How To Make Beef Short Ribs In Crock Pot [COMPLETE GUIDE]

Beef short ribs cooked in a Crock Pot are a luxurious and hearty meal, perfect for a cozy dinner. Slow-cooked to perfection, these ribs are tender, juicy, and packed with flavor. Cooking beef short ribs in a Crock Pot is a convenient, hands-off process that allows you to achieve that fall-off-the-bone tenderness without the need for constant attention.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of selecting, preparing, and cooking beef short ribs in a Crock Pot. You will learn the ideal cooking times, essential tips for troubleshooting common issues, and ultimately create a mouthwatering dish that will impress your family and friends.

Quick Answer: How Long To Make Beef Short Ribs In Crock Pot

Cooking beef short ribs in a Crock Pot is a lengthy process, but the results are undeniably worth it. The general guideline for cooking beef short ribs in a Crock Pot is 6 to 8 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low. However, the exact cooking time can vary depending on the size of the ribs, the Crock Pot’s individual heating element, and the desired level of tenderness.


Choosing the right beef short ribs is crucial to the success of your dish. When selecting beef short ribs for your Crock Pot recipe, look for cuts that are well-marbled with fat and have a deep, rich color. The fat marbling not only contributes to the flavor but also helps to keep the meat moist and tender during the long cooking process.

Opt for English-style beef short ribs, which are cut parallel to the bone and contain a good amount of meat. Avoid thin, flanken-style ribs, which are best suited for quick cooking methods like grilling. Additionally, consider purchasing bone-in ribs as the bone adds flavor to the dish and helps the meat maintain its shape during the slow cooking process.


Before you begin cooking, it’s important to properly prepare the beef short ribs to ensure the best results. Start by trimming any excessive fat from the ribs, leaving a thin layer to enhance the flavor and juiciness of the meat. Season the ribs generously with salt and pepper, and any additional herbs or spices of your choice to add flavor. It’s essential to let the ribs rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking to ensure even cooking.

For additional flavor, consider searing the beef short ribs in a hot skillet before transferring them to the Crock Pot. This step caramelizes the exterior of the meat, adding depth and richness to the final dish. Searing also helps to lock in the juices and intensify the flavor of the ribs.

Crock Pot Cooking Times For Beef Short Ribs

The cooking time for beef short ribs in a Crock Pot can vary based on a few factors. Here are the general cooking times to keep in mind:

  • High Setting: Cook for 6 to 8 hours. This setting works well if you need the ribs to be ready in a shorter amount of time.
  • Low Setting: Cook for 8 to 10 hours. The low setting is ideal for a more hands-off approach and results in incredibly tender, succulent ribs.

Keep in mind that larger ribs or a higher quantity of ribs may require additional cooking time. It’s essential to regularly check on the ribs towards the end of the estimated cooking time to gauge their tenderness and make adjustments if needed.

How To Make Beef Short Ribs In Crock Pot

Now, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of making beef short ribs in a Crock Pot.


  • 4-6 pounds of beef short ribs
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • 1 cup of red wine (optional)
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste


  1. Preparation:

    • Trim excess fat from the beef short ribs and season them generously with salt and pepper.
    • Optional: Sear the ribs in a hot skillet with olive oil until browned on all sides, then transfer to the Crock Pot.
  2. Layering:

    • Place the chopped onions and garlic in the bottom of the Crock Pot to create a flavor base.
    • Nestle the seasoned beef short ribs on top of the onions and garlic.
  3. The Braising Liquid:

    • In a bowl, mix the beef broth, red wine (if using), tomato paste, and herbs.
    • Pour the liquid over the beef short ribs in the Crock Pot, making sure the ribs are partially submerged.
  4. Cooking:

    • Cover the Crock Pot with a lid and set the cooking time based on your preference (6-8 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low).
  5. Monitoring:

    • Check the ribs periodically to ensure there is enough liquid in the Crock Pot. Add more broth if needed to prevent the ribs from drying out.
  6. Finishing Touches:

    • When the ribs are tender and the meat is falling off the bone, carefully remove them from the Crock Pot and place them on a serving platter.
    • If you prefer a thicker sauce, you can strain the cooking liquid and reduce it on the stovetop before serving.

Serve the beef short ribs alongside your favorite sides, such as creamy mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, or a fresh green salad. The rich, succulent meat and flavorful sauce will undoubtedly make for a memorable dining experience.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

While making beef short ribs in a Crock Pot is a relatively straightforward process, a few common issues may arise. Here’s how to troubleshoot them:

Issue: Ribs Are Tough

  • Solution: If the ribs are still tough after the recommended cooking time, they likely need more time to become tender. Continue cooking them in the Crock Pot, checking the tenderness periodically until they reach the desired texture.
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Issue: Too Much Fat In The Sauce

  • Solution: If the sauce has an excessive amount of fat, you can use a gravy separator or a spoon to skim off the surface fat. Alternatively, refrigerate the sauce, and the fat will solidify on the surface, making it easier to remove.

