Best Pork Ragu Recipe

Best Pork Ragu Recipe is a rich, thick tomato sauce made with San Marzano tomatoes, onions, garlic, sausage links and pork tenderloin. Then the tomato sauce is slowly simmered with seared pork until it thickens and the flavor intensifies. This is a delicious pork ragu, and it’s perfect for any Sunday meal, holidays, and special occasions. 

Pork Ragu Recipe…

Every Italian grandmother and mother has probably made a pork ragu in their lifetime because pork was less expensive than beef. 

Even though my husband and I have made both our mom’s, and his mom’s sauce, this time we prefer my mom’s pork ragu over his. 

First, you should know, that making pork ragu is the same concept as making a beef ragu, needing time to simmer the tomato sauce.

Similar to our recipe for Braciole Sicilian Styleand to our Mom’s Sunday Meatballs.  Plus, it’s different from our mom’s classic bolognese and our rigatoni all’amatriciana. 

Best Pork Ragu Recipe by

But first, what is a Ragu?

Ragu, in Italian describes a rich, slowly cooked tomato meat sauce. It is very hearty, thick and intensely flavorful. Different from our mom’s marinara sauce which is very light and contains no meat.

Ragu happens to be about the meat its simmered with.

Italians love to make a Ragu sauce on Sunday’s. Why? Because Sunday was a day to chill and relax with the family.

Ingredients Needed for the Best Pork Ragu

For our pork ragu, you will need: (6 main ingredients)

  • large yellow onions – at least 3 of them.
  • garlic cloves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • imported San Marzano peeled tomatoes – at least 3 to 4 cans.
  • Italian sweet sausage links – we used 8 links, but you can add more or less.
  • pork tenderloin – a package of pork tenderloin is usually one size (about 1.5 to 2 pounds).
  • salt
  • and a very large saucepot

When making the best pork ragu, there are 3 steps:

  • First, the tomato sauce is made before the pork goes in, and it simmers for an hour.  
  • Second, the porks are seared (see my notes on the recipe card) and then added to the already simmering tomato sauce. 
  • And finally, the sauce continues to slowly simmer for additional 30 minutes until the meats are perfectly tender and the sauce thickens. 

Easy Step-by-Step Directions for the Best Pork Ragu:

(*Full recipe card below!)

1.  THE FIRST STEP: you need to make the tomato sauce! 

  • Use a large pot. Heat olive oil on low heat. Then finely mince the onions, almost pureeing them. It’s best to use a food processor or mini chopper. 
Chopped onions in a large pot. by
  • Next, fresh basil is added and simmered for a few minutes to fragrant the olive oil.  While the basil is simmering, open the cans of  San Marzano imported tomatoes. (*full notes in our recipe on the bottom)
  • Using a blender or food processor, puree each can of tomatoes, one can at a time, and add them to the onion and oil mixture. 

Cook’s Notes:

  • While the sauce simmers, it will slowly dissolve the onions to the point where they are no longer visible.  The ragu gets its savory flavors from the onions that slowly melt away into the sauce as the sauce cooks down.      
Fresh basil and tomatoes go into the pot.. by

2.  SECOND STEP:  is to sear the sausage links. 

  • This is done when the sauce has been cooking for at least 1 hour, and not before.   
  • Keep in mind, that the pork sausage links need to simmer inside the tomato sauce for one hour, whereas the pork tenderloin only needs 30 minutes. 
Sausage links cooking in a skillet. by


3.  THIRD and FINAL STEP: to sear pieces of pork tenderloin.   

  • Cut the tenderloin into 2-inch thick pieces. 
  • Then sear them in a skillet for only for 1 minute per side, and gently drop them one by one into the sauce.  This is done only in the last 30 minutes of simmering the ragu. 
  • QUICK NOTE: If you simmer the pieces of pork tenderloin (in the sauce) too long, they will become tough. 

Photos of pork tenderloin cut and seared in a skillet. by 

Pork Ragu is a little time-consuming, but SO worth it! 

The pork gives this ragu its savory flavors.  It’s so rich and delicious tasting, you’ll be tempted to eat it with a spoon! 

It’s exquisite!

Notes and Tips for Success!

  • It’s important to simmer the onions on low heat and not burn them.
  • It is best if you use the highest quality of extra virgin olive oil, with this recipe.  The one we highly recommend using is the: Sicilian Partanna Brand EVOO.
  • The tomato sauce needs to slowly cook for one full hour before the sausage links are added. 
  • You can use a package of Boneless Pork Ribs with this recipe, and buy as many as you want.  They usually 4 ribs in a package.
  • Our recipe requires only braising or searing the pork.  It’s not meant to fry them.   
  • I recommend a brand called All-Clad Stainless Steel for my large pots when making ragu.  And an electric mini-chopper to finely chop the onions.
  • From start to finish, Pork Ragu takes approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes.  

