These braised short ribs are beef ribs simmered in a savory sauce with herbs, garlic and vegetables until fall-apart tender. A comfort food classic that’s elegant enough for entertaining, yet easy enough for a busy weeknight.
When I’m looking for a hearty dinner option that I know the whole family will love, I turn to hamburger steaks, chicken meatballs and these ultra delicious short ribs. There’s a secret ingredient in the sauce that really takes this dish over the top!
In my opinion, short ribs are an underutilized ingredient. They’re inexpensive, super flavorful and are easy to prepare. These braised short ribs are my favorite way to enjoy this cut of meat!
What are short ribs?
Short ribs come from the chuck section of the cow, and are the shortest ribs in the rib cage, hence their name. The meat from these ribs are part of the muscle, so it tends to be tough, but very flavorful. Short ribs need to cook for an extended period of time to get tender, but it’s most definitely worth the wait!
You can purchase bone-in or boneless short ribs. Either will work just fine in this recipe. I personally prefer boneless short ribs because they are easier to eat with a lot less waste.
How do you make braised short ribs?
The first step is to sear your ribs until golden brown. After the ribs have browned, remove them from the pot and brown the vegetables. Add the sauce ingredients, then cover the pot. Bake the short ribs for about 4 hours or until tender. The next step is to skim the fat from the pan, then remove the ribs so you can thicken the sauce. Add cornstarch to the pot, then bring the sauce to a simmer. After the sauce has thickened, return the ribs to the pot and spoon the sauce over the top. Garnish with fresh herbs, then serve and enjoy.
How long does it take to braise short ribs?
It takes approximately 3-4 hours in a 300 degrees F oven to braise short ribs. You can also braise short ribs in a slow cooker, which will take 4 hours on high, or 8 hours on low.
Tips for the perfect braised short ribs
- The secret ingredient in this sauce is root beer! It doesn’t make the meat taste sweet, instead it adds a rich and complex flavor. Be sure to use real root beer that contains sugar, and not a diet root beer.
- These short ribs are even better the next day. You can cook them in advance, then just place your pot in the oven and heat at 350 degrees F, covered, until the ribs are warmed through.
- Serve your braised short ribs over mashed potatoes, polenta, rice or pasta. I also like to add a green vegetable on the side such as broccoli, green beans or asparagus.
- Have leftover short ribs at the end of the night? Save the meat and use it to make beef noodle soup.
- I strongly prefer to use fresh herbs in this recipe, but you can substitute dried herbs in a pinch. Just use 1/3 of the amount that’s listed for the fresh herbs.
Slow cooker short ribs
This recipe can easily be adapted for the crock pot. Sear the meat and vegetables as directed, then place them, along with the remaining ingredients, in the crock pot. Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 hours. To thicken the sauce, you’ll need to remove the short ribs and cover with foil to keep warm. Add the cornstarch to the slow cooker, then cook on high for 30 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Return the ribs to the slow cooker to coat with sauce, then serve.
Can you freeze braised short ribs?
This recipe is a great candidate for the freezer. I often make a double batch so that I’ll have extra to freeze for another night! Place the short ribs in an airtight container or resealable freezer bag, then freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw the ribs overnight in the refrigerator, then heat in a pan on the stove top or in the oven, until warmed through.
I have been making this braised short ribs recipe for over 10 years – it’s a classic that I keep coming back to again and again!
More comfort food dinners
Braised Short Ribs Video
Braised Short Ribs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 1/2 pounds boneless short ribs cut into 6 inch pieces, or 5 pounds bone-in short ribs
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup onion sliced
- 3 carrots peeled and cut into 3/4 inch thick slices
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme plus more for garnish
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 cup root beer do not use diet
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven style pot over medium high heat.
- Generously season the short ribs on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Place half of the short ribs in a single layer in the pot. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side or until golden brown. Repeat the process with the remaining meat.
- Remove the meat from the pan, and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Add the onions and carrot to the pan. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until just tender and starting to brown.
- Add the garlic and cook for one more minute, stirring constantly.
- Add the short ribs, thyme, bay leaf, beef broth and root beer to the pot. Bring to a simmer. Cover and place the pot in the oven.
- Bake for 3-4 hours, or until meat is tender.
- Remove the pot from the oven. Take the ribs out of the pot and cover to keep warm. Discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Skim any fat off the surface of the liquid.
- Place the pot on the stove and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water and add it to the pot. Bring to a boil and cook for one minute or until thickened.
- Add the ribs back to the pot and spoon the sauce over the top. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired. Garnish with thyme sprigs, then serve.
This was exactly what I was looking for! At first I was worried it would taste like rootbeer because the smell was strong, but there was no “rootbeer” taste at all, just deliciousness! I could only find bone in, and yes, there is a lot of waste, which I knew there would be. My family is really picky with textures (they do not enjoy meat fat) so it was time consuming to dissect the fat and remove the bones after cooking fully. I lovingly browned the ribs in batches on all sides, carefully not crowding the pan and being patient while they did their thing. I doubled (if not more) the amount of meat, therefore I doubled all sauce ingredients (except for the rootbeer – I used one bottle of a quality rootbeer). This amount of short ribs did not fit in my dutch oven so I used two 9×11 glass baking dishes, covered tightly with foil. After about 3.5 hours, the ribs were falling off the bone. I took them out of the liquid and let them cool slightly so I could handle them. I strained the carrots and onions (kids are not fans) and I squished them through the strainer to extract every last bit of goodness. I let the sauce sit in the fridge until the fat hardened and then it was easy to scoop it out from the sauce and disgard. While I waited for that to happen, I removed the bones and trimmed the fat from the cooked short ribs. Once the fat was removed from the sauce, I thickened it as noted and put the ribs back in to the sauce. It was heavenly and I will definitely make it again. Because of the steps I added it was a little time consuming, but this would be a crowd pleaser, so I am excited to make this again as above for company, and I think I will make it the day before and avoid the cleanup but will have a delicious meal to serve and be proud of.
I absolutely hate root beer – could I substitute Dr. Pepper?
That or coca cola should be fine!
These were so perfectly sweet and tender; the root beer was the perfect touch! Excited to make these again; my husband devoured these in a flash!
Any meal that tastes better the next day is perfect for me! These sound amazing!
Delicious rib recipe! They are tender and oh so good. A hit with my whole family!
These ribs were outstanding! I was so impressed by the flavor the root beer added!
These braised short ribs are perfection!
Oh my, these short ribs look incredible!! I bet they taste amaaazing!
Looks so good! I know my family would go nuts over this.
I can’t resist to this! I should make these ribs this weekend!
This looks so hearty and comforting! 🙂
What a comforting meal! My teenaged son and husband are going to be all over this one for dinner!