Boneless beef ribs are slow-cooked with fresh cranberries, onions, and mushrooms in a luxurious pomegranate sauce. Serve this tender beef over mashed potatoes, polenta, or roasted vegetables for a truly heavenly meal. It’s a slow cooker recipe that’s fancy enough for guests or any holiday meal and yet simple enough for a weeknight dinner recipe too!
Twelve inches of snow outside.
A widespread power outage.
An email from a reader sharing their journey with breast cancer and the grief that comes from losing loved ones in the midst of their own challenging journey.
A comforting dish of melt-in-your-mouth beef ribs nestled in a cranberry pomegranate sauce over a generous helping of mashed potatoes.
What do they all have in common?
They cause me to pause.
A pause from the daily habits and rhythms to stop and throw some snowballs.
To have renewed gratitude for electricity and modern-day conveniences.
To offer a message of encouragement, hope, and prayer while remembering my own grief and loss caused by cancer.
And to give thanks for the provisions that bless each day and specifically for the food on my plate that I'm about to sink my fork into.
This dinner recipe is comfy and cozy and a reminder that good things always result when waiting on a slow cooker. As long as there is electricity to power it.
🌟 Why you'll love this recipe
Cold winter days just beg for warm, cozy food don't ya think? I love this meal because it brings the cozy factor. And flavor. And ease. These luxurious saucy boneless beef ribs are:
- Hearty, satisfying, and savory
- Simple - the slow cooker does all the heavy lifting while you go about your day
- Fancy enough for any holiday meal or visiting guests and yet simple enough for a weeknight dinner recipe
- Amazing on top of a pile of mashed potatoes, roasted mashed cauliflower, polenta, or roasted root vegetables.
Just set it and forget it for several hours. And let the aroma fill your home. Mmmm...
🛒 Ingredients & suggestions
Here are all the ingredients that you will need to make Slow Cooker Beef Ribs in Pomegranate Sauce including some suggestions for substitutions in case there is an ingredient you’d like to swap out.
- Boneless Beef Ribs: The world of ribs can be a little confusing when trying to sort through the many different rib cuts and variations available. For this recipe, I used boneless beef ribs which is basically a cut from the chuck (shoulder) that is turned into 1" to 2" thick slabs of meat that are roughly 6" to 8" long. I've also made this recipe using a 2-pound beef roast and it was equally delicious.
- Cipollini Onions: I love these sweet little onions after they've been slow cooking in the pomegranate sauce. If you have trouble finding them you can also use a regular onion (sliced) or pearl onions.
- Crushed Fire-Roasted Tomatoes: These tomatoes add a subtle smokey sweetness that I prefer in most tomato-based dishes but if you're in a pinch regular crushed tomatoes will work as well.
- Fresh Cranberries: Can't find fresh cranberries? Substitute golden raisins instead.
- Mushrooms: Cremini or button mushrooms are delish. Not a fan? Just leave them out and all will be well.
- Pomegranate Juice: Pure, unsweetened, 100% pom juice is what you want. Stay away from using pomegranate juice that includes any extra ingredients.
- Herbes de Provence: A dried-herb mix that combines both French and Italian herbs with a bit of lavender and fennel. It can be found in most grocery stores. Italian seasoning can also be used as a substitute.
- Agave: Or substitute pure maple syrup.
For a full list of ingredients and quantities see the recipe card at the end of this post.
🔪 Step-by-step instructions
Step 1: Generously sprinkle Kosher salt on each side of the boneless ribs.
Step 2: Give them a quick sear in a lightly oiled hot pan to lock in the juices and savory flavor. It's always tempting to skip this step but it's worth it!
Step 3: Turn on the slow cooker to LOW. Add a swish of olive oil, along with the onions and garlic.
Step 4: Add the crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, pomegranate juice, balsamic vinegar, and agave.
Step 5: Give it a quick stir.
Step 6: Add the cranberries and herbs. And if we're being honest, everything beginning with Step 3 can just be dumped in and given a quick stir. I just like to show you pictures. #foodphotographer
Step 7: Now nuzzle those beef ribs right on down in there.
Step 8: Add mushrooms on top. Cover with the lid and let the magic happen babe.
Step 9: After 4 to 5-ish hours, the beef ribs will be fall-apart tender and heavenly.
Step 10: Serve and savor. Go back for seconds.
👩🍳 Recipe tips
- If using a chuck roast versus boneless beef ribs, you can either cut the roast into chunks or simply slow cook the whole roast. A whole roast, with the slow cooker set on LOW, will need about 8 to 9 hours, or if set on HIGH, about 5 to 6 hours, until the meat is tender and falling apart.
- Cipollini onions can be a little ornery to peel the skin from. They are so tasty though so here is what I do to make the peeling process easier. Place the onions in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak the onions for just a couple of minutes. Then use a paring knife to cut off the root and stem. You'll probably also notice the skin beginning to easily peel away as you cut the root and stem off. Use the paring knife to grab the skin and peel it away or just use your hands to quickly slip it off.
💭 Frequently asked questions
Short ribs are a type of beef rib, and not to be confused with beef spare ribs (which are also known as beef back ribs). There are three versions of short ribs: English-style, flanken-style, and boneless beef ribs. However, bone-in English-style and flanken-style short ribs are cut from an entirely different part of the cow than boneless beef ribs. Bone-in short ribs come from the plate, or front belly, and are much fattier than boneless beef ribs, which come from the shoulder of the cow. If it all feels too confusing, you're not alone. Just ask your butcher for help and they'll get you set up with what you need.
They are cut from the chuck, or shoulder, of the cow. Boneless beef “ribs” are basically butchered and trimmed chuck roast. So if you are having trouble finding boneless beef ribs, a chuck roast is the perfect substitute.
It's not an absolute must, but searing the ribs prior to slow cooking them does seal in their natural juices which helps them to maintain their flavor and moisture. So perhaps we should say it's a must.
Now I just need to learn to slow down at dinnertime. Doesn't it seem that after a meal cooks all day long, the act of eating the meal always passes by too quickly?
It's just so hard to pause when it tastes so good. ♡
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