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Slow Cooker Italian Short Ribs

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These Slow Cooker Italian Short Ribs are juicy, tender and full of flavor. The shorts ribs cook low and slow in the crockpot creating fall apart tender beef that pairs nicely with the Italian flavors and a creamy risotto. You will love this easy, comforting meal! 

Slow Cooker Italian Short Ribs in white bowl.


I love when fall rolls around and I can start making comforting meals again. You know, those meals that you eat and just stick to your bones and warm you right up.

The Ohio Beef Council and I are celebrating Crocktober with these mouthwatering, comforting Slow Cooker Italian Short Ribs that are sure to be a cold weather favorite.

I love short ribs and often rotate between today’s Slow Cooker Italian Short Ribs, Balsamic Short Ribs Recipe and Slow Cooker Red Wine Short Ribs.

This October, thousands of families across Ohio will use beef in fall cooking.

Each year, Ohioans spend about $4 billion on beef to use in healthy meals and I am one of those people. 

These fall apart, tender short ribs are the perfect pairing for creamy risotto and are sure to make you and your family happy. 

Slow Cooker Italian Short Ribs with fork

One of my favorite ways to cook short ribs is in the crockpot.

I love that they cook while I go about my day and how tender them become after cooking all day.

These short ribs cook in an Italian style sauce that helps lock in flavors to the short ribs.

I like to use the sauce over my short ribs to add that extra flavor boost. 

Slow Cooker Italian Short Ribs with parsley


SHORT RIBS: For this recipe you can use bone in or boneless short ribs. I tend to like the boneless short ribs because I can get more meat out of those but either work great.

Today’s recipe uses about 2 1/2 pounds to 3 pounds of boneless short ribs but if you do bone-in I would do 3 1/2 to 4 pounds. 

DICED TOMATOES AND SAUCE: The short ribs cook in an Italian style sauce using diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste.

The beef cooks in the sauce helping to infuse the flavors but it also creates a nice sauce to pour over your short ribs. You can also shred your short ribs after they are done cooking, put it back in the sauce and use it over pasta as a short rib style sauce. 

ONION & GARLIC: The sweet onion and garlic add flavor to the sauce but you don’t have to include them. Another option is using shallot in place of the onion. 

SPICES & HERBS: The sauce uses oregano, basil and bay leaves.

I also like to finish my dish off with fresh herbs if I have them. Parsley, basil and thyme are nice ones to use! 

RISOTTO: For today’s recipe I paired it with a creamy risotto because I love tender beef with risotto.

If risotto isn’t your think you could try pasta or even polenta. 

Slow Cooker Italian Short Ribs


  • Lean beef is an important part of a healthy diet. Recent research shows that enjoying lean beef can help maintain normal cholesterol levels.
  • Avoid eating unhealthy foods when you’re short on time by preparing healthy meals in advance. A 3-ounce serving of beef provides 10 essential nutrients and about half the daily recommended value of protein, all for less than 200 calories.
  • Did you know that exercise is more effective when it’s paired with a high-protein diet? A 3-ounce serving of cooked beef provides 25 grams of protein, which makes it an excellent choice for student athletes and active kids.

Slow Cooker Italian Short Ribs with creamy risotto


  • Although many believe that industrial farming has taken the place of family farms and ranches, 97 percent of beef farms are family-owned and operated. Meet one of the 17,000 beef farming families in Ohio at 
  • The Ohio beef community includes more than just farmers! Small business owners, community leaders, animal caretakers, nutritionists and environmentalists are all dedicated to producing safe, wholesome, nutritious beef.
  • Ohio beef farmers are committed to providing excellent care for their animals, protecting the environment for future generations and producing safe, healthy beef. Through improved animal care, nutrition and genetics, today’s beef farmers produce about 20% of the world’s beef with fewer cattle than ever before. I have seen this firsthand on some of the farm tours I have attended with the Ohio Beef Council. 
  • Ohio beef farmers have a passion for working together and making new memories while they care for their cattle and the land. Learn from this short video how Scott and Sasha Rittenhouse work as a team to raise their three young children and care for the cattle on their beef farm in New Carlisle, Ohio. 

Slow Cooker Italian Short Ribs with Logo


  • Spend more time around the table eating as a family and less time cooking by using a slow cooker to prepare dinner on busy weeknights. When preparing beef in the slow cooker, it should be cooked to 160 degrees, or until it is fork-tender. 
  • When using a slow cooker, set the heat to low as often as possible. A slow and low heat brings out the best flavors.
  • Don’t over-crowd the cooker! A slow cooker works best when it’s between 1/2 and 2/3 full of ingredients.
  • Don’t forget to preheat the slow cooker. Rather than adding all the ingredients and then turning on the heat, give your cooker an extra 20 minutes to warm up first. 


  • Resist the urge to peek when using a slow cooker. Keeping the lid shut prevents heat from escaping, which could lead to slowing the cooking process. 
  • Browning beef boosts the flavor! Take a few extra minutes to brown meat in a skillet before adding to the slow cooker to give it a deep, caramelized flavor. I do that with short ribs and it adds so much flavor! 
  • Pro tip: use large, tough cuts of beef, like chuck roast, for slow cooking! The low-temperature, slow-cooking process allows the fat to break down, resulting in a tender, flavorful meal. 

Visit, and follow the Ohio Beef Council on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for beef nutrition facts, cooking tips, recipes and to meet Ohio’s beef farming families. Use #OhioBeef to share photos of your healthy meals this school year!

Slow Cooker Italian Short Ribs with parsley

Slow Cooker Italian Short Ribs

Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes

These Slow Cooker Italian Short Ribs are juicy, tender and full of flavor. The shorts ribs cook low and slow in the crockpot creating fall apart tender beef that pairs nicely with the Italian flavors and a creamy risotto. You will love this easy, comforting meal! 


  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of short ribs {no-bone}, fat trimmed {you can use bone-in short ribs but you will want to get about 3 1/2 to 4 pounds}
  • Salt & pepper 
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil 
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, diced 
  • 1 - 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes 
  • 1 - 15 ounce can of tomato sauce 
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste 
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves 

Additional ingredients to serve

  • Risotto
  • Fresh parsley
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese 


  1. Remove the short ribs from the fridge about 15 minutes before you are ready to cook them and set them on the counter to come to room temperature.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of the short ribs.
  3. Once the oil is hot, add the short ribs to the skillet {you will probably need to do two batches}. Sear the short ribs for 3 to 4 minutes per side to brown them.
  4. Add the short ribs to the slow cooker in an even layer if possible.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl add the garlic, onion, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, dried oregano, dried basil, dried thyme and give it a good stir.
  6. Pour the sauce over the short ribs and spread over to cover the short ribs. Add the bay leaves.
  7. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours or 5 to 6 hours on high.
  8. Once the ribs are done, skim the fat off the surface (I just use a small spoon to do this).
  9. Remove the short ribs and serve over risotto with fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese.


You can shred your short rib meat and put it back in the sauce and serve the sauce and meat together over pasta or the risotto. Or you can serve the meat and drizzle the sauce over the meat.

If you choose to do bone-in short ribs I suggest using more than the 2 1/2 to 3 pounds. I would go with 3 1/2 to 4 pounds of meat.

Thank you to The Ohio Beef Council for sponsoring this recipe. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. 

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