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Italian Pulled Pork Ragu (Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, Stove)

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Italian Pulled Pork Ragu is a hearty sauce made with pulled pork, tomatoes, roasted peppers and fresh herbs. Can be made in the Instant Pot, Slow Cooker or Dutch oven.

Italian Pulled Pork Ragu is a hearty sauce made with pulled pork, tomatoes, roasted peppers and fresh herbs. Can be made in the Instant Pot, Slow Cooker or Dutch oven.

Wonderful served over pasta, spaghetti squash or spiralized noodles.

A hearty sauce made with Pulled pork, tomatoes, roasted peppers and fresh herbs. Wonderful served over pasta, spaghetti squash or spiralized noodles.

I’ve tested this several ways, in the slow cooker, pressure cooker and stove and it comes out great any way you wish to make it! Pork tenderloins are a great lean option and come out very tender.  Browning them first really adds depth of flavor to the sauce. This sauce is incredibly light, so even if you want this over pasta which is how my husband ate it, it’s still a low calorie dish.

If you want this over spiralized zucchini, the question I get asked often is how I cook them. I like to heat a large skillet on very high heat, add a little oil and cook them really quick, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes tops then quickly remove from the skillet so they don’t continue cooking. This way they still have a little bite to them and don’t get watery and mushy.

And since so many are asking, although I have and love my Instant Pot, I still love my slow cooker! I have the 6 Quart Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker (affil link). I love it because you can adjust the time you want it to cook, and it automatically turns to warm when it’s done. It also has a probe for meat that automatically shuts off when done. I hated my old crock pot, it burnt everything and my food had a weird taste. This slow cooker is so great, I actually own several!

A hearty sauce made with Pulled pork, tomatoes, roasted peppers and fresh herbs. Wonderful served over pasta, spaghetti squash or spiralized noodles. A hearty sauce made with Pulled pork, tomatoes, roasted peppers and fresh herbs. Wonderful served over pasta, spaghetti squash or spiralized noodles.


Italian Pulled Pork Ragu (Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, Stove)

4.47 from 32 votes
Pulled pork is not just for sandwiches, it's wonderful in this hearty sauce which is perfect over pasta, spaghetti squash or spiralized noodles.
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Pulled pork is not just for sandwiches, it's wonderful in this hearty sauce which is perfect over pasta, spaghetti squash or spiralized noodles.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield: 10 Servings
Serving Size: 1 /2 cup sauce


  • 18 oz pork tenderloin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I love Tuttorosso)
  • 1 small jar roasted red peppers, drained (7 oz jar)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided


  • Instant Pot: Season pork with salt and pepper. Press saute button to warm, add oil and garlic and saute until golden brown, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon. Add pork and brown about 2 minutes on each side. Add the remaining ingredients and garlic, reserving half of the parsley. Cook high pressure 45 minutes. Natural release, remove bay leaves, shred the pork with 2 forks and top with remaining parsley. Serve over your favorite pasta.
  • Slow Cooker: Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and garlic and saute until golden brown, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon. Add pork and brown about 2 minutes on each side then transfer to the slow cooker with the garlic and the remaining ingredients, reserving half of the parsley. Cook 8 hours low. Remove bay leaves, shred the pork with 2 forks and top with remaining parsley. Serve over your favorite pasta.
  • Stove Top: Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add oil and garlic and saute until golden brown, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon. Add pork and brown about 2 minutes on each side. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot including the garlic, reserving half of the parsley. Bring to a boil, cook covered on low until the pork is tender, and shreds easily, about 2 hours. Remove bay leaves, shred the pork with 2 forks and top with remaining parsley. Serve over your favorite pasta.

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Serving: 1 /2 cup sauce, Calories: 93 kcal, Carbohydrates: 6.5 g, Protein: 11 g, Fat: 1.5 g, Cholesterol: 33 mg, Sodium: 347 mg, Sugar: 3 g


Pulled pork is not just for sandwiches, it's wonderful in this hearty sauce which is perfect over pasta, spaghetti squash or spiralized noodles.

