Short Rib Chili

This short rib chili recipe is made with luxuriously rich braised beef and is easy to make on the stovetop or in the slow cooker. It’s the best.

A cast iron pot filled with braised short rib chili with a bowl of diced onion on the side and a handful of cilantro.

This short rib chili recipe from Tyler Florence is, admittedly, a little elaborate as far as chili recipes go. It calls for a pricey cut of beef, several kinds of chiles and chili powders, and even a touch of chocolate to smooth all the sharp and complex edges. And it’s worth every last cent. Bear in mind, it takes a while for short ribs to turn tender, but once they do, it’s nearly impossible to overcook them, so there’s no rush. Spoon the chili over pasta, potatoes, rice, tortilla chips, whatever you please.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Short Rib Chili

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 30 M
  • 4 H, 30 M
  • Serves 6
5/5 - 1 reviews
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Special Equipment: 5-quart or larger slow cooker (if following the slow cooker method)



Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C) or select a slow-cooker large enough for the ribs (a 5-quart or larger should work fine).

Season the short ribs quite generously with salt and pepper and let rest at room temperature.

Toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the skillet occasionally to prevent scorching, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately transfer the toasted spices to a spice grinder. Repeat with the coriander seeds. Grind until the spices turn into a fine powder. Dump the spices into a bowl, add the chili powder, paprika, salt, oregano, and sugar, and mix well.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and sear the short ribs on all sides. Grab some tongs and transfer the ribs to a plate. Pour or spoon off some of the fat from the Dutch oven. Add the onions, garlic, and jalapeño to the fat that remains in the Dutch oven and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom, until the onions have softened and turned translucent. Lower the heat to medium-low. Add the spice mix and the chipotle in adobo and stir to combine. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and chocolate and use a wooden spoon or potato masher to break up the tomatoes. Return the ribs to the Dutch oven and gently toss to coat with the tomato and spice mixture.

To cook the short ribs in the oven:
Arrange the short ribs in the Dutch oven in a single layer if possible, making sure each one is completely coated in the chili mixture. Pour enough water over top to just cover the short ribs, which should be 2 to 3 cups. Cover the Dutch oven securely, place in the preheated oven and cook for 3 or 4 hours, or until the ribs are completely tender and come off the bone.

To cook the short ribs in a slow-cooker:
Combine the ribs and sauce in the cooker. Rinse the Dutch oven with 2 cups water and pour this over the ribs. Set the slow-cooker to high for 3 hours, then turn down to low and cook for 2 to 4 hours more, until the ribs are completely tender and the meat comes off the bone. (If you want to cook the ribs while you are at work or out of the house, just set the slow-cooker to low and let it go for 8 to 10 hours.)

When the short ribs are falling apart tender, grab some tongs and transfer the ribs to a plate until cool enough to handle. Then roll up your sleeves and discard the bones, membrane, and excess fat. Use 2 forks to shred the meat from the ribs. Return the shredded meat to the pot and stir to combine with the cooking sauce. If the sauce seems too thick, add water. If it’s too watery, you can add some masa harina dissolved in water and let it cook for about 5 minutes on high to thicken. Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve in a large bowl, family style.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This chili recipe is refreshingly perfect. This is boldly spiced, vibrant tomato sauce, rich meaty goodness, finger-licking deliciousness. (Even I couldn't tweak it to procure better results (so much for humility!) Might I add so ideally suited for the cooler temperatures coming our way. Of course, if you like your chili bland and boring and made with ground beef, this recipe is NOT for you. That said, for all you spice lovers, the melange of flavors in this chili coupled with the ease of cooking it in the oven makes this one a winner, whether weekday at home or at a potluck party for your gourmand friends. I made the chili powder recipe and it came out to 1/3 cup. I used all of it since you can never have too much spice. I'd pair this with an IPA or light lager to complement the spices.

Big hit in my house. I love the rich flavor of short ribs, and the ease of browning just 8 or so pieces of meat instead of 3 pounds of cubed meat. Having said that, though, I prefer my chili with chunkier meat. It was a little bit like eating pulled pork without the bun—a bowl of shredded meat in sauce. I wanted a little bit more texture. I used a 5-quart slow-cooker for 3 hours on high and 2 1/2 hours on low. I also made the stew the day before and stored the shredded meat and sauce separately so that I could skim the fat off the next day. This may have contributed to the meat shredding even further when I warmed it up again. (OK, I just had this brilliant idea while writing. Next time I will chill the ribs before shredding, that way I can obtain larger chunks of meat, bring the sauce to simmer, and then add the meat to briefly warm through.) I followed the recipe exactly, including making the homemade chili powder, and used all spices in the quantities stipulated. I would have liked the chili spicier, maybe add more chipotle chiles and jalapeno peppers next time. I served this with this buttermilk cornbread recipe—now that was a win! We gave the cornbread a 10, too! I would make this again.

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  1. Among the items I stocked up for the pandemic were short ribs. Armed with my long list of ingredients I set to work getting this dish ready. I didn’t have everything on hand to make my own chili powder so I used what I had and added some spices to it. I cut back on the chipotles and left out the jalapeño……… I cook for someone who doesn’t eat spicy foods! Once all of the prep was done, 3 hours and 20 minutes in the oven gave me fork-tender meat. I cooked it in a large Le Creuset pot. I opted to store the meat separately from the gravy after I cooled and shredded it as I wanted to be able to easily remove all of the fat. I let it sit overnight in the fridge and then mixed the two together and reheated it slowly the next night. Wow! This recipe is a keeper. In my mind, it should be called shredded short ribs. Call it what you want, just make it. It is delicious. We ate it over cauliflower rice but I can imagine it being great over noodles, pasta or polenta. I forgot to take a picture before I packed up the leftovers but it did look just like the one posted with the recipe. And the leftovers…….people were fighting overshoe would get to take them home!

    1. Anytime people are fighting over leftovers, you know you’ve got yourself a ‘keeper’. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience with us, Ellen. We can’t wait to hear what you try next.

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