Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Short Ribs
Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Short Ribs are so flavorful with a mushroom, ginger, and soy gravy that is rich and delicious! These ribs are the perfect combination of sweet, salty, and umami flavors – not to mention the meat falls off the bone. They’re simply mouthwatering!
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Table of contents
Why We Love This Recipe for Slow Cooker Short Ribs
I admit cooking Short Ribs can seem intimidating. And I had to psych myself up when I tried cooking them the first time, but truth be told, they’re so much easier than they seem! The key is to cook them low and slow and let your slow cooker do all the work.
It takes about 15 minutes of prep to get them into the crockpot. All you have to do is cut and sear the ribs and saute the mushrooms for the spicy sweet sauce. Layer it all into the slow cooker and go about your day enjoying the totally yummy aroma that emanates from the slow cooker for the rest of the day.
Seriously, that’s al there is to it. I am here to tell you FEAR NOT, my people, fear not.
You’ll be rewarded with succulent, tender short ribs. The meat gets so tender that it falls right off the bone.
And then there’s the sauce. I think the spicy mushroom sauce maybe even more of a clincher for me. The level of sweetness is so necessary to cut the fiery zing of the ginger and hot pepper flakes. I love the umami mushroom and soy combo too. Gah, you guys. ‘Stuffs good!
Serve this meal on a chilly evening in fall, for Game day, or as a Sunday supper.
Key Ingredients for Slow Cooked Beef Ribs
Beef Short Ribs
If you are not familiar with short ribs, you can read more about them here. You’ll need about two pounds with the bones. Ask your butcher to cut them into individual ribs for you. Alternatively, you can cut the apart yourself. To cut them, use a sharp boning knife and slice between each bone. I know two pounds of meat sounds like a lot for four portions, but there is quite a bit of fat and bone that you’ll discard, and the edible portion is much more reasonable.
- White mushrooms
- Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
- Avocado oil or organic canola oil
- Coconut sugar or brown sugar
- Finely grated ginger root
- Toasted sesame oil
- Red chili flake
- Chopped scallions and sesame seeds (for garnish)
Step 1: Pat Dry and Cook Ribs
Pat the ribs dry and sprinkle them with salt. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat and add the ribs. Sear them until they’re browned, about 2 to 4 minutes, and then turn them over to brown on the other side, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer the ribs, bone-side down, to a large slow cooker.
Step 2: Make the Sauce
Add oil to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Add the mushrooms and cook them, stirring often until they start to release their juices. Remove the skillet from heat and stir in coconut sugar, Bragg’s Aminos or soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, and red chili flake. Pour the mushrooms over the ribs, but do not stir. Cover the slow cooker and set it on low for 6 hours.
Step 3: Serve Ribs
Gently remove the ribs and dive them between four plates with tongs. Spoon the fat off the sauce and serve the ribs with sauce on top and scallions and sesame seeds for garnish.
FAQs and Expert Tips
What is a short rib and where does it come from?
Short ribs encompass several butcher’s cuts of beef that come from the part of a steer where the chuck and the rib primals are joined at the 6th through 10th rib section of the short plate. You can see it here in the Meat Buyer’s Guide as item 123. Basically, what this means is that it comes from the cow that does a lot of long endurance work, so it has a lot of gristle, intermuscular fat and connective tissues. It has a fat cap that should be trimmed to about .25 inch.
To make matters more confusing, the arm portion of the beef chuck can also be cut and sold as beef short ribs too. This cut has ribs 2 through 5 and is a flatter cut with less fat cap.
No matter what, don’t worry about which “short rib” you get. You can use any short rib that your butcher sells for this recipe and you will be happy! What’s important to know is that, the meat is very tough unless it is slowly braised, or smoked or slow roasted. Braising, and other low and slow methods of cooking, breaks down the connective tissues and collagen and makes the meat meltingly tender.
Back ribs are 6 to 8-inches long and come from the rib primal. Short ribs are much thicker and meatier. They also have a layer of fat on the exterior. Short ribs only include three to five ribs, and back ribs can contain up to seven ribs.
Yes you can! They will fall apart more than bone-on short ribs, and there is no need to cut them before cooking. Instead, once they are tender, you can break the meat apart into chunks to serve.
Braising just refers to the process of cooking in liquid at low heat for a long time and in a covered container (like our slow cooker!) It is a method of cooking that is commonly reserved for more tough cuts of meat like beef chuck or pork butt, lamb shanks or beef ribs. However vegetables, poultry and quicker cooking cut of meats can also be braised for a relatively shorter amount of time. My friend Molly wrote an award-winning book All About Braising. I highly recommend it if you are interested in diving into learning more about braising.
If you cook ribs too quickly they’ll come out tough and dry. Cooking ribs is all about patience and enjoying the delicious smell wafting through the house as they cook.
Additional Slow Cooker Recipes To Try
- If you like these short ribs, try our Chinese 5-Spice Beef Stew.
- This Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Beef has a spicy chipotle maple sauce that is a little smoky.
- Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Coconut Soup is naturally gluten-free and loosely based on the classic Thai soup, Tom Kha Gai.
- The naturally gluten-free, paleo, and Whole30-approved Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore is one of our fan-favorite recipes!
- Healthy Slow Cooker Beef Burgundy is a slow cooker version of the French dish Beef Bourguignon, so what I’m saying is making this dish will make you feel fancy.
- This sweet and spicy Slow Cooker Maple Chipotle Pulled Chicken is about to become one of your weeknight favorites!
- If you have an instant pot, this Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker) Beef Short Ribs recipe looks amazing!
Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter where I share weeknight meal plans delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~KatiePrint
Don’t be intimidated by the name, these slow cooker short ribs take only 15 minutes to get into the crockpot. Then they become meltingly tender and so spicy and sweet! I love the flavor and the umami sauce with mushroom and soy.
- 1 ¾ – 2 pounds beef short ribs, cut between the bone into 4 portions* (preferably grass-fed)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon avocado oil or organic canola oil, divided
- 2 8-ounce containers sliced white mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons finely grated ginger root
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- Generous pinch red chili flake
- Chopped scallions and sesame seeds for garnish
- Pat ribs dry and sprinkle with salt. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add ribs, and sear until browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Turn over and continue cooking until browned on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer the ribs, bone-side down, to the insert of a large slow cooker.
- Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the skillet and reduce heat to medium. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often until starting to release their juices. Remove from heat and stir in coconut sugar, Bragg’s Aminos or soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil and red chili flake. Pour the mushrooms over the ribs (do not stir.) Cover and set timer on low for 6 hours.
- Gently remove ribs to four plates with tongs. Spoon fat off sauce. Serve ribs with sauce on top and scallions and sesame seeds added for garnish.
*With the bone, 1 ¾ pounds of bone-in short ribs will give you 4 portions of cooked meat. Depending on how you purchase them you will have either 8 small or 4 standard ribs
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 6 hours
- Category: Main Course
- Method: Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 2 small ribs
- Calories: 253
- Sugar: 13 g
- Fat: 37 g
- Carbohydrates: 15 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 16 g
Keywords: slow cooker short ribs, easy short rib recipe,asian short ribs,soy ginger short ribs