These slow cooker short ribs are cooked in the crock pot with red wine, herbs and vegetables until tender. An easy and elegant meal that is simple enough for a busy weeknight, yet elegant enough to serve to company.
I use my slow cooker constantly to minimize my work load at the end of a long day. Some of my favorite slow cooker recipes include crock pot pork roast, crock pot spaghetti and these succulent short ribs.
When I first learned to cook, I always invited friends over for dinner parties to sample my creations. I often served short ribs as a main course because they’re unexpected, but also full of flavor. These slow cooker short ribs simmer all day long and come out so tender that you can cut them with a fork!
What are short ribs?
Short ribs come from the chuck section of a cow, and are the shortest ribs in the rib cage, which is how they got their name. The meat from these ribs are part of the muscle, so it is tough in nature, but very flavorful. Short ribs need to cook for a long period of time to tenderize, but it’s absolutely worth the wait!
You can use either bone-in or boneless short ribs in this recipe. I’ve tested it both ways and both produce great results.
How do you make slow cooker short ribs?
Start by browning the ribs in a pan. Next, saute carrots and onions and add some flour as a thickening agent. Pour red wine into the pan, and cook until the red wine has reduced and thickened. Place the short ribs, vegetables, red wine sauce, beef broth and herbs in the slow cooker. Cover the pot and cook on low until the ribs are very tender. Garnish with fresh herbs, then serve.
Tips for the perfect dish
- Use a red wine that you’d enjoy drinking. Some great options include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir.
- Cut your vegetables into larger pieces so that they don’t get overly soft during the long cooking time. If you prefer a smooth sauce, you can strain out the veggies and herbs when the dish is finished.
- Serve your ribs with polenta or mashed potatoes to soak up all that great sauce! I also offer a green vegetable such as broccoli, asparagus or green beans.
- This recipe can be made a day or two in advance. Store the cooked ribs in their sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Scrape off any fat, then reheat covered in the oven at 325 degrees F until warmed through.
- It’s absolutely worth the extra time to brown the short ribs before they go into the slow cooker, this step adds so much flavor.
Slow cooker short ribs flavor variations
This recipe is fabulous as-is, but you can add other flavors to make the dish your own.
- Meat: If you don’t have short ribs on hand, try using beef stew meat or pot roast cut into large chunks.
- Vegetables: Feel free to add other veggies to the mix such as mushrooms, pearl onions, celery or parsnips.
- Flavorings: Amp up the flavors with the addition of bacon, fresh rosemary, balsamic vinegar or Worcestershire sauce.
Once you try these slow cooker short ribs, you’ll find yourself making them all the time!
More slow cooker recipes to try
- Crock Pot Little Smokies
- Slow Cooker Pot Roast
- Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
- Mississippi Pot Roast
Slow Cooker Short Ribs Video
Slow Cooker Short Ribs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 1/2 pounds bone-in short ribs or 3 pounds boneless short ribs
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup onion sliced
- 3 carrots peeled, halved and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 1/2 cups red wine
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme plus more for garnish
- 1 bay leaf
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
- Place half of the short ribs in a single layer in the pot and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook for 4-5 minutes per side or until golden brown. Repeat the process with the remaining ribs.
- 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. Remove the vegetables from the pan and cover to keep warm.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Add the red wine and bring to a simmer. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in the beef broth and tomato paste, then simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
- Slowly whisk in the flour and cook for 3 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken.
- Place the red wine sauce in a slow cooker. Add the short ribs, vegetables, thyme and bay leaf. Stir to combine.
- Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Remove the ribs from the crock pot, then arrange them in a serving dish. Spoon the sauce over the top of the ribs. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired. Garnish with thyme sprigs, then serve.