Tender fall-off-the-bone Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs are remarkably rich and make for a show-stopping main entrée for any special occasion. This goof-proof short rib recipe couldn’t be any easier! Recipe includes an Instant Pot option for those who prefer pressure cooking over slow cooking.
If you’re in hot pursuit of a magical dinner recipe that will surely WOW those who try it, you are in the right place!
These slow cooker short ribs result in a rich sauce, and are a show-stopping centerpiece to any dinner party. Truly, the perfect meal.
The best part? Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs are straightforward and easy to prepare.
Fancy food with very little effort!
Between Beef Tenderloin, Prime Rib, Pot Roast, Beef Stew (and more!) it’s safe to say we love our perfectly seared, tender beefs around here.
If you’ve never tried them, short ribs are an absolute miracle. Slow cooking for plenty of time yields delicious results!
Even if you’re new to short ribs, this great recipe is goof-proof, as cooking at a lower heat for a long cooking time ensures the beef becomes flavorful and fall-off-the-bone tender in the delicious braising liquid
Think of the best ribs you’ve ever had, but then multiply the amount of meat by tenfold and divide the difficulty with which it takes to eat them by infinity.
Raise the fat factor to the power of 2 and you’re looking at the magnificence known as the short rib.
Serve them with Caramelized Onion & Roasted Garlic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, Creamy Mashed Rutabaga, or Maple Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes for a real wild ride!
The key ingredient that makes these short ribs so unbelievably amazing is…wait for it, wait for it.
It may sound strange, but cherry juice helps to tenderize the meat, adds very subtle tang and sweetness to offset the richness, and additional depth of flavor, similar to the way wine adds flavor to meat.
Let’s do a deep dive into the very simple ingredients!
Ingredients for Crock Pot Short Ribs:
Avocado Oil or Olive Oil: Used to sear the beef ribs and sauté the onion.
Beef Short Ribs: Pick up 4 to 5 pounds of short ribs, which you can find in the meat section of your grocery store. I always use bone-in short ribs rather than boneless short ribs to ensure the meat turns out incredibly flavorful and tender!
Onion & Garlic: Sautéing onion and garlic before adding it to the slow cooker adds a tremendous amount of flavor! I like to sauté the onion until it’s beginning to caramelize.
Cherry Juice & Chicken Broth: The liquid portion of the recipe. Cherry juice adds tremendous flavor and richness to the beef and helps tenderize it. Use 100% cherry juice for the best result.
You could compare the result to recipes made with wine. A deep, rich flavor results, but there is no residual alcohol flavor. This may be nice for folks who appreciate a boldly flavorful meal but choose not to cook with alcohol.
If you’d like, you can use apple cider or pineapple juice in place of the cherry juice. Just be sure it is pure juice and isn’t sweetened. Red wine works too! If you go with red wine, choose a bold varietal such as cabernet sauvignon or Malbec.
Feel free to replace the chicken broth with beef stock or stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons of tomato paste for richer flavor.
Carrots & Mushrooms: I love serving short ribs with mashed potatoes and the cooked veggies adds a nice fresh counterbalance to the otherwise rich meal.
If you’re making this a one-pot meal and omitting any sides, you can cook small yukon gold potatoes in with the short ribs!
Sea Salt: Used to season the beef and the broth, don’t forget the sea salt and black pepper! Salt brings all of the flavors together in one cohesive unit and makes the beef taste even richer.
Rosemary (optional): A sprig of rosemary adds earthiness. Feel free to add a bay leaf or fresh herbs like fresh thyme to this gorgeous sauce.
How to Make Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs:
Season the short ribs with sea salt on all sides. Heat the avocado oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Wait for a few minutes to allow the skillet to become sizzling hot.
Place the short ribs in the hot skillet on one of the fat sides.
Sear for 3 minutes, then flip and sear for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Pour the cherry juice and chicken broth into the slow cooker. Transfer the seared short ribs into the slow cooker.
Use the same skillet to sauté the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion turns golden-brown, about 8 to 10 minutes, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Add the garlic and sauté another 2 minutes.
Transfer the onion and garlic to the slow cooker, along with the carrots, mushrooms, and rosemary. Give everything a jostle so that everything is covered in liquid as much as possible (it’s completely fine if the veggies are poking out!).
Secure the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low heat for 8 to 10 hours or high heat for 4 to 6.
You’ll notice after the cooking process, the meat pulls away from the rib bones and is very tender.
Serve over creamy polenta, mashed potatoes, or egg noodles with your choice of side dishes and enjoy! Crusty bread and roasted veggies (particularly root vegetables) are great candidates for side dishes.
