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Cranberry Braised Short Ribs

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
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Cranberry Braised Short Ribs

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Cranberry Braised Short Ribs are slow-cooked in the oven with veggies, herbs, and cranberries until fall-apart tender. The perfect holiday meal!

These short ribs are tender and so impressive on the table. Serve over ultra-creamy mashed potatoes for a show-stopping holiday dinner.

Cranberry Braised Short Ribs

My favorite types of meals are cozy braises served over mashed potatoes, like Mom’s classic pot roast, apple cider braised pork, or my red wine braised beef. A classic meat and potatoes dish is always my go-to!

These cranberry braised short ribs are definitely a new favorite! The cranberry juice and beef stock turn into a deliciously savory broth. The slow-cooked cranberries turn soft and the hint of tartness cuts through the fattiness of the short ribs.

All in all, this is truly a spectacular dish to have in your back pocket for company during the holidays. While Thanksgiving has lots of tradition surrounding the menu, Christmas is always more flexible!

Cranberry braised short ribs would be a delicious tradition to start for Christmas Eve or Christmas dinner. Serve over my ultra-creamy creme fraiche mashed potatoes for the ultimate dinner.

Cranberry Braised short ribs

What is Braising?

Braising is a combination cooking technique that features both wet and dry heat. First, you sear the short ribs in the pan for flavor and color and then you add liquid to the pot and transfer the covered pot to the oven. In the oven, the beef cooks slowly at a lower temperature.

The resulting meat is exceedingly tender. Braising is particularly effective for tough cuts of meat (brisket, chuck, pork shoulder, short ribs, etc). Cooking tough meats low and slow in liquid allows the muscle tissue and collagen to slowly break down.

Any liquid can be used to braise, but the combination of stock and cranberry juice really adds that extra depth and fall-flavor goodness!

cranberry braised short ribs

How to Make Cranberry Braised Short Ribs

Cranberry braised short ribs are not at all complicated to make and only require a handful of ingredients! I do recommend investing in a large dutch oven, like the one linked below. All my braises happen in large braisers or dutch ovens!

Tools Needed

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Beef bone-in short ribs. Short ribs are such a treat and full of flavor. You could also use boneless short ribs, beef chuck, or even beef brisket with similar results.
  • Cranberries. Fresh or frozen will work just fine.
  • Cranberry juice. I opt for the no sugar added juice. It’s tart, but turns very savory during the cooking process.
  • Beef stock. I always recommend making your own or buying quality beef stock found frozen in some high-end grocery stores.
  • Veggies. Onion, carrot, and celery are the classic building blocks for most braising recipes. Make sure the veggies are finely diced.
  • Herbs. Fresh thyme, sage, and rosemary add tons of flavor that just elevates this dish.
  • Dijon. Adding a bit of dijon to the braising liquid adds extra savory notes.
  • Beef bouillon. Adding a bit of ‘Better than Bouillon’ helps bolster the flavor of the braising liquid.

The Process

  1. Sear the beef. Pat the short ribs dry with a paper towel and season all over with salt and pepper. Add the oil to a dutch oven on medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, sear the beef on all sides until browned. You may need to do this in batches. Remove the beef from the pan.
  2. Saute the veggies. Decrease the heat to medium and add the butter. Add the diced onions, celery, and carrots to the pot and saute for 4-5 minutes, while stirring occasionally. You really want the veggies to brown a bit. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Mix the braising liquid. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the cranberry juice, dijon, beef stock, and beef bouillon paste.
  4. Add the beef back to the pot. Nestle the short ribs into the veggies and pour in the braising liquid. It should reach about 3/4 of the way up the short ribs. Tie the fresh herbs into a bundle with kitchen twine and nestle them in the middle of the meat. Scatter the cranberries around the beef, cover and transfer to the oven.
  5. Braise. Braise for 3 – 3 1/2 hours, until the beef is very tender. Remove from the oven and let it rest covered for 30 minutes. Discard the herbs and transfer the cranberry braised short ribs to a serving platter. At this point, you can thicken the braising liquid into a gravy, if desired. Season the braising liquid with salt and pepper before serving over mashed potatoes.

