Slow Cooker Beer Braised Short Ribs

Beer braised Slow Cooker short ribs are delicious in and of themselves, but when you realize that a slow cooker can do the cooking for you, this crock pot ribs recipe will become one of your absolute favorites as you witness them just falling off the bone like butter.

Slow Cooker Beer Braised Short Ribs

This crockpot short ribs recipe is one of the most popular on It’s Yummi. It’s no wonder why, they are obscenely delicious, incredibly easy to make, and it’s virtually impossible to mess the recipe up.

If you’ve never had slow cooker short ribs before, you are missing out on one of the most decadent meats of all time. Seriously. They are meaty and rich and fall-off-the-bone tender.

Beer braised short ribs are not fussy. Rather they are rustic and homey and surprisingly flexible when cooking them. Oh, and they taste even better the next day.

How to Make Beer Braised Short Ribs in a Slow Cooker: What you will need ????

Crockpot Short Ribs Recipe

The Difference Between Short Ribs AND Spare Ribs

You may think you can get away with substituting spare ribs in this recipe. There is a difference, don’t be tempted.

Short ribs are tougher and meatier than spare ribs. And, as the name implies, they’re shorter in length, too. Bonus is they fit more easily in the slow cookers! Short ribs also require very little hands-on time and they’re fairly inexpensive. Short ribs are best braised.

Spare Ribs (AKA Beef Back Ribs) are taken from the bottom of the ribs and therefore is a much bigger, fattier and tougher cut of meat. Spare Ribs can be braised, roasted or grilled.

Short ribs braised in beer are beyond delicious. I cannot wait for you to try it!

Beer Braised Short Ribs Recipe

Short Ribs Make Ahead Recipe Tips for the Slow Cooker

While the short ribs may be the star of this recipe, the sauce is equally delectable. When I make this beef ribs recipe (and I make it often), I combine all of the sauce ingredients, minus the beer, the night before.

Then, in the morning, all I have to do is place the ribs and onions in the slow cooker and pour the sauce mixture and beer over the top. Could it get any easier?

Fast forward eight to ten hours and you have perfectly tender ribs nestled in a rich, decadent sauce.

You won’t even need a knife to eat these beer braised short ribs – they simply fall off of the bone. To soak up all of the deliciousness, I usually serve them with my easy go-to Parmesan Orzo, or if I have the time, my 18-Minute Risotto.

Other fantastic options to serve this with are… 

Slow Cooker Beer Braised Short Ribs

Short Ribs made in the Instant Pot?

YES IT IS POSSIBLE! We’ve got another short ribs in the instant pot recipe coming along that we’ve been working on so in case you would like to pull the Instant Pot out for this recipe you’ll want to set it for 45 minutes at high pressure, followed by 15 minutes of natural release time for the cooking time. 

If you make the beer braised short ribs recipe, please come back and leave a comment and a rating for the recipe. It helps other readers to see your tips and suggestions, and I love to read your comments, too.

Other delicious recipes for beef and pork ribs

Beer Braised Slow Cooker Short Ribs Recipe

Beef short ribs are braised in beer and cooked in a crock pot until they’re juicy, tender, falling off of the bone, and downright delicious!
4.23 from 48 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 10 minutes
Course Dinner, Main
Cuisine American
Servings 48 ounces
Calories 1035 kcal



  • 3 medium onions cut into wedges
  • 3 pounds bone-in beef short ribs trimmed of fat
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 ounces light beer (non alcoholic beer)
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp beef bouillon granules
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cold water


Slow Cooker Short Ribs Instructions

  • Place onions in a 5-quart (or larger) slow cooker; add ribs and bay leaf. Combine the beer, brown sugar, mustard, tomato paste, thyme, bouillon, salt and pepper. Pour over meat. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until meat is tender.
  • Remove meat and vegetables to a serving platter; keep warm. Discard bay leaf. Skim fat from cooking juices; transfer juices to a small saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil. Combine flour and water until smooth. Gradually stir into the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Instant Pot Short Ribs Instructions

  • Set everything in the Instant Pot and set it for 45 minutes at high pressure, followed by 15 minutes of natural release time for the cooking time. 
  • Remove meat and vegetables to a serving platter; keep warm. Discard bay leaf. Skim fat from cooking juices; transfer juices to a small saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil. Combine flour and water until smooth. Gradually stir into the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.



