Slow Cooker Balsamic Braised Beef Short Ribs

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Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
6 hrs
Total Time
6 hrs 10 mins

This Slow Cooker Balsamic Braised Beef Short Ribs recipe has tender fall-off-the-bone beef that’s been braised in a balsamic vinegar, tomato, date, garlic and herb sauce. It’s a rich and comforting dinner that’s low-carb, paleo and so easy to make!

Looking for more beef slow cooker meals? Try my Crockpot Beef Bourguignon and my Slow Cooker Cranberry BBQ Meatballs!

The Best Braised Short Ribs Recipe

If you’re looking for something different to make for your next dinner party or holiday gathering, this Slow Cooker Balsamic Braised Short Ribs recipe is it! You’re family and friends will be DROOLING when the plate hits the table and begging you for the recipe.

They also might think you hired a chef to come prepare it because it tastes just like something you’d order at a fine dining restaurant. Nothing beats the texture of perfectly cooked short ribs when each bite just falls off the bone and has so much rich and developed flavor.

That flavor stems from the short ribs being braised in the slow cooker with tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, dates, and a ton of garlic. In my opinion, this is the best way to cook short ribs! The slow cooker holds a consistent temperature which allows the short ribs to cook in the perfect “low and slow” environment.

Pair the tender and rich short ribs with Creamy Mashed Cauliflower and Honey Glazed Carrots and you’re golden! This is the entree your friends will be talking about for weeks to come!

brasied balsamic short ribs plated with pureed potatoes and garnished with herbs

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Here’s why this slow cooker short ribs recipe is going to win you (and your friends and family!) over.

  • It’s almost too easy! You’ll be shocked at how easy this recipe is to make considering the results. A simple spice blend, quick sear, and then it all goes into the crock pot. That’s it!
  • Set it and forget it. If you’re planning to have guests over, your list of things to do is a mile long! Make the list a little shorter by using a slow cooker recipe like this one. The slow cooker does all the work while you get everything else ready.
  • Unforgettable flavors. This isn’t your basic short ribs recipe. The flavors that develop during the slow cooker process are incredible. The braising liquid is slightly sweet from the dates and balsamic, tangy, and rich from the tomato sauce. Not to mention all of the garlic! And garlic just makes everything more delicious!
beef short ribs on parchment paper on a marble countertop

Recipe Ingredients

The list of ingredients for Slow Cooker Balsamic Braised Short Ribs is below. Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for amounts and recipe instructions.

  • Short Ribs: You want bone-in for this recipe. (Pro tip: all meat is more flavorful when you cook it on the bone!).
  • Coconut Oil: Using coconut oil makes the recipe Paleo-friendly. You can also use other cooking oil, too, based on what you have in your kitchen.
  • Tomato Sauce: The perfect sauce for complimenting the tanginess of the balsamic.
  • Dried Dates: A healthy way to sweeten a dish. Dates are a great sugar substitute and you only need a few to add a little sweetness to this sauce.
  • Balsamic Vinegar: Adds tanginess and some sweetness! Plus, it creates a deep-colored rich sauce that almost caramelizes the short ribs, too.
  • Garlic: I recommend using whole fresh garlic cloves.
an assortment of dried spices seperated in a small bowl

Seasoning Blend

  • Sea Salt
  • Dried Rosemary
  • Dried Sage
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Paprika
  • Black Pepper
brasied balsamic short ribs plated with pureed potatoes and garnished with herbs

What Does Braising Short Ribs Mean?

Braising is a mixture of dry cooking (searing) and then cooking in liquid (with the tomato sauce mixture in the slow cooker) for an extended period. It’s a cooking method that has been around for ages and it always yields amazing results.

brasied balsamic short ribs plated with pureed potatoes and garnished with herbs

Do You Have To Sear Short Ribs Before Braising?

Searing short ribs is a very important step before you braise them. I don’t recommend skipping it, regardless of how you plan to braise the short ribs (in the oven or a slow cooker).

Why is it important to sear the short ribs before braising? Searing not only develops flavor but it creates a seal so that the meat does not dry out while cooking. Trust me, you want that crispy and flavorful edge bite!

brasied balsamic short ribs plated with pureed potatoes and garnished with herbs

How to Make Slow Cooker Balsamic Braised Short Ribs

Here’s how to make this restaurant-quality healthy dinner at home in the slow cooker!

First, make the spice blend. Add all of the dried spices to a bowl and then mix.

Then, season the short ribs. Rub the dry spice mixture all over each short rib.

Next, sear the short ribs. Using a very hot pan, sear the short ribs on all sides and place them in the slow cooker when you are finished.

