Instant Pot Short Ribs

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short ribs in the instant pot

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Short ribs are a study in patience, as they usually need an hours-long cook to render them meltingly tender. But thanks to the Instant Pot, you can make beefy, melt-in-your-mouth short ribs in a tasty sauce in under two hours — and most of it’s hands-off! Here’s how.

What Ingredients Do I Need for Instant Pot Short Ribs?

  • Short ribs: Get English-cut short ribs, not thin flanken-style ones. With that said, hybrid-cut short ribs that are flanken style (across the bones) but cut thickly will work great. Make sure the store or butcher cuts any long short ribs into lengths of about 4 inches so they fit into the Instant Pot.
  • Aromatics: Carrots, onions, garlic, tomato paste, bay leaf, and fresh or dried thyme contribute their flavors to the meat and sauce.
  • Liquid: You don’t need a lot of liquid to cook these short ribs because they’re in a pressure cooker. Just 1/2 cup each of beef broth and dry red wine will do.
  • Thickener: Utilizing cornstarch rather than all-purpose flour keeps the dish gluten-free and means you can just use it at the very end to thicken the sauce.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

How to Make Instant Pot Short Ribs

Season short ribs with salt and pepper, then sear on the Sauté setting on the meaty side until browned. You just need to sear one side to coax out some flavor; no need to waste time searing all sides. Sauté the aromatics in the oil and short rib fat, then deglaze with red wine. Tuck the short ribs back in with some carrots and beef broth and pressure-cook under high pressure for 45 minutes.

Let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then take the shorts ribs out of the pressure cooker and strain the solids out of the sauce. There will be quite a large amount of fat in the sauce, so skim it off and then thicken it back in the Instant Pot with a cornstarch slurry if eating immediately.

However, my personal preference is to eat it the next day. I pour all the strained sauce with the fat still in it over the short ribs and refrigerate them together overnight. The chill will harden the fat that’s risen to the top, making it super-easy to scrape off and discard. Reheat the short ribs in the sauce and then thicken the whole thing with the cornstarch slurry.

What Should I Serve with Instant Pot Short Ribs? 

With all the delectable sauce, make sure you serve the short ribs with something that can soak it all up. Mashed potatoes, egg noodles, polenta, or crusty bread are all great candidates. For a more unconventional pairing, try it over cooked couscous.

Fall-off-the-bone short ribs in less than two hours from start to finish, thanks to the Instant Pot.

Ingredients

  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 2

    medium carrots (about 5 ounces total)

  • 1 tablespoon

    vegetable oil

  • 4 to 4 1/2 pounds

    bone-in English-style or thick-cut beef short ribs (each piece no longer than about 4 inches)

  • 1 tablespoon

    plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons

    double concentrated tomato paste (from a tube)

  • 4 sprigs

    fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1

    bay leaf

  • 1/2 cup

    dry red wine

  • 1/2 cup

    beef broth

  • 2 tablespoons

    cornstarch

  • 2 tablespoons

    water

  • Fresh parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)

  • Serving options: Mashed potatoes, polenta, or buttered cooked egg noodles

Instructions

  1. Dice 1 medium yellow onion (about 1 1/2 cups). Finely chop 2 garlic cloves. Peel and cut 2 medium carrots crosswise into 1-inch pieces.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a 6-quart or larger electric pressure cooker on the highest Sauté setting. Meanwhile, pat 4 to 4 1/2 pounds bone-in short ribs dry with paper towels. Trim off any large chunks of surface fat. Season all over with 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

  3. Add half the short ribs bone-side up to the pressure cooker and sear the meaty side until golden-brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat searing the remaining short ribs and transfer to the plate.

  4. Add the onion, garlic, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher to the pressure cooker and cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 4 fresh thyme sprigs or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and 1 bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato paste is darkened in color, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup dry red wine and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Turn off the pressure cooker.

  5. Add 1/2 cup beef broth and the carrots. Return the short ribs to the pot in an even layer; pour in any accumulated juices on the plate. Lock the lid on and check that the pressure valve is set to seal. Set to cook for 45 minutes on HIGH pressure. It will take 9 to 12 minutes to come up to pressure.

  6. When the cook time is up, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water together in a small bowl until the cornstarch is suspended. Coarsely chop some fresh parsley leaves for garnish if desired.

  7. Quick release any remaining pressure. Carefully open the pressure cooker and use tongs to transfer the short ribs to a serving platter; tent loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm. Pour the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl or fat separator; discard the contents of the strainer. Let the sauce sit for a few minutes for the fat to rise to the top, then pour or skim the fat off with a spoon. Pour the sauce back into the pressure cooker (wipe it out first if needed) and bring back to a simmer on the Sauté function. (Alternatively, strain into a saucepan, skim off the fat, and bring back to a simmer over medium heat on the stovetop.)

  8. Stir the cornstarch slurry again, then add to the sauce and simmer until thickened, about 1 minute. Taste and season the sauce with more kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Rewarm the short ribs in the sauce if desired.

  9. Serve the short ribs and sauce over mashed potatoes, polenta, or buttered egg noodles. Garnish with the parsley if desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The short ribs can be made up to 2 days ahead. Pressure cook the short ribs and then strain the sauce. Refrigerate the short ribs submerged in the sauce (no need to skim off the fat) in an airtight container. When ready to serve, spoon off and discard the hardened layer of fat on the surface. Reheat the short ribs and sauce together in a covered pot over medium heat until warmed through and the sauce is simmering, then add in the cornstarch slurry and simmer until the sauce is thickened.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in the sauce in an airtight container for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat on the stovetop over medium heat until heated through.

Christine Gallary

Food Editor-at-Large

Christine graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France, and she has worked at Cook’s Illustrated and CHOW.com. She lives in San Francisco and loves teaching cooking classes. Follow her latest culinary escapades on Instagram.

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