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Tender Pork Ragu

This tender Stove Top Pork Roast is rustic, simple, and supremely delicious. Using an affordable cut of pork shoulder, this dish transforms into a savory and guest-worthy meal after a long, slow braise. And the best part is, you can make it a day or two ahead of time!

Tender stovetop pork ragu in a pot.
This Stove Top Pork Ragu is simple, tender, and rustic and can be made a day or two ahead of time.

Video: Watch Us Make This Recipe

What is Pork Ragu?

Pork ragu is a flavorful Italian dish made with slow-cooked, tender pieces of pork, typically pork shoulder or pork butt. The pork roast is braised or simmered for an extended period in a savory sauce that usually includes ingredients like tomatoes, onions, garlic, and herbs. This slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld and the pork to become extra succulent and super tender.

Why This Recipe Stands Out

We all love a hearty, comforting meal that’s easy to prepare and packed with flavor. This stove-top pork roast recipe is just that and more. Here’s why we’re raving about it:

  • Affordable: This recipe uses pork shoulder, an affordable cut of meat, making it budget-friendly without sacrificing flavor or quality.
  • Flavors: The combination of fresh herbs, garlic, and a full-bodied red wine gives this pork roast an incredibly savory flavor.
  • Make-ahead: This recipe can be made 1-2 days ahead of time, making it one of the most perfect meal prep recipes for those busy weekdays. The flavors in this dish gain depth after resting overnight, making it even more delicious the next day.
  • Versatile: This stove-top pork roast can be served with crusty bread, mashed potatoes, or rice, making it a versatile dish that can be tailored to your preference.
  • Friends and Family: With its tender, savory pork and rich, hearty sauce, this recipe is sure to impress your people, and it’s one of our favorite holiday recipes.
  • Meal Prep: This tender pork ragu can be stored in freezer containers for future meals, making it a convenient option for those busy days. It also tastes amazing the next day!

Key Recipe Ingredients

Overhead shot of all ingredients required to make pork ragu and neatly labeled.
  • Boneless Pork Shoulder/Butter – We use 3 pounds of this affordable cut, which, when slow braised, transforms into a supremely tender and savory dish that’s guest-worthy.
  • Tomato Paste and Crushed Tomatoes – These ingredients add a rich tomato flavor and a thick, hearty texture to the ragu.
  • Full Bodied Red Wine – Half a cup of this is used to deglaze the pot and add a depth of flavor to the ragu.
  • Fresh Thyme, Rosemary, and Bay Leaves – These herbs are classic for roasts and anything made in a big pot or Dutch oven, and they infuse the ragu with their aromatic flavors.

Substitutions And Variations

This stovetop pork ragu recipe is hearty and flavorful on its own, but there’s always room for personal touches and variations. Here are some ideas to make this dish uniquely yours:

  • The Meat: While we’ve used pork shoulder, you can experiment with other cuts of pork, or even switch to beef or chicken. Just remember, the cooking time might vary depending on your choice of meat.
  • Spices: Feel free to play around with spices. You can add smoked paprika for a smoky flavor, or a pinch of red pepper flakes if you prefer a spicy kick.
  • Vegetables: You can add more vegetables to this ragu. Bell peppers, carrots, or mushrooms would work great like they do in our Chicken Cacciatore.
  • Herbs: If you want to change up the herbs, try using basil or oregano instead of thyme and rosemary.
  • Garnishes: This ragu is garnished with fresh herbs, but grated parmesan cheese or a dollop of sour cream could add a delicious twist.

Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions

  1. Towel-dry the pork thoroughly, then season it evenly.
  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat and brown the pork on all sides.
  1. Add onion and garlic to the pot with the remaining oil, stirring frequently until the onion caramelizes.
  2. Stir in the tomato paste until it darkens slightly in color. Pour in the wine, ensuring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  1. Add the tomatoes along with their juices, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves to the pot. Stir in water and pork along, with accumulated juices. Bring to a boil, followed by simmer for 3-4 hours.
  2. Shred the pork into bite-sized pieces. Taste the sauce and season with additional salt, pepper, and herbs as desired.

For full list of ingredients and instructions, see recipe card below.

How To Prep Ahead

This stovetop pork roast is a rustic, simple, and supremely delicious dish that we can make a day or two ahead of time. Take a look at our best prep-ahead tips for this recipe:

  • Prep the Pork: You can cut the pork shoulder into quarters and season it with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper ahead of time. Just make sure to store it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.
  • Prep the Ingredients: Finely chop the onion and garlic cloves in advance and store them in the fridge. This will save you some time when you’re ready to start cooking.
  • Make the Sauce: You can also prepare the tomato paste, red wine, and crushed tomatoes with juices in advance. Add in the fresh thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves, and store the mixture in the fridge. When you’re ready to cook, just add the pork and simmer until it is fork-tender.
pork ragu on a spoon.
This tender Stove Top Pork Ragu shreds easily and has the perfect savory sauce.

What To Serve With StoveTop Pork Ragu


  • Ragu is the ideal dish to serve over a plate of pasta. A classic choice is tagliatelle or pappardelle, but other pasta staples like penne, fusilli, rotini, or even spaghetti are great options.





  • Bread is always a good idea when serving pork roast. Our Homemade Dinner Rolls are soft, fluffy, and perfect for soaking up the delicious juices from the roast.
  • For a more rustic bread option, try our Crusty French Bread. It is crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and pairs perfectly with the pork roast.