Lastly, add the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker. Pour the tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, dates, and garlic into the pot.

Turn on the slow cooker and wait! Cook on low for 4-6 hours or until the short ribs are tender. And then serve with your favorite side dish.

brasied balsamic short ribs plated with pureed potatoes and garnished with herbs

Helpful Tips

Follow these helpful tips when making Balsamic Braised Slow Cooker Short Ribs.

  • Follow the rules of braising. As mentioned before, braising is an incredible cooking method for when you want fork-tender short ribs. Don’t forget to sear and have the correct amount of liquid. The short ribs do not need to be completely submerged for them to cook correctly.
  • Trust the cooking time. It’s easy to think that cooking beef for 4+ hours could yield tough and overcooked short ribs. But that’s not the case at all! Be patient and that long cooking time will be well worth the wait. The short ribs need a lot of cooking time to become tender.
brasied balsamic short ribs plated with pureed potatoes and garnished with herbs

What to Serve with Slow Cooker Short Ribs

I’ve got lots of great side dishes, apps, and drinks that go great with this recipe!

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Store any leftover short ribs in an airtight container in the fridge. They’ll keep for up to 5 days. Then reheat in a saucepot on the stove for quick leftovers!

Can I Freeze This?

You can freeze this slow cooker short ribs without a problem! I recommend freezing the cooked short ribs with the sauce in an air-tight plastic bag. Make sure to squeeze out any leftover air in the bag before sealing.

The short ribs can be frozen for up to 3 months. Always thaw them in the fridge overnight before reheating. Then, you can simply reheat them in a small saucepan on the stove or you can heat them in the slow cooker again (on high for 1-2 hours).

brasied balsamic short ribs plated with pureed potatoes and garnished with herbs

Crock Pot Balsamic Braised Beef Short Ribs

  • Author: Krista
  • prep_time Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • cook_time Cook Time: 6 hours
  • total_time Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
  • yield Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • category Category: Beef
  • method Method: Crock Pot
  • cuisine Cuisine: American


These tender Crock Pot Balsamic Braised Beef Short Ribs are a hearty Paleo recipe! Made with juicy beef short ribs and balsamic vinegar, this dish totally delivers on taste! It’s a restaurant-quality dish made right at home in the slow cooker!



  • 23 lbs. of bone-in beef short ribs
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 4 whole dried dates
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed

Spice Blend:

  • 2 tablespoon of course sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon of dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper


  1. In a small bowl, mix together course sea salt, dried rosemary, dried sage, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and black pepper.
  2. Pat dry bone-in beef short ribs. Rub spice blend into both sides of the short ribs.
  3. Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Add coconut oil to pan and sear the short ribs for 2-3 minutes per side or until slightly browned.
  4. Put the short ribs in a slow cooker with a tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, whole dried dates, and smashed garlic cloves.
  5. Cook for 4-6 hours on low or until beef is tender.
  6. Serve over my Cauliflower Mash or Parsnip Puree.


Recipe from Practical Paleo


  • Serving Size: 1.5 short ribs
  • Calories: 344
  • Sugar: 12 g
  • Sodium: 461 mg
  • Fat: 18 g
  • Saturated Fat: 8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 19 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 26 g
  • Cholesterol: 75 mg

Keywords: braised short ribs, braised beef short ribs, crock pot braised short ribs, beef short ribs recipe

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97 Responses
  1. Beth

    These were so good fell right off the bone and great flavor. Next time I am adding more dates. They were so good cooked when cooked.

  2. Jess @ Crunchy Hot Mama

    These are in the crock pot as.we.speak and I can’t wait to try them 🙂

    I just found you and saw that you live in Texas! Where are you located? I’m in the Dallas area and love finding other bloggers in this great state 😉 I’m looking forward to perusing your site to find more yummy recipes!

    1. Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats

      Yeah! Hope you like them Jess!

      I live in the Houston area, I know a couple in the austin and dallas area but none in Houston. 🙁 So glad you stopped by to say hi Jess.. enjoy those short ribs!

  3. Susan

    I have to watch salt and night-shade vegetables.
    Can you suggest substitutes for salt or (how low can I go in terms of amount??) and for tomato sauce??
    I would love to try it in a pressure cooker.

    1. Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats

      Hey Susan,
      Sorry about the slow response. I was out of commission all weekend. 🙂

      As far as the salt part you can definitely half the amount used or omit it completely amp up the herbs a little bit and use the juice of 1 lemon instead. Alot of times I will use a little bit of salt and use lemon to enhance that salt flavor, it works great. 😉

      In regards to the tomato sauce I’m not completely sure to be honest. Thats a hard one to mimic. I did some research and found that you could use tamarind concentrate as a substitute for tomato paste or sauce {if a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of tomato sauce, use 1/4 cup of tamarind concentrate, basically half the amount} or you could also try to use a can of butternut squash or sweet potato puree. {without the spices of course}

      Hope this helps Susan. Let me know if you have any more questions!


