Beef short ribs have a unique ability to absorb flavors and spices, making them an ideal candidate for slow cooking. This method not only enhances their natural taste but also tenderizes the meat to perfection. The slow cooker does most of the work, allowing you to focus on your day while it simmers the ribs into a delectable meal. The aroma that fills your kitchen will be a delightful precursor to the rich, savory taste that awaits. It’s a dish that promises to bring warmth and satisfaction to any dinner table.

beef short ribs in the slow cooker.

Ingredient Breakdown & Substitutions

Dive into the heart of this recipe with our ingredient breakdown, where each component’s role is as crucial as the next. We also offer thoughtful substitutions, ensuring this dish is adaptable to various tastes and dietary needs.

  • Beef Short Ribs: The star of the dish, choose well-marbled ribs for the best flavor.
  • Broth: Beef broth is preferred, but chicken or vegetable broth can be used as alternatives if necessary.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Adds depth; soy sauce or balsamic vinegar can be substitutes.
  • Herbs and Spices: Rosemary, garlic, and onion powder are key but feel free to experiment with your favorites.

Using substitutions may affect final taste and texture.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use the drippings to make a side sauce?

Certainly! You will simply remove the meat and pour the juices into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until sauce reduces (about 15 minutes). For a smooth sauce you’d want to strain it first.

Can I use the drippings to make a gravy?

Yes! Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Add in 2 tablespoons of flour and whisk together into a paste. Pour in strained juices and heat over medium-high heat until thickened.

If your juices are straight from the oven and still piping hot this will only take a minute or two.

Should I use bone-in or boneless ribs?

You can use either bone-in or boneless short ribs for this recipe. Use whichever you prefer!

Visual Guide to Making Beef Short Ribs

Beef short ribs getting seared in a cast-iron skillet.
Whisking ingredients placed in a slow cooker.
Seared beef short ribs being placed into the slow cooker.

Choosing the Ribs

Beef short ribs come in various cuts, each offering a unique texture and flavor profile, crucial to the success of your dish. The two primary types you’ll encounter are Chuck Short Ribs and Plate Short Ribs.

Chuck Short Ribs are cut from the shoulder area and are known for their meaty texture. They tend to be leaner but are packed with beefy flavors. When selecting chuck ribs, look for pieces with a good amount of meat on the bones and visible marbling, as this fat contributes to the tenderness and flavor during slow cooking.

Plate Short Ribs, on the other hand, are cut from the lower rib area, closer to the belly of the cow. They are generally more marbled than chuck ribs, resulting in a richer flavor and a more tender texture when cooked. Plate short ribs are typically larger, with a higher fat content, which is ideal for slow cooking as it renders down, infusing the meat with succulent flavors.

When choosing beef short ribs, regardless of the cut, always look for ribs with a deep red color and consistent marbling. Avoid ribs that have a lot of surface fat or are discolored. Freshness is key, so ribs that smell clean and have a firm texture are ideal. Remember, the quality of the meat greatly influences the final dish, so opting for the best your budget allows will yield the most flavorful and tender results.

Serving Suggestions

Braised beef short ribs are often served up with mashed potatoes and gravy. Other classic accompaniments are a creamy polenta, or roasted vegetables.


  • Ribs Too Tough: Increase cooking time slightly to allow more tenderization.
  • Flavors Too Mild: Add more spices or herbs to suit your taste, especially during the last hour of cooking.

Tips From the Chef

  • Sear the ribs before slow cooking to lock in flavor.
  • Don’t skip the rosemary; it adds a wonderful aroma.
  • Cook on low for the best texture.
  • Let the ribs rest for a few minutes after cooking for optimum tenderness.
Close up of Beef Short Ribs on mashed potatoes.

Storage & Reheating Instructions

Proper storage and reheating are key to maintaining the quality and safety of your cooked beef short ribs.

Storing in the Refrigerator:

  1. Cool Down: Allow the ribs to cool to room temperature for no longer than 2 hours to prevent bacterial growth.
  2. Airtight Container: Transfer the ribs into an airtight container. If there’s any sauce or cooking liquid, include it as it helps retain moisture.
  3. Refrigeration: Store in the refrigerator, where they will keep well for up to 3 days.


  1. Portioning: If you have a large batch, consider dividing the ribs into meal-sized portions for easier thawing and reheating.
  2. Freezer-Safe Containers or Bags: Use airtight containers or freezer bags to prevent freezer burn. Label them with the date.
  3. Freeze: Beef short ribs can be frozen for up to 3 months. The quality remains best if used within this timeframe.


  1. Thawing: If frozen, thaw the ribs in the refrigerator overnight. Avoid thawing at room temperature.
  2. Oven Method: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the ribs in an oven-safe dish, and add a splash of broth or water to prevent drying out. Cover with foil and heat for about 15-20 minutes, or until heated through.
  3. Stovetop Method: Reheat in a covered saucepan over medium heat, adding a bit of broth or water. Stir occasionally and heat until the ribs are warmed thoroughly.
  4. Microwave Method: For a quicker option, use the microwave. Cover the ribs and set the microwave to a medium heat setting. Heat in short intervals, stirring in between, until hot. Be cautious as microwaving can unevenly heat and sometimes dry out the meat.

Note on Safety: Always ensure the ribs reach an internal temperature of 165°F when reheating, as this temperature is safe for consumption. Avoid reheating the ribs multiple times, as this can compromise both the taste and food safety.

Veggie Sides to Serve With Short Ribs

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.