Making short ribs in the Instant Pot is not only quicker than a traditional braise, but they turn out more perfectly than any other way I’ve tried. You’re going to love this recipe!
Beef short ribs are one of my favorite special occasion things to make. They have a very robust beefy flavor, and the meat, when cooked correctly, is so tender.
The only problem with short ribs is that they can take awhile to make. My standard method for short ribs, takes over two hours, even longer if you decide to dry brine them overnight.
When I discovered that I could cook short ribs in the Instant Pot in a fraction of the time, and without the dry brine needed, I was in heaven. I swear, I’ve been making short ribs like a crazy person lately.
That crazy-person-short-rib-making has led to an amazing discovery too: Short Ribs Do Not Need To Be Seared Before Pressure Cooking.
Yes, really. We’re going with the reverse sear here, and it’s amazing for Instant Pot Short Ribs. A. Maze. Ing.
What Is The Reverse Sear?
The reverse sear is a roasting technique that I first learned about on Serious Eats in their tutorial for cooking the best prime rib. I have since applied the same technique to many different things, including roast pork and roast chicken. Basically, you cook the meat as a braise or low and slow in the oven first, and then once it’s reached a safe temperature, then you cook it at a high heat to get a good crust.
The idea is to sear the meat at the end instead of at the beginning.
There are several reasons for doing this but for Instant Pot cooking, the reverse sear makes even more sense than for other cooking methods. If you were to cook in the more traditional sear-first method and then pressure cook it, any texture that you got from that initial sear would get washed away by the steam and pressure. If you sear it at the end though, then you get some nice crunch after all that steam is gone. Get it?
The biggest perk of the reverse sear for short ribs is that you don’t have to stand there searing all sides, or working in batches, or any of the things that you’d normally have to do. Instead, all you do is to season the short ribs on all sides, add some broth to the Instant Pot, and lay the ribs in there. That’s all you need to do to get started. It’s so great!
How Long To Cook Short Ribs In The Instant Pot
For the recipe below, I have about 3 pounds of short ribs on the bone. That’s about 8 short ribs. I set them to pressure cook for 30 minutes, and then do a 15 minute natural release. At that point, the meat is really tender but is still attached to the bone.
Note that I’ve seen pressure cooker short rib recipes online that call for 45 minutes or longer plus natural release, but I have found the extra time to not be necessary, and to even make the ribs too tender (they are falling right off of the bone and are a bit stringy). Thirty minutes plus the 15 minute natural release gives you really tender meat that still has that bit of beefy texture to it. They’re tender enough to cut with the side of a fork, but you do need to put a little bit of pressure. I find that to be perfect.
How To Reverse Sear After Pressure Cooking
Okay, so you do the pressure cooking first. Like I said, just throw them in there. Then what? Well, they need a nice crust. I have tested two ways to get a nice crust on these after they’ve finished pressure cooking.
The first is to use the air fryer. Eight short ribs fit perfectly in a single layer in my air fryer. You mist the ribs lightly with cooking oil (use cooking spray or a mister with olive oil in it like this), sprinkle them with a little bit of salt, and then put them into the air fryer at 400F for 7-10 minutes, no flipping required, until nice and brown.
The second method to get a good reverse sear on the short ribs is to put them under the broiler. Again, mist them lightly with some cooking oil and season them lightly with salt, and then put them on a pan about 6 inches from the broiling heat source. Watch them carefully because they sometimes brown more quickly than I expect, but you’re looking at about 3-5 minutes and then you flip them over and do another 3-5 minutes on the other side.
I don’t recommend using the Instant Pot on Sauté to get a sear on the short ribs after pressure cooking. I tried it and it took a long time and I had to do it in batches or else they wouldn’t brown. So definitely go with the air fryer or broiler.
Can you eat the short ribs without searing them at the end? Yes. The meat is very tasty. It just doesn’t have that nice dark crust. It’s a paler color with no crunchy texture. If you’re not going to sear them at the end, I recommend simmering them in a thick sauce for a moment before serving. That will hide the lack of good color.
The Short Rib Sauce
The easiest thing is to use beef broth as the liquid for pressure cooking, and then simmer that down at the end, or add a cornstarch slurry to it to thicken it, like this. Just make sure to separate off the fat first since there is a lot of fat in the liquid after pressure cooking short ribs. I like using a fat separator like this for removing the fat from the simmering liquid.
But honestly, I prefer my short ribs without a sauce. They’re so tasty and their texture is so incredible that it’s a shame to hide all that in a sauce.
My favorite thing to do instead of a sauce is a simple balsamic glaze. I buy a bottle of balsamic glaze from the grocery store or Amazon and after the short ribs are finished searing, I brush them lightly with the glaze. That’s it!
I hope you love trying short ribs in the Instant Pot, and trying the reverse sear method. I think you’re going to be really impressed with how it all turns out!
Arrange the short ribs in a single layer on the trivet. If they need to be on their sides to be in a single layer, that’s fine.
Secure the lid of the Instant Pot and turn the valve to Sealing. Set it to pressure cook on high for 30 minutes. After it has finished the 30 minutes of pressure cooking, leave the valve at Sealing to allow a natural release of pressure for 15 minutes. Turn the valve to Venting to release any remaining pressure and then once the pressure button has dropped, remove the lid.
Use tongs to remove the ribs from the Instant Pot.
Brush the ribs all over lightly with the olive oil (or use a mister) and season with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt.
Do the reverse sear. To Revere Sear In The Air Fryer: Arrange the ribs in a single layer in the air fryer. Cook at 400F until they are nice and brown, about 7-10 minutes. To Reverse Sear Under The Broiler: Preheat broiler. Arrange the ribs in a single layer on a broiler pan. Set the pan on a rack about 6-8 inches from the heat source. Broil ribs until browned, 3-5 minutes. Flip and brown the other side, about 3-5 Minutes.
Brush ribs lightly all over with the balsamic glaze.
I'm Christine Pittman, a cookbook author and busy mom of two. My recipes are made from scratch, they're quick, and they're fresh. I started this website over 10 years ago and I'm delighted that over a million people now come to visit every month to try my recipes. Thank you for visiting and for joining me on this delicious journey!Find out more about me here.
DO YOU NEED MORE TIME?
I’m with you! Time is something that too easily slips away. Listen to my podcast, Time Management Insider, to learn how to streamline your household tasks so that you have more time for the things you really want to do!