Slow Cooker Korean Short Ribs

Slow Cooker Korean Short Ribs are an easy, set it and forget it meal that is full of amazing flavor and tender, falling apart meat! |
These slow cooker Korean short ribs are incredibly easy and packed with tons of flavor; the meat is tender and falls right off the bone!

Slow Cooker Korean Short Ribs are an easy, set it and forget it meal that is full of amazing flavor and tender, falling apart meat! |

When I asked my husband recently if he was hungry for anything in particular for Sunday dinner, he requested macaroni and cheese, which… yum. I thought about what I could make to go along with the mac and cheese, and I remembered a fantastic meal that I had at a local restaurant a few years ago – short ribs mac and cheese. It took all of a few seconds for to decide on short ribs to go along with the mac and cheese, but I wanted to try a new recipe. I made slow cooker short ribs a couple of years ago, but I was in the mood for something a little different. After poking around at some different recipes, I settled on Korean short ribs, which I had never eaten before, but been wanting to try.

These were a MASSIVE hit at dinner and definitely a recipe that will have a prominent place in my “keeper” file.

Slow Cooker Korean Short Ribs are an easy, set it and forget it meal that is full of amazing flavor and tender, falling apart meat! |

The master recipe for this dish comes from America’s Test Kitchen’s Slow Cooker Revolution cookbook, but I made a major tweak based on the recipe over on Nom Nom Paleo. The original recipe calls for separating the meat from the bones, and then microwaving the bones in order to add a deeper roasted flavor to the braise. Michelle’s version called for simply broiling the racks of ribs before popping them into the slow cooker. This seemed infinitely easier (and less messy), so that’s the route that I went, and the result was extraordinary.

If you’re short on time, you could even skip that step and just throw the short ribs straight into the slow cooker. Everything else gets dumped in as well, so no browning on the stovetop or sautéing ingredients before putting them in… my favorite kind of slow cooker recipes!

Slow Cooker Korean Short Ribs are an easy, set it and forget it meal that is full of amazing flavor and tender, falling apart meat! |

Previous to this recipe, I had always purchased the short ribs that are known as English short ribs – there are individual pieces of meat and each piece has a single bone running through the length of it. The other variety is known as flanken short ribs, which look more like a traditional rack of ribs, with several bones running through the meat. That’s the type that I purchased, because it looked like they had a bit less fat, but you could use either type for this recipe.

Slow Cooker Korean Short Ribs are an easy, set it and forget it meal that is full of amazing flavor and tender, falling apart meat! |

The base for the sauce is made of some traditional Asian ingredients, like soy sauce, garlic, scallions and fish sauce, and along with a sweet pear and some garlic, makes for an absolutely phenomenal braising liquid. The meat just falls right off of the bone and is incredibly tender. I also loved having some extra sauce to pour over the short ribs when we sat down to eat – so much flavor!!

Needless to say, these slow cooker Korean short ribs were a fantastic accompaniment to the macaroni and cheese for dinner, and would be a fantastic choice for dinner any day of the week.

Slow Cooker Korean Short Ribs are an easy, set it and forget it meal that is full of amazing flavor and tender, falling apart meat! |

Four years ago: Cheddar and Ale Soup with Potato & Bacon
Six years ago: Quiche Lorraine Scones

Slow Cooker Korean Short Ribs

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 9 to 11 hours

Total Time: 11 hours 30 minutes

These slow cooker Korean short ribs are incredibly easy and packed with tons of flavor; the meat is tender and falls right off the bone!


6 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
1 pear (any variety), peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
½ cup soy sauce
6 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 scallions, sliced
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, cut into two pieces
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons instant tapioca
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons minced cilantro


1. Preheat the broiler and arrange an oven rack about 6 inches below the heating element. Line a large baking sheet with foil.

2. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the short ribs bone-side-up on the prepared baking sheet and broil for 5 minutes. Flip them over and broil for 5 additional minutes.

