These Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs are fall off the bone, melt in your mouth tender and only take about 15 minutes of prep. Serve over mashed potatoes, polenta or roasted veggies for an easy dinner that is pure comfort food.
Best Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs
These Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs are an easy dinner idea that will take you literally 15 minutes of prep before you can pass the reins over to the crockpot. Meanwhile, the entire kitchen will flood with the most amazing smells while you go about the rest of your day.
The result is fall off the bone tender beef, cooked in a flavorful, savory sauce along with carrots, onions and mushrooms. Serve over mashed potatoes, polenta, noodles or veggies for comfort food at its finest.
Choosing the Best Short Ribs
When choosing short ribs for this dish, you want to find ones that are well-marbled and super meaty. Whether you choose bone-in or boneless isn’t as important as trying to avoid short ribs that have a thick cap of fat over the top.
Ingredients in Beef Short Ribs
- Short Ribs - bone-in are great but boneless will work just fine.
- Avocado Oil - you can also substitute olive oil.
- Salt and Pepper
- Onion - white, yellow or red onions will all work for this recipe.
- Garlic - fresh garlic tastes best, but you can also use the garlic in the jar.
- Carrots - you’ll want to slice these into roughly ½” pieces.
- Mushrooms - use your favorite kind of mushrooms.
- Brown Sugar - this balances out some of the acidity from the tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce.
- Tomato Paste - any kind will work.
- Worcestershire Sauce - you could also substitute tomato sauce.
- Beef Broth - if you prefer, you could use red wine instead.
- Bay Leaves - fresh bay leaves have a stronger flavor than dried, but both will work.
- Thyme - try and use fresh thyme if possible.
How to Make Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs
- Sear short ribs. Remove short ribs from the fridge and let them come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. In a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, add the avocado oil. When the oil starts to smoke, add the short ribs to the pan, fat side down. Be sure to leave room between the short ribs so they sear quickly. Brown short ribs on each side by searing for about 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the skillet and place in the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Saute veggies. In the same large skillet, add the minced onion and cook for about 3 minutes until translucent. Add the minced garlic and sliced mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms are golden brown, or about 3-5 more minutes.
- Make the sauce. Add the brown sugar, tomato paste, Worcheshire sauce and beef broth to the cast-iron skillet and use a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Stir until combined, then pour the onion mixture over the top of the short ribs in the slow cooker. Top with the thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
- Cook. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours. Once the meat is cooked and tender, remove the bay leaves and thyme.
- Serve. Serve with mashed potatoes or your favorite veggies with extra drippings. Enjoy!
If you would rather cook your short ribs over the stove top, you can do so in a dutch oven. Simply follow the instructions above, searing the short ribs and sauteeing the veggies in the dutch oven. Then, add the ingredients to make your sauce, cover and simmer over medium-low for about 3 hours until the meat is super tender.
Most often, I serve short ribs over a bed of mashed potatoes, like these rich and creamy Gruyere Mashed Potatoes. Some other great sides to serve alongside beef short ribs are Baked Mac and Cheese, Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Twice-Baked Potato Casserole or even our Homemade Flakey Biscuits.
Short ribs also taste great with polenta, rice and basically any potato side dish that you can imagine.
Frequently Asked Question
Short ribs come from the section of beef chuck where the ribs are too short to make good steaks. They tend to be very meaty, but also contain quite a bit of connective tissue that takes a lot of cooking to break down. That is why slow cooking is a great method for cooking short ribs!
Not exactly. The longer you cook short ribs in the slow cooker the more tender it becomes. However, if you aren’t looking for the meat to shred, you will want to cook until it is tender which should take about 8-10 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high.
You truly do not want to skip this step, especially since it only takes a matter of minutes. It adds a serious amount of flavor to the short ribs as well as the sauce that they cook in.
The easiest way to know if your short ribs have finished cooking is if they are tender. If you press or poke them and they still feel tough, keep cooking. They will need to reach an internal temperature of at least 180 degrees F for the connective tissues in the meat to break down enough to soften.
You sure can! The best way to freeze short ribs is to store in freezer bags with a bit of the sauce. They can remain frozen for up to 2 months, then thawed in the fridge overnight.
Storing and Reheating Slow Cooker Short Ribs
- Refrigerator: store leftover short ribs in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Freezer: freeze short ribs along with some of the sauce in freezer bags for up to 2 months.
- To reheat on the stove: pull your beef ribs out of the fridge about 30 minutes - 1 hour before you plan to serve and spoon any hardened fat off of the top. Place in a pot or skillet and simmer on low until warmed through.
- To reheat in the oven: transfer short ribs to a dutch oven, cover and warm in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes - 1 hour, or until warmed through.
Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs Recipe
- 4-5 large Beef Short Ribs bone-in
- 1 Tablespoon Avocado Oil
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Pepper
- 1 medium Onion minced
- 5 cloves Garlic minced
- 3 large Carrots sliced into ½" pieces
- 8 ounces Mushrooms sliced thin
- 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 2 Tablespoons Worcheshire Sauce or tomato sauce
- 1 cup Beef Broth or red wine
- 3 large Bay Leaves
- 2-3 sprigs Thyme fresh
- Remove short ribs from the fridge and let them come to room temperature for about 30 minutes.
- In a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, add the avocado oil. When the oil starts to smoke, add the short ribs to the pan, fat side down. Be sure to leave room between the short ribs so they sear quickly. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip with thongs and sear on the other side until golden brown.
- Remove from the skillet and place in the bottom of the slow cooker.
- In the same skillet, add the minced onion and cook for about 3 minutes until translucent. Add the minced garlic and sliced mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms are golden brown, or about 3-5 more minutes.
- Add the brown sugar, tomato paste, Worcheshire sauce and beef broth to the cast-iron skillet and use a wooden spoon to scrape the bits of beef and onion from the bottom of the skillet. Stir until combined, then pour the onion mixture over the top of the short ribs in the slow cooker. Top with the thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
- Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours. Once the meat is cooked and tender, remove the bay leaves and thyme.
- Serve with mashed potatoes or your favorite veggies with extra drippings. Enjoy!
More Of the Best Slow Cooker Recipes To Try
- Crockpot Buffalo Chicken
- Slow Cooker Pot Roast
- Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
- Crockpot Mashed Potatoes
- Crockpot Chicken Pot Pie
- Homemade Beef Stew
- Mississippi Chicken
- More Beef Dinner Recipes
- More Easy Weeknight Meals
If you’ve tried this recipe, please rate it and leave a comment on this post. I love hearing feedback from you helps me and other readers too! If you love Pinterest, feel free to leave a comment and photo there too. Also, if you like to share, use the hashtag #thecarefreekitchen on Instagram and tag me @thecarefreekitchen so I can find you and give your post some love. You can also find me on Facebook at The Carefree Kitchen. Thank you!!
These melt in your mouth Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs are an easy dinner idea that everyone will love. Serve over mashed potatoes, polenta or roasted veggies for comfort food at its finest.