Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs

by Kelli on February 19, 2013

The meat on these Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs so tender it practically falls off the bone and melts in your mouth.

Did you ever wake up in the morning immediately craving a certain food?  Well, this is a pretty regular occurrence in my life.

A few Sundays ago, within minutes of opening my eyes, I was thinking about short ribs.  Thick, savory, slow-cooked short ribs with meat so tender it easily falls off the bone and melts in your mouth.  I had yet to have a sip of coffee or consider breakfast (or even emerge from under the covers, for that matter), but I was already anxiously anticipating dinner.

The meat on these Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs so tender it practically falls off the bone and melts in your mouth.

I’ve tried a number a good recipes for slow cooked short ribs, but I’ve never found one that was truly great.  You know, that one recipe that becomes your go-to, the one you happily share with anyone who asks, and the one you ultimately make so many times you come to know it by heart.  I flipped through a stack of cookbooks, hoping to find that one recipe, but nothing jumped out at me.  So, I turned my search to my favorite food blogs…surely, in the middle of winter, I could count on my fellow bloggers to share the eye catching short rib recipe I was looking for.

Truth be told, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking for in this perfect slow cooker short rib recipe I held on a pedestal (although still had yet to find), but I was sure I’d know it when I saw it.  Finally, as I scanned a recently published recipe from Eat, Live, Run, I knew it had all the elements I was looking for.  And, I knew if my short ribs tasted anything like Jenna’s enticing photos, I was bound to have an amazing dinner in my future.

The meat on these Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs so tender it practically falls off the bone and melts in your mouth.

These beef short ribs were the epitome of what I envisioned when I woke that morning!  Succulent chunks of tender meat perfectly lacquered with rich sauce, that effortlessly fell off the bone and practically melted in my mouth.  As much as I was in love with the meat, I was possibly even more enamored with the sauce!  It was hearty, rich and luxurious, and I never wanted it to end.  While this recipes makes an ideal amount of sauce to accompany the short ribs, I will likely modify the recipe next time to have a bit extra.

The meat on these Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs so tender it practically falls off the bone and melts in your mouth.

Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs

Yield: Serves 3-4


  • 3 ½ lbs beef chuck short ribs
  • 2 whole shallots, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 cups dry red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper


Pat short ribs dry with a paper towel. Season each piece of meat with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat. When hot, add the short ribs and brown, cooking about 3-4 minutes per side. Don't overcrowd the pan, work in batches, if necessary.

After the ribs have browned, remove from carefully and set them at the bottom of your slow cooker. Take the pan off the heat briefly to cool down, then return to medium heat and add the shallots and celery. Saute for about five minutes until tender, then add the tomato paste. Mash the tomato paste into the veggies using a rubber spatula and continue to sauté on medium heat for another four minutes.

Pour the wine and the beef broth into the skillet and stir. Whisk in the flour, making sure to break up any clumps. Add bay leaves, thyme and season with salt & pepper.

Bring sauce to a boil, then to a simmer. Pour sauce right over ribs in the slow cooker. Place lid on slow cooker and cook on HIGH for seven to eight hours or on LOW for 11-12 hours. When done, the meat should literally be falling off the bone. Taste and season with additional salt & pepper, if necessary.

I recommend serving these slow cooker short ribs over a bowl of creamy polenta, parmesan risotto or fresh egg noodles.


Slight adapted from Eat, Live, Run


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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough February 19, 2013 at 12:04 PM

I’ve never wanted short ribs so badly in my life. YUM!


Kelsey @ K&K Test Kitchen February 20, 2013 at 10:14 PM

I totally made Jenna’s short ribs for Valentine’s Day. I’m glad you left the brown sugar out, as I would probably do that next time I made them since I found the sauce to be a bit overly sweet for my taste. Also Canada is weird, I found out the hard way that what Canadian butchers call “short ribs” is not the same as what I’m used to from when I lived in the US.


Adrienne A. Jacobs November 10, 2013 at 8:02 PM

Sounds delicious! Is the thyme fresh thyme?



Kelli November 11, 2013 at 9:28 AM

Great question, Adrienne! You can either use a few sprigs of fresh thyme if you have it handy, otherwise dried thyme works well.


Dianne January 9, 2014 at 9:57 AM

I made these but used onions in place of shallots and a bottle of dark beer as I didn’t have red wine. Delicious! Thanks for the great recipe. I will definitely make this again!


Kelli January 9, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Thanks, Diane! That swap for the dark beer was pure genius…great idea! Trying that next time I make these.