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152 comments on “Italian Pulled Pork Ragu (Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, Stove)”

  1. This dish/recipe cooked up pretty much just like in the instructions. We did the long, 8-hour slow cooker version and it came out very well. The pork pulled apart super easy and was not dry at all – very tender and moist. We served over zoodles and really loved those. Flavor was pretty bland – just pulled pork in tomato sauce which is mostly what it is, I guess. This dish definitely needs something more in it for me but the good news is that you can pretty much add anything to ‘make it your own’. I’m thinking next time of adding some sort of veggie to bulk things up a bit. And then as for flavor, I’d likely spice it up with some sort of Cajun seasoning or the like.

  2. Love this recipe!!! Doubled it to have it multiple times this week. If I added mushrooms, when would I add them? I’m also thinking of using basil as a topper when we have it later this week’

  3. This has so much flavor.  You have to season and sear the pork in the garlic oil to get that result!  I did add a few more red peppers, an extra sprig of thyme and more parsley.  I also added diced tomatoes (drained) as I like my sauce with more tomatoes.  Great recipe and love the low calories and filling meal 🙌

  4. I saw some negative reviews after I bought the ingrediants, so I was worried about this dish. Boy do I disagree with the negative reviews. My family and I thought this was delicious and definitely something we will make again and again. The only change I made was to sprinkle some additional italian seasoning in the slow cooker. My tenderloin was not dry – at all. The meat was tender and juicy. I wonder if people did not brown the pork in the skillet or pan? It’s necessary to seal the juices in the tenderloin!

    1. The brand of tomatoes used will really make a big difference! Also, pork loin would be too dry. SO glad you liked it!

  5. Made it and loved it. A few things I added and a couple of tips when using the Instant Pot.

    I added a half finely diced sweet onion to the sauté stage, with the garlic and olive oil.
    I seared the pork in my cast iron pan on the stove.
    Make sure you use crushed tomatoes, big can, and then add ¼ to 1/3 cup of water in the can to swish out the rest of the tomatoes and add it to the pot. The Instant Pot pressure cooker needs a little extra water in it.
    I added a coarsely chopped Roma tomato for a little more texture.
    I used about 1 ½ tbsp of Italian seasoning in the pot, along with the other spices. Added salt and pepper to taste at the end.
    Used the low pressure setting for half the cook and then turned it to high. Make sure that you turn off the warming option so that the pressure naturally dissipates. Don’t use the quick release. Takes that extra 20 mins but really breaks down the pork tenderloin.
    A tip if you are a Instant Pot newbie like me, take the pork tenderloin out, onto a separate dish or bowl and shred it with the forks. It’s just easier that trying to do it in the pot without burning yourself, and ensures you get that fine shred you want in a Ragu
    Return to the pot and stir it back in.

  6. I’ve tried a lot of recipes, but this one just wasn’t great. Very bland as is (I did add more spices and Worcestershire sauce as another person suggested which helped). I cooked on the stove, but the pork despite me keeping an eye on it constantly, did dry out even though I took it out of the pan after an hour. Sadly won’t make this one again.

  7. Made this twice. First time noticed a lack of depth of flavor. Second time, same thing so I added a few dashes of worcestershire sauce and that really elevated it. The sauce is going to be think as made, but if you serve it over whole wheat pasta, maybe reserve some of the starchy water to add in to the pasta and sauce as you finish them in a pan. Such a low point bargain, we’ll be making it again.

  8. Made this tonight in the instant pot exactly as directed  and served it over spaghetti squash. Definitely a keeper. 

  9. This was super tasty.  I used a pork loin because that is what I had on hand- it did up the points to 3 blue WW but that was also for a cup rather than a half cup.  I did mine on the stove and it really was perfect- it reminded me of the skinnytaste chicken cacciatore recipe.  My picky boys gobbled it up.  Another winner!!