    2. LP

      This recipe comes from practical paleo. In the book her substitute for tomato sauce is her beef broth which is another recipe in her book.. Also very easy in the slow cooler.

      1. Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats

        Yup, which is why I made sure to quote it as her recipe not my own. 🙂 Love that book, shes has lots of great recipes and tips for an easy paleo diet! 🙂

  4. Lana

    Hi I have made this 3 x and my family love it! My husband loves it and my 3 kids! It’s so easy to chuck in the slow cooker in the morning then serve in the evening! I serve it with mashed sweet potato and cabage with bacon!! Thank you so much!!! Much appreciation from Australia!! X

    1. Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats

      I know! I love that all I have to do is throw it in the crockpot and then a couple hours later deliciousness is waiting. 🙂 The mashed potatoes with cabbage and bacon sounds outstanding!!! So excited that your family loved it and that is a repeat recipe in your home, makes my heart happy! Thanks for leaving a note Lana, always love hearing from my readers!

    1. Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats

      Hey Chassidy, you could try dried figs or apricots. The dates or just to sweeten the dish a little bit. So you could even use honey if you’d like. Hope that helps! 🙂

    1. Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats

      Hey Trent, I’m not completely sure because I’ve never used a pressure cooker before. I looked it up online and from what I can see, cook it on high for 20 minutes. But again, I’m not completely confident in this because I’ve never used one before. You’ll have to let me know how it turns out! 🙂

      1. Trent

        Krista, thanks for the info. I tried it last night and it was amazing. It was my first time using a pressure cooker and it turned out great. It took 25 minutes with the first 5 minutes getting it to the right “pressure” temp. I lowered it to med:high when it locked in the pressure. I wound up using bone-in short ribs. The sauce was so good that I scooped out the rest and poured all over the dish. The bones were completely off by the time I opened the top of the cooker.

        I also made the carrots in the oven while it cooked.

        I can’t believe how tender it was with only 20-25 minutes. Thank you for the recipe. I look forward to trying more of your paleo stuff!

        1. Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats

          Absolutely! Sooooo glad to hear that it went well for you. Sounds like I need to get a pressure cooker and cut down on the cooking time… 6 hours or 25 minutes? um… 25 minutes ding ding ding!!! 🙂

          Glad you ended up using the bone-in short ribs, the sauce truly is to die for and combined with the carrots its a winner.

          Thanks for popping in and letting me know how it turned out! Always love hearing that!

          1. Trent

            I’m trying it with the slow cooker tonight. Lots of pressure on the slow cooker to perform after the results from the pressure cooker 😉

          2. Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats

            haha.. you will have to let me know how they compare. If the pressure cooker is better than I am going to head out and get one! 🙂

          3. Trent

            Ok, so I have now tried the pressure cooker twice and the slow cooler once. The pressure cooker won both times. Was very shocked but both my wife and I thought it was more tender and tastier with the pressure cooker. Both ways were good but pressure cooker gets slight edge for taste and huge edge for time saver.

            Thanks again for the recipe. We’ll be trying some other paleo recipes you have.

          4. Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats

            Awesome… sounds like I need to get a pressure cooker for sure. Thanks for the feedback as always Trent. 🙂

  5. Trent

    I just bought 1.5 lbs of grass fed boneless short ribs. I figured that was enough for 2 people to experiment for my first time with short ribs. Will boneless work with this recipe? And such a small amount?

    Thank you!!!

    1. Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats

      Hey Trent! 1.5lbs of short ribs should still be fine. I would make it the same. The only thing that might be different is the consistency of the sauce, which will be a little thinly. The bones in the short ribs actually help thicken up the sauce, but I’ve made it with boneless before and the flavor is still spot on good! 🙂 Hope you enjoy it!

    1. Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats

      Hey Alex, it will not change the cooking time but it will change the sauce consistency. The sauce will be a little thinly because the bones in the meat actually help thicken the sauce. The flavors will all still be there though. 🙂 Hope that helps Alex!

    1. Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats

      Oh… Rob I made them a while ago and to be honest I don’t remember. But, usually when I buy my meat I look for the thickest ones. I bought a package that was about 3 lbs. So I would recommend looking at the poundage on the outside of the meat wrapper and make sure it is at least 3lbs, so it gives you the most meat. Hope that helps. If you have more questions totally let me know, always here to help!

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