3. Meanwhile, add the pear, soy sauce, garlic, scallions, ginger, vinegar and fish sauce to a blender or food processor and puree until completely smooth, about 1 minute.

4. Spray a 6-quart slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the pear puree into the bottom of the slow cooker. Stir in the chicken broth and tapioca to combine. Nestle the short ribs into the slow cooker (I set them on their sides so they could all fit in a single layer). Cover and cook on low for 9 to 11 hours.

5. Remove the short ribs from the slow cooker, place on a serving platter and tent with foil. Allow the liquid in the slow cooker settle for 5 minutes, then skim off the fat with a large spoon. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the cilantro. Pour 1 cup of the sauce over the short ribs and serve with the remaining sauce.

Note: If you are following a paleo or Whole30 eating plan, the following substitutions will make this recipe compliant >> Use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce, apple cider vinegar in place of rice vinegar and use Red Boat fish sauce, which does not contain sugar.

(Recipe adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution and Nom Nom Paleo)


36 Responses to “Slow Cooker Korean Short Ribs”

  1. Beth on January 26, 2016 at 6:28 am

    I’m looking forward to making this! One question, I’ve never used tapioca and wondering if it’s a thickening agent?


    • Michelle on January 26th, 2016 at 10:27 am

      Hi Beth, Yes, tapioca is used as a thickening agent. The sauce doesn’t end up being super thick, but better than a soupy consistency.


  2. Kristin on January 26, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Yay! I already had this on my W30 menu for this week – Super excited that it was a major hit for you guys! I may make it a day ahead, let the fat harden and skim, then reheat. Can’t wait 🙂


    • Michelle on January 26th, 2016 at 7:14 pm

      Hi Kristin, We loved this! We had just a small amount leftover and I will say that I thought the sauce was better the next day, but the short ribs were better fresh. Not bad reheated, but nearly as good as straight from the slow cooker!


  3. Laura Dembowski on January 26, 2016 at 8:15 am

    I love short ribs but when I make them they never have that restaurant quality. These look like an easy foolproof recipe for me.


  4. Juli on January 26, 2016 at 8:59 am

    I was wondering if you modified these with coconut aminos rather than soy sauce as I recall you saying you were going to do a Whole30 in January?


    • Michelle on January 26th, 2016 at 10:26 am

      Hi Juli, Yes, I did!


  5. TERRY on January 26, 2016 at 9:25 am

    Thank you for sharing ~ this recipe looks simple and delicious!!!


  6. Debbie K on January 26, 2016 at 9:32 am

    Wow…I am just imagining that fork transferring a big juicy chunk of meat straight into my mouth:) You have mouthwatering photos!


  7. Kelly on January 26, 2016 at 9:35 am

    These look like a great dish to make while continuing to dig out from the snow! One silly questiion…did you use seasoned or unseasoned rice vinegar? I’m always unsure which to use if it’s not specified. Thanks.


    • Michelle on January 26th, 2016 at 10:29 am

      Hi Kelly, The recipe itself didn’t specify and I only keep unseasoned in my pantry, so that’s what I used.


  8. AndreaL on January 26, 2016 at 10:01 am

    I love all things Korean and cannot wait to try these!


  9. Becky on January 26, 2016 at 11:39 am

    We purchase a whole pig from a local meat locker and I only have pork spare ribs. Do you think spare ribs would work in this recipe? Thanks!


    • Michelle on January 26th, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      Hi Becky, This recipe uses short ribs, which are a cut of beef, so I’m sure the flavor would be a bit different with spare ribs. You could certainly try it!


  10. Kari on January 26, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    I love how those look like they just melt in your mouth!


  11. Susan on January 26, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Oh my…oh YES. Thanks.


  12. Roni on January 26, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Which mac and cheese recipe did you use to go with it??


    • Michelle on January 26th, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      Hi Roni, One that isn’t on the site yet, I’ll be posting it in the next couple of weeks!


