Slow Cooker Short Ribs (aka Bday Meal!)



Growing up we always had a tradition in our house that you could request any meal you wanted for your birthday dinner, and my mom would make it for you!  I am lucky that my mom is such a good cook and we all would get so excited each year knowing we were going to have our favorite mama Humphrey special. Usually I chose steak, mashed potatoes & asparagus or my mom’s famous lemon pasta with chocolate raspberry cake. I’m drooling now.  Honestly I get just as excited for my sister and Dad’s birthday choices as they are always my other favorites! 

Well, Adam and I have adopted this favorite tradition in the past few years… but no matter whose birthday it is the request is always the same.  SHORT RIBS! We both just absolutely love them and may eat them one other time throughout the year if they look especially good at a restaurant, but generally it’s a birthday treat.

We’ve made a lot of different kinds of short ribs in the past few years, ranging from oven braised to some with an asian zing. But these slow cooker short ribs were some of the easiest, and most delicious yet! You’re welcome Adam and everyone whose going to make them to impress someone they love!

I referenced a few different recipes online, combining aspects of each to make this delicious version! You can read those here and here.

Okay get ready though- this is the best part. There is a tiny bit of prep work, but then all you have to do is throw all the ingredients and spices into your slow cooker, crank that baby on high and let it simmer away for 4-6 hours.

Here’s a step by step in photos!

1. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper & briefly sear each side in olive oil. Just until they are slightly browned. This holds all the delicious juices and flavors in!


2.   Slice a few carrots and put them at the bottom of the slow cooker. Then top with your seared short ribs.



3. Saute your sliced white onion in olive oil until slightly tender. Then add garlic, tomato paste and red wine and bring to a boil until the liquid has reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Then add to the crockpot.



4. Then pour the broth, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, garlic powder and top with brown sugar, fresh thyme sprigs and a bay leaf.



5. Put the lid on and either cook low and slow for 6-8 hours, or on high ( if you’re impatient or bad at time management like I am) for 4-6 hours.


You’ll know it’s done when all the meat falls cleanly off the bone when you touch it with a fork! I served it with this dreamy mushroom risotto and some baked sheet pan broccoli for a decadent birthday dinner.


We pretty much asked ourselves the entire meal why we didn’t make short ribs every week so I can promise whoever is lucky enough to eat this with you will be thoroughly impressed and begging for seconds! Plus- eat some of those tasty short rib leftovers with cheesy eggs or in a breakfast burrito the next day. YUM!! 

Comment and let me know what special occasion you make this for and what delicious sides you served it with! 🙂



Print Recipe
Slow Cooker Short Ribs (aka Bday meal!)
Delicious melt in your mouth short ribs that are super simple thanks to your slow cooker! These traditional style short ribs pack tons of flavor and are the perfect meal for a special occasion or to wow dinner party guests.
Course Main Dish
Keyword Slow Cooker
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4-6 hours
Course Main Dish
Keyword Slow Cooker
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4-6 hours
  1. Rub salt and pepper on ribs. Heat butter ( or oil) in large skillet over medium heat. Brown the ribs on each side in batches and transfer to the slow cooker.
  2. Saute sliced onions in the same skillet and cook over medium heat until tender and translucent, about 8 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste to the onions and cook for another minute. Then add the wine and bring to a gentle boil for 8-10 minutes or until half the liquid has reduced. Add the onions to the slow cooker.
  4. Add carrots, broth, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire and chili powder to the slow cooker.
  5. Add the brown sugar, thyme sprigs and bay leaf to the top of the meat and onions.
  6. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-6 hours.
  7. When you go to serve the ribs, make sure you've skimmed the fat off the top of the beef and the sauce that has been created in the slow cooker. You'll know the ribs are done when you pull gently with a fork and the meat falls off the bone cleanly.
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