Slow-Cooker Beef Short Ribs - Handle the Heat
Filed Under: Main Dish | Savory | Slow Cooker

Slow-Cooker Beef Short Ribs

August 9th, 2011
I love the concept of utilizing a slow-cooker to make dinner. What's not to love? It's more energy efficient than the oven, especially when it's 100 degrees out and you...

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I love the concept of utilizing a slow-cooker to make dinner. What’s not to love? It’s more energy efficient than the oven, especially when it’s 100 degrees out and you don’t want the oven to heat up your entire house. It can turn cheap, tough cuts of meat into luscious, fork-tender meals. It steers you away from resorting to take-out because you don’t have time to make dinner. Plus the latest slow-cookers on the market have functions that set the machine to “keep-warm” once your food is cooked, so you don’t have to worry about someone being home to shut it off.

Despite the fact that I love the idea of a slow-cooker (to the point that I probably sound like a salesperson), I don’t find myself using one very often. Most recipes out there for slow-cookers use packaged, store-bought ingredients like soup mixes and sauces. I prefer my meals to be mostly homemade. I actually found this recipe for slow-cooked short ribs out of necessity – I bought short ribs on sale and needed to use them. 

So, with all that said, I have a favor to ask of you guys. I’d love to see your favorite slow-cooker recipes. Preferably without ingredients like cream of mushroom soup, soup mixes, or store-bought salad dressings or sauces. I’d love to post more slow-cooker recipes!

Recipe Rundown
Taste: A little spice, a little sweetness, and all around savory.
Texture: Fork-tender.
Ease: It takes about 20 minutes to prep all the ingredients, brown the ribs, and get it all in the slow-cooker. Nothing too difficult, just a lot of ingredients.
Appearance: Rustic yet elegant.

Pros: Full of flavor and is made ahead of time.
Cons: None really, except that you dirty a skillet in the process.
Would I make this again? Maybe if short ribs are on sale again.

Slow-Cooker Beef Short Ribs
Serves 6
Adapted from

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless beef short ribs
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Place flour, salt, and pepper in a large paper or plastic bag. Add ribs and shake to coat evenly.

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add coated ribs. Cook ribs on all sides until nicely browned then place in slow cooker. In the same skillet, add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring, until mixture reduces slightly, about 3 minutes.

Pour mixture over ribs in slow-cooker. Cover, and cook on low for 8-9 hours.

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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  1. #
    Rupert — December 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    This is great.
    I made it with middle ribs and added green tomatoes and red and green peppers and it was absolutely delicious.

  2. #
    Kate — October 31, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Can you make the recipe the night before (brown ribs, simmer sauce) up to the point you turn the slow cooker and put it in the fridge, then put it on the slow cooker in the morning?

    • #
      Tessa — November 1, 2012 at 7:32 pm

      I don’t see why not!

  3. #
    Olivia — May 17, 2012 at 4:27 am

    Just tried this recipe tonight, and the sauce is really tasty. I would have followed the 8-9 hour suggested cooking time, but my well-intentioned boyfriend said that the beauty of a slow cooker is that you can leave it on as long as you want…not quite true. We let it cook for over 12 hours, and the ribs were very dry. Just a warning to other noobs with slow cookers out there: beware of over cooking!

    • #
      handleheat — May 17, 2012 at 5:14 am

      Olivia – I'm sorry to hear that :/ Sounds like you learned a little cooking lesson! I find that each slow cooker is different – you kind of have to get used to yours. I usually shave off an hour of cooking time when following a slow-cooker recipe because I find mine cooks faster. Anyways, hope you have better luck on your next slow cooking adventure!

  4. #
    catering new york — December 1, 2011 at 11:41 am

    This is one of my most loved recipes. Thanks for sharing a new touch on it.

  5. #
    Jeanette — August 14, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    You can use any of your favorite recipe when cooking in your crock pot.

    You just have to remember that very little moisture is lost when cooking in a crock pot. So use only half the liquid and sometimes only 1/3 of the liquid of the original recipe. Start with using half the liquids and if the final product is still too soupy, next time use only 1/3 of the liquid called for.

  6. #
    Becca — August 12, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Love this one:

    and I've had some luck with this site:

    the 40 clove garlic chicken was great with drumsticks!

  7. #
    Tracey — August 11, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    I'm a big fan of slow cooker meals too, especially in the middle of summer when the idea of turning my oven on isn't that appealing. Your short ribs sound fantastic!

    My favorite slow cooker meal is a pulled pork that my husband and I practically live on all winter – so easy and good 🙂

  8. #
    Liv — August 10, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    While I'm certain they're delicious, the picture looks like brownies to me.

  9. #
    Foodiebia — August 10, 2011 at 12:43 am

    I love using my slow cooker to make latin-style dishes.
    Chipotle chicken for tacos (really really easy)
    Pulled pork stew (great with tortilla chips)

    • #
      handleheat — August 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm

      Just picked up a big can of chipotle in adobo so I think those tacos will be on next week's menu!

      • #
        Foodiebia — August 18, 2011 at 11:16 pm

        I hope you like them! It's my favorite taco meat and it's easier than any other way I know! (Chiptoles in adobo are such a God-send!)

  10. #
    Maris — August 9, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    Sorry to say I haven't cooked with a slow cooker very much, but if I ever do this may be the first thing I make

  11. #
    Joan — August 9, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    I always make my own “condensed soup” if a recipe calls for it… works great!

    Here's the recipe I use:

    • #
      handleheat — August 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm

      LOVE it!! Thank you 🙂

  12. #
    nat@thesweetslife — August 9, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Ah I can totally relate–don't use mine enough but LOVE it! Here are a few of my faves:… (Buff Chicken Chili)… (Bnut Squash & Kale Minestrone)… (chicken & Basil dumplings)

    • #
      handleheat — August 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm

      Mmm saving that chicken & basil dumpling recipe! Never seen dumplings done in the slow cooker. Thanks Natalie!

  13. #
    Emily G. — August 9, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    You should join in on the Crock Pot Wednesday Twitter chat! Next one is August 17 at 6 PM! Just follow hashtag #crockpotwed 🙂

  14. #
    Barbara — August 9, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    It seems I've always had a crockpot stored away somewhere and that's about as far as it got. Even if I did use it, it was always more for winter type meals.

    No more…what better way to beat the heat than use a crockpot instead of the stove or oven? I just used mine to make barbecue for a goat challenge I just completed. Yes goat…was SO good.

    But the dish I love using it for isn't really a dish at all. I've got this wonderful cookbook for gifts from the kitchen and the gift I give to myself from it was the butter braised onions…you use the crockpot to cook a whole bunch of sliced onions into the most amazing addition to almost ANYTHING! This post includes how I use them to make a quick French onion soup but I try now to keep them on hand at all times. Best use of a crockpot ever!

    • #
      handleheat — August 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm

      Ooh I've never cooked with goat before. Sounds interesting! Thanks so much for those links… I know what I'll do the next time I have a surplus of onions! Anything braised in butter sounds fabulous.

  15. #
    Lori @ RecipeGirl — August 9, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    ALWAYS good to have a few slow cooker recipes in your back pocket for those busy nights w/ kids. Well… you don't have kids yet, but you should be saving these recipes for when you do. You'll thank me 🙂

    • #
      handleheat — August 9, 2011 at 3:54 pm

      Hahaha let's hope I won't have to be feeding kids for a LONG time 😉

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