Alternate Cuts of Beef

Cranberry braised short ribs are truly special, but sometimes short ribs can be expensive or hard to find. If this is the case, there are easy swaps you can make!

You want a cut that has enough fat and marbling to make it flavorful and keep it from drying out. Below are my favorites:

Beef Chuck – A humble and flavorful cut, beef chuck is so perfect for braising. A chuck roast is usually known as the cut your parents used for pot roast, a large triangular cut from the chuck of the cow. Its well marbled with fat, which prevents it from drying out during low-and-slow cooking. It’s economical and full of beefy flavor.

Brisket – Brisket is another one of my favorite cuts for braising! It’s also fairly cheap and economical and packed with flavor. The brisket is a long cut from the breast/chest of the cow and is sectioned into two parts: the flat and the point.

The flat has a layer of fat running across the top, but it is just that: a flat square piece of meat. It’s great for braising. The point is more pointed in shape and has a much higher fat content. Both work well, but if you’re using the point, plan to trim some of the excess fat away.

If you plan to use a cut different from short ribs, I recommend going with 3.5-4 lbs of meat. Cut the meat into 3-inch pieces before searing.

cranberry braised short ribs

Slow Cooker & Pressure Cooker Cooking Instructions

I often get requests for slow cooker and pressure cooker instructions for my braising recipes. Can you do it? Yes, but you absolutely lose some flavor. Cooking meat in the oven concentrates the flavor and you lose some of that with other cooking methods. That being said, here are my alternative cooking instructions:

Slow Cooker:  Use another pan or pot to sear the short ribs before adding it to the slow cooker. Seriously, don’t skip this step because it adds SO much flavor! Saute the veggies in the same pot and then add them to the slow cooker with the short ribs. Pour in the braising liquid and add the herbs. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, until the beef is tender.

Pressure cooker: Sear the short ribs in a separate pan or in your pressure cooker, using the saute function. Once the short ribs are browned, saute veggies. Add everything in and pressure cook on high for 70 minutes with a natural release. Remove the short ribs and simmer the braising liquid to thicken it a bit before serving.

What to Serve with Cranberry Braised Short Ribs

If you’re throwing a dinner party or just want a nice dinner to enjoy, here are some of my favorite dishes to serve with cranberry braised short ribs.

Leafy salad – I love starting a meal with a big leafy salad! My recipe for KALE CAESAR SALAD is one of my favorite salads ever and pairs so well with beef. You’re going to love the homemade caesar dressing! This loaded wedge salad is giving real steakhouse vibes and is so impressive.

Mashed potatoes – Who doesn’t love piling tender beef on a bed of mashed potatoes? If you want a classic version, try my CREME FRAICHE MASHED POTATOES. If you want to try something new, my CARAMELIZED ONION AND BACON MASHED POTATOES are a show stopper! Horseradish Mashed Potatoes are also a great option and balance the richness of the short ribs.

Dinner Rolls – I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for warm dinner rolls! I love sopping up any extra juices with a warm piece of bread. Try my foolproof FLUFFY DINNER ROLLS!

Dessert – No dinner party or gathering is complete without some dessert, am I right? Some of my favorite low effort/high reward desserts are my ALMOND RICOTTA CAKESKILLET APPLE CRISP, Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie, and this Apple Cider Donut Cake.

cranberry braised short ribs

Storage Instructions

In the event that you have leftovers, cranberry braised short ribs are easy to store and freeze!

To store: Let the beef and braising liquid cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container for 4-6 days in the fridge.

Freezing cranberry braised short ribs: You can very easily freeze short ribs! Let the beef and liquid cool to room temperature and then store in a freezer-safe ziplock bag. Try to press most of the air out of the bag while sealing, this helps prevent freezer burn. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge.

