Slow Cooker meals are great for summer when you don’t want to turn on the oven, and in the winter when you are craving some serious comfort food. These slow cooker short ribs fit the bill for both, making them a perfect dinner recipe all year long!
Bone-in short ribs offer the best flavor, but you could also use boneless if that’s all you can find. We always use the bone-in short ribs for this slow cooker recipe. The braising liquid that is used to flavor the meat is made of beef broth and Worcestershire sauce, and lots of herbs and seasonings. The meat is seared first on the stovetop to lock in that rich, beefy flavor, then placed in the braising liquid in the slow cooker and cooked most of the day.
Short rib meat can also be shredded to make sandwiches, tacos or even pizza!
What are short ribs?
Short ribs come from the area between the chuck and rib, so they combine characteristics of both cuts of meat. Short ribs have the same rich marbling as rib-eye steaks and the deep beefy flavor of chuck roast. This is the same meat used to make our Korean Short Ribs, the meat is just cut differently, between the ribs instead of across the bone.
How to cook short ribs in the slow cooker
Rub seasonings and herbs into the meat, and sear each side in a screaming hot pan. We are going for color and flavor here, so the meat doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through.
Add beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, fresh garlic, dried rosemary and a bay leaf to the slow cooker, then transfer the seared short ribs and place them into the liquid.
Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours or on high for 5-6 hours. For beef I generally recommend cooking low and slow for the most tender and flavorful meat.
Transfer the cooked short ribs to a plate, carefully as they really will be fall-apart tender. To the remaining liquid, add a slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken the sauce into a gravy. If there isn’t enough gravy, you could add more beef broth and thicken again. Cover and cook on high for just about 5-10 minutes; long enough for the mixture to thicken. You could place the meat back into the slow cooker at this time or simply cover it with foil and leave it on the plate.
We are pretty traditional when it comes to our slow cooker short ribs, but they go well with a variety of side dishes. Here are some of our favorite include:
Properly stored in an airtight container, slow cooker short ribs will last up to 4 days in the refrigerator. You can freeze the meat by placing it (once cooled) in freezer bags to further extend the shelf life. Freeze short ribs for up to 5-6 months for the best quality. Thaw in the fridge and reheat in the microwave or oven.
Combine salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and dried thyme in a small bowl.
Pat the short ribs dry and then rub the seasonings into the meat.
Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add melt 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add meat and sear on all sides, just until golden. Meat does not need to be cooked through, we just want color.
To the slow cooker, add 2 cups beef broth, garlic, bay leaf, dried rosemary and Worcestershire sauce.
Transfer the browned short ribs to the slow cooker and cover. Set to low for 7-9 hours.
In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water until smooth.
Remove the meat from the slow cooker and add the cornstarch and water mixture. Whisk together to combine. Cover and cook on high for 5 minutes, just long enough to thicken.
Serve with mashed potatoes, gravy from the slow cooker and garnish with parsley.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.