Weight Watcher’s Nutritional Information – Beef short ribs are very high in fat. Trim as much fat as possible from them before cooking. Use a kitchen scale to measure your portions… 8 ounces (including bone) of beer braised beef short ribs = 14 points
Recipe graciously from Christina from


Serving: 6ouncesCalories: 1035kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 37gFat: 89gSaturated Fat: 39gCholesterol: 187mgSodium: 618mgFiber: 2gSugar: 6g
Tried this recipe? Mention @itsyummi or tag #itsyummirecipe!


  1. Oh. Em. Gee. My cheeks are tingling with anticipation just looking at the photo and reading the recipe. I love short ribs with a fierceness, and I would eat these for breakfast if I could!

        1. Hi Fran –
          You certainly could use boneless short ribs, but they won’t stay in one piece being cooked for that long. As long as you don’t mind them being more of a “pulled pork” consistency, I’d say go for it!

  2. 4 stars
    This is the only way to cook short ribs to my mind. Maybe it’s just me but any other way and the ribs aren’t as tender as we like them

    1. Rita, I’d love to try and help you feel less intimidated about making the short ribs. Can you help me understand what part of the recipe intimidates you?

  3. These ribs fell apart they were so tender. I have never made short ribs before but will use this recipe often. The gravy had tons of flavor. I just ate the leftovers for lunch and still delicious.

  4. I made these for dinner and it’s now at the top of my list for best short ribs on the planet!!!! We fell in love with these ribs!!! They had so much flavor and and melted in your mouth!! I used a darker beer and ketchup instead of paste and 1 extra bullion cube..other then that tnx for sharing such a great recipe!!!!

    1. Wow, Heather! Thank you so much for the glowing review of the short ribs recipe! I’m so happy that you enjoyed them.

  5. Hi just wondering if the ribs should be thawed before or can you put them into crock pot frozen? Thanks!

    1. Hi Heather!
      That’s a great question. Lots of people place frozen uncooked meat into slow cookers, but to be completely honest, it’s not food safe at all. This is because the slow cooker takes too long to get the meat from a frozen state up to 140 degrees F., which is where it needs to be in order for the bacteria in the food to be cooked out. In order to avoid food-borne illnesses. When foods are in the “danger zone” (between 40 F. and 140 F.) they grow bacteria, so the longer it takes to get the food to a food safe temperature, the higher the risk of contamination and food borne illness.

      If you need more information, I recommend reading these articles:
      USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: Slow Cookers and Food Safety
      University of Minnesota Extension: Slow Cookers and Food Safety

  6. I am going to try this recipe tomorrow, I just have one question. It says to remove meat and vegetables but I don’t see any vegetables in the ingredient-list?
    I would like to add carrots if possible.

    1. Hi Mara!
      The only vegetables used in the braised short ribs recipe are onions, which are listed first in the list of ingredients. You can absolutely add carrots to the slow cooker, but do be aware that they’ll be quite mushy if they’re in the cooker for the full amount of time as the ribs. Also, the glaze will turn them a dark brownish color. Personally, I would steam the carrots separately and serve them with the ribs, but that’s just my personal tastes. Whatever you decide, I hope you enjoy the recipe. 🙂

      1. Thanks for your quick response! I made the ribs the other day, they were delicious! 🙂
        I added carrots for the last two hours of the cook and they turned out pretty good, soft but not too soft. The ribs were not completely emersed so I also made use of the oppertunity to switch out the ribs that were on the bottom / top for a more even braise.
        Thank you for this easy but delicious recipe, I’ll definitly be making this the next time we have people over for dinner on a weekday.

        1. I’m so grateful that you came back to let me know how the ribs turned out, Mara. Thank you… and I’m delighted to know that you enjoyed them!