Reheating: Cranberry braised short ribs are best reheated in a skillet or dutch oven. Add the short ribs and liquid to a dutch oven or skillet, adding a little extra broth or water as needed. Cover and simmer on low until the beef is tender and warmed through.

cranberry braised short ribs


Cranberry Braised Short Ribs are the show-stopping dish that the holiday season requires! They’re a perfect cozy meal to enjoy with family and friends. If you do give this recipe a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. Be sure to subscribe to my weekly newsletter and never miss a new recipe! You can also snap a photo & tag @JENNYGOYCOCHEA on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your SMF creations!

More Cozy Braises to Try

Coconut Braised Beef
Mom’s Classic Pot Roast
Apple Cider Braised Pork Shoulder
Red Wine Braised Beef
Pork Pozole Verde

This post contains affiliate links from which I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Affiliate links allow me to keep providing great recipes for free and I never recommend products that I don’t love and personally own.

easy braised short ribs
Main Dishes

Cranberry Braised Short Ribs

Cranberry Braised Short Ribs are slow-cooked in the oven with veggies, herbs, and cranberries until fall-apart tender. The perfect holiday meal!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 50 minutes
Makes: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 5 lbs bone-in short ribs (english cut)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cup cranberry juice (no sugar added)
  • 2 cups beef stock, homemade is best*
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon beef flavored Better than Bouillon
  • 1 sprig fresh sage
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup cranberries*
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • mashed potatoes, for serving

Instructions

  • Preheat an oven to 350 F.
  • Sear the beef. Pat the short ribs dry with a paper towel and generously season all over with salt and pepper. Add the oil to a dutch oven on medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, sear the beef on all sides until browned. You may need to do this in batches. Remove the beef from the pan and transfer to a plate.
  • Saute the veggies. Decrease the heat to medium and add the butter. Add the diced onions, celery, and carrots to the pot and saute for 4-5 minutes, while stirring occasionally. You really want the veggies to brown a bit. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Mix the braising liquid. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the cranberry juice, dijon, beef stock, and beef bouillon paste.
  • Add the beef back to the pot. Nestle the short ribs and any accumulated juices into the veggies and pour in the braising liquid. It should reach about 3/4 of the way up the short ribs. Tie the fresh herbs into a bundle with kitchen twine and nestle them in the middle of the meat. Scatter the cranberries around the beef, cover and transfer to the oven.
  • Braise. Braise for 3 – 3 1/2 hours, until the beef is very tender. Remove from the oven and let it rest covered for 30 minutes. Discard the herbs and transfer the cranberry braised short ribs to a serving platter. At this point, you can thicken the braising liquid into a gravy, if desired. Season the braising liquid with salt and pepper before serving over mashed potatoes.

Notes

An important note: Cranberries are naturally tart and sour. During the cooking process, they get very soft and tasty but they still retain some of that tartness. If you are averse to tart things, skip the whole cranberries. 
You can use fresh or frozen cranberries in this recipe. 
If you don’t have homemade beef stock, I recommend buying quality beef stock from the freezer section of well-stocked grocery stores. You can also use beef bone broth. 

Nutrition

Calories: 604kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 56gFat: 35gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 173mgSodium: 433mgPotassium: 1376mgFiber: 2gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 3646IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 62mgIron: 7mg

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5 from 18 votes (17 ratings without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    Hi – it’s me again. I felt I should circle back since you don’t have any reviews on this. I thought it was delicious. It was not too sweet with the regular cranberry juice (so don’t worry if you, dear reader, made the same mistake as I did.) but I did find that it ended up with very little liquid at the end, as I’d halved the recipe for me and my BF. That said, it was very savory and easy to make and I loved it with your creme fraiche mashed potatoes. If you’ve been thinking about this recipe, stop thinking and make it!

  2. Ack! I am making this today and just realized I was supposed to buy no sugar added cranberry juice. Any tips for cutting the sweetness? Maybe a little apple cider vinegar?

    • Hey, no worries! It’s still pretty tart so I would just taste it at the end but the apple cider vin or lemon juice would be great for brightening it up!