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Instant Pot Beef Cheek Ragu. How to make the most tender beef cheek ragu using your pressure cooker. Made with red wine and an easy homemade ragu sauce you will love this bowl of deliciousness.
Even better, its so much faster to make in the instant pot (or other brand of electric pressure cooker) and you’re magically cooking your ragu sauce at the same time as your beef cheeks.
Beef Cheeks Ragu
When I think about beef cheeks ragu, I am back in France, enjoying a bowl of delicious ragu in the rain.
Whenever I go to France, I always end up getting caught up in huge downfalls that makes me look that I have been in the worst storm of the year.
I remember this particular time we were in Lyon in France, and it was raining cats and dogs all morning.
On the walk into the town, me and sofia took a detour into a cupcake shop and sat in the shelter eating cupcakes before finding somewhere nice for lunch.
Then we went to this café, and it was nicely covered to protect us from the rain, yet we looked awful from the downpour.
I ordered a simple beef ragu and it was the most amazing ragu I had ever eaten.
It was creamy rather than watery and the pasta was spot on.
As I tucked into it, I was thinking how amazing this beef cheeks ragu would be, if we cooked it in the instant pot pressure cooker.
That summer (it was 2018) we had cooked exclusively out of the instant pot, and I had yet another great experience of eating in France that I felt needed a pressure cooker conversion.
So today, is that day. When I show you how to convert a French beef cheek ragu to the instant pot, or any pressure cooker.
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What Are Beef Cheeks?
Beef cheeks are just as they sound. A cut of the cow that is taken from the cheeks. It’s a beautiful flavoursome cut of beef, and one that should be on your bucket list.
I have had beef cheeks many times and each time I eat them, I get cross with myself that I don’t eat them more often. Because they are simply stunning.
Beef Cheeks Pressure Cooker
I often get asked what is the best way to cook beef cheeks and my answer is always the same every single time.
You must cook beef cheeks in the pressure cooker.
Whether you have an instant pot, crockpot express, pressure king pro, mealthy or another brand, they all cook beef cheeks perfectly.
Plus, beef cheeks would normally need an 8 hour slow cook, and the instant pot can do them in a fraction of this cook time.
Why Are My Beef Cheeks Tough?
Your beef cheeks are tough because you didn’t cook them slow enough. Beef cheeks join braising beef, shin, and tongue in being really tough if you don’t cook them slow.
I have tried instant pot beef cheeks for 45 minutes and they simply were not tender enough. I increased this to 75 minutes and the difference was amazing.
Where Can I Get Beef Cheeks?
I was living in Portugal when I last made beef cheek ragu (note to self I need to make them again!) and I didn’t have many options when it came to butchers and beef availability.
What I did, was put in an order with the butchers at my local English supermarket. They then called me when it was ready, and I picked it up a week later.
You can call your butcher and request beef cheeks and they will then cut them for you, ready for you cooking them in the pressure cooker.
Preparing Beef Cheeks
These beef cheeks are nice and easy to make and there is not much prepping that you need to do with them.
I recommend placing them on a chopping board and seasoning with salt and pepper, just like you would do with most beef that you cook.
I would also recommend searing them first in the instant pot before doing a pressure cook. This will help with the depth of flavour.
Then they are ready for other ingredients to be added to the beef cheeks and for the pressure cooking to begin.
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Beef Cheeks Recipe Ingredients
Beef – It all starts with beef cheeks that are cut to a similar size of beef shin. You want thick pieces of beef cheek so that it pressure cooks well and will slice well for your ragu.
Veggies – I recommend a mix of veggies that will work well as your ragu sauce but will also compliment the beef. I recommend onion, carrots, and celery.
Garlic – We are talking delicious French food, so its essential that you have some garlic. The cheat’s method is to use frozen garlic and sauté it with the onion.
Stock – You can use any stock, but beef stock works best. Sometimes when I am out of beef stock, I will swap it for instant pot veggie stock.
Wine – Red wine is also essential in making a yummy ragu. But don’t think that red wine will overpower it or that you can’t serve it to children because you can.
Potato – We also add in a sweet potato that cooks with the other veggies. The reason for this, is that it contributes to a delicious creamy ragu.
Pasta – Any pasta that you feel fits with your beef cheeks ragu is fine. I prefer tagliatelle but that is just personal choice.
Seasonings – Then for your easy beef cheeks seasoning, I recommend salt, pepper, basil, parsley, and thyme. Then for a more authentic French flavour, add in some bouquet garni.
