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Short Ribs With Cheesy Polenta

Short Ribs with Cheesy Polenta is an easy slow cooker meal that’s perfectly comforting. Like a Sunday dinner with tender meat, lots of veggies and creamy polenta. 


Cheesy polenta makes everything pretty divine. Short ribs are delicious on their own, so you can imagine the perfection of this combination. 

Braised short ribs with vegetables and polenta in a white bowl

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Slow Cooker Short Ribs

To make short ribs tender and delicious they need low and slow cooking. You can of course do them in an Instant Pot, which pressure cooks them as opposed to slow braising. 

I find it super simple to caramelize them and then be hands off while they cook in the slow cooker. Add them with the veggies to a slow cooker and simmer in a broth of tomatoes, beef broth and red wine. Use cranberry juice or POM juice if you are alcohol free. 

More Slow Cooker Recipes

Slow Cooker Brisket Sandwiches

Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

Slow Cooker Turkey Vegetable Meat Loaf

Honey Rosemary Chicken with Yukon Gold Potatoes


Slow cooker short ribs with cheesy polenta in a white bowl

Slow cooking helps tenderize meat and make it fall off the bone delicious. Short ribs, chuck roasts and brisket are tougher cuts of beef. Tough cuts need the longer cooking time for the connective tissues to break down. This makes each bite tender and perfect for serving with something creamy like fluffy mashed potatoes, or flavor-loaded, creamy, cheesy polenta. 

Cheesy polenta can be made while short ribs cook. You’re ready for dinner with minimal effort!

For the vegetables I love using carrots because they add a bit of sweetness, and savory onions. For something that cooks this long, the carrots hold their shape, but onion pieces can sometimes break down and get too soft. I opt for pearl onions because they can cook whole. I find already peeled pearl onions in the freezer section in a bag. Super easy to use, no peeling necessary. 

Making Cheesy Polenta

The short ribs and veggies cook for a while in the slow cooker. When I’m ready to serve this dinner, it takes only about ten to fifteen minutes to put the polenta together (and that includes bringing water to a boil!). The secret is to use quick-cooking polenta. You’ll find it next to traditional polenta in the store. It just takes five minutes to cook, then add the cheese and you’ve got a perfect starchy side dish. 

Short Ribs with Cheesy Polenta
Work Time
40 mins
Cook Time
4 hrs 20 mins
Total Time
5 hrs

Short Ribs with Cheesy Polenta is an easy slow cooker meal that's perfectly comforting. With lots of veggies and creamy polenta you'll want it on regular dinner rotation!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cheesy polenta, short ribs
Yield: 6 servings
Calories: 583 kcal
  • 4 medium carrots cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups frozen pearl onions from a 16-oz bag
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 lbs bone-in beef short ribs
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 can 14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley plus additional for garnish
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup quick-cooking polenta
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan
  1. Combine carrot, pearl onions and garlic in a 6-quart slow cooker.

  2. Season ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large, wide pot over medium-high heat. Add ribs, in batches, and cook, turning until browned on all sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer, as cooked, to slow cooker.

  3. Stir together tomatoes, broth, wine, parsley, cornstarch and tomato paste in a bowl; pour over ribs. Add bay leaf. Cover and cook 9 to 11 hours on low or 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 hours on high. Skim off any fat from top (discard bay leaf).
  4. Combine 3 3/4 cups water, the polenta and salt in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add cheese and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes.

  5. Serveribs over polenta and garnish with parsley, if desired.
Recipe Notes

• You can use cranberry juice or POM juice in place of the wine if you'd like. 


Nutrition Facts
Short Ribs with Cheesy Polenta
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 583 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 42%
Saturated Fat 12g 60%
Cholesterol 135mg 45%
Sodium 598mg 25%
Potassium 1112mg 32%
Total Carbohydrates 30g 10%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 3g
Protein 48g 96%
Vitamin A 144.1%
Vitamin C 10%
Calcium 14.1%
Iron 31%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Braised short ribs with vegetables and cheesy polenta
slow cooker short ribs with cheesy polenta in a bowl


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