  13. Maria D. on January 26, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    These look yummy and the recipe sounds tasty…will have to give these a try


  14. jose on January 26, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    yum. i bet this would go great with macaroni salad and Hawaiian sweet rolls


  15. Cheryl on January 27, 2016 at 1:54 am

    can you substitute the tapioca powder for cornstarch ?


    • Michelle on January 27th, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      Hi Cheryl, No, you need to use instant tapioca (which is small granules), not tapioca starch/powder/flour. So in this case, cornstarch would not be an equivalent substitute.


  16. Christina on January 27, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    OMG. I am drooling. These look so juicy and flavorful!! MUST try.


  17. debby on January 30, 2016 at 11:17 am

    So, I’d love to make these, but in prior years I haven’t been able to find fish sauce without shellfish in it. Since there is an allergy to this in my house, that is a problem. Any ideas or recommendations? From what I’ve read fish sauce when it appears is pretty critical because of umnani.


    • Michelle on February 3rd, 2016 at 8:58 pm

      Hi Debby, I would just omit it. The original recipe from the ATK cookbook didn’t use it, but the adapted recipe I found did. I think it would be just as amazing without!


  18. Marlene on January 30, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    This recipe grabbed my attention big time, and I resolved to make it right away. After looking at the astronomical price of beef short ribs around here, and the scarcity of meat on them, I decided to used a rump roast instead. OMG, this is so delicious! The flavour of that sauce is definitely something I’ll return to time and again, and the consistency is just perfect.

    On another note, I started blogging 4-1/2 years ago, knowing nothing about it. Yours is one of the first blogs I started following, and I appreciate everything I’ve learned from you along the way. I’m still a loyal follower, most days checking out your post first thing in the morning.


    • Michelle on February 3rd, 2016 at 9:00 pm

      Hi Marlene, I’m so glad you liked this! Thanks for sharing the tip about using the rump roast – great idea! And thank you for the kind words – I’m so glad I could inspire you to start your own blog!


  19. Stacy on February 1, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    I made this on Saturday and boy oh boy was it delicious! Very simple to
    make and very flavorful. The only thing I left out was the fish sauce because I really don’t like fish. This is a keeper for sure.


  20. Karla on February 6, 2016 at 9:33 am

    just put these in crock about an hour ago. I bought 8 lbs of short ribs & they just fit in my crock. Now I am thinking I should add another batch of sauce. Do you agree?


    • Karla on February 6th, 2016 at 11:44 am

      Added another half batch of sauce. Was afraid flavor would be lacking.


    • Michelle on February 9th, 2016 at 8:41 pm

      Hi Karla, I was going to suggest another half batch of sauce to account for the extra ribs. Hope you enjoyed this!


  21. Kelly on February 10, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    This looks absolutely sensational, Michelle! Korean short ribs are my husband’s absolute favorite that I make all the time for him I can’t wait to try your version next! So easy and the flavors are spot on! 🙂


  22. Daphne Minkus on February 10, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    Forgive my ignorance… But when you say “instant tapioca” are we talking about pudding? Never used or heard of using this as a thickening agent.
    I am definitely making these, and want to make sure I get this right!
    Thanks for sharing!


  23. Jennifer on May 15, 2016 at 8:55 am

    I was just looking at this recipe in that cookbook and wanted something that didnt involve microwaving beef for 15 mins. Cant wait to try this version instead!


  24. JennR on June 3, 2016 at 7:15 am

    Whenever people ask me for a recipe, I always come here first, because all of these recipes are amazing. This is no exception. I found some short ribs in the cheap meat section at the store, and I thought hmmm… how to cook? The only adjustments I would make for next time is either low sodium soy seaside, or cut it in half. It was a little salty. I tossed some potato chunks in and that helped soak it up. I also added an extra pear, because the pest flavor was a little lost in the soy sauce. This smelled amazing perking away all day. I wish I had let them cook an extra hour. I got them started late. Would def maker again. I served over Jasmin rice, and with broccoli. Yummo! Thank you for teaching me new things to eat!


Leave a Comment

(Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for your patience! If it is your first time commenting you may want to review the Comment Guidelines.)