  10. Made this tonight in the pressure cooker. Sauce was very thin/watery but good flavor. Next time I will add a little tomato paste to thicken. This is more like 5 servings than 10. 

  11. Are you sure you aren’t confusing Pork loin with tenderloin? Loin comes out great in slow cooker recipes, almost as tender as shoulder (aka butt) but it seems like a tenderloin would just get tough and dry in a slow cooker,

    1. LOL Pretty sure she knows the difference. And besides, pork loin is much leaner and drier than tenderloin.

  12. I’ve made this several times! It’s healthy, delicious, easy and different from typical crock pot dinners. Thanks! 

  13. Avatar photo
    Andrea Roberts

    This was absolutely delicious! My husband even loved it!! I think this might be my favorite recipe I’ve made so far!  Thanks you Gina!! 

  14. Made this tonight. It needed a little more flavor for my taste and it was too watery. We added grated cheese to it which helped. Maybe I will add tomato paste in the future. I made mine in the crockpot. 

  15. I really like this recipe, but I feel like using pork tenderloin instead of a shoulder is not for me. I’ve made it both ways multiple times (makes great leftovers) and the tenderloin gets dried out and tough every time. The shoulder is fattier, shreds better, and adds richer texture.

  16. I didn’t like this a all.  Feel bad about saying it. I test a lot of recipes and I was embarrassed to serve this to my family. It tasted like pork cooked in a tin of tomatoes. I followed the recipe exactly, and the pork shredded perfectly. The sauce had no depth…. and I used expensive tomatoes and the tenderloin was expensive. Boo. Now I have to figure out how to perk up the leftovers. 

    1. I enjoyed this recipe very much,  although I was concerned about the sauce depth initially after reading your comment.  If needed, I add my personal touch to sauces to tailor it more to my tastebuds, such as adding red wine, balsamic vinegar, ground chipotle or red pepper, garlic salt, etc.  If you like more spices, jazz it up.  

  17. Avatar photo
    Connie Arvanitis

    Hi there, I will be making this recipe fairly soon and wondered if I can follow the recipe as it stands for the stove top and finish off the cooking process in the oven. If this works, what temperature should I have the oven and for how long?

    Thank you.

    1. Very versatile and tasty. I used 1/2 a pork loin and cooked in the crockpot. Great with pasta or as a bruschetta topping. Trying on pizza this week.

  18. Avatar photo
    Corinne Jackson

    I have an 8qt instant pot. Should I change any of the ingredient amounts, like the amount of liquid?

  19. Can this be augmented to be made with Jackfruit instead of pulled pork? If so, how much jackfruit, and can I put it in the slow cooker? THANKS!

  20. This looks really good, but 10 servings is a lot for us.  If I half the recipe – would the cook time be effected in the crock pot or the stove?

  21. Made the InstaPot version. So easy. I roasted a red pepper under the broiler and used that in place of the jarred peppers. Served it as suggested with Zoodles. The remainder was divided into 2 portion servings and frozen to enjoy later.

  22. Avatar photo
    Hiley Killian

    I have about 2.5 pounds of pork tenderloin in one package from Costco.  Can I just double tomatoes and red pepper, and spices?  And what about cooking time in Instapot? Will the higher quantity change the time by much?

  23. My family loves this recipe and it is so simple and delicious.  I’ve made it several times and serve it over zucchini.  I love so many of the skinny taste recipes!

  24. Avatar photo
    Brenda Vaughn

    I made this tonight and LOVED it. So did my husband. We called it 5 servings – 1 cup each. With zucchini noodles, we needed more calories than just 1/2 cup. Still only 2 WW points and totally worth it!

  25. Thank you!! This was so delicious!! My family except my husband love zoodles. I have enjoyed all the recipes I tried from you!!! Thanks again!!!

  26. Made this today in my instant pot. Really delicious flavor! I used dried thyme and puréed the sauce before serving it over wide egg noodles for my husband. I’m going to try it with zoodles next time. 