Storing and Freezing…

  • Wait until the ragu (the sauce) completely cools before storing.  Best to store it in an air-tight sealed container and in the refrigerator.

  • This ragu will stay fresh for up to 3 days.  It freezes for up to one month and it reheats beautifully. 

Best Pork Ragu Recipe by

Our pork ragu will make a hearty meal, and plenty enough to feed a crowd. 

I bet your family will go nuts over our pork ragu.  This recipe will make enough left over to freeze for another dinner.   

We have been making this pork ragu for years and often for a Sunday family meal.  It’s best to serve our ragu over your favorite pasta. 

You can either serve the pork as a side on a large platter or serve the pork alongside the pasta.  

This recipe happens to be the BEST pork ragu recipe you’ll ever find.  Trust me on this one.  


Additional Recipes for Ragu…

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Best Pork Ragu Recipe

A forkful of sausage smothered in tomato sauce over a blue dinner plate.

Best Pork Ragu Recipe is a rich, thick meat sauce made with imported peeled tomatoes, onions, garlic along with Italian sausage links, and pork tenderloin. Ragu sauce is perfect for a Sunday meal or a cold winter night.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes


  • 2/3 cup (86.67 grams) of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large yellow onions - minced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic - minced
  • 5 large fresh basil leaves
  • 4 cans (28-ounces each) of San Marzano peeled tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. (17.07 grams) salt
  • 8 links of Italian sweet sausages
  • 1.5 pounds of pork tenderloin
  • olive oil cooking spray


    Directions To Make Pork Ragu:

    1. In a large saucepot, or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over low heat. Toss in onions, garlic, and fresh basil leaves. Simmer on low heat for 5 to 8 minutes, until the onions turn a golden color.
    2. Next, open each can of tomatoes, and in 4 different batches, add one entire can of peeled tomatoes into a blender. Puree the tomatoes for about 1 minute.
    3. Transfer to the pot with the onions simmering. Repeat until all 4 cans have been pureed and transferred to the pot.
    4. Stir in 1 tablespoon of salt.
    5. Cover with a lid and simmer the sauce on low heat, for one hour, stirring occasionally.

    After One Hour of Simmering, UNCOVER.

    1. Continue to simmer on the lowest heat, uncovered.

    Now it's Time to Sear the Sausage Links:

    1. In a large non-stick skillet, spray lightly with cooking spray.
    2. Next, on medium heat, place all 8 sausage links and sear them for about 3 minutes per side. While they are cooking in the skillet, take a fork and poke each one to release excess grease from each link.
    3. When sausage links are brown on all sides. Then transfer each one into the ragu sauce that has been simmering beside it.
    4. Allow the sausage links to simmer in the sauce for 30 minutes (uncovered) before searing the pork tenderloin.
    5. After the ragu sauce has been simmering for 1 and a half hours, NOW is the time to sear the pork tenderloin.
    6. Sear the pieces of pork tenderloin in the same skillet, searing each one for one minute on each side. (Do not fry the pieces of pork tenderloin) And transfer each piece to the ragu sauce simmering. Continue until all the pieces have been seared.
    7. Continue to simmer the ragu with all the pork, (uncovered ) for an additional 30 minutes.
    8. Turn off heat, and allow the ragu sauce to rest ( for at least 30 minutes or more) before serving.
    9. The total cooking time for the pork ragu is about two and half hours.

    How to Serve Pork Ragu:

    1. When ready to serve. You can either transfer all the meats into a large serving platter and serve them at the table as a side with a salad. And the sauce is served over your favorite pasta. Or you can serve them both in a large pasta bowl.
    2. Yields: 4 quarts

    Nutrition Information:


    12 servings

    Serving Size:

    1 cup

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 247Protein: 17g

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    Thanks for stopping by!  

     xo Anna and Liz

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    1. I prepared this last evening and it was a big hit. All of the sausages and pork tenderloin were tender. The sauce was loaded with flavor.
      I am looking forward to the leftovers
      Thank you.

      1. Thanks so much, Ettore! So glad you enjoyed our mom’s recipe and hope you’ll try a few more.

      1. So glad to hear Liz, we made our pork ragu once every month for our Sunday dinner. Enjoy and thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    2. This is fabulous! I love the onions, having both the sausages and tenderloin in the sauce. It’s all wonderful.

      1. Thank you so much Mimi! You have to try our recipe – it’s truly the best! ENJOY!! 🙂

    3. I see pork ragu in my family’s future. I just picked up some sweet sausage links from Trader Joe’s.

      1. Hi Stuart! We know you are going to love this recipe! Enjoy and thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment. Please come back and let us know how our mom’s recipe turns out for! Have a great Sunday! 🙂