I been making ravioli this past week (3 types, butternut squash, various fungi, and spinach for those interested).

Now I'm onto the meat. Its a pork, beef, and veal mixture.

My question is, do I need to cook the mixture before stuffing into the ravioli? If I do cook it, I'm worried the fat in the meat will make it so that everything won't stick together and therefore be harder to stuff.

On the other hand If I don't cook the meat, I'm worried the raviolis will have to cook too long for the filling to be cooked and the pasta will be way overcooked.

Which is the proper way?

  • How big are they going to be? I figure you should still cook the filling first. If they're really tiny though, it may not matter. Have you already made them?
    – Chad
    Commented Jan 25, 2011 at 15:59
  • I assumed the answer would be "no" because it isn't for just about any other kind of dumpling I have ever made, but, then again, the cook time is greater for those than one might want for a good fresh pasta. +1, for sure! Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 21:11

6 Answers 6


Yes, cook the meat before stuffing into the ravioli. If you are worried about your mixture being too fatty (which I didn't experience with a non-traditional beef and bacon ravioli), make sure to drain the meat well after cooking, perhaps patting it with clean paper towels to remove excess grease.

  • 2
    If you're really worried about excess fat, you can put the browned meat in a wire colander/strainer and rinse it quickly in hot water. You'll only lose a little flavor (well, OK, MOST of the fat flavor) but depending on what else you are mixing with the ground beef you will have a leaner mix very easily. Commented Jan 25, 2011 at 2:48

This is an old thread, but I am researching ravioli, and came across it... My mother was Russian, and I grew up eating the Russian version of ravioli, Pielmeini (peel-uh-main-ee) and the hamburger was NEVER cooked. It was hamburger, often hand ground chuck at home with a crank meat grinder. The meat was mixed with raw diced onion, with some garlic, salt and pepper and a bit of added water. The pielmeini were stuffed, sealed, the edges pinched, and the ends joined to make a little half moon pillow.

These were dropped into gently boiling water, and cooked for about 2 minutes each. Yes, only two minutes. They were buttered in a bowl, and then served with a small bowl of vinegar and mustard mixed (I add a bit of mayo to mine to cut the 'bite' of the vinegar mustard mixture). We NEVER boiled them for 5 minutes, and the amount of beef was about a teaspoon and a half, tops. They were never raw, the added bit of water provided a small bit of broth to them, and over the past 60 years, I've eaten many pounds of them. The insides were NOT raw, were not gooey, were delicious. If your water is 212 degrees, gently boiling, the float test works beautifully. It has done so for generations, without cooking the meat. The only reason I am researching ravioli is I will be adding spinach and ricotta to my filling this time, and thought I may need to cook the meat PURELY because it will be mixed with cheese. Otherwise, I never have, and never will cook my meat. You lose too many juices.

  • Interesting. In looking at pictures & recipes, they're reminiscent of torteloni (large tortellini), but the raw mix & assembly technique also makes me think of many varieties of Chinese dumplings. I wonder if the folding in the corners would help prevent them from overcooking before the meat is cooked. (and on timing -- one of the recipes called for floating + 2 minutes ... but that might be related to what size you make them)
    – Joe
    Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 13:49
  • thank you for all the information! Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 2:54

Yes cook it before hand - and then I believe you're going to want to cook those ravioli until they float (showing that they are done)

If you don't cook the filling, by the time that it's good to go the pasta will be way over-cooked and not that tasty.

  • 9
    Actually, not many people realize this but floating is not a reliable indicator of doneness. This myth was addressed by Hervé This in his Molecular Gastronomy book where he determined that the floating is actually just caused by air bubbles on the outside of the pasta/dumplings, which is often similar to the time it takes to cook, but entirely independent. Variations in shapes and sizes could conceivably result in undercooked food using the "float test".
    – Aaronut
    Commented Jan 24, 2011 at 21:25
  • +1 and I would love to see some video or data. I've never assumed it meant they were done, but always linked the two in that I usually wouldn't bother checking the pasta until it was at least starting to float.
    – Chad
    Commented Jan 25, 2011 at 15:57
  • And even if the meat managed to be cooked without overcooking the pasta, I would have to imagine it would be very nasty. I'm imagining some mealy-textured meat sitting in a pocket of grease and throwing up in my mouth a little.
    – Sean Hart
    Commented Jan 28, 2011 at 18:29

My dad immigrated to America from Italy, along with the rest of his famiglia in the 1920s. Ravioli meat mixture was never cooked beforehand. Mixture was raw, lean ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, chopped drained spinach, crushed dried fennel, dried oregano, salt, pepper, garlic fresh or powder The egg binds the mixture. The level teaspoon mixture per ravioli hold together beautifully and completely cooks the meat into a small firm ball and ....no grease. A beautiful bite. The salted boiling water cooks the meat and time of boiling depends more on thickness of pasta in our experience. As with cavatelli and gnocchi, floating to top is not best test for doneness. We always sample one at the 3-4 minute level, then decide. Trish Pizzuti-Bockus Nov 2019


If you are speaking about the Italian (our lovely one) recipe, yes, you have to cook it as long as possible and adding salt just at the end, this is the secret to avoid it'll loose a lot of water. In fact we use a stew finely chopped by a mixer to fill the ravioli.

I usually fried with carrots, celery, garlic and onion (finely chopped), then brown the meat on both sides to close the pores and then add a glass of good red wine and I cover with the lid.

it is important to lower the heat at the lowest possible and keep the pot covered. For a piece of at least 400gr of meat you have to cook it for at least 4 hours, adding a bit of wine in the case the meat will be dried (if you cover well and you have a low heat, it won't happen).

To understand if the heat it's OK you will hear the the meat frying slowly but there will be not steam escaping the pot (or at least just a bit).

You can add other spices if you like, but none containing salt, salted ones have to be added just at the end, when meat is already cooked (even better while you are mixing the meat with eggs)


Italian perspective: yes, because the short time the ravioli stay in the boiling water is not enough to cook the meat. And this is particularly important if you are going to use pork in your filling. If you are worried about the filling being too loose, you can add a binder: you can try egg or ricotta cheese. At least this is what I would do.

Also, depending on how much fat is there in your meat mix, you may want to drain it a bit after cooking. But I would try to avoid that as much as possible, since a lot of the flavorants are fat soluble, and you are going to loooooose them down the drain. So sad.

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