Slow Cooker Short Ribs: Tender and Delicious

5 from 2 votes
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Succulent, fall-off-the-bone tender beef in a rich, hearty gravy – these slow cooker short ribs are so easy to make and the perfect warming midweek dish.

A serving of slow cooker short ribs with mashed potatoes

Short ribs are incredibly underrated. Not only do they have plenty of juicy, marbled meat on them, but they’re so easy to turn into a delicious dinner. And for the best flavor, there’s no better way to cook beef short ribs than in the slow cooker. A low and slow cooking process makes the meat wonderfully juicy and soft with an intensified flavor profile, delivering an easy, no-fuss weekday dinner in just a few hours.

Slow cooker short ribs ingredients

  • Short Ribs: You can get these from the grocery store, but I always recommend going to a butcher – they can help you pick the best meat with moderate marbling and not too much excess fat
  • Beef Broth: Use store-bought or homemade. You can also substitute with an au jus or drippings.
  • Onion: White onion will get deliciously caramelized, but red or green onions can also work.
  • Garlic
  • Tomato Paste: You can use store-bought or homemade.
  • Olive Oil
  • Worcestershire Sauce: This is an excellent seasoning for beef as it brings out the rich, deep flavor of the meat. You can substitute it with soy sauce in a pinch.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Cornstarch: This is going to help thicken the broth into a gravy that you can serve with your crockpot short ribs for extra flavor.
Ingredients for slow cooked short ribs

Step-by-step instructions

Prepare Short Ribs: If needed, cut the short ribs into smaller pieces so they fit in the crock pot. Season the meat well with salt and pepper on all sides. 

Sauté the Onions and Garlic: Slice the onions and garlic. Heat the oil in a pan on a medium-high heat. Sauté the onions first for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for a further 1 minute. Remove from the pan.

Sear the Short Ribs: In the same pan, add the short ribs and sear on high on all sides until they’re browned.

Slow cook the Short Ribs: Add your seared short ribs to the crock pot, then add the onion and garlic, pour in the beef broth and Worcestershire sauce, then add tomato paste and fresh rosemary. Cook on LOW for 7 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours.

Steps for searing and slow cooking short ribs

Make the Gravy: Remove the cooked short ribs from the crock pot. Sieve the remaining mixture into a large pot so you only have the liquid. Prepare a slurry by dissolving the cornstarch in a small amount of the cooking liquid or water. Then add the slurry to the cooking liquid in the pot, stirring over medium heat until you achieve the desired thick consistency. If the gravy is lumpy, dilute it with a little broth or water and bring it to a boil, cooking for a few minutes until you get a smooth, thick consistency.

Making gravy in a small pot

Char the Short Ribs (optional): If you want a little crisp or char on your short ribs, place a little gravy on a baking tray, then put the ribs on top. Cook on the broiler setting for a few minutes before serving.

Top tips

  • Searing: Brown the short ribs in batches with a little oil for extra flavor. Don’t rush the searing – it’s so worth it and you’ll be able to taste the difference.
  • Slow and Low: The slow cooking process melts away the tougher parts of the meats. It should fall apart when pressed with a fork and have an internal temperature of 180-205°F/82-96ºC when perfectly cooked.
  • Cut The Fat: If your short ribs are too fatty, cool the sauce and skim the fat from the top before turning the leftover sauce into a yummy gravy.
Short ribs charred in the oven

Serving suggestions

Make ahead and storage instructions

To make ahead: Make the slow cooker short ribs as normal, but leave them in the crockpot until you’re ready to serve. They’re best enjoyed piping hot, so allow at least ten minutes to reheat thoroughly – either in the crockpot or in the oven with a few extra splashes of gravy to stop them drying out.

Store in the fridge: Store leftovers with the gravy in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Freeze: Store in a freezer-safe container or Ziplock bag (date them so you know when they’re freshest!). They’ll keep for 1-2 months.

A serving of short ribs with mashed potatoes

FAQs

How to know when the short ribs are done?

The short ribs should be tender and juicy, falling apart when cut into. For a more accurate reading, they should have an internal temperature of 180-205°F/82-96ºC.

Can you cook short ribs in the slow cooker fast?

For a speedier cook, cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours. Short ribs work best when they’re done low and slow, so don’t be tempted to turn up the temperature!

Does this recipe work for boneless short ribs?

Yes! You may need to adjust the seasonings for maximum flavor, but boneless short ribs work just as well. Also, make sure to adjust the cooking time as they will cook faster and can become tender more quickly. So make sure to check on them earlier.

More slow cooker protein

If you try this recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Slow Cooker Short Ribs: Tender and Delicious

5 from 2 votes
By: Samira
Succulent, fall-off-the-bone tender beef in a rich, hearty gravy – these slow cooker short ribs are so easy to make and the perfect warming midweek dish.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 7 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

  • 3.4 lb beef short ribs 4 large
  • 3 cups beef broth or water
  • 1 onion large
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary

For the gravy

  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 5 Tbsp water or stock

Instructions 

  • If needed, cut the short ribs into smaller pieces so they fit in the crock pot. Season the meat well with salt and pepper on all sides. 
  • Slice the onions and garlic. Heat the oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Sauté the onions first for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for a further 1 minute. Remove from the pan.
  • In the same pan, add the short ribs and sear on high on all sides until they’re browned.
  • Add your seared short ribs to the crock pot, then add the onion and garlic, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and fresh rosemary.
  • Cook on LOW for 7 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours.
  • Remove the cooked short ribs from the crock pot. Sieve the remaining mixture into a large pot so you only have the liquid.
  • Prepare a slurry by dissolving the cornstarch in a small amount of the cooking liquid or water. Then add the slurry to the cooking liquid in the pot, stirring over medium heat until you achieve the desired thick consistency.
  • Optional step: If you want a little crisp or char on your short ribs, place a little gravy on a baking tray, then put the ribs on top. Cook on the broiler setting for a few minutes before serving.

Video

Notes

  • Searing: Brown the short ribs in batches with a little oil for extra flavor. Don’t rush the searing – it’s so worth it and you’ll be able to taste the difference. 
  • Slow and Low: The slow cooking process melts away the tougher parts of the meats. It should fall apart when pressed with a fork and have an internal temperature of 180-205°F/82-96ºC when perfectly cooked. 
  • Cut The Fat: If your short ribs are too fatty, cool the sauce and skim the fat from the top before turning the leftover sauce into a yummy gravy. 
  • To Store in the Fridge: Store the ribs with the gravy in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • To Freeze: Store in a freezer-safe container or Ziplock bag (date them so you know when they’re freshest!). They’ll keep for 1-2 months.
Check the blog post for serving suggestions!
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Freezer friendly: 1-2 Months
Shelf life: 4 Days

Nutrition

Calories: 603kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 56g, Fat: 36g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 18g, Cholesterol: 166mg, Sodium: 1569mg, Potassium: 1265mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 53IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 58mg, Iron: 7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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