Slow-Cooker Balsamic Short Ribs


Now here's a beef short ribs recipe you can serve to company—even on a holiday.

Active Time:
30 mins
Additional Time:
4 hrs
Total Time:
4 hrs 30 mins
6 servings

What Are Short Ribs?

Short ribs are ribs (and meat) usually cut from sections towards the front and lower parts of beef cattle. Although you can buy boneless short ribs, they are often sold with the bone attached. The meat attached to the bone can come from the brisket, plate, chuck or rib and can contain less or more fat depending on where it comes from. Short ribs can be cut "flanken style" which includes a thin slice across multiple ribs with meat in between the bones or "English style" which includes a portion of just one rib with a thicker piece of meat attached. For this recipe, we use bone-in English style ribs. When shopping for short ribs, look for ribs that have a thick cut of meat attached to the bone with a good meat-to-fat ratio (more meat, less fat).

Are Short Ribs Healthy?

Red meat is a source of quality protein and is rich in iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and selenium. Protein boosts bone health and metabolism, aids digestion, supports muscle growth and helps promote satiety after eating a meal.

While getting enough protein in your daily diet is important, eating too much protein can mean missing out on nutrients from other foods. If you like red meat, eat it in moderation, and be sure to include healthy carbs and nutrient-dense vegetables to meet your nutritional needs.

How to Cook Short Ribs

Most short ribs are cut from larger working muscles which culinarily speaking, means the meat needs to be cooked "low and slow" to allow them to tenderize and pull out the rich, meaty flavor they are prized for. This means barbecue, braising, pressure cooking or slow cooking are the best ways to cook short ribs. In this recipe, we use the slow cooker and a flavorful sauce to make a subtly sweet and savory (and delicious!) short rib dinner. We brown the short ribs on the stove first to bring out the flavor of the meat, then transfer them to the slow cooker. The vegetables and liquid that make up the sauce also are cooked on the stove first to pick up all of the flavors from the pan before heading to the slow cooker. Everything cooks together and in as little as 4 hours, short ribs are fork-tender and ready to enjoy. And don't forget the sauce that's left behind! We thicken the cooking liquid on the stove with a little cornstarch so it coats the short ribs easily.

What to Serve with Short Ribs

These short ribs pair well with many side dishes. Serve them over Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Mashed Celeriac with Herbs, Creamy Mashed Cauliflower or Mashed Root Vegetables. Add Lemon-Garlic Green Beans, Garlic-Parmesan Asparagus or Balsamic & Parmesan Roasted Broccoli and a Simple Green Salad with Citronette to round out your meal.

Additional reporting by Hilary Meyer and Jan Valdez


  • 6 bone-in beef short ribs (about 3 1/4 pounds)

  • ¾ teaspoon salt, divided

  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 medium onion, sliced

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar

  • ½ cup low-sodium beef broth

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • ¼ cup water

  • 1 tablespoon Chopped fresh parsley


  1. Sprinkle ribs with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ribs and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a 6-quart (or larger) slow cooker.

  2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and onion to the pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, garlic and thyme; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add vinegar and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the liquid is mostly reduced, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker and add broth. Cover and cook on High for 4 hours or Low for 8 hours.

  3. Transfer the ribs to a serving platter. Transfer the liquid to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Whisk cornstarch and water in a small bowl and add to the boiling liquid. Cook, whisking, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Serve the ribs with the gravy and sprinkled with parsley, if desired.

    Slow-Cooker Balsamic Short Ribs


6-qt. (or larger) slow cooker

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

281 Calories
15g Fat
13g Carbs
20g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 281
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 20g 41%
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 59mg 20%
Vitamin A 89IU 2%
Vitamin C 3mg 3%
Folate 10mcg 3%
Sodium 416mg 18%
Calcium 30mg 2%
Iron 3mg 16%
Magnesium 33mg 8%
Potassium 513mg 11%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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