Root Beer Short Ribs


How I love braised short ribs, let me count the ways....

When it comes to short ribs, the secret is in the sauce and this creative twist using root bee rmakes it well worth the time it takes to braise. The sweet and spicy root beer really enhances the meatiness of the ribs.

We loved it. The sauce reduces to this really concentrated sweet and savory combination full of flavor. Of course the meat just falls of the bone and goes perfectlywith mashed potatoes. Mashed sweet potatoes would also be a nice side dish to incorporate as well.

My oldest son ate two or three ribs before he asked what kind of sauce I had made. WhenIexplained tohim it was root beer sauce, he couldn't have been happier.

This is definitely a meal we will make again and again. I bet you will too.


Preheat oven to 275o F. Season ribs generously with salt and pepper. In an 8-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil to high. In batches, brown ribs on all sides, about 20 minutes total. If oil gets too dark during browning, pour off and add more oil (do not wipe pot clean). Transfer ribs to a plate and pour off all but 2 Tablespoons fat from pot.


Add onions, celery, carrots, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, rosemary, cumin and star anise. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until onions are soft, 5 minutes.


Return ribs to pot and add broth and root beer. Bring to a rapid simmer, cover, and place pot in oven. Cook until meat can be easily pierced with the tip of a pairing knife, about 3 hours. (To store, refrigerate, up to four days if you choose.)

With a slotted spoon, transfer ribs to a large straight-sided skillet; discard solids by pouring/straining liquid through a fine-mesh sieve. Skim off fat from cooking liquid. If you have time, place liquid in the refrigerator for a little while, making it easier to discard the fat that will accumulate on top.


Boil liquid and ribs over medium-high heat until liquid is reduced by half (I think I went even a little further to get it thicker), about 20-30 minutes. While boiling, periodically spoon liquid over meat, until ribs are glazed and sauce is thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Pure bliss.

Root Beer Short Ribs
Adapted from Everyday Food

4-1/2 pounds beef short ribs
Coarse salt and pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more as needed
2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1" wedges
3 large celery stalks, cut into 1-1/2" pieces
2 small carrots, cut into 1-1/2" pieces
1 head garlic, sliced in half crosswise
10 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 sprig rosemary
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 whole star anise
3-1/2 cups beef broth
2 cups root beer

Preheat oven to 275o F. Season ribs generously with salt and pepper. In an 8-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil to high. In batches, brown ribs on all sides, about 20 minutes total. If oil gets too dark during browning, pour off and add more oil (do not wipe pot clean). Transfer ribs to a plate and pour off all but 2 Tablespoons fat from pot.

Add onions, celery, carrots, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, rosemary, cumin and star anise. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until onions are soft, 5 minutes.

Return ribs to pot and add broth and root beer. Bring to a rapid simmer, cover, and place pot in oven. Cook until meat can be easily pierced with the tip of a pairing knife, about 3 hours. (To store, refrigerate, up to four days if you choose.) With a slotted spoon, transfer ribs to a large straight-sided skillet; discard solids by pouring/straining liquid through a fine-mesh sieve. Skim off fat from cooking liquid. If you have time, place liquid in the refrigerator for a little while, making it easier to discard the fat that will accumulate on top.

Boil liquid and ribs over medium-high heat until liquid is reduced by half (I think I went even a little further to get it thicker), about 20-30 minutes. While boiling, periodically spoon liquid over meat, until ribs are glazed and sauce is thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

You can cook the short ribs up to four days ahead; Refrigerate, then skim, strain and reduce the cooking liquid before serving.

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Post a Comment

58 Comments and 1 Reply

  1. This is a keeper – delicious – sweet, succulent.

  2. dawn 2

    This is an incredible recipe, what a cool idea.

  3. Julia 3

    mmm. short ribs! Isn’t there also a recipe that calls for coca-cola?

  4. What a yummy-looking and interesting recipe!!

  5. Lena in VT 5

    This sounds like Sunday dinner to me!

  6. lo 6

    I can’t help it, I’m drooling at the thought of this. I’m also presuming the quality of the rootbeer would have a direct effect on the results, no? I’m thinking one of those locally brewed sasparillas might be fantastic in this.

  7. Debbi 7

    These look so good! I’ve sweetened ribs many times but never with rootbeer!

  8. Short ribs are just flat out good. Saving this recipe.

  9. Liz C. 9

    I love it that you can make them up ahead of time and they look really succulent. We might have to have this tomorrow night. I also think the rootbeer will add a nice zip to the flavor. Excellent!

  10. Biz 10

    Wow, I never would have thought to use root beer – delicious! I bet the sauce with the mashed potatoes would be amazing!!

  11. girl….you are a genius. love love love this. i can only imagine the taste and what the house smelled like.

  12. emily kong 12

    I can’t wait to try this receipe..Thanks

  13. Cathy

    I am so impressed with this dish! I have never made short ribs, always wanted to try, and so next time I will include the root beer in the mix! I don’t like to drink it but I bet it adds a lot of flavor! Great recipe! Thanks!

  14. Melynda 14

    Love short ribs, these look wonderful. Thanks.

  15. Marjie 15

    Well, my real problem would be having enough root beer to get it into the PAN instead of into me!

  16. megan 16

    Oh my, you have the best recipes. I need to rename my blog *Noble Pig’s Recipes tried again* I think you are my hero! NO, I know your my hero!!!

  17. Lydia 17

    I know short ribs are thought of as “winter” food, but I adore them and can eat them at any time of year. I haven’t tried making them in the slow cooker yet; that’s my next frontier to conquer.

