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slow cooker beef puttanesca over pasta in a white bowl
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4.67 from 6 votes

Slow Cooker Puttanesca with Beef

Slow Cooker Puttanesca with Beef is an Italian-style tomato sauce loaded with savory ingredients like kalamata olives, capers, and tender shredded beef. This sauce simmers all day in the slow cooker and is made using pantry staples.
This recipe should be made in a 6-quart slow cooker.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 hrs
Total Time10 hrs 20 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Italian, meat and sauce, ragu, slow-cooker
Servings: 8
Calories: 221kcal
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $12.00


  • 6-quart Slow Cooker


  • 2 14oz cans Crushed Tomatoes (or use one large 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes)
  • 1 6oz can Tomato Paste
  • ½ cup Kalamata Olives, pitted and drained (see note)
  • ¼ cup Capers, drained
  • 2 Anchovy Fillets, chopped (from a tin of anchovies; these add great flavor to the sauce and don’t make it taste “fishy”, but feel free to skip them if you’d prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 8 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (optional; skip this if you don’t want any spice)
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 tablespoon Cooking Oil (I prefer to use avocado oil or grapeseed oil for high-heat cooking and searing)
  • 2 lbs Boneless Beef Chuck Roast (see note)


  • In the bowl of a 6-quart slow cooker, stir together crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, olives, capers, chopped anchovies, red wine vinegar, oregano, garlic, red pepper flakes, and water.
  • Heat a Dutch oven or skillet with oil over medium-high heat.
  • While skillet is heating, season chuck roast on both sides with some salt and black pepper.
  • Add roast to heated skillet and sear on both sides until deep golden brown and lightly crusted, about 5 minutes per side.
  • Nestle beef into sauce in the slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours, until beef can be easily shredded with a fork. (Note: I do not recommend cooking the sauce on high. Tomato sauce has a tendency to burn if cooked on the slow cooker’s high setting. Even on low, you may still get some browning around the edges of the sauce.)
  • Use two forks to shred meat right in the slow cooker. Stir everything together to combine. Taste sauce and season with some salt and pepper, if needed.
  • Serve sauce over pasta, rice, or polenta. (Note: For an easy serving option for a crowd, cook 1lb of spaghetti and stir it directly into the sauce in the bowl of the slow cooker. You can leave the slow cooker on the warm function and serve the sauce and pasta whenever you’re ready.)


Boneless Chuck Roast - This boneless cut of beef is often sold in larger portions than the 2 lbs needed to make this sauce. If you have a larger cut, slice it in half and freeze half to make this recipe down the road or for Slow Cooker Mississippi Roast.  
Kalamata Olives - Be sure to buy pitted kalamata olives so you don’t end up with the pits in your sauce. Look for these in jars near the canned goods or buy them from the olive bar. If you prefer not to have whole olives in the finished sauce, you can roughly chop these before adding them.
To freeze: Combine the seared beef and sauce in a freezer safe bag or container. Freeze it for up to 6 months. Print and attach the label below so cooking instructions are ready when you are!
slow cooker puttanesca


Calories: 221kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 381mg | Potassium: 381mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 99IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 3mg