Issue: Insufficient Flavor In The Sauce

  • Solution: If you find the sauce lacks depth of flavor, you can season it with additional salt and pepper. Alternatively, you can add a splash of balsamic vinegar or a sprinkle of brown sugar to enhance the richness of the sauce.

By addressing these common issues, you can ensure that your beef short ribs in a Crock Pot turn out perfectly every time.

Cooking beef short ribs in a Crock Pot is a delectable way to enjoy a classic comfort food dish with minimal hands-on effort. By selecting the right ribs, carefully preparing them, and following the recommended cooking times, you can create a meal that is sure to impress your family and guests. The rich, succulent meat, aromatic herbs, and luscious sauce combine to create a dining experience that is both indulgent and satisfying. With the tips and techniques provided in this guide, you can confidently embark on making beef short ribs in your Crock Pot, elevating your culinary skills and delighting your taste buds.

Crock Pot Cook Time For Frozen Beef Short Ribs

Beef short ribs are a delicious and tender cut of meat that can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes. Slow cooking these ribs in a crock pot is an excellent way to maximize tenderness and infuse them with incredible flavors.

If you find yourself with frozen beef short ribs and want to prepare them in a crock pot, you will need to adjust the cook time accordingly. The general rule of thumb is to add approximately one hour to the recommended cook time. For example, if the recipe calls for cooking the ribs for six hours on low heat, you will need to cook them for seven hours when starting with frozen ribs.

It is important to note that cook times may vary depending on the size and thickness of the beef short ribs. It is always recommended to check the internal temperature of the meat using a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches a safe temperature of 145°F (63°C) for medium-rare or 160°F (71°C) for medium doneness.

Achieving Perfect Texture

The key to achieving a perfect texture when cooking beef short ribs in a crock pot lies in the low and slow cooking method. This method allows the meat to break down slowly, resulting in tender and melt-in-your-mouth ribs. Here’s the step-by-step process to ensure tender and succulent beef short ribs:

  1. Start by searing the ribs: Before placing the ribs in the crock pot, it is recommended to sear them in a hot skillet or on a grill. Searing the meat helps to lock in the juices and enhances the flavor. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over high heat and sear the ribs for 2-3 minutes on each side until they develop a rich golden brown crust.

  2. Select the right cooking liquid: Choosing the right cooking liquid is crucial for imparting flavor and keeping the ribs moist during the slow cooking process. You can use beef broth, red wine, barbecue sauce, or a combination of these. The liquid should cover about half of the ribs when placed in the crock pot.

  3. Add flavor enhancers: To further enhance the taste of the short ribs, consider adding additional flavor enhancers such as chopped onions, garlic, herbs like thyme or rosemary, and spices like paprika or cayenne pepper. These ingredients will infuse the meat with delicious aromas and flavors.

  4. Slow cook on low heat: Set your crock pot to the low heat setting and cook the beef short ribs for approximately 6-8 hours. Cooking on low heat ensures gentle and even cooking, resulting in tender and succulent meat. Avoid cooking on high heat, as it may cause the meat to become tough.

Flavor Infusion

Infusing the beef short ribs with flavors is vital to creating a delicious and mouthwatering dish. Here are a few techniques to enhance the taste:

  1. Marinating the ribs: Before cooking, consider marinating the ribs overnight or for a few hours to allow flavors to penetrate the meat. Create a marinade using ingredients like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, honey, garlic, and spices. Place the ribs and marinade in a resealable bag or a container, refrigerate, and let the flavors work their magic.

  2. Seasoning the ribs: If you prefer not to marinate the ribs, generously season them with kosher salt, black pepper, or your favorite steak rub. Gently pat the seasoning into the meat to ensure it adheres well. Seasoning the ribs before searing or placing them in the crock pot will add a delicious crust and depth of flavor.

  3. Using flavorful cooking liquids: As mentioned earlier, selecting the right cooking liquid is crucial for infusing the ribs with flavor. Choose a liquid such as beef broth, red wine, or barbecue sauce that complements the overall taste you want to achieve. You can also experiment with different combinations of liquid to add complexity to the dish.

  4. Adding aromatic ingredients: Including aromatic ingredients like onions, garlic, herbs, and spices in your crock pot will elevate the flavors of the beef short ribs. As the ribs slowly cook, these ingredients release their natural oils and flavors, infusing the meat with a delightful aroma.

Cooking Techniques

To ensure the best results when cooking beef short ribs in a crock pot, consider the following cooking techniques:

  1. Searing the ribs: Searing the beef short ribs before placing them in the crock pot is essential for two reasons. First, it caramelizes the sugars on the meat’s surface, which adds depth and complexity to the overall flavor. Second, it helps seal in the juices, resulting in tender and moist ribs.

  2. Layering the ingredients: When placing the ribs and other ingredients in the crock pot, it is recommended to layer them. Start by adding a small amount of the cooking liquid, followed by a layer of ribs, and then additional flavor enhancers like onions, garlic, and herbs. Repeat the layering process until all the ingredients are used, ensuring that the cooking liquid covers at least half of the ribs.

