Just so we’re all clear. Packaged “boneless short ribs” aren’t usually real rib meat from the plate or rib primal. They are often cuts taken from the chuck primal, which is located in the shoulder of the cow. These bones are narrow, so butchers remove the bones and cut the remaining meat into rectangular “ribs” [*].
Bone-in ribs from the rib or plate are close enough in taste and texture to cook similarly, but they tend to be more expensive. If you’re looking for a cheaper substitution for boneless short ribs, try chunking a chuck roast.
Regardless of the details, these cuts are full of connective tissue that brings an incredible beefy flavor and are beautifully marbled with fat — making them perfect candidates for low and slow cooking. Braising is king here.
We’re going to list off a few general cooking tips from the pros before jumping into our favorite boneless short rib recipes.
How to make great boneless short ribs
The majority of boneless short rib recipes are braised to break down all of that tough connective tissue and turn it into the delicious beefy flavor we know and love.
Your mileage on these tips will vary depending on the exact recipe, but this is a good list of tips that apply to many boneless short rib recipes:
- Don’t rush the meat — braising takes hours.
- Tie your herbs together to make it easy to remove them.
- Homemade broth is always better.
- Stagger your vegetables.
- If a recipe calls for wine, use wine you would be fine drinking.
- Don’t rush your reductions.
- Start with a sear to add extra depth.
- If you sear, cook your vegetables in the leftover fat.
- Always cook off the alcohol first after deglazing and before marinating.
- The short ribs are cooked when you can easily pull the meat off with a fork.
- If possible, let the ribs cool a little in their own juices.
14 delicious boneless short rib recipes
Here is a diverse collection of some of the best boneless short rib recipes we could find. Some may reference bone-in, plate primal, or rib primal short ribs, but you can use boneless short ribs for any of these. Happy cooking!
Not looking to think too much on a weeknight? This is the recipe for you. It’s 6 ingredients and uses an instant pot. It doesn’t get easier than that, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious.
This recipe from RecipeTin Eats shows you how to make steak-house quality short ribs at home. Nagi does a wonderful job, including how to think through what wine to purchase and the differences in short rib cuts.
Short ribs are delicious, but have you tried short ribs with bacon? This recipe from our friends at Primal Palate uses a simple but effective spice blend to grill up some really delicious short ribs. There’s no wine in this recipe either if you’re looking to skip that.
Bon Appetit finds a way to add even more umami and depth to short ribs with this recipe. Do not skip the mirin, and this is a wonderful example of how versatile short ribs can be.
The only thing I need to do to convince you that this recipe is awesome is list a few of the ingredients: prunes, scallions, chipotle chili, fennel bulbs, and leeks — NYT Cooking is on it. Plus a pressure cooker makes it easy!
This recipe from Delish calls for bone-in short ribs, but you can substitute boneless. The way this recipe digs into how to approach the deglaze is fantastic, and it’s really not that difficult to throw together.
Want to go even lower and even slower? While we prefer braising in the oven, sometimes the convenience of a crock pot is hard to pass up. This recipe from Stay at Home Chef takes 10-15 minutes to prep and does not disappoint. You could add in a sear before putting the ribs in the crock pot to add more depth as well.
Got a smoker at the house? Then you are in for an absolute treat. Platings and Pairings combines a smart marinade with practical advice on developing the perfect bark to deliver a really impressive smoked short ribs recipe.
To push it in a Mexican direction, use this recipe from Mommy’s Home Cooking. It uses taco seasoning, cilantro, and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Yum! I’d roast up some poblanos and serve this on top of cilantro rice as well.
Polenta and braised short ribs may be one of the best combos ever, and this recipe from The Gourmet Bon Vivant nails it. Cara also includes a secret ingredient — cola!
This recipe is a departure from the usual angle, but it is 100% worth it. Aji, papaya, quinoa!? Beef Is What’s For Dinner knocks this out of the park.
Why not cook your short ribs in a cast iron? You’ll need a big one, but this one-pan meal from Side Chef is simple and so delicious. If you don’t have beef stock, remember you can always substitute chicken.
Serious Eats never lets me down, and this recipe looks amazing. A citrusy finish and a sauce made with rice wine, rice wine vinegar, honey, chili paste, hoisin, and chicken stock? Come on.
Korean short ribs tend to be cut thinly with the bone in to allow for faster cooking, but you can easily take thicker short ribs and use Korean flavors for a wonderful meal, which is exactly what House of Nash Eats does here. Don’t skip the cornstarch that thickens up the sauce.
How to buy good short ribs
If you’ve ever wondered what separates a great short rib meal from an average one, chances are it is the quality of the meat they are using. The difference in both health and taste between industrially-processed, antibiotic-filled short ribs and grass-fed, grass-finished short ribs cannot be understated. It’s like the difference between eating a mushy apple and a perfectly crisp one. One is what apples should be. The other is a pale comparison.
So if you’re going to buy short ribs for your recipe, make sure it is at least grass-fed, but ideally grass-fed and grass-finished since the grass-fed label isn’t always reliable.
For short ribs raised on the best grass in the world that taste and feel as good as they sound, you have to try U.S. Wellness Meats’ grass-fed and grass-finished boneless short ribs. You will love them.
And if you happen to be aiming for bone-in short ribs, you should generally opt for “English-Style” short ribs for most basic red wine raise braise recipes, which are cut parallel to the bone, as opposed to flanken-style, which are cut across the bone.
The perfect meal for a night in
There really isn’t anything better than short ribs on a cold night. Don’t rush the braising, use fresh herbs, and try to take advantage of every bit of fat and flavor locked away in short ribs.
With a little patience, you will have a meal that you will want to make again and again. And remember, you can use bone-in or boneless short ribs for most recipes.
Nathan Phelps owns and writes for Crafted Copy, a boutique copywriting shop that finds the perfect words for interesting products. He is also an ethical foodie, outdoors-aficionado, and hails from Nashville, TN. He splits his time between helping sustainable businesses find new customers and managing his ever-increasing list of hobbies, which include playing guitar, baking bread, and creating board games.