  7. I have been looking for a great short rib crock pot recipe that doesn’t require any pre-frying of the ribs. I am so excited to try this! Has anyone tried using wine instead of the beer? I’ve seen other recipes that call for red wine, so I wonder how it would work in this one..

    1. Hi Olivia! I’m glad that you’ve found a new recipe to try, and I hope that you’ll come back to let me know what you thought of the recipe.
      I see absolutely no problem with substituting wine for beer, and in fact, that sounds like a delicious idea! My only suggestion would be to use a dry red wine rather than a sweet red wine.

      1. I made this last night and substituted the dry red wine instead of beer, I also added carrots and some garlic. I highly recommend using the wine! It gave the meat such a rich flavor. My husband and I could not get enough of these short ribs. This will be the only way I ever make them. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

        1. Yay! Thank you so much for coming back with an update on the changes you made to the short ribs recipe, Olivia. I’m thrilled that you enjoyed them!

  8. Wonderful dish! I’ve made many short rib recipes and this one goes to the top for ease and taste. I did brown the ribs quickly first just for a little deeper flavor of the meat, but I’m sure this is only a preference. I served it over polenta and with all that wonderful sauce it made. My husband could not stop eating – have to admit I had to use some self control myself. Can’t wait to eat the leftovers!

    Thanks for sharing this recipe, it is going in my “do again” box.

    1. Hi Corey. Thanks for your question.
      While the ribs will likely be cooked and edible if cooked on high, I’m not confident that they would be tender enough to be enjoyable to eat.
      Short ribs are very fibrous, and the slow and longer cooking time breaks down the tendons in the meat. If you cook them on high heat, I’m concerned that they’ll be chewy.
      If you decide to cook them on high, please let me know how they turn out.

      Good luck!

  9. Is it okay to use almond flour? I’m on a low-carb diet, but would still like to enjoy this recipe. It looks delicious. I assume taking the brown sugar away wood be too extreme, as a lot of the flavor would be lost. Can’t imagine Stevia or a sugar free substitute, working as well. Also, I wanted to cut this recipe down 20 3rd, as I live by myself. Would that work in a slow cooker? Thanks for your help. 🙂

    1. Hi Shery. The all-purpose flour in this recipe is used as a thickener, so unfortunately almond flour won’t work. HOWEVER, xanthan gum is a low carb thickening option. You won’t need nearly as much of it as the flour… I would suggest starting with adding 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum to the amount of water called for in the recipe.
      As far as sugar substitutes go, I actually love using Splenda brown sugar! It tastes exactly like brown sugar to me, and it’s a great low carb substitute.
      I’ve never tried making a smaller batch of ribs, but I imagine it could be adapted to do so. I can’t assure that you would have similar results, though.
      Good luck!

    1. Hi Britni,
      If you’d like to make the short ribs in the oven instead of a slow cooker, this is what I would suggest:

      Heat the oven to 325°F. Brush each short rib with cooking oil, then sprinkle the ribs generously with salt and pepper.

      Heat a deep, wide Dutch oven or large oven safe pan over medium high heat. Add the short ribs in one layer, leaving room between each (work in batches if necessary).
      Sear the short ribs for several minutes on each side, letting them brown deeply. Use tongs to turn and sear the meat on all sides. This will take about 15 minutes total.

      Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion around the browned short ribs. Let the onions cook for about 5 minutes or until they soften.
      While the onions cook, whisk all of the other ingredients listed in the recipe, except for the bay leaf, together in a mixing bowl. Once the onions are cooked, add the liquid and the bay leaf to the pot and bring to a simmer.
      Then cover the pan tightly and put the covered pan in the oven.

      Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the meat is very tender and pulling away from the bone. Let the ribs rest for 10-15 minutes before you serve them.

  10. Hi there I made the recipe as described (I did brown the ribs in the pan first because that’s what I did) but the juice only came halfway up the ribs so I covered them with chicken broth and of course the sauce is way too thin and will need an hour or so to reduce, for next time will the ribs cook if they’re not covered in liquid.