  3. Basting and turning the ribs: Halfway through the cooking process, take a moment to baste the beef short ribs with the cooking liquid. This helps to keep them moist and adds another layer of flavor. Additionally, flipping the ribs once during cooking ensures even distribution of flavors.

  4. Resting the ribs: Once the beef short ribs are cooked to perfection, allow them to rest for at least 10-15 minutes before serving. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in more tender and succulent ribs.

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Crock Pot Tips For Beef Short Ribs

Here are some helpful tips for cooking beef short ribs in a crock pot:

  1. Choose the right size crock pot: It is important to select a crock pot that accommodates the size of your beef short ribs. If the ribs are too large, they may not fit properly or cook evenly. On the other hand, if the crock pot is too large for the amount of meat, the cooking liquid may evaporate too quickly, resulting in dry ribs.

  2. Use the appropriate cooking temperature: Slow cooking on the low heat setting is the preferred method for beef short ribs. This allows for a gentle and gradual breakdown of the tough connective tissues, resulting in tender and succulent meat. Avoid cooking on the high heat setting, as it may cause the meat to become tough.

  3. Don’t overcrowd the crock pot: It is essential to leave enough space in the crock pot for the hot air to circulate around the beef short ribs. Overcrowding the crock pot can lead to uneven cooking and potentially undercooked or overcooked ribs. If you need to cook a large quantity of ribs, consider using multiple crock pots or cooking them in batches.

  4. Trim excess fat: While some fat is desirable for flavor and tenderness, it is recommended to trim any excessive fat from the beef short ribs before cooking. This helps to prevent excessive grease from accumulating and ensures a more pleasant dining experience.

Creative Crock Pot Beef Short Ribs Recipes

Now that you have the basic techniques and tips for cooking beef short ribs in a crock pot, here are a few creative recipes to try:

  1. BBQ Short Ribs: Combine your favorite barbecue sauce with beef broth, minced garlic, diced onions, and a touch of brown sugar in a crock pot. Place the seared beef short ribs in the mixture, ensuring they are coated evenly. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours until tender. Serve with extra barbecue sauce on the side.

  2. Korean-inspired Short Ribs: Create a marinade with soy sauce, minced garlic, ginger, brown sugar, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Coat the beef short ribs in the marinade and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Place the marinated ribs in the crock pot along with sliced onions, carrots, and beef broth. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours until the ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender. Serve over rice and garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.

  3. Red Wine Braised Short Ribs: In a skillet, heat oil and sear the beef short ribs until browned on all sides. In a crock pot, combine red wine, beef broth, tomato paste, minced garlic, chopped onions, and herbs like thyme and rosemary. Place the seared ribs in the mixture and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours. The result will be rich and flavorful short ribs that pair well with mashed potatoes or creamy polenta.

  4. Ethnic Spice-infused Short Ribs: Create a dry spice rub using a combination of cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Generously coat the beef short ribs with the spice rub, ensuring an even distribution. Place the seasoned ribs in the crock pot and add a mixture of beef broth and coconut milk. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours until the ribs are fork-tender. This recipe adds a unique twist to traditional short ribs.


Cooking beef short ribs in a crock pot is a fantastic way to enjoy this flavorful and tender cut of meat. By following the right techniques and tips, you can achieve perfectly cooked ribs with incredible flavors. Whether you prefer classic barbecue flavors, Asian-inspired marinades, or bold spice rubs, there are numerous creative recipes to explore. So dust off that crock pot, gather your ingredients, and start cooking delicious beef short ribs at home. Your taste buds will thank you!


What Is The Ideal Cooking Time For Beef Short Ribs In A Crock Pot?

Depending on the recipe, beef short ribs should be cooked in the crock pot for 6-8 hours on low heat or 4-6 hours on high heat. This will allow the ribs to become tender and fall off the bone.

Do I Need To Sear The Beef Short Ribs Before Putting Them In The Crock Pot?

It is recommended to sear the beef short ribs before placing them in the crock pot. Searing provides a flavorful crust and locks in the juices of the meat. Heat up a skillet and add oil, then sear the beef short ribs for 2-3 minutes per side until they turn brown before transferring them to the pot.

What Are Some Good Seasonings To Add To Beef Short Ribs In The Crock Pot?

Popular seasonings for beef short ribs include garlic, thyme, rosemary, and red pepper flakes. You can also use tomato sauce, beef broth, and red wine as a flavorful base to complement the beef.

Can I Cook Other Ingredients With Beef Short Ribs In The Crock Pot?

Yes, you can add vegetables like carrots, onions, and celery to the crock pot along with the beef short ribs. These additions will not only add flavor, but also create a complete meal in one pot.

What Is The Best Method For Serving Beef Short Ribs From The Crock Pot?

Once the beef short ribs are finished cooking, remove them from the crock pot and let them rest for a few minutes before serving. Spoon some of the accumulated sauce on top of the beef and garnish with fresh herbs like parsley or thyme. Serve with your desired sides such as mashed potatoes, rice, or roasted vegetables.