Alyssa February 1, 2014 at 2:53 PM

These look absolutely delish! I just went out to buy the ingredients and got home and realized I bought boneless short ribs. Can I use those or does the recipe require bone-in?


Kelli February 1, 2014 at 3:12 PM

Great question! You can absolutely use boneless short ribs. Enjoy, Alyssa!


Gunda February 20, 2014 at 2:32 PM

These were absolutely delicious! Thank you for the recipe. I have decided to make them for guests this weekend!


Kelli February 20, 2014 at 2:35 PM

Thanks! You’re guests are going to loooove these! Enjoy!


Jennifer February 27, 2014 at 10:16 PM

I don’t leave comments often but when I do it’s because something is worth mentioning. These were absolutely delicious! So flavorful. Well done. I served over creamy polenta and it was perfect. This will be my go-to meal for guests.


Kelli February 28, 2014 at 9:51 AM

I’m so glad you enjoyed the short ribs, Jennifer!! Polenta is the perfect match for these!


Renee March 7, 2014 at 1:54 PM

This sounds like a great recipe, planning to try it. If I wanted to add fresh mushrooms, should I cook them first, maybe with the shallots, or juts put them in the slow cooker raw?


Kelli March 7, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Mushrooms are an awesome addition to this, Renee! I’d probably quarter or slice them, and add them to the slow cooker. Enjoy!


John March 11, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Was wondering if I could substitute the celery for onion? Also, do you have to remove the fat at the end? Most recipes mention removing it from the sauce.


Kelli March 11, 2014 at 7:34 PM

I love the flavor that the onion adds, but, omitting it won’t drastically change the dish so I don’t see why you can’t make that substitution. I haven’t had an issue with fat in the past, but if it accumulates on the surface you can you a large spoon to skim it off.


John March 11, 2014 at 7:38 PM

Sorry meant could i omit the celery and use onion or something else in its place? Wouldnt want anything that would make this too watery.


Kelli March 11, 2014 at 7:42 PM

Sorry about that! You can either omit it entirely or use onion, shallot or leeks in its place. It won’t be too watery if it’s omitted.


Charlene June 20, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Any substitution for the red wine?


Kelli June 24, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Unfortunately not, but it can be left out if need be.


Lindsay September 27, 2014 at 7:42 PM

So I’m thinking of making these but instead of polenta a mashed red potato.. Sounds amazing.. And with a Spanish onion. Should it all work out!? I sure think so!


Kelli September 29, 2014 at 9:35 AM

I think that sounds totally delicious, Lindsay….I’d say it will definitely work! Enjoy!


Rebecca November 1, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Should the short ribs be totally covered in The slow cooker??


Kelli November 3, 2014 at 5:36 PM

Good question! It’s ok if the short ribs aren’t totally covered. Enjoy!


mike November 20, 2014 at 1:54 PM



Kelli November 21, 2014 at 4:08 PM

Totally wish I was in your kitchen, it must smell so amazing! Enjoy, Mike!


Annemarie November 23, 2014 at 11:48 PM

I’m making this for thanksgiving… can I double this recipe? How should I ask the butcher to cut the ribs?… it looks like they are cut into one rib sections.


Kelli November 24, 2014 at 9:21 AM

You’re in for such a great Thanksgiving, Annemarie! You can absolutely double this recipe. The ribs are cut into single sections, and if you tell the butcher what you’re making he/she should know how to cut them for you. Enjoy!


Misha December 16, 2014 at 12:27 AM

I’ve made this once before and it was DELICIOUS. So good, in fact, that I’m planning on doubling the recipe and serving it to the whole family for Christmas dinner. One question, though: while I might be up early Christmas morning (I do have young kids), I’d rather not start cooking at 4am to get it on the table 12 hours later, but I prefer low, slow cooking. Would you risk cooking on high for 2 hours or so, then switching to low for another 7-8? Or just cook on high the whole time?


Kelli December 18, 2014 at 1:56 PM

You’re going to have such a great Christmas dinner, Misha! I generally prefer low, slow cooking as well, but I think it’s totally fine to start it on high for a couple hours, then turn it down. Enjoy!


Trish January 21, 2015 at 9:07 AM

Hi there! I will be making this recipe on the weekend and I am looking so forward to it. I would like to ask, after the ribs are done, can the sauce be strained? My family and I prefer a smooth sauce but don’t want to affect the flavour. The sauce in your pictures looks like there are no pieces of vegetables in it at all…


Kelli January 21, 2015 at 3:09 PM

Great question, Trish! You can definitely strain the sauce, without it taking anything away! Enjoy!


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