This recipe for Asian short ribs uses a crockpot to create tender Chinese spiced meat! Braised beef short ribs is a fantastic holiday meal!
By braising meat in a slow cooker instead of using an oven or stove top, the majority of the work is taken off your plate. You won’t spend all day in the kitchen, and when you come back, the short ribs will be ready to serve for a delicious Asian dinner!
The ribs are fall apart in your mouth tender, and the sticky sauce is aromatic, with fresh ginger and Chinese five spice. The dish has a kick of heat from chili paste, and a touch of honey brings sweetness. SO good!
Sticky Asian short ribs
Rib dishes are very popular in Asian cuisine. Beef ribs tend to be leaner than pork, and the meat pairs well with a wide variety of Chinese seasonings and sauces.
Some of my favorite Chinese rib dishes are those with flavorful, aromatic sauces.
In addition to the sticky Asian short ribs, I have a Korean recipe for galbi jjim. It's just as simple to make, and the flavor of the short ribs is amazing!
If you’d like to make pork ribs instead, check out my recipes for sweet and sour ribs, dry rubbed Chinese five spice ribs or Instant Pot Asian ribs. For the Instant Pot recipe, the meat is braised in coconut milk…it’s unbelievably tender and such a delicious meal.
Slow cooker / crockpot
Difficulty: Easy 🥄
Beef short ribs braised in a slow cooker with an aromatic and flavorful sauce.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Beef short ribs
Look for or ask your market's butcher for 1 ½" thick, single beef short ribs. With single-cut ribs, the meat tends to slide more easily off of the bone.
If your budget is tight, beef spare ribs are a good substitute for short ribs. Beef short ribs and beef spare ribs are actually the same piece of meat. The difference is simply in how the meat is cut. (source)
Cutting short ribs is more labor intensive, which is why they’re typically more expensive than flanken ribs or spare cut beef ribs.
The kicker, surprise ingredient in this Asian short ribs dish is applesauce. I sneak it into recipes whenever I can, not only for flavor, but also because it’s a fantastic thickening agent.
I feel it lends itself well with the fresh ginger, Chinese five spice, curry powder, chili paste and black bean sauce.
Making sticky Asian short ribs
Slow cooker short ribs are SO much simpler to make than braising beef ribs in an oven or on a stovetop. This is what makes it such a great recipe for Christmas and other holidays.
You can spend your time on other important things while the meal cooks. Just spend 10 minutes on prep work and let your crock pot handle the rest.
When the beef short ribs are finished braising, you'll spend another 5 minutes getting the sauce started reducing on the stovetop. This is the easiest way to cook short ribs if you ask me.
- Season and sear the meat.
Searing locks the juices inside the meat, so the short ribs come out moist and tender. After they're seared, transfer them to your crock pot.
- Combine the sauce ingredients.
Just whisk the ingredients together, then pour the mixture over the meat in the slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 6 hours.
I don't recommend trying to shorten the cooking time by using High power. Although a shorter cooking time is convenient, it's important to let ribs (of any kind) cook slowly.
Braising is how you create the tender, fall-apart meat we all crave!
- Reduce the sauce, pour over the Asian short ribs, then serve!
Serving suggestions and recipe notes
What do you serve with Asian short ribs? Well, I think white rice is a must. By the way, be on the lookout for my recipe for Instant Pot basmati rice, coming out later this week.
If you'd like to serve a vegetable side dish, I recommend a refreshing cool cucumber salad, like Pai Huang Gua. I think it would be a nice compliment to the spicy and sweet flavors of the braised beef ribs.
If you have any leftovers, removing the meat from the bones before storing it in the fridge. makes the dish much easier to reheat.
Or, you could leave the meat on the bone, and then reheat your meal in the oven at 350°F.
To keep the meat moist, place the sticky Asian short ribs in a casserole dish or roasting pan with ¼ cup of beef broth. Then cover the pan with foil so the broth steam cooks the sticky ribs.
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Sticky Asian Short Ribs
For Short Ribs:
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 lbs beef short ribs
- 1 pinch Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger powder
- 1 tablespoon Chinese five spice
- 2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 tablespoon chili paste I use sambal oelek
- 1 tablespoon black bean sauce
- 3 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- Add vegetable oil to large saute pan over medium-high heat. Grease inside of slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray, or use a slow cooker liner.
- Season both sides of beef short ribs with salt, curry powder and Chinese five spice. Sear in hot oil on both sides until browned nicely. Transfer seared ribs to slow cooker. Deglaze the pan with beef broth and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together applesauce, fresh ginger, Chinese five spice, curry powder, chili paste, black bean sauce, deglazed pan drippings with broth, and apple cider vinegar. Pour mixture over browned beef short ribs and place lid on crockpot. Cook for 6 hours or until meat is fork tender and falling apart.
- Remove meat from slow cooker, transfer to serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Transfer sauce to a small saucepan over medium heat. Add honey and cook sauce until thick and reduced in half. Pour sauce over beef short ribs and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and chopped cilantro leaves.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.
These are so delicious and amazing. They fall apart with this gooey, yummy sauce. I loved them.