How to Make Gravy For Short Ribs:
Do you love gravy?! You can easily make it out of the liquid in the crock pot.
At the very least, I recommend serving the short ribs with a generous douse of the liquid, but if you would like to turn the juices into gravy, doing so is easy and adds even more sultry appeal to the meal.
Here’s how to do it.
Use a fat separator to remove the fat from the liquid (you’ll want 2 to 3 cups of liquid).
If you don’t have a fat separator, you can try a couple of other methods. If you have a few hours before you’re serving the short ribs, measure out 2 to 3 cups of liquid and refrigerate it until a layer of fat solidifies at the top. Scoop off the fat using a spoon and discard it.
As an alternative, you can use a paper towel to absorb the fat by carefully laying it on top of the liquid. Discard the paper towel and continue this process using unused paper towels until they begin to pick up more liquid than fat.
One more option is to not remove any of the fat! It will make the gravy incredibly rich, albeit fatty. 😉
Transfer 2 to 3 cups of the liquid to a saucepan along with ¼ to ¾ teaspoon of sea salt (to taste), and 2 to 3 tablespoons of flour (use all-purpose flour, tapioca flour, or a gluten-free flour blend). Bring the mixture to a full boil and cook, whisking regularly, until thick and the clumps of flour are out.
If you’d like to add other seasonings like rosemary, garlic powder or onion powder, feel free to do so!
Can I Make This in the Instant Pot?:
If you prefer cooking in the pressure cooker, follow either my Paleo Instant Pot Short Ribs which is very similar to this recipe.
You can also try my Instant Pot Red Wine Short Ribs if you love cooking with wine.
So which is better? Instant Pot or Crock Pot short ribs?
Truthfully, I don’t observe a remarkable difference in cooking method.
Both methods are incredibly easy and result in a memorable, boldly luxurious perfect meal!
I hope you and your loved ones enjoy these tender, amazingly flavorful slow cooker best beef short ribs as much as I do! This delicious recipe is hearty comfort food at its finest!
Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs
Incredibly rich and tender slow cooker beef short ribs yield an otherworldly dinner with so little effort!
- 1 Tbsp avocado oil
- 4 to 5 lbs bone-in beef short ribs
- 1 tsp sea salt, to taste
- 1 medium-sized yellow onion, finely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups cherry juice*
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 3 large carrots, chopped into large chunks
- 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
- 1 sprig rosemary
- Sprinkle the short ribs with sea salt on all sides. Heat the avocado oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Wait for a few minutes to allow the skillet to become sizzling hot.
- Place the short ribs in the hot skillet on one of the fat sides. Sear for 3 minutes, then flip and sear for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Pour the cherry juice and chicken broth into the slow cooker. Transfer the seared short ribs into the slow cooker.
- Use the same skillet to sauté the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion turns golden-brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another 2 minutes.
- Transfer the onion and garlic to the slow cooker, along with the carrots, mushrooms, and rosemary. Give everything a jostle so that everything is covered in liquid as much as possible (it’s completely fine if the veggies are poking out!).
- Secure the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low heat for 7 to 8 hours or high heat for 4 to 6.
- Serve with your choice of side dishes and enjoy!
*You can replace the cherry juice with chicken or beef broth for a zero carb option, or a dry red wine (such as Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon), or unsweetened apple cider.
Nutrition InformationYield 9 Serving Size 1 6-oz. Short Rib
Amount Per Serving Calories 405Total Fat 33gSaturated Fat 15gCarbohydrates 0gNet Carbohydrates 0gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 32g
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Friday 3rd of February 2023
Do you mean tart cherry juice? I can’t seem to find anything BUT tart. Would that work?
Friday 10th of February 2023
Hi Jen! Yes, tart cherry juice is what you want :) Basically any brand of 100% cherry juice will work. I just wanted to steer people clear of using juices with added sugar :) Enjoy!
Wednesday 25th of January 2023
I don’t eat red meat or pork. Can I replace the protein with chicken thighs and, if so, is there an adjustment to the cooking time?
Sunday 29th of January 2023
Hi Denise! You can use chicken thighs, although I'm not sure how the flavor will turn out as I have never tested the recipe with anything other thank short ribs. I would cook on High for 4 hours or Low for 6 to 8 :) If you're looking for a great slow cooker chicken recipe, I recommend this one!: https://www.theroastedroot.net/crock-pot-creamy-mushroom-chicken-with-potatoes/ Enjoy!