Cooking braised beef short ribs at home could not be easier! I’m going to walk you through the process, step-by-step, and show you how this hands off dish will become the star of your next dinner party! Let a dutch oven or slow cooker do the hard work so you can focus on the sides.
Gather your ingredients
- bone-in beef short ribs (instructions below for substituting boneless ribs)
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- neutral light oil, such as canola, vegetable, or grapeseed oil
- vegetables, such as onion, carrots, celery, garlic
- fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, oregano)
- bay leaf
- beef or chicken stock
- red or white wine
- soy sauce! (my secret ingredient for an extra umami flavor!)
You’ll need either a dutch oven with lid or a slow cooker!
Why you should sear your meat first
I’m not kidding — this recipe is really easy! There’s a method to follow when braising proteins, regardless of whether you’re making beef ribs, a leg of lamb, osso bucco, chicken thighs, anything.
First, you need to season the protein on all sides with kosher salt and black pepper.
Preheat your oven (temperature will vary depending on recipe, but 350F is a good place to start), then heat a large dutch oven or heavy bottom skillet over very high heat. Add a neutral oil like canola, vegetable, or grapeseed oil. These have a higher smoke point compared to extra virgin olive oil and won’t interfere with the flavor of the protein.
Next, sear beef ribs (or other protein) on all sides. You don’t want to move the meat around or it won’t get that beautiful golden brown sear. Let it cook on each side for 2-3 minutes.
Searing meats before braising them helps to lock in flavor.
Braised beef ribs in a dutch oven
Remove seared beef ribs to a plate, then immediately sauté vegetables and aromatics in the same pan. Don’t worry about the brown bits at the bottom of the pan — once you add liquid, you can scrape that off with a wooden spoon. Those brown bits = flavor, and lots of it!
Next, return seared beef ribs to the pan, then cover and cook undisturbed in a preheated oven for 2 ½ – 3 hours.
The beauty of low and slow cooking is that the braising liquid and the heat inside the dutch oven will do all the hard work. When you take the lid off, your meat is fully cooked, tender, and falling off the bone.
Slow cooker braised beef ribs
To cook beef ribs in a slow cooker, follow instructions outlined above (or below on the recipe card) up through sautéing the vegetables. Add vegetables, seared ribs, liquids, and aromatics to the pot of a slow cooker, then set on LOW and cook for 8 hours.
Stove top braised beef ribs
These braised beef ribs can be made on the stove top as well! Follow instructions up until you add all liquid and aromatics, then simmer covered on a stove top for 2 ½ – 3 hours. Just make sure you’re checking the pot often to ensure there’s plenty of liquid. If it gets low, simply add water, beef stock, or chicken stock to coat the bottom of the pan and go halfway up the ribs.
What to do once your ribs are cooked
At this point, you can decide whether you want to serve the ribs on the bone or shred them. If the former, simply serve ribs on a big pile of mashed potatoes or alongside other sides, then spoon that delicious sauce and vegetables on top.
Some recipes will benefit from straining the sauce first. For instance, my braised beef pappardelle doesn’t need the vegetables at all. I simply used them to add immense flavor to the sauce, but then strained it before serving the pulled beef ribs over pasta.
Use a fine mesh strainer or sieve to drain sauce into a large bowl. You can discard all vegetables and herbs. Once ribs have cooled, use hands or two forks to pull meat off the bone, then return to smooth, strained sauce.
Can I use boneless beef ribs instead?
Yes, you can! I prefer to use bone-in ribs, as the bone adds SO much flavor, but yes you can substitute boneless ribs if you’d prefer. Simply reduce the cooking time by 30-60 minutes, checking the ribs around 1 ½ hours into cooking.
Beef ribs taste better the next day!
No matter which method you use, your ribs will taste even better the following day. The flavor of the beef will intensify, making this the perfect make ahead dish for easy entertaining!
Freezing cooked short ribs
Once your ribs have cooled completely, you can shred the meat off the bone then store in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Ribs can be frozen with the sauce or separately depending on your needs.
braised beef short ribs
- ~3 lbs bone-in beef short ribs
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
- 1 large sweet onion, diced (about ~1 cup)
- ½ lb carrots, diced (about ~1 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 Tbsp)
- 1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 1–2 cups low-sodium beef or chicken stock
- ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Heat a large dutch oven over high heat for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, season beef ribs on all sides with salt and pepper. When very hot, add canola or vegetable oil to pan.
- Sear ribs on all sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side, for a total of 12-15 minutes. If your dutch oven won’t comfortably fit all the ribs, sear them in batches. Transfer seared ribs to a plate, then reduce heat to medium-high. At this point you can drain all but 2 Tbsp of fat from the pan if you’d like (but nothing will happen if you don’t!). Add onion, carrots, and garlic, then cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent – about 3 minutes.
- Add whole tomatoes either by crushing them with your hands directly into the pot or by pouring them in and breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon. Add tomato paste, then stir until dissolved into sauce.
- Pour in red wine, beef or chicken stock, and soy sauce, then bring to a boil.
- Using kitchen twine, tie together thyme and rosemary, then place in the pot with the bay leaves. Cover with lid, then transfer to preheated oven and cook until tender and falling off the bone, about 2 ½ – 3 hours.
- Use tongs to carefully remove the beef ribs and place in a large bowl. Cool until you’re able to handle the beef with your hands. Discard beef bones, then using your hands or two forks, shred the beef.
- Drain the braising liquid into a serving bowl, discarding the vegetables and herbs. Return pulled beef to the braising liquid.
- If you prefer not to eat the cartilage on the beef ribs, simply throw away when pulling the meat.
- Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and will keep for up to 4 days.
- Braised beef short ribs can be made ahead, and in fact taste better the longer they sit! Make today and serve tomorrow.
- To freeze, allow pulled meat to cool completely. Store in a freezer-safe container with sauce for up to 3 months. To defrost, let sit in refrigerator for 1-2 days OR place in a large pot and cook slowly over medium heat until defrosted.