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!
Table of Contents
- The Best Braised Short Ribs Recipe
- Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Recipe Ingredients
- What Does Braising Short Ribs Mean?
- Do You Have To Sear Short Ribs Before Braising?
- How to Make Slow Cooker Balsamic Braised Short Ribs
- Helpful Tips
- What to Serve with Slow Cooker Short Ribs
- How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Can I Freeze This?
- Crock Pot Balsamic Braised Beef Short Ribs
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!
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!
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.
- Sea Salt
- Dried Rosemary
- Dried Sage
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Black Pepper
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
- Creamy Purees: Nothing beats a bit of rich and savory short ribs paired with buttery smooth pureed potatoes or other vegetables. My favorites are Creamy Parsnip Puree, 3 Ingredient Mashed Cauliflower, and this recipe for the Best Mashed Potatoes you’ll ever make!
- Light and Easy Appetizers: This is a great meal to serve during the holidays when you’re entertaining guests. But you don’t want to serve appetizers that are too heavy and filling. Some appetizer suggestions are Garlic Herb Roasted Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce, Bacon Green Bean Bundles, and Goat Cheese Balls.
- A Cocktail That Compliments: When pairing food and drink, it’s actually a great idea to pair drinks with deep and rich flavors alongside heavy foods like Balsamic Braised Short Ribs. For example, red wine would pair perfectly with this recipe (you can check out why in my Wine Guide!). A tangy Cranberry Whiskey Sour or Maple Old Fashioned would be great cocktails to try.
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).Print
Crock Pot Balsamic Braised Beef Short Ribs
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 6 hours
- Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
- Yield: 4–6 servings 1x
- Category: Beef
- Method: Crock Pot
- 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!
- 2–3 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
- 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
- In a small bowl, mix together course sea salt, dried rosemary, dried sage, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and black pepper.
- Pat dry bone-in beef short ribs. Rub spice blend into both sides of the short ribs.
- 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.
- Put the short ribs in a slow cooker with a tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, whole dried dates, and smashed garlic cloves.
- Cook for 4-6 hours on low or until beef is tender.
- 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
More Easy Slow Cooker Recipes
- Crockpot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- Easy Slow Cooker Asian Meatballs
- Beer Braised Brisket Sliders
- Crockpot Chicken Curry
- Slow Cooker Broccoli and Cheese Soup
This recipe deserves 10 stars. I have made it many times everyone who eats it loves it. My son who is pretty picky and on the autistic spectrum even likes it. It’s in the crockpot now looking forward to eating it tonight
Hurray!!! So glad it’s been a hit for you and your family! It’s one of our favorites too!
I’ve made this many times in the crockpot and love it. Tonight I’m thinking about trying it in the Instant Pot, Would you add more liquid at all? Maybe some bone broth? Thanks!
Nope… I don’t think you need more liquid. You should be good to go.
Wonderful recipe. Follow this exactly and the short ribs are so tender and flavorful. I’ve made these a few times already as they are now a menu staple.
Amazing! I am so glad you loved it!
This is one of my favorite recipes ever! Thank you so much for creating/posting it!
Excellent – full of flavor. Ridiculously easy. This will absolutely be made again. Good enough for a dinner party or entertaining.
Ohh so good to hear. Glad you like them Joel!
How much of the spice rub do you use for the entire recipe?
Hey Linda! I would use enough to cover both sides of the short ribs, it usually ends up being 3/4th of the mixture. 🙂
Just made these last night – OH EM GEE! They were AMAZING! I linked your recipe and talked about how amazing they were on my blog as well! Thanks for sharing!!!
PS – My boyfriend basically cried about how amazing these were … he LOVES beef and I’m a chicken girl myself 😉
hurray! So glad you liked them Melissa, it’s one of my favorites too! The sauce is incredible … it would bring me to tears too hehe 🙂
Hello! Wondering if I need to change anything if I am going to be cooking it longer. I was thinking 8 hours (so I don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to turn off the slow cooker!)
Also, wondering if I can put it in the oven in a le creuset with the same results? Any idea what temp if so??
You probably could cook it for 8 hours, it might be a little more tender and shred pretty fast but it will still be good.
As far as the oven, yes you could put it in the oven. I would set it for 350 and cover it, but not sure how long.
Hi, can you use fresh herbs with this recipe?
Absolutely, I would just use more than the recipe calls for because dry herbs are stronger than fresh. 🙂
Can you use baby back ribs instead?
Oh yeah, I use this sauce and dry rub as a base for multiple things. All you do is just sub out the Protein, in your case it would be subbing out the short ribs for baby back ribs and your good to go. 🙂
I am going to give this recipe a try, but instead of short ribs I am going to use fresh pork hock, and instead of dates I will use honey.
sounds delicious Kari! Let me know how the changes taste! 🙂
We are doing a whole30 and I made these the other day! OMG! I couldn’t believe how delicious these were. I made them with spareibs, since it was what I had in the freezer. I added the rub that was leftover into the sauce before I poured it in the crockpot. The best part of this recipe is the leftover sauce. I used it the next day for zoodles with mushrooms and onions! So incredibly delicious!
Oh i know, that sauce is killer! And love the idea of using it for the zoodles and mushrooms, genius girl! Pretty sure I could bathe in this sauce, so scrumptious! So glad you liked it girl and good luck on your whole30!