  27. Sooooo good! I’ve made this so many times for easy family dinners and it’s incredible. I do think it’s better in the crock pot, rather than the Instant Pot. Seems to be more tender, perhaps? Highly recommend this recipe, no matter what you use to cook it. 🙂

  28. Hi, new to your site and it looks terrific! Thank you for all the obvious time and effort you put in to it! Forgive the perhaps dumb question, but the points values you assign do not include the noodles, correct?

  29. I made this in my IP and it tasted great. The only thing is that it came out a little watery. I followed directions exactly. What could have gone wrong??

    1. It could have been the brand of tomatoes? In that case, you can press saute after it’s cooked and let it simmer uncovered until thickened, maybe 15 min?

  30. This was delicious!  Have lots leftover so perfect for lunches for the week!  Any idea what the new Freestyle points are?  

  31. Avatar photo
    Julie Tremblay

    Made it for dinner tonight and it turned out great! My hubby kept asking if there was more meat? Can’t wait to have lunch tomorrow with the leftovers. Thanks for the wonderful recipe. It’s going in my IP recipe Book. 

  32. I bought my Instant Pot solely to make this recipe. Then after some research I learned there has to be one cup of water in the Instant Pot. This recipe does not have one cup of water.  And the Instant Pot groups on Facebook say never cook a pork tenderloin in the Instant Pot because it’s too lean. Yikes. Well I had the Instant Pot and I had bought all the ingredients and I needed to get dinner on the table. Skinnytaste has never let me down before, I reasoned. I followed the recipe exactly. The pork tenderloin ragu was amazing. It’s in the rotation. As usual Gina did not let me down. Thanks for the recipe.

  33. Avatar photo
    Caroline Snowman

    I don’t have fresh thyme and am not a big fan of it.  Any suggestions?  I have dried thyme.  How much would I sub for it?  

  34. Most of the skinnytaste recipes I give a thumbs up but not this one. I used the slow cooker.  The pork was dry. The sauce was bitter and very little flavor.  I added my Italian Seasonings and it was better.   This was not a family favorite   

  35. Avatar photo
    Gina La Porte

    What would the cooking time be in the instant pot if I used a smaller piece of pork like 8oz? Trying to make this for two people and we don’t need all those leftovers. 

  36. Avatar photo

    Delicious reminds me of spaghetti made with pork neck bones as my grandma did I omitted the roasted red peppers and added in some red pepper flakes I omitted the time and added in Italian seasoning and it was absolutely delicious

  37. Would these instant pot directions for this work the same with the beef ragu recipe in your cookbook? I wasn’t sure if I would need to decrease liquid. 

  38. This was really easy to make and so delicious. I used it over zucchini noodles the first day and put it into hoagie buns with provalone and fresh veggies under the broiler for sandwiches the next day. Highly recommend.

  39. This was great! Used basil instead of parsley because I prefer it. My boyfriend said multiple times how good this was.

  40. Made this tonight – delish!!! Thank you for bringing these fabulous recipes to us. 1 SP for 1/2 cup? Yes please!

  41. Hi Gina! I wanted to share that I substituted 18 oz. of pork sirloin steaks (very lean from Whole Foods and only $4.99/lb) and made this in my pressure cooker. It turned out great! The tenderloin’s were quite pricey, so I elected to use the pork SIRLOIN steaks instead – these are NOT the same as a “pork steak”, which has a lot of fat, so the nutritional values were similar after I entered it in MyFitnessPal: fat 3.9g, carbs 7.5g, protein 12g. Loved the flavors of this dish!

  42. This recipe is fantastic! I made for my husband and mother. My moms picky and doesn’t love roasted peppers. However they both loved this recipe! Thanks 

  43. I cooked this in my slow-cooker on low for 10 hours and the pork was so tender! I added a 12oz jar of roasted red peppers as a 7oz jar was not available in the store and I did not brown the meat before putting in the crock-pot. My only suggestion, add more crushed tomatoes. My family found this a little meat heavy for a “sauce” over zoodles.