Then for the kitchen gadgets that we have used in this quick beef cheeks recipe it has just been our Instant Pot. We have this one and its my favourite and great for speeding up the process of cooking tough meat.
Plus, we recommend you head over to our instant pot recipes category as we have many electric pressure cooker recipes and have been using instant pots for 5 years.
How To Cook Beef Cheeks?
- Prep – Like every good French kitchen start by prepping your veggies and then putting them to one side for when you need them.
- Sauté. I like to start by browning the beef cheeks in the pressure cooker. This will add some flavour to the instant pot as well as starting the cook process of the beef cheeks.
- Veggies – Then remove the beef cheeks and sauté your vegetables.
- Deglaze. Next, I recommend a deglaze with red wine and your vegetable stock. You can keep the veggies in for this and make sure you scrape any bits of meat stuck to the bottom. If you don’t know how to do this, do listen to our how to deglaze the instant pot.
- Load. After a sauté and a deglaze its time to add your sweet potato chunks, seasoning and your beef cheeks back in.
- Cook. Pressure cook, then after a 15 minute natural pressure release remove the remaining pressure.
- Finish. Then remove the beef cheeks and allow to rest for a couple of minutes. And place your instant pot leftovers into a blender and blend until smooth. Cook some fresh pasta and then serve the ragu sauce over the pasta and then sliced beef cheeks over.
And I am sure you can see now why I love cooking beef cheeks in the instant pot and why it has become one of my favourite French dinners.
How Long Does It Take To Cook Beef Cheeks?
When you cook beef cheeks in pressure cooker it really speeds up the recipe. Instead of 8 hours on slow it is just 75 minutes under pressure.
Plus, a 15 minute natural pressure release before releasing pressure.
Beef Cheek Ragu Recipe
This beef cheeks instant pot recipe can be just that. Beef cheeks that you slice up and serve as an alternative to roast beef for your next Sunday dinner.
They don’t have to be a beef cheeks ragu recipe.
If you do want to make beef cheek ragu, you would simply blend the vegetables into a creamy deliciousness, and then serve over a bed of pasta.
For me, its well worth the effort and then your beef cheeks will feed a lot more people.
Beef Cheeks Tips & Tricks
- Always allow the beef cheeks to rest. Both with a natural pressure release and with time on the chopping board. This will help make them more and more tender and juicy.
- If you don’t like sweet potato swap this for a white potato.
- Any brand of red wine will work well in this recipe. I don’t drink wine and buy small bottles just for cooking with.
- Leftover ragu can make a fantastic filling for a hearty pie.
Interesting Instant Pot Trick – Add in the garlic at the last moment before turning off the sauté. Garlic sticks to the instant pot (A LOT!!!) and it will save you a deep clean on your instant pot.
What about leftover beef cheeks? They make amazing sandwiches, filling for pasties, can go in a pie or even as a beef stroganoff.
More Instant Pot Beef Recipes
- Instant Pot Frozen Pot Roast
- Instant Pot Beef Tongue
- Instant Pot Brisket Sliders
- Instant Pot Beef Stew & Dumplings
Your pressure cooker beef cheeks recipe is below, note you can print it out with or without photos, adjust servings, or click between metric and imperial depending on where you are in the world.
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Instant Pot Beef Cheeks Ragu
- Peel and dice your onion, celery, carrots, and sweet potato and put to one side.
- Add your beef cheeks and sauté in the instant pot with extra virgin olive oil. Until you have a good sear on your beef cheeks.
- Remove the beef cheeks, put to one side, and then add into the instant pot your onion, celery, and carrots. Then sauté for a couple of minutes to add flavour onto the veggies from the beef cheeks. Cancel the sauté and stir in the garlic. Add in red wine and beef stock and use a silicone spatula to deglaze the instant pot.
- Stir in sweet potatoes and then add half the seasonings and stir and then place the beef cheeks on top. Then use the remaining seasoning over the beef cheeks.
- Place the lid on the instant pot, set the valve to sealing and cook for 75 minutes.
- Then do a 15 minute natural pressure release before removing the remaining pressure.
- Then remove the beef cheeks from the instant pot and put to one side. Move what’s left in the instant pot to a blender and blend until you have a creamy sauce.
- Cook your pasta according to pasta instructions and then serve the ragu sauce over the pasta. Then slice up the beef cheeks and add on top of the ragu.