Commonly Asked Questions

What cut of meat should I use for pork ragu?

For this recipe, we recommend using an affordable boneless pork shoulder or pork butt. This budget-friendly cut is perfect for long, slow braising and turns into a savory and guest-worthy dish after ample simmer time.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

Absolutely! This Stove Top Pork Roast can be made up to 2 days in advance. The flavors actually gain depth after resting overnight. Just be sure to cover and cool it at room temp before chilling it in the fridge until you’re ready to reheat.

What kind of pot should I use for this recipe?

The pork is cooked when it is very fork-tender and the sauce is thickened. This usually takes about 3-4 hours of simmering on the stove.

How long does Stove Top Pork Roast keep?

It can be kept in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. If you’ve frozen it, it can last up to 2-3 months. Just be sure to store it in airtight containers to maintain its freshness and flavor.

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

A pot of Pork Ragu with herbs

Tender Stovetop Pork Ragu

4.98 from 35 ratings
This Tender Stovetop Pork Ragu is rustic, simple, and supremely delicious. Everything is cooked in one big pot, to savory perfection. This fork-tender Pork Ragu is a surefire crowd pleaser. Bonus: it can be made a day or two ahead of time!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Amy Dong


  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into quarters
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 TB olive or canola oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • ½ cup red wine, full bodied
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes , with juices
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Optional Garnishes: freshly chopped parsley or other fresh herbs


  • Towel-dry the pork on all sides. Sprinkle a thin, even layer of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper on all sides of pork and pat seasoning in.
  • Heat 1 TB oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy pot over medium heat. Brown pork on all sides, 10-12 min. Transfer browned pork to a dish.
  • Remove burned bits from pot but leave rest of pan drippings and golden bits there. Add onion and garlic to the pot with remaining 1 TB oil. Stir often over medium heat until onion is caramelizing, 5-10 min. Add tomato paste and stir until slightly darkened in color, 1 min.
  • Add wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until mixture is thickened, 1 min. Add tomatoes with juices, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves; stir in 2 cups water. Add pork with accumulated juices.
  • Bring liquid to a boil and reduce to simmer. With lid slightly ajar, continue to simmer until pork is very fork-tender and sauce is thickened (thicker than a typical pasta sauce) 3-4 hours.
  • Shred pork or break apart into bite-size pieces. Taste and season with additional kosher salt and black pepper, as needed. Garnish with more freshly chopped herbs, as desired. 


  • For best results, make sure to towel-dry the pork before seasoning; this helps the salt and pepper stick better and ensures a nice, even crust when browning.
  • Don’t skip browning the pork on all sides; this step adds a deep, savory flavor to the ragu that you can’t get any other way.
  • Keep those flavorful pan drippings after browning the pork; they’re packed with flavor and will add richness to the onions and garlic as they caramelize.
  • Use a full-bodied red wine for deglazing the pot; it will contribute to the robust flavor of the sauce and help pick up all those tasty browned bits.
  • Be patient and let the pork simmer with the lid slightly ajar; this allows the sauce to thicken and the pork to become fork-tender, creating the perfect ragu texture.
  • Fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme are key to this dish’s rustic charm; they infuse the sauce with aromatic flavors that dried herbs just can’t match.
  • Serve your delicious pork roast with some crusty bread, mashed potatoes, or rice.
  • Remember, this dish tastes even better the next day, so don’t hesitate to make it ahead of time; the flavors will meld and deepen, making your pork ragu even more delicious.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating. We ❤️ hearing from you! 
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Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 385kcal | Carbohydrates: 16.3g | Protein: 54.3g | Fat: 11.2g | Saturated Fat: 2.1g | Cholesterol: 165.5mg | Sodium: 358.2mg | Fiber: 3.9g | Sugar: 8.6g
Course: Dinner, Main
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Gluten Free
Method: Stovetop

More To Cook And Eat

4.98 from 35 votes (29 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


    • Marlene Pedesclaux
    • 5 stars

    As a follower of Paleo style eating, it’s hard for me to find “regular” recipes I can use but this is it! I cooked it a few days ago and could barely manage to save enough to freeze. It was wonderful and quite unlike anything I’ve tried. I always saw pork butts at the supermarket but never got any because I did not know what to do with them. I do now! I didn’t use potatoes or rice with it, of course, but it needed nothing else anyway. So great.

      • Amy Dong

      So happy to hear that, Marlene!! 🙂 🙂

        • Marlene Pedesclaux
        • 5 stars

        Next up is your Sweet Potato Sausage Casserole. Can’t wait to try it!

    • Allie S

    Trying this tomorrow! I have some garden root veggies to roast on the side. Will let you know how it turns out!! 🙂

    • Beck & Bulow
    • 5 stars

    I need to cook 3 pork tenderloins…should I cooke separately, or an I cook all at once?

      • chewoutloud

      If they add up to about 3 pounds total, you can follow recipe as written – except you’ll need to lessen cook time by quite a bit, as tenderloins are a very different cut than pork shoulder/butt. Rather than simmering for hours, it will likely be done with less than 1 hour simmer time.

    • Julie

    Can you cook this on low in a crockpot?

      • chewoutloud

      Yes, Julie! I’d suggest cooking on low, 8-10 hours or until tender. Enjoy!

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