Does it need a little salt and pepper?

a pan of fried gnocchi

Step 6 | At this point start boiling water for your gnocchi. After boiling your gnocchi, strain 'em with a slotted spoon, pour some olive oil or butter into a nonstick pan over medium heat and cook the gnocchi to them a delicious little golden crust.

bowl of gnocchi topped with ragu and basil

Step 7 | Plate your yummy fried gnocchi and top it generously with short ribs and sauce. Give it a nice little smattering of parmigiano reggiano grated or shaved over the top!

Variations and Substitutions

Homemade Gnocchi - if you want to impress a date or your friends, homemade gnocchi is the way to go! It's actually a lot more easy to make than you'd think, and you don't need a pasta roller to do it! You can make all types of gnocchi: pumpkin, sweet potato, herbed, even ricotta gnocchi!

Stove Top - everything here can be made in a large dutch oven (or large pot with a heavy bottom if you don't have a dutch oven) on a stove top. Just simmer in the dutch oven over medium heat with a lid for 3-4 hours, until the short ribs are pull-apart tender.

Pro Tips

  • Don't overcrowd your Instant Pot - sear the meat batch by batch so you have plenty of room for a maillard reaction --where the meat browns and develops flavor -- instead of steaming. Get a really good sear on your short ribs, the more browned the sides, the more flavor! 
  • Get San Marzano Tomatoes (if you can) - san marzano tomatoes are really great! They have delicious sweet flavor with a mild acidity, even when canned. If you find them, they'll be whole in the can so just give them a blitz in your blender and strain through a fine mesh sieve to make your own passata.
  • Want a super smooth sauce? Grab your immersion blender after you take the short ribs out of the sauce to shred. 
close up of short rib gnocchi with basil and parmesan garnish in a pasta bowl

What To Serve with This Short Rib Ragu

This is a full on dinner on its own, but there's nothing wrong with pulling out all the stops. My suggestions?

  • Delicious garlic bread or focaccia bread - classic, right? Who doesn't love some carbs with their carbs? Bring on the bread!
  • A nice salad - my mama always said your plate should have something green on it. If you're not a salad person, hey, herbs count as something green!
  • A delicious drink - it's cozy season, which means cozy drinks like a caramel apple sangria, mulled pumpkin cider , or apple cider mule.

Storage, Freezing, and Reheating

Store your ragu sauce in an airtight container in the fridge, preferably not in a plastic one (no one wants the dreaded tomato sauce stain). It'll keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

To reheat, nuke it in the microwave until hot or on the stove top in a non-reactive saucepan (stainless steel is fine) over medium heat until warmed through.

As for the gnocchi, they're best eaten freshly cooked.

Freezing instructions: put your ragu sauce in a freezer-safe zip top bag or container and keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw in the fridge and rewarm as stated above.


Can I use a different cut of beef?

Another great cut to use for this is chuck roast, which I used in my beef ragu with pappardelle. It is full of those same connective tissues and is best braised as well! Just cut the chuck roast into smaller chunks so it cooks at the time needed in this recipe.

Could this be made in a crock pot as well?

You definitely could make this recipe in the slow cooker! Just sear and sauté in a pan on the stove, then place all the ingredients into the slow cooker and cook on low until your short ribs are fork tender.

How do you know when gnocchi is done cooking?

When boiling gnocchi, the fully cooked gnocchi will float to the top.

Can I freeze ragu or bolognese sauce?

Absolutely yes, you can freeze this short rib ragu sauce. I suggest putting it in freezer safe zip top bags or keep in those food-saver vacuum bags if you have them, in portions. Frozen ragu/bolognese sauce keeps for 4-6 months when stored properly.
Freeze them flattened out, so that you can simply thaw them quickly in a warm bowl of water, or simply reheat them in a simmer pot of water, if using one of the vacuum bags.

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📖 Recipe

a bowl of short rib gnocchi garnished with basil and parmesan cheese

Instant Pot Short Rib Ragu with Gnocchi

Eden Westbrook
This delicious Instant Pot braised short rib ragu over gnocchi is the ultimate in cold weather comfort food. Saucy, meaty, and rich, you'll absolutely love how this dinner all comes together in half the time it takes in the oven or on the stove!
4.74 from 72 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Pressure Release Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings
Calories 388 kcal


  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil
  • 3 lbs bone-in short ribs or 1 lb boneless short ribs
  • 4 ounces diced pancetta
  • 1 yellow onion small diced
  • 2 medium carrots washed, peeled, and chopped small
  • 3 stalks celery washed and small diced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoon torn fresh basil leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 1 28 oz can tomato puree
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 40 oz gnocchi for 8 servings
  • 2 teaspoon light olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • Fresh Parmesan cheese for garnish