  44. Great recipe!  It took a small amount of ingredients,  required minimal effort, and gave amazing results. Thanks, Gina!

  45.  I’m not sure how you arrived at the one smart point value. I checked my WW book and 3 ounces of cooked pork tenderloin is two smart points 

  46. I love the sound of this recipe but there are only 2 of us and this serves 10! I am happy to make enough for 4 if I can freeze it, I just need some help adjusting the ingredients and the cooking time. I will be making it in my slow cooker.

  47. Are the points value including the pork? So 1/2cup sauce for 1 SP includes the shredded pork? Seems low.  Thanks!!

  48. Avatar photo
    Scott Henderson

    Gina this one was off the chart! Everybody (including the tweener who is only eating blue things from Peru this week) devoured this in one setting and asked for more. I did add some fresh basil and roasted the peppers instead of using jarred to drop the sodium. Keep ’em coming, you’re batting 1000.

    1. Well I certainly laughed at your joke about your teenager’s pretentious eating habits, even if Gina didn’t acknowledge it 😉

  49. Absolutely LOVED this recipe! I made it over the weekend for a quick weeknight reheat, and the flavors really intensified over a day or two. We served it over spaghetti squash and added a little bit of crushed red pepper on top. A great twist on classic pasta sauce and a welcome addition to our January Whole30! I’ll definitely be making this again 🙂

  50. Avatar photo
    Natasha Robert

    Tried this last night in the crockpot. It was great! Served it over zucchini noodles. The only changes I made was adding a chopped onion and green bellpepper just to give it a few more veggies. Will definitely make again! 

  51. Is there an Instant pot that you can recommend?  I’m not familiar with its use but sounds like a pressure cooker./ slow cooker combination. I remember my mom using one and thought they were pretty dangerous in the day.  


  52. So delicious! So easy -made it in an instant pot. 
    Used spiralized zucchini – very filling.
    Thank you

  53. I just made the Italian pulled pork ragu in my slow cooker. This is a keeper for sure. I had to use dried thyme instead of fresh but did everything else the same as the recipe. Using a 18-20 oz Hormel fresh plain tenderloin it was cooked and shreddable in just under 5 hrs on low. The flavor and consistency is just perfect. It will be served over pasta. Really good and easy lowfat recipe. Thank you.

  54. So excited to try this! Would this freeze okay? I cook for just myself so would love to be able to freeze and grab and go as needed. Thanks!

  55. I’m new to the instant pot and want to try this recipe. My manual says I need water but it’s not in the recipe. Do I not need it with the crushed tomatoes? I’ve been warned of scorching?

  56. Avatar photo
    Kelli Esposito

    Wow! I buy & freeze the 4-pack of “Pork Sirloin Tip Roasts” from Costco. They are round pieces of 98% fat free pork. I used my InstaPot to sautee the olive oil and garlic, then I threw in all the other ingredients, then plopped my FROZEN 2 lb. chunk of pork down in the sauce. I then let it cook at high pressure for 90 minutes, and let it slow release/keep warm for another hour while I was at a movie. This turned out SOOOO good! My picky Italian husband loved it. Thanks for the recipe!

  57. I have made a lot of your recipes but I have to say this is one of the BEST! I served it over spaghetti squash and it was amazing!! Husband and I just started Whole 30 and this was perfect! Thank you for tagging Whole 30 approved recipes. 

  58. Hi, Gina,
    I love your recipes and got an instant pot and inspiralizer for Christmas! Could I cook a pork shoulder instead? And would I then have to double all the other ingredients as you suggested for the tenderloin? 28*2 oz of tomatoes seems like a lot?

  59. Where do y’all find tenderloins that small. So far The smallest I can find is 5lb. Do you just buy a big one, cut it up and freeze the rest?

    1. Sounds like you’re talking about a pork loin, not a pork tenderloin. The tenderloins are pretty small (6-12 inches long, and maybe 4 inches across tops), whereas the loins are much larger.

