Make-Ahead Beef Short Ribs

Make-Ahead Beef Short Ribs

The Spruce / Qi Ai

Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 3 hrs 30 mins
Refrigeration: 8 hrs
Total: 12 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Yield: 8 pounds
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
2006 Calories
142g Fat
15g Carbs
162g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 2006
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 142g 182%
Saturated Fat 61g 306%
Cholesterol 605mg 202%
Sodium 1357mg 59%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 6%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 162g
Vitamin C 10mg 51%
Calcium 164mg 13%
Iron 18mg 101%
Potassium 2415mg 51%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Braised beef short ribs are a luxurious dish; the meat falls off of the bone, and the pan sauce is rich and delicious. The catch is that you have to start preparing short ribs at least four hours—or even longer—before you start eating it for the best results.

The good news is that braised short ribs can be a make-ahead meal. The beef is braised until it is fully cooked, and then cooled in the pan and refrigerated overnight, still in its liquid. The next day, all the solidified fat is scraped off from the top, and the pot is gently reheated over a low simmer.

Serve these beef short ribs with mashed potatoes or creamy polenta for a delicious and comforting meal.


  • 3 shallots, or 1 large onion, peeled

  • 4 large ribs celery

  • 3 large carrots, peeled

  • 8 pounds bone-in beef short ribs

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1 cup red wine

  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes

  • 3 dried bay leaves

  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 2 quarts beef stock

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 300 F.

    Make-ahead beef short ribs recipe ingredients gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai

  2. Quarter the shallots, and chop the celery and carrots into roughly 1-inch chunks.

    Quarter the shallots and chop the celery and carrots

    The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai

  3. Dry the ribs thoroughly with paper towels and generously season them with kosher salt.

    Dry the ribs thoroughly with paper towels and generously season

    The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai

  4. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy, ovenproof soup pot until it is very hot. Add the beef and brown well on all sides over high heat. It might get smoky, so ventilate well. You will need to work in batches, as the ribs will not brown if the pan is crowded. Remove the ribs and set aside.

    Short ribs cooking in a Dutch oven

    The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai

  5. Lower the heat and add the carrots, celery, shallots, and garlic and sauté in the resulting beef juices until slightly browned.

    Vegetables cooking in beef drippings

    The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai

  6. Remove just the carrots and set them aside.

    Pick out the carrots and set them aside

    The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai

  7. Add the wine and use a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula to loosen all the flavorful bits from the bottom of the pan.

    Add wine to the vegetables in the Dutch oven

    The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai

  8. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, a couple of thyme sprigs, and the browned beef.

    Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, a couple of thyme sprigs, and the browned beef to the Dutch oven

    The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai

  9. Add the stock. If there is not enough liquid to cover the meat, add water until the ribs are almost submerged.

    Add stock to the beef and vegetable mixture in the Dutch oven

    The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai

  10. Season the liquid to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover with a tight-fitting lid and transfer the pot to the oven. Let the beef braise untouched for 3 hours.

    Beef cooking in a Dutch oven

    The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai

  11. Add the carrots and braise for another 30 minutes.

    Add the carrots to the beef mixture and continue to braise

    The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai

  12. Remove the pot from the oven and let it cool for 30 minutes, then cover partway and transfer to the refrigerator overnight. Once the meat is fully chilled, you can cover it completely.

    Braised short ribs in a Dutch oven

    The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai

  13. When you are ready to serve, scrape the fat from the top of the ribs. Gently reheat for 20 to 30 minutes over a low simmer.

    Make-ahead beef short ribs, scraping fat off the top

    The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai

  14. Serve and enjoy.

More Ways to Cook Beef Short Ribs

Although often associated with a cozy wintertime comfort food dish, if you are craving beef short ribs during the warmer months, there are two ways you can cook this dish without heating up the kitchen:

  • Slow cooker short ribs: Although the cooking time is longer, you can prepare this dish in the morning and have it ready by dinner, or place in the refrigerator to chill overnight and serve the next day.
  • Braise on the grill: Place a cast-iron Dutch oven right on the grill, and keep the heat low (250 F to 300 F). The cooking time should be the same as oven-braising, but check the meat with an instant-read thermometer to make sure it is done.


  • Calculating how many short ribs per person depends on how the ribs are cut; sometimes the ribs are really short and sometimes they are unusually long. It is better to figure by weight—a little more than 1 pound of bone-in short ribs should suffice per person.
  • Make sure you only remove the fat and not the gelatinized cooking liquid. It is the key to this dish's unctuousness.
  • When placing the browned ribs back into the pot, turn the top layer bone-up with the meat facing down to be sure it is submerged in the liquid.

Do the short ribs have more flavor if left overnight?

You don't have to refrigerate the ribs after cooking them—you can serve them right away—but the flavors do intensify overnight and become more complex. The amino acids in the proteins of the meat combine in various ways to produce new flavors. Meanwhile, the carbohydrates in the carrots and shallots break down into sugars, enhancing the dish's sweetness. The fact that you can skim off the solidified fat the next day is also a plus.