These slow cooker short ribs are the best way to indulge your red meat craving. Made with simple ingredients, packed with so much flavor, and paired with a creamy sweet potato purée, this is hands down our favorite short ribs recipe.
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When it comes to beef recipes, perfectly cooked short ribs are a work of art. Turning this tough cut into tender, succulent bites takes time and patience. But it’s worth it. If not cooked correctly, they can become tough and rubbery, which is why the crock pot is a great tool for this cut.
Why Braise Short Ribs?
Braised short ribs are so flavorful and bone tender the slow cooking process is certainly worth the wait. This particular cut of meat is short, flat (square), and thick (it might be a little too tough until you slow cook it to perfection). These ribs are cut from the plate of the cow, the same area as dino ribs, just shorter, for more of a restaurant-worthy meal.
Since fat and marbling is distributed evenly across short ribs, they offer a uniquely juicy, silky texture that will almost melt in your mouth after a low, slow cook. Plus, since braising breaks down collagen, the meat will make any sauce you put on it even richer.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
This hearty, wholesome meal makes the perfect dinner during the colder months (and year-round)! The slow-cooked braised short ribs are so juicy and tender, and they pair perfectly with the sweet, savory sweet potato purée. If you’re craving ribs but want to jazz up your typical recipe, this zesty, protein- and veggie-packed dish is absolutely the way to go.
For the Short Ribs:
- Short Ribs – bone-on English style, about 4
- Vegetable Oil – used to sear the meat before adding it to the slow cooker to give it that crispy exterior.
- Salt and Pepper – a simple seasoning duo that helps bring the other already present flavors in the dish. The pepper also gives a subtle spicy flavor.
- Onion, Carrot, and Celery – this trio of veggies is a classic used in cooking called a “mirepoix.” In this recipe, it’s simmered with the other ingredients to add flavor, then discarded.
- Tomato Paste and Flour – whisked together to act as a thickener for the sauce. You can also use arrowroot powder if preferred.
- Stout or Red wine – Any dark stout or deep red wine works great for this recipe. If you don’t want to use alcohol, replace it with three tablespoons of coconut Aminos and 1 additional cup of beef broth.
- Balsamic Vinegar – balsamic vinegar adds so much tangy flavor while also breaking down the meat for a more tender texture.
- Chicken Broth – acts as the base for the sauce and adds so much flavor to the meat.
- Bay Leaves – add a subtle undertone of herbaceous, slightly floral flavors, which helps to heighten the flavor of the sauce. Don’t forget to remove them before serving!
- Thyme and Parsley – use fresh herbs for the best flavor.
For the Sweet Potato Purée:
- Sweet Potatoes – be sure to peel and dice your potatoes, so they cook quickly for the puree.
- Salt and Pepper – We always use kosher salt and freshly grated black pepper
- Ghee – Use ghee for a richer flavor but feel free to use regular unsalted butter if preferred.
- Cream – coconut cream will work as well.
How to make short ribs in the crock pot
- You’ll start by trimming the meat from the bones and placing the bones in a heat-safe dish. Cook the bones in a microwave for 10-15 minutes until browned, then place them in the slow cooker. Pat the beef dry with a paper towel, then season it with salt and pepper.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add in 1 tablespoon of oil, then add in the beef and brown on all sides. Transfer the browned beef to the slow cooker.
- In the same pan, add in more oil, then sauté the onion, carrot, and celery for 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, and flour, and cook for another minute. Slowly whisk in the beer or red wine, stirring until slightly thickened, then stir in the balsamic vinegar. Turn off the heat and allow the liquid to settle.
- To the slow cooker, add the veggies and liquid, then the chicken broth, bay leaves, and thyme. Cover and cook on low for 9-10 hours.
- After it’s cooked, remove the lid and skim the fat from the surface. Discard. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bones and beef from the cooking liquid. Discard the veggies.
- Pour the cooking liquid through a strainer into a clean pot. Cook at a simmer over medium heat as the sauce reduces to cook by half
- Make the sweet potato purée by boiling the diced sweet potatoes until fork tender. Whip the potatoes with butter and cream until smooth and fluffy, then season with salt and pepper.
