Instant Pot Short Ribs

Instant pot short ribs

The Spruce / Leah Maroney 

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Pressure Release: 15 mins
Total: 70 mins
Servings: 5 to 6
Yield: 1 pot

The Instant Pot makes short work of so many dishes, all without sacrificing flavor. These short ribs are no exception. They become so delicious and cook so much faster and more easily in the Instant Pot. Imagine everything you love about short ribs, without the time it takes to cook them, which usually consists of a long braise. You get all the flavors of slow cooking without the hours of braising in the oven or on the stove.

If you've never had short ribs, they are beef but they're different from beef ribs. They're typically a tougher cut of meat that takes well to braising—even in the Instant Pot. Short ribs are called such because they come from the cow's rib plate, found beneath the rib eye and on the other side of skirt steak. Regular beef ribs come from the rib portion of the cow and are typically fattier. They can be grilled or braised whereas short ribs do best braised.

For best flavor development, start the short ribs right on the stovetop to sear them. Then transfer them to the Instant Pot. There's much less mess, and the short ribs are seared and then braised all in the Instant Pot, so there aren’t a ton of pots and pans used. The braising liquid forms a beautiful sauce that is perfect poured over the short ribs and some creamy polenta. Or serve with mashed potatoes or cauliflower as your starchy side of choice.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds short ribs (trimmed of excess fat)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 1 shallot (minced)
  • 1 carrot (diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 3 sprigs parsley (more for garnish, if desired)
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Optional: cooked polenta (for serving)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Instant Pot short ribs

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  2. Whisk the flour, salt, and black pepper together in a shallow bowl. Dip each short rib into the seasoned flour until all sides are coated.

    Short ribs coated in seasoned flour

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  3. Turn the Instant Pot to the "sauté" setting. Once it reads "hot," add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the ribs to the pot. Allow them to sear for a minute or two on each side, turning them when the flour is browned and seared.

    Seared short ribs in an Instant Pot

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  4. Remove the short ribs from the pot and add the onion, shallot, and carrot. Sauté until the vegetables are softened.

  5. Add the garlic, thyme, parsley, red wine, beef stock, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste to the Instant Pot. Heat on "sauté" until all of the ingredients are incorporated, and the mixture is boiling.

  6. Add the seared short ribs back to the pot. Close the lid and set to “meat/stew” and cook for 35 minutes. Allow the pot to "slow release" for 10 minutes and then "quick release" the rest of the way.

    Short ribs cooked in braising liquid in Instant Pot

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  7. Remove the short ribs from the pot and change the setting to “sauté.” Cook until the sauce has reduced and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

    Sauce for Instant Pot short ribs

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  8. Serve the short ribs over creamy polenta and top with the sauce and fresh parsley, if desired.

    Short ribs served over polenta

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Should Short Ribs Be Cooked Bone Side up or Down?

Ribs should be cooked meat side down in the braising liquid. This will help the ribs absorb the juices and help them become "fall off the bone."

Why Do Short Ribs Come Out Tough?

There are a few reasons why short ribs can be tough, even after cooking.


  • Cooking at a temperature that is too high can make them tough. Short ribs should be cooked low and slow in order to break down the tough fibers, which makes the meat just about fall off the bone. 


  • If you perform a quick release without slow release first in the Instant Pot, this can cause problems. The quick change in the temperature will shock the meat and can make it tough. 


  • Cooking in an insufficient amount of liquid; it should come halfway up the side of the ribs in the pot.

How to Store Beef Short Ribs

These short ribs should keep in the refrigerator, covered, for four to five days. You can reheat them in a shallow baking dish with the braising liquid, covered with aluminum foil, for about 20 minutes at 325 F until hot.

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