Pressure Cooker Short Ribs

I’m relatively new to the whole pressure cooking scene. We didn’t use them in the restaurants where I first learned to cook, and I’ve frankly been a little intimidated to try one out at home. When it comes down to it, I’ve always had issues with cooking food when I can’t see what’s going on inside – I like to be in direct control of my creations (this is also one of the reasons you don’t see baked goods on my site). Pressure cookers have always seemed like the epitome of this idea, since you basically seal it up and let some sort of magic wizardry happen within.

My perspective changed when I bought an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker last year. Something about it removes all of my previous inhibitions; I think it’s the idea that I can set it to a certain time or intensity, and have it turn off and depressurize automatically, all on my own terms. Regardless, I love the fact that I can use this same machine to make broth, yogurt, and rice, or to sear and slow cook without dirtying two dishes. And most importantly, it breaks down tough cuts of meat in a manner of minutes, like in today’s recipe. To showcase my new love for pressure cooking, I went with a simple short ribs recipe, flavored with a bit of brandy and maple syrup. If you don’t have any fancy gadgets, don’t worry: I provided instructions for electric pressure cookers, conventional pressure cookers, and stovetop pots.

Pressure cooking is not a new concept, it has been around in Europe since as far back as the 17th century. They weren’t modeled for home use until the 19th century, but pressure cookers have been integral in many restaurants and home kitchens ever since. They work by sealing in the steam from cooking, allowing you to cook foods at higher temperatures and with less energy since hardly any heat escapes during cooking. In fact, pressure cooking is the most energy efficient way of cooking out there. There are many out there who swear by conventional stove-top pressure cookers, and after my latest success with an electric pressure cooker, I’m starting to eye a few conventional models on Amazon.

Pressure Cooker Short Ribs

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

2 tbsp ghee
1-2 lbs short ribs, cut at the rib (I used 4 ribs)
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp brandy (1/4 cup white wine okay)
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 cups chicken broth

1. Heat the ghee in your pressure cooker over medium heat (or under the “Sauté” setting in an Instant Pot). Add the short ribs and brown, in batches if needed, about 3 minutes per side, then set aside. Add the chopped onion and carrot and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute, then add the thyme, salt, pepper, brandy, and maple syrup. Allow to sauté until the liquid mostly evaporates, about a minute, then add the chicken broth. Scrape up any browned bits with your spoon, then return the short ribs to the pot. You should have enough liquid to reach halfway up the ribs.

3. Secure the lid and bring to high pressure over med/high heat (or select the “Meat/Stew” option on your Instant Pot). Cook for 50 minutes. If you’re using a conventional pressure cooker, be sure to reduce heat and adjust as needed to maintain pressure. If you’re using a dutch oven, cover and simmer on low until tender, about 3 hours.

4. After depressurizing, remove the lid and carefully remove the short ribs (they’ll be falling off the bone) and place on a plate; loosely cover with tin foil. Pour the braising liquid into a blender and blend until smooth, then transfer back to the pressure cooker. Bring to a simmer over med/high heat and reduce by 1/4, about five minutes. Taste for salt and pepper, adding if needed.

5. Plate your dish by pouring the liquid into a shallow bowl and placing the ribs on top. Serve with rice, potatoes, or just about anything.


ribs before cutting (I used Tendergrass short ribs).

31 thoughts on “Pressure Cooker Short Ribs

  1. Great recipe! I bought a pressure cooker a few years ago on a whim (my family never used one, nor did I know anyone who did) but it changed my life. I use it almost exclusively for meaty ‘pasta’ sauce, beans and bone broths (or anything with bones, really). Even an arroz con leche (rice pudding) and risotto. I would cry if I lost mine!

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  2. Thanks for this new iteration of short ribs. I actually used my stove-top PC to cook your ribs recipe from March of this year. YOWZA! The flavor was out of this world and it was done in the PC in like the blink of an eye. OK, not THAT fast, but you get the idea.

    We’ve got a Presto 7-quart stainless steel PC. I must say that the PC has been a life-changer, so much so that we’re going to buy a second one to cook courses simultaneously. Risotto recipes come out so quickly with little fuss. Beans are just melt-in-your mouth tender. I cooked a pot roast this past weekend and total time was one hour and thirty minutes. I cooked the chuck roast first; and then after taking out the roast, cooked the potatoes and carrots separately. Ninety minutes! Anyway, I can was rhapsodic all day about the convenience of the PC, so I’ll stop here.

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  3. Pressure cookers work by increasing the temperature at which the water boils. Think about a soup or stock, all of the ingredients, if not pre-seared/sauteed, will only get as hot as the water gets. The water can only get to 212F before it turns to steam. Once it turns to steam, it no longer affects your food. So anything you put in boiling water can only reach 212F. That’s a pretty low temperature to cook something. When you raise the pressure, you also raise the boiling point of the liquid. At 15 PSI water can boil at 250F and not turn into steam. When you add to that the benefit of cooking within a medium that transfers heat directly instead of through convection, you get the fast cook we all know and love.

    The other side of this principle is why cooking at higher altitudes means you have to cook longer. Water boils at ~203F at 1 mile above sea level. So the food cooked in water can’t achieve a temperature about 203F.

    Understanding all of that may seem pointless, until you realize what it means for chowders and soups. The presear step exposes veg/meat to temps above 350F, where the maillard reaction can affect a foods flavor. If just tossed in the liquid, the food never sees temps above 212F, and also never sees the Maillard Reaction.

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  4. I love the insight about not having a preference for baking because you like to have control over what you are cooking. I had felt a similar preference for stove-top cooking over baking – but couldn’t quite work out why. You’ve given me the reason!

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  6. I cooked this in my Mom’s old pressure cooker she had from the 60s. My other Siblings were always terrified of the hissing monster but it fascinated me ever since I was a young child so when our Mom passed, I was happy to inherit it. I used it to cook this dish. The meat came out amazing! Tender and delicious. My Wife was skeptical until she had a taste. She ended up eating more than I did! My sauce however turned out horribly. Certainly not pretty enough to be part of the final presentation like in the photo. When I opened the pressure cooker, it was much darker and thicker so chance are I overcooked it. That’s my guess anyway. I recognize cooking with the old-school pressure cookers is tricker than the new fangled jobs, but I’m getting better at it. I wish more recipes gave specific instructions on cooking them with the older units and did not focus just on the new models. Mine as no dials or heat settings. Just a pot with a valve weight with 5, 10 and 15 pd setting depending on how you orientate the weight. Like I said, old school! :-) I still would recommend this dish to everyone and will definitely be making it again! Thanks!

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  7. do you have any suggestions for how to do this if we’re on whole30 right now? i.e. replacements for the brandy and the maple syrup.

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      1. so at my local farmer’s market today, i could only get 2 pounds of boneless short ribs. would those work and are there any adjustments you’d recommend?

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  8. Question. I picked up a double pack from my local farm and it’s two bones per “filet,” if you will. I noticed in the pic it’s one bone per “filet.” Do you suggest portioning them out like that?

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      1. Makes perfect sense. Thanks for the speedy response! I ended up subbing out the alcohol for mirin cause that’s what I had and used beef broth instead. I could drink a gallon of that ju!!!!

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  9. I just got an instant pot and I was looking up short ribs recipes. This one looks awesome but have you made your classic short ribs in your instant pot before? If I wanted to, could I follow these instructions but with those ingredients?

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