  60. Hey Gina- I love your recipes and they always turn out great! I have a problem when I’m slow cooking meats on the stove top though- they never get to that “shred easily” point. I am wondering if I’m not cooking at a high enough temp? When it wasn’t ready at the 2 hour mark, I cooked it for several more hours than you recommended and it’s not dried out but is still too tough to shred. What did I do wrong?

    1. Based on my experience stovetop cooking, you don’t want to overcook a very lean cut of meat or it will become  tough.   A high-fat, high-connective tissue cut of meat gets more tender if you cook it at longer periods of time and will shred the easiest.   A heavy-bottomed pot, and a stovetop that doesn’t get too hot even at the lowest setting is important, I find.  Some stoves just don’t have a true low setting so cooking for long periods will easily overcook.  

      For your stovetop, it may be that even at two hours cooking time for a very lean cut, the meat may have been overcooked.  I would test it at 1 1/2 hours, if you try it again.  🙂  I hope that helps.

      1. Sorry one more question- new to instant pot – woukd I keep the cooking time the same with a double batch? 

  61. Hello! I’m new to the Instant Pot, just got it for Christmas. When you say to “Cook high pressure 45 minutes”, do I do this by using the “Manual” button?

  62. Had this for dinner tonight in the Instant Pot I got for Christmas; served over zoodles, it was delicious and a hit with my extremely picky boyfriend. I’ve been following your blog since sometime around 2010; I think your turkey stuffed peppers were the first recipe I ever made, continue to make them several times a year. I have never been disappointed with any of your recipes. I would love to see more Instant Pot adaptable recipes in the future!

  63. Do you cut up the pork before you sauté it? Or do you sauté the big chunk before putting it in the slow cooker?

  64. I made this last night in my brand new Instant Pot and it was delicious! Served it over roasted spaghetti squash. Wonderful meal! This will become one of our regulars!

  65. Wonderful recipe – and super easy! Made this for my parents on holiday, little do they realize it’s low carb. They were huge fans. Thanks for helping me introduce this them healthier meals. I’m excited to gift one of the cookbooks to my mother for Christmas as they continue on their new “healthy lifestyle”. Happy Holidays!

      1. Ahhhhhhhh this may have been my problem. I used pork loin and it just really felt like it was missing something. I’ll try tenderloin next time.

  66. Wow!! Another spot-on recipe! My husband and fifteen month old devoured their servings with spaghetti and I had mine over some zoodles. Really delicious and it was so easy. Will definitely be making again and again, thanks Gina!

  67. This looks delicious. We don’t eat pork. Can you recommend another meat I can use instead? Wouldn’t cooking time change? Thank you!

      1. You can only cook rice in a traditional rice cooker! Don’t try it! You need a crock pot or instant pot. 

  68. Sounds awesome! Love your recipes! Only thing is for health reasons I try to stick with poultry and fish… Do you think it would still be good if I subbed the pork for some boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs? 🙂

  69. Could you recommend a substitute for the roasted peppers as they are a bit too powerful for us. Or if they were omitted would the dish be too bland?

    1. Avatar photo
      Andrea Westfall

      Ann, Gina may have a better suggestion, but maybe try some sliced fresh bell pepper instead? I know what you mean about roasted peppers – they can taste a bit tart/vinegary depending on the brand. You may even try roasting a fresh pepper in the oven yourself — although I know that’s a bit more work and kind of negates the simplicity of the recipe.

    2. I wouldn’t worry about leaving about the roasted peppers, or just reduce the amount. They do tend to add a bit of sweetness but I’m sure it’ll be fine without!

    3. I wouldn’t worry about leaving out the roasted peppers, or just reduce the amount. They do tend to add a bit of sweetness but I’m sure it’ll be fine without!

  70. Why can i not pin some of the skinnytaste recipes like the pulled pork ragu?  There is no option to pin it.