Slow Cooker Balsamic Braised Short Ribs

closeup of slow cooker balsamic braised short ribs on top of polenta on a white plate.

Incredibly tender and flavorful slow cooker balsamic braised beef short ribs are easy to make yet delicious enough for a date night or dinner party! They’re cold weather comfort food at it’s finest. Includes Instant Pot instructions. (gluten-free, dairy-free)


  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4-6 beef short ribs
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup low sodium beef broth
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce


  1. Place sliced onion, garlic and thyme in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Liberally season short ribs with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat oil over high heat in a skillet. Sear short ribs until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Place seared short ribs in the slow cooker with the onion and garlic. 
  4. Pour balsamic vinegar and broth into the skillet and use a wooden spoon to deglaze the bottom of the skillet (scrape up any browed bits). Pour the liquid into the slow cooker. Add the Worcestershire sauce.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
  6. Optional: Remove ribs from the slow cooker and place on a baking sheet or in a cast iron skillet. Place under the broiler on high for 3-5 minutes to get a nice browned color and crisp outside.
  7. Serve short ribs topped with a spoonful of liquid from the slow cooker.


  • I usually plan for 1-2 short ribs per person, depending on the size of the ribs. 
  • Don't overcrowd the ribs while searing. Work in batches if you need to. 
  • Check the label on your Worcestershire sauce, if needed. Not all brands are gluten-free.

Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker Instructions:

  1. Add oil to the pot of the Instant Pot. Using the Sauté function on high, sear the seasoned short ribs until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate. 
  2. Add the broth, balsamic and Worcestershire sauce, stirring to scrape up any browned bits in the bottom. Turn off Instant Pot and add onion, garlic and thyme.
  3. Nestle short ribs into the pot. Close the lid and seal the vent. Pressure Cook on High for 45 minutes. Let pressure release naturally before removing the lid. Follow with the optional broiling step. 


Keywords: slow cooker short ribs, balsamic braised short ribs, crock pot beef short ribs with balsamic