- Serve the sweet potato puree with hot short ribs and the reduction sauce, then garnish with freshly chopped parsley.
How to Store Leftovers & Reheating
Leftover short ribs will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for 3-4 months. If freezing, we recommend removing the meat from the bones and pulling for future sauces and stews.
To reheat, thaw the ribs in the fridge; if frozen, then microwave or warm them on the stove until heated through. Mix leftover shredded short ribs into any sauce or gravy for amazing flavor.
What to Serve with slow cooker Short Ribs
You can serve these slow cooker short ribs with the sweet potato purée next to a pile of smoked brussels sprouts, green beans, smoked cabbage, some steakhouse creamed spinach, French onion soup, hot mashed potatoes, or a slice of crusty bread to sop up the delicious sauce! You can even add leftovers to mac and cheese for a delicious short rib mac. We love a fresh green side dish and a creamy indulgent one when serving this.
When you’re buying short ribs, look for bone-on English-style or Texas-style beef ribs. English-style ribs tend to hold their shape during a long cook time. Bone-in beef ribs cook more evenly and have more flavor! Not sure where to buy the best short ribs? We get ours from Porter Road, one of our trusted online places to buy meat.
If you prefer boneless short ribs, that will work as well, but the flavor won’t be quite as deep.
Braising is a two-part cooking process that involves an initial sear followed by a long, low, and slow cook time.
The benefit to braising is that it results in tender, moist, and flavorful meat! The initial sear creates a crust and flavor base, while the slower cook time tenderizes the meat for a fall-off-the-bone texture.
Not necessarily, but due to the high-fat content, slow braising is perfect for thicker short ribs. The slow cooker allows the fat to render and melt through the meat, keeping the ribs moist and saturating them with flavor.
When it’s ready to serve, the meat should practically melt beneath a slight touch!
We hope you loved these slow cooker short ribs! If you liked this recipe, be sure to rate it and leave your feedback in the comments! Have you tried them boneless? Thoughts on the sweet potato purée?
Slow Cooker Short Ribs Recipe
- crock pot
- 4 lbs short ribs about 4 bones, bone on English style
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 onion diced
- 1 carrot peeled and diced
- 1 celery stalk trimmed and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp flour for whole 30, use arrowroot powder
- 1 cup stout coffee stout or other dark stout, or omit and replace with 3 tbsp coconut aminos and 1 additional cup broth
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp thyme preferably fresh cut
- parsley fresh cut for garnish
For the Sweet Potato Puree
- 3 lbs sweet potatoes peeled and diced
- salt and pepper
- 4 tbsp ghee
- 1 tbsp cream if on whole 30, use coconut cream
- Carefully, trim the meat from the bones and place the bones in a heat safe dish.
- Cook the bones in a microwave for 10 to 15 minutes, flipping once or twice, until browned.
- Place in the slow cooker.
- Meanwhile, pat the beef dry with a paper towel and heat a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Season the beef liberally with salt and pepper.
- Add the 1 tablespoon oil to the hot pan and swirl to coat. Place the beef in the skillet and brown on all sides. Place in the slow cooker.
- In the same pan, add the remaining oil.
- Saute the onion, carrot, and celery for 5 to 7 minutes, until soft.
- Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, and flour, cooking for a minute longer.
- Slowly whisk in the ale, scraping up any accumulated brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Whisk until slightly thickened and stir in the balsamic vinegar.
- Turn off the heat and allow the liquid to settle.
- Add the veggies and liquid to the slow cooker. Stir in the chicken broth, bay leaves, and thyme.
- Cover and cook on low for 9 to 10 hours.
- Skim the fat from the surface and discard. With a slotted spoon, remove the bones and beef from the cooking liquid.
- Discard the veggies.
- Pour the cooking liquid through a strainer into a clean pot.
- Cook at a gentle simmer over medium-low heat, until reduced by half.
- Meanwhile, make the sweet potato puree.
- Boil the diced sweet potatoes for 7 to 10 minutes in a large pot of salted water. Drain when fork tender.
- Whip the sweet potatoes with butter and cream until smooth and fluffy. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
- Serve sweet potatoes with hot short ribs and reduction sauce.
- Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.