Slow Cooker Short Ribs with Colombian Spices

by Erica Dinho on August 26, 2011

Slow Cooker Short Ribs with Colombian Spices

Short ribs seem to go better with colder weather and although it’s still summer, when I saw these ribs at the market, I knew there was no waiting for cooler days.

The aromas of cumin, achiote and herbs are fantastic and simply irresistible. The flavors go so perfectly with each other and every delightful forkful will bring pure joy. The short ribs were perfectly tender and the plain white rice nicely soaked up the delicious sauce.

So, if you’re looking for a different way to cook something traditional, like these short ribs, then this is the perfect recipe for you.

Buen provecho!



(6 servings)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 scallion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon achiote
  • 3 carrots peeled and cut into chunks
  • 6 small red potaoes, skin on
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons grated panela or brown sugar
  • 1 bottle beer
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish


  1. Season the ribs on all sides with salt and pepper. Place vegetable oil and the ribs in a pan, turning once, until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the ribs to a slow cooker.
  2. Blend the onions, scallions, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, cumin, achiote, panela or brown sugar, and cilantro with the water until you get a smooth puree.
  3. Pour in the tomatoes and onion sauce and beer over the ribs. Add the carrots and potatoes. Cover and cook until the meat is separating from the bones and the vegetables are tender, 5 to 6 hours on high or 7 to 8 hours on low.
  4. Spoon the fat off the sauce. Transfer the ribs and sauce to a serving plate and serve immediately over white rice.
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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Belinda @zomppa August 26, 2011 at 10:08 AM

I love it when they fall off the bone!


2 Heavenly Housewife August 27, 2011 at 8:18 AM

Wow, that looks heavenly. Such great comfort food. Today it is pouring outside and something like this would be just amazing for dinner. Beautifully done!
Hope you have a great weekend.
*kisses* HH


3 A Canadian Foodie August 27, 2011 at 9:49 AM

I have annato seeds – and if I crushed them woudl that work? Am I right understanding that they are the same thing as achiote?


4 Erica August 27, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Valerie- Yes or you can make achiote oil with them:


5 Angie@Angiesrecipes August 27, 2011 at 10:33 AM

The ribs are perfectly cooked! I love them cooked with lots of carrots and mushrooms.


6 Amy August 27, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Erica, is the Achiote powder for color or for flavor? I read that I can substitute one teaspoon of Achiote powder with 1/2 teaspoon of sweet parpika and 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric. Is that correct? I dont have achiote in hand but do the other spices. would love to try this slow cooker recipe. Thank you.


7 Erica August 27, 2011 at 5:03 PM

Amy- I used achiote for flavor and color, but you can use paprika.


8 Charissa August 27, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Oh, I loooove the time saved with a slow cooker. Best thing eva!


9 Simply Life August 28, 2011 at 8:07 AM

oooh, anything in those spices sounds amazing!


10 Alice Ward August 29, 2011 at 3:42 PM

Is there any other type of beef that could be substituted for the short ribs?


11 Erica August 29, 2011 at 6:02 PM

Alice- beef brisket or beef chuck roast.


12 Chris August 31, 2011 at 9:21 PM

Beef short ribs can be difficult to cook but when done right, they are superb!


13 Michelle September 3, 2011 at 2:20 PM

This looks awesome! It reminds me of a soup that I learned to make in the pressure cooker when I lived in Venezuela. Can’t wait to try it tomorrow.


14 marilyn December 29, 2012 at 3:10 PM

What kind (type) of beer do you recommend? I have to make this..looks amazing! Love your site! Thank you!!


15 Erica December 29, 2012 at 8:24 PM

You can use any dark beer.


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