    1. Hi Chris,
      Braising is a technique where you don’t actually want the liquid to cover the meat completely. It should only come up about half way… that would have been perfect. I hope you’ll try the recipe again, and hopefully, the sauce will still be delicious after you reduce it for a while. 🙂

    1. Hi Jennie,
      I think you should be okay cutting all of the ingredients in half. The important thing is that there be enough liquid for the ribs to braise in. You want the liquid to cover half of the ribs. If it doesn’t look like enough, you can add a bit more beer.

    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful comment and rating of my recipe, Katy! I’m so happy to hear that you love the recipe.

  11. This is an excellent recipe! It’s easy and very tasty. I am low-carb, so I used almond flour. I have made short ribs many times, and this is the best recipe I have found.

    1. You sure can, Pat. Just keep in mind that spare ribs have a higher fat content than short ribs, so the sauce may end up a little greasier. If it does, you can always use a fat separator to remove the excess (like you would do to remove fat from gravy).

  12. 5 stars
    I was looking for an early short rib recipe because I had never made them before. The beer flavor was cooked out which is what I wanted because wine would be more sophisted for my grandson to enjoy. This recipe was delicious, I had to cook them almost 10 hours on low but they were amazing, so tender fell off the bone. I liked that there was plenty of sauce, I served with mashed my grandson does not like pasta. (I did brown the ribs before putting in crock pot.) I don’t want to change the taste but might add some mushrooms next time.

    1. I am so glad that you and your grandson enjoyed the short ribs, Dee. I think mushrooms will be a delicious addition to the meal! Thank you for your nice comment and for rating the recipe, too!

  13. 5 stars
    Hi!!! I am making this today in my instant pot, slow cooker function. Would you recommend these at the pressure cooker feature? For when I make them again! 🙂

    1. I hope you loved the ribs, Tracy!

      I haven’t made this recipe in an IP, but I just looked up a couple of IP short rib recipes and it looks like they take 45 minutes at high pressure, followed by 15 minutes of natural release time. Please let me know how they turn out!

  14. This recipe’s fabulous. I’d like to use it to make beef spare ribs. Can I use the same recipe ?
    How many ribs (with bones) can I fit in a 6 qt. crock pot ? Do I still cook the ribs for 10 hrs.
    at low ? If I’m not using beer, can I use red wine ? How much per pot ? Can I also add
    paprika, cinammon, and other condiments to spice things up a bit ? How about cloves
    or allspice ? What about adding honey and brown sugar ?
    Thank you so much !

    1. Can I make the spare beef ribs ahead of time, refrigerate or freeze them
      for several days (covered tightly i a tin foil pan ) and then reheated before
      serving ?
      Thank you

      1. I’m not 100% sure, Sherry. I don’t suggest freezing them, but common sense tells me that you could make them a day or two ahead, refrigerate, and reheat in the oven or even on a grill.

    2. Hi Sherry,
      Yes, you can cook bone-in ribs in a slow cooker, but how many will depend on the size of the ribs and your specific model of slow cooker. I’ve never made spare ribs in a slow cooker, sorry.
      For most recipes, you can sub equal parts liquid, so wine for beer should work, but I suspect it will change the flavor quite a bit. (Although it sounds like you want to change the flavor anyway). I’m really not sure what to suggest regarding the spices, honey, and sugar because I only tested the recipe as written.
      If you do change things up, I’d love to hear how it turns out for you. Good luck!

  15. 5 stars
    This recipe was absolutely delicious! My entire family raved about it! I followed recipe almost to the T, however, I did brown the ribs in olive oil prior to adding them to the crock pot! I served with creamy polenta and roasted carrots, it was a Perfect pair! Thanks for the recipe.

  16. Hi! I just wanted to tell you how much my family loves this recipe! It’s become a Christmas Eve tradition for 4 or 5 years. I love that we can come home from church and this decadent meal is ready in the crockpot! And the sauce is just amazing!! I serve these over garlic cheese grits with a side of sautéed greens. Every year when I pull up your recipe I mean to let you know how much we’ve enjoyed this tradition, so thank you so much! Merry Christmas!

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