  18. Tami 18

    Sounds delish! I love shortribs, especially with the mashed spuds. Sounds like heaven on a plate!

  19. Mary 19

    Cathy, these look succulent and your photo work today is really spectacular. I have a recipe for ham that uses root beer but I never would have dreamed to use it with short ribs. I hope you had a terrific day. Blessings…Mary

  20. Lynda 21

    Oh my, these ribs look amazing! I would never have thought of using root beer, but I know my family will love it.I’ve bookmared it to try soon!

  21. Such amazing flavors with root beer, yum!

  22. grace 23

    i can’t tolerate root beer by the bottle, but i’m sure i could handle it like this quite nicely. talk about your fall-off-the-bone ribs!

  23. June 24

    I’ve used cola before but not root beer. I really must give it a try. These ribs look absolutely delicious. We’re having some later this week too, but cooked in Zin. Love dem ribs!

  24. These look absolutely fabulous!!!!! I won’t tell my hubby what the ribs are cooked in though as he can’t stand root beer, like most Brits!

    YUM!!!!!

  25. Julie 26

    That looks so good, all the yummy sauce over the potatoes…yum!

  26. Pat 27

    The recipe sounds absolutely delicious. I love short ribs, too, but I must say this recipe sounds better than anything I’ve ever tried. Yummy! Thanks for that .. I will try it soon. P.S.: somebody twittered your site, which is how I found you. Will be back for more …

  27. Yum! I haven’t tried root beer with short ribs yet. Excellent idea! I know my husband would be in love with this!

  28. Lisa 29

    I found you via StumbleUpon. I look forward to visiting your blog. I’m kindda new to the whole blogging thing. But I’ve shared you with my followers because I think you have an awesome blog. Much Love to you and your family.

  29. This is what Cesare ate after his triumphant march into Rome I’m sure of it..this recipe is carved into his Arch somewhere..seriously

    Great Recipe!

  30. Lisa 31

    Oh I can’t wait to make these. I bet the reduction of the rootbeer is divine!

  31. Tammy 32

    I’ve never been successful with ribs, I think with this recipe I could be! I love that they are cooked slowing in the oven for a few hours.

  32. Laurie 33

    I love short ribs and the addition of root beer is awesome. My meat loving boys would die over this dish.

  33. Bob 34

    Holy crap, that looks wicked good. I’ve never made braised short ribs, but these make me want to!

  34. Mrs. L 35

    We love short ribs and crock pot them year round. This recipe sounds wonderful and I may have to make it for our anniversary (since he loves short ribs AND root beer :)

  35. So interesting! I can imagine the flavors, and the root beer must have been great with the slow-cooked beef.

  36. I’m salivating. Ribs are going on my shopping list and I’m breaking out the mixer for some foccacia bread. Thank you!

  37. Judy 38

    I always pour one of those 100 calorie cans of Dr. Pepper in the two-person beef stew I make for my husband and me. It gives the it a dark, almost fruity richness. Love it.

  38. Jenny 39

    These look AWESOME. Definitely trying root beer in my next batch.

  39. Pam 40

    Bookmarked! I am making this recipe…my kids love root beer and ribs so this is perfect for us.

  40. LilSis 41

    I’ve never made short ribs before but I know that my son and my husband love them. And, they both love Root Beer! Bookmarking now!

  41. Yikes, I have so many recipes to catch up on! These look awesome…I love me Short Ribs!! Better find some time to do some cooking!

  42. Jayme Witman 43

    I am new to your blog and I LOVE iT! Question; my family doesn’t like short ribs! AAAUGH! What other meat could I use?

  43. Noble Pig 44

    I can’t imagine anything else.

  44. Charles 45

    I swear I could smelll root beer when I saw the photo of the ribs cooking in the Dutch oven and saliva glands surrendered. You’re getting us off track. Oh well,,,another must try. Thanks

  45. Mai 46

    I suggest oxtails.

  46. Mai 47

    I tried this recipe. I loved the sweet and savory combo. I thought 4.5 lbs of meat was a bit much, but once you cook the meat and the fat dissipates you have 6-8 servings or enough leftovers for a week. This recipe is a keeper.

  47. Paula 48

    Mmmm,mmm, good! Years ago, I had a pork roast made with rootbeer and it was terrific. Your photos make this look like a winner, too. YUM!

  48. Brigitte 49

    Tried this recipe, tasted great (and I don’t even like Root Beer), and my husband loved it too.

  49. Anita 50

    Do you think this would work with diet root beer?

  50. basil 51

    Wow, that looks completely amazing.

  51. This was a great commentary. You vastly helped my research much quicker.

  52. Jim 53

    mmmm do you think I could make them in a crockpot?

  53. One word…DELICIOUS!!! My kids love root beer and constantly ask for this for dinner

  54. Desiree 55

    I’ve been waiting to try this recipe for a while. Has anyone used a pot v.s. a dutch oven? Does it make that much of a difference? Has anyone cut the recipe? Tips?

  55. Desiree 56

    I’d really like to cut this recipe in half…besides cutting the ingredients in half…should I adjust the time?

  56. Lara 58

    This is in my oven right now and OMG I AM DYING over the insanely good smell. Thanks for sharing!

    (Also, hi! I used to follow your blog ages ago, then fell out of reading any blogs for a while, and now am back reading again.)

  57. tresa 59

    LOVE..LOVE…love ribs made this way! I actually used Diet DP…and they were awesome! My husband moaned….the entire meal with delight!

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