  • To Make the Short Rib Ragu
  • Turn your instant pot/pressure cooker on to Saute mode, adjust to high heat. While it heats up, add in vegetable oil, then pat short ribs dry with a paper towel. Generously season the meat with kosher salt and pepper on all sides.
  • Add the seasoned short ribs to the hot Instant Pot and sear the meat on all sides until well browned. Remove short ribs from pot and set aside on a plate.
  • Add pancetta, onion, carrots, and celery to the pot, and saute the veggies until the onions are translucent, softened, and golden, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and herbs and cook for one to two minutes, stirring to ensure the garlic doesn't burn.
  • Deglaze the fond bits at the bottom of the pan with the red wine, scraping the browned bits off the bottom with your wooden spoon.
  • Add the seared short ribs, pureed tomatoes, and beef broth to the pot. Set Instant Pot to the manual setting for 45 mins and seal the lid.
  • When your ragu is done pressure cooking, let the Instant Pot release the steam for 15 minutes, then carefully turn the vent for manual release until there is no more steam, the pressure valve has fully lowered, and the lid is safe to open.
  • Remove the bones and bay leaves, then remove the meat and shred using forks. Put the meat back into the sauce. Skim excess fat off the top of the ragu and taste for seasoning, add kosher salt and black pepper as needed.
  • Make the Pan Fried Gnocchi
  • Set a large pot of salted water to boil on the stove top over high heat. Once boiling, cook gnocchi according to the package instructions.
  • While the gnocchi boils, set a nonstick pan over another burner on medium heat with 2 tablespoons of oil.
  • When gnocchi is done boiling, use a slotted spoon to scoop them out of the water or drain the pot, shake the gnocchi of excess water, and place them in an even layer in the pan. You'll most likely need to do this in batches if you're making all 8 servings of gnocchi at once.
  • Cook the gnocchi for 2-3 minutes until a golden brown crust forms before flipping over onto their other side to crisp up.
  • Serve the gnocchi in pasta bowls with a hearty serving of the short rib ragu on top. Sprinkle on more torn basil and serve with grated or shaved parmesan cheese.


Storage, Freezing, and Reheating

Store your ragu sauce in an airtight container in the fridge, preferably not in a plastic one (no one wants the dreaded tomato sauce stain). It'll keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To reheat, nuke it in the microwave until hot or on the stove top in a non-reactive saucepan (stainless steel is fine) over medium heat until warmed through.
As for the gnocchi, they're best eaten freshly cooked. So make as many servings as you need at the time of eating.
Freezing instructions: put your ragu sauce in a freezer-safe zip top bag or container and keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw in the fridge and rewarm as stated above.


Serving: 1gCalories: 388kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 30gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 2gCholesterol: 114mgSodium: 233mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2g
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  1. Pingback: Bacon Mushroom Tortellini | Sweet Tea & Thyme
  2. Pingback: Delicious Fall Dinner Recipes Perfect For Christmas Evenings
  3. Marisa F. Stewart says:

    We've made Bolognese sauce countless times but never with short ribs -- that is going to change. I love the idea of putting over homemade gnocchi - another favorite of ours to make from scratch. I'm pinning this recipe.

  4. Another instant pot recipe for the WIN! This was great!

  5. Paula Montenegro says:

    This is such a wonderful and delicious recipe Eden! My family loves it! I make large batches and freeze it for weeknight meals.

  6. I just can't wait now to get all the ingredients that I need for this recipe - it looks sooo good! Definitely a must this January and another great way to enjoy the Instant Pot!

  7. Kelly Anthony says:

    This short rib ragu with gnocchi is calling my name. It will make the perfect date night meal at home to cook for my husband.

  8. Analida Braeger says:

    Thanks for all the great tips on making the sauce and freezing it. I always make too much and need to store it frozen for an easy meal.

  9. Yum -- what a great recipe! The short ribs are so perfectly tender, and I'm in love with how flavorful this sauce is. And the Instant Pot makes it so easy!

  10. Oh wow, this is such a decadent and special meal. I was nervous to make it because it looks like it would be so complicated, but I'm excited to say it was so easy! Such an impressive meal, and the pressure cooker comes to the rescue once again. Can't wait to make it again!

  11. Sandhya Ramakrishnan says:

    That is the perfect one pot meal to make in an Instant pot and so quick to make as well. Love the recipe and truly Instant pot has made my life so much easier. I cook elaborate meals even on weeknights without much effort.

  12. This dish screams comfort food! I love stretchy pant season and could watch hocus pocus any time of the year!

  13. This is the absolute perfect recipe for this time of year - so warm and comforting. I can't wait to try it!

  14. Helen of Fuss Free Flavours says:

    This time of year is definitely about enjoying comfort foods, even if I am feeling guilty about the enjoyments of the past festive season. This kind of meal is exactly what you want after a busy day, so tasty and full of goodness. And so easy to make in the instant pot too.

  15. Jeannette says:

    Oh my. I am OBSESSED with this recipe! Such a wonderful way to get some comfort food into my belly!

  16. I love this idea. I just got an Instant Pot and have been looking for ways to use it. This is perfect.

  17. Jo Allison says:

    I love short ribs and Instant Pot is perfect to get the best out of them in a short amount of time. Your ragu sounds divine and I'm sure my family will love it!

  18. Pam Greer says:

    I haven't tried short ribs in the Instant Pot yet, so I am super excited to try this recipe! I can just imagine all the richness they bring to this ragu!

  19. Kushigalu says:

    What a great recipe to try with instant pot and so many good flavors. Yum!

  20. Ooh this sounds amazing! I never used short ribs for bolognese before - honestly, I only ever used minced meat. But what a great idea! I don't have an instant pot yet